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    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2012
    So according to this: there is a group aiming to put open source schematics of a gun for 3D printing. This is, of course, coming right around the corner of newer printers being released and the price of printers starting to come down from "holy fuck" to "if I eat ramens for a while, this could be a thing I have".

    Things like this give me a knee jerk reaction of "what the fuck", because I am a big proponent of gun control (not taking them away, but putting in ridiculous amounts of hoops to obtain them/maintain your license).

    On the other hand, freedom to make whatever our little heart desires + freedom of information. After all, there are tons of manuals out there for creating explosives, bullets, poisons, etc and yet our society hasn't devolved into anarchy yet.

    So I'm on the fence. Thoughts?
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2012
    Reminds me of the "Holocaust Education and Avoidance Protocols" put forward by a character in Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon".

    I saw an article recently about a chap who had published plans to print the lower assembly carriage of an AR-15 assault rifle.

    I'm guessing some parts would still have to be manufactured from steel, for instance would a rifled barrel made from super hard plastic be capable of withstanding the forces involved?

    Having been raised in the U.K., even as part of a responsible gun-owning family, I am always a little on edge around firearms and I must admit that I find the concept of an underground weapons industry to be pretty terrifying.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2012
    I am thinking a gun with a barrel and breech made of printed plastic would be great if you wanted something that blew up in your face the first time you fired it, otherwise not so good.
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2012
    Wow, that was fast. The first time I heard about the 3D printing of resin guns was in this TED lecture. It took less than a couple months to become a reality. Scary.
  1.  (10847.5)
    In the U.S. it's legal to make your own firearms (often called a zip gun) as long as you can legally own a firearm, your local government allows it, you're not selling it, and it doesn't violate any National Firearm Act rules. (barrel length, sound suppressors, etc...) Anything that goes against NFA regs needs to be registered and a tax has to be paid before the firearm is manufactured.

    Receivers can be made of polymer/plastics, but I can't imagine a breech or barrel holding up to the pressures of multiple rounds going off.

    Personally, I don't see this changing things.

    (Full disclosure - I am a gun guy.)
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2012
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2012 edited
    hmmm... I think the whole thing is that while you can print the gun (and it might not even explode in your face) you can't print gunpowder. If they DO manage to easily and cheaply create a gun that works with a 3D printer, states who otherwise control guns will regulate the sale of gunpowder. As they should. Also, it's still quite an involved process. One reason why freely available information about how to create your own explosives and such hasn't devolved society into anarchy is because we're not SELLING and MARKETING these bombs ready-made for people to keep around the home until such a time arises that an impulse compels them to lob the bombs into the neighbour's garden for raking his leaves onto your driveway.

    However, it DID give me an instant knee-jerk reaction of WHAT THE FUCK?!
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012
    I'm going to be really disappointed if it is the manufacture of weapons that fires 3D printing into mainstream consciousness.
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012
    No, it'll be the manufacture of sex toys that does THAT! Haw haw!

    Actually, that's not entirely unlikely.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012
    You can make gunpowder from batshit and charcoal and there are plenty of other accelerant/oxidant/fuel sources that would do the job.

    Whilst homemade assault rifles are problematic, I'm sure that it wouldn't be long before a home-brew zipgun pistol or maybe more like a shotgun or blunderbuss type arrangement, complete with ammunition, either with a low temperature burn or multiple barrels would be fairly easy to make. I mean, it's not *that* difficult to make something like that now anyway even without a 3D printer.

    I see this all more as a plot device for writers to put genuinely untraceable guns into stories rather than something that'll change the way people actually own and use weapons:

    "Hey, Daddy, what's that you're making? Is it a toy raygun?"

    "Something like that, Billy, yeah"

    "Can I play with it?"

    "Nah, not yet, it's not ready."

    Daddy makes gun. Goes out, does a hit. Comes home. Renders down gun.

    "Hey Daddy, you finished that raygun?"

    "Actually Billy, I decided I didn't like the raygun after all, so I squoshed it up again and made you a dinosaur instead. Here ya go! Grawl! Rawr! Lookit the dinosaur!"

    "Aw Daddy, I love my dinosaur and our new make-anything-machine! You're the best!"
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012
    Hahah, yeah. I like your thinking and I want to read this story. :D
  2.  (10847.12)
    It's definitely a concept tailor made (or should we say custom fabricated?) for dystopian fiction. I can easily see a plot twist in some action movie where the heroes are risking life and limb not for a big stockpile of weapons but for a single, heavily guarded, portable 3D printer. The tanker breaks open at the end and a pile of iPods falls out in the desert sand--the printer was in the school bus the whole time! Mel Gibson stares down at the broken piece of technology in his hand. On the cracked screen the words flash: CHEAP IPHONE 4 UPDATE ON SALE.

    I mean, it's a good idea if you stop reading after the second sentence.
    • CommentAuthorG. Foyle
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012
    @KeeperofManyNames (Only way you could've possible improved on that would have been to include an LLTGDBM in there somewhere.)

  3.  (10847.14)
    Believe me, I considered it very seriously.
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2012 edited
    More than printing a whole one-off, one-shot-only untraceable pistol, something else the article describes which is perhaps best illustrated in is photo:


    That piece at the bottom that just looks like a handle, trigger and the hole for a clip; that's the receiver. That part is the only part of that weapon that has a serial number printed on it, and that you need a gun license to purchase. All the other parts necessary to build either of the two top configurations are all purchasable by anyone without any license or background check, and none of those parts have serial numbers.

    So, you don't need to print a whole gun. Just the receiver. You can build the rest on top of that with actual purchased metal gunparts and own a weapon that is unregistered, for which you aren't licensed.

    Would 3D printer plastic work as a receiver for a gun like that? Probably not right now, but sooner or later it'll be good enough to withstand a few shots.

    EDITED TO ADD: somebody has already done this.
    • CommentTimeOct 3rd 2012
    That's worrying.

    I have to say, I get really uncomfortable when people talk about the "cult of the fire arm" like that dude does in the link you attached at the end. When people talk about how much they love guns and shooting things, I get worried, even though I have shot some fairly big handguns on firing ranges and quite enjoy the feeling of the power of the gun going off and the skill that goes into hitting a target. I goops me out. Gives me the ick.

    Maybe that's because I'm a pacifist, though.

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