3-D Printed Gun Only Lasts 6 Shots


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Tech Ninja
December 3, 2012, 09:49 PM
For those of you who are following 3-D printed firearms:

Wired Article (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/12/weaponeers/)

"A group of 3-D printing gunsmiths have taken another step toward making a gun you can download off the internet. This weekend, the desktop weaponeers took a partially printed rifle out to test how long its plastic parts survived spewing bullets. The result? Six rounds until it snapped apart."

I think I will print myself a Winchester 1873. Someday!

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JBrady555
December 3, 2012, 10:17 PM
I think its neat. I bet it would work better on a 22lr platform

hardheart
December 3, 2012, 10:21 PM
Why are they doing it in plastic instead of selective laser sintering?

primalmu
December 3, 2012, 10:23 PM
I doubt SLS 3D printers are available for hobbyists.

Grmlin
December 3, 2012, 10:25 PM
The show CSI has already done a story with a printed gun.

M-Cameron
December 3, 2012, 10:29 PM
I doubt SLS 3D printers are available for hobbyists.


yeah, SLS printers arent available to much of anyone.......really only multi-million dollar manufacturing companies and high end research facilities are the only ones with enough $$$ to afford one.

of all the printer technologies currently available, plastic extrusion is really the only one with any chance of creating a usable prototype that doesnt cost more than a pair of the popes shoes.

MachIVshooter
December 3, 2012, 11:14 PM
It suffered the same common failure as other polymer lowers, it just did it much sooner. No doubt because it was low grade plastic rather than glass reinforced zytel or nylon 6. And this was a 5.7x28mm, not a 5.56mm, so one can imagine that a single round of 5.56 may have destroyed it.

Still, pretty neat, and I agree with Jbrady that it probably would have worked with rimfire.

As for the fears of "undetectable printed plastic guns", well, that's just ridiculous. Guns need metal parts, period. Polymers have come a long way, but there are things that just can't be done. I suppose it would be possible to make a 100% polymer throw-away liberator type pistol that was good for one or two shots of low powered, low pressure ammunition. But somehow I just don't see the criminal element clamoring to buy very expensive printers so they can produce barely useable weapons. They can make those kind with a few dollars worth of pieces and parts from the hardware store.

Trent
December 3, 2012, 11:27 PM
Undetectable plastic guns.. what about those fancy graphite or carbon barrels? Are they still sleeved?

MachIVshooter
December 3, 2012, 11:43 PM
what about those fancy graphite or carbon barrels? Are they still sleeved?

Yes.

The carbon fiber and graphite add rigidity to a slender barrel tube with very little weight, so you can have a lightweight barrel that shoots like a bull barrel. But those materials cannot directly withstand the forces at work when a bullet is fired. You'll also notice those are most common with rimfires, which don't exert anywhere near the pressure or friction of centerfire rifle rounds.

For example:

Volquartsen Match Barrel Ruger 10/22 22 Long Rifle THM Tension .920" Diameter 1 in 16" Twist 16-1/2" Aluminum Sleeve Black

This barrel features a match grade chamber and hand lapped bore, which makes it very easy to clean and care for. Barrel will vary no more than +/-.0001" from breech to muzzle. Each barrel is digitally measured to ensure exact tolerances. Barrel is .920" in diameter and is drilled and tapped to accept Volquartsen's Barrel Mount Scope Base. This THM (Tensioned Honed Match) barrel has a .473" steel core tensioned between centers with an outer sleeve. Tension is set at the factory. Removing or tampering with end caps voids warranty.

Firing pins, bolts and barrels need to be steel (or another hard, high tensile strength alloy). There's just really no way around it.
Other materials may have the yield but not the hardness, or be very hard but too brittle.

SharpsDressedMan
December 3, 2012, 11:55 PM
If you sit on one, will it reproduce you butt? :D

hardheart
December 4, 2012, 12:03 AM
I doubt SLS 3D printers are available for hobbyists.
Guess I'm a little lost as to the goal. There are easy ways to make a 'thing' that will fire rounds without the need of a 3D printer. I thought maybe they were investigating a viable means of producing firearms with newer technology. Something about applying for a manufacturer license and creating a non-profit just seems to me like they ought to be trying to do something viable and not make disposable and almost assuredly banned-in-a-fit-of-media-outrage items.

SSN Vet
December 4, 2012, 12:16 AM
There are several open source, plastic deposition 3d printer plans on line, with forums of hobby users eager to share their knowledge. Cost to build a Rep Rap is about $500.... And I'm dying to make one!

hso
December 4, 2012, 01:25 AM
The show CSI has already done a story with a printed gun.


The fact that a TV drama has depicted something as part of the plot of a piece of fiction has little bearing on the reality of the state of technology.

LordDunsany
December 4, 2012, 05:54 PM
It will last long enough for you to acquire something better...

Think along the lines of the Liberator pistol of WWII.

Ron in Texas

M-Cameron
December 4, 2012, 06:00 PM
There are several open source, plastic deposition 3d printer plans on line, with forums of hobby users eager to share their knowledge. Cost to build a Rep Rap is about $500.... And I'm dying to make one!

exactly why we need not worry about the felons printing masses of guns...

if you are a felon/ gang member/ ect. are you really going to take the time to build, learn to use, calibrate, print and assemble 1 crappy unfinished firearm.

or are you going to take that $500 and buy half a dozen well made stolen firearms from your favorite illicit arms dealer.......

mgmorden
December 4, 2012, 06:01 PM
Guess I'm a little lost as to the goal. There are easy ways to make a 'thing' that will fire rounds without the need of a 3D printer. I thought maybe they were investigating a viable means of producing firearms with newer technology. Something about applying for a manufacturer license and creating a non-profit just seems to me like they ought to be trying to do something viable and not make disposable and almost assuredly banned-in-a-fit-of-media-outrage items.

Things generally improve over time. A lot of people do things with tech just for fun. They made a working firearm from a 3D-printing process that lasted for 6 rounds. That's a nice proof of concept. Now they are open to try new materials, new receiver designs (other than the AR15), new rounds, etc.

Wouldn't it be neat if we could download a publicly traded "gun file" that we could print on our own 3d printer and print out most of the parts for a viable homemade gun for next to nothing? Well without hobbyists playing around at this stage, that will never happen.

MagnumDweeb
December 4, 2012, 06:07 PM
Well as far as innovation goes. My hat is off to them. Good to see there are some attempts at innovation occuring. What will this mean for average consumers and hobbyists. Now not a whole bunch. But if you ever get to googling CNC and hobbyists bits regarding guns and fabricating them. You can see where there is a will, there is a way.

MagnumDweeb
December 4, 2012, 06:28 PM
Heck my imagination got the better of me and this is a fun way to decompress after work.

http://www.reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page

Now go get yourself a mill, a CNC setup, carbide cutting bits, and fashion yourself something. At least that's the hope.

I wonder what would qualify as low-pressure for these 3D guns. A complete plastic gun seems insane. A metal barrel would be necessary with a fully supported chamber.

I'd attempt duplicating a Ruger MKIII with some obvious and critical differences (avoid a patent suit or some nonsense). If it holds up then maybe a departure into cowboy calibers. A semi-auto 3d/CNC gun that shoots .32 LC would be interesting if a bit completely pointless.

It's about innovation afterall. The beginning will be a bunch of pointless things till it leads to some great beneficial things.

bigfatdave
December 5, 2012, 12:44 AM
6 rounds in the first prototype is what you call an "interesting failure"

Lots of room for improvement, at some point the concept of "gun control" will be laughable, because anyone will be able to whomp up a simple gun on short notice.

230RN
December 5, 2012, 07:21 AM
"A metal barrel would be necessary with a fully supported chamber."

Has anyone done any research on using ceramics --both for the barrel and the rest of it?

Seems to me it might be possible to make a ceramic barrel with strong cords wrapped around inside it for "pressure-strength." You could form this on a negatively-rifled mandrel, like a hammer-forged barrel, except without the hammering. I'm sure they're doing nifty stuff with other ceramics besides your regular pottery-type coffee-cup clay.

I mean, like, even silicon carbide is a ceramic, too, right?

Just noodling it around in my head.

MachIVshooter
December 5, 2012, 12:04 PM
Has anyone done any research on using ceramics --both for the barrel and the rest of it?

In theory it'd be possible, but in practice, I don't think one could ever get it reinforced enough to avoid fracture and still have a man portable gun.

That said, what the future holds is truly anyone's guess.

If you told someone 100 years ago about many of the technologies we take for granted today, I'm sure most would have said such things weren't possible.

Trent
December 5, 2012, 12:23 PM
What about making the barrel out of phosphor bronze? Non-ferrous, very strong.

Bronze worked fine during the Civil War. :)

jim243
December 5, 2012, 12:54 PM
What is scarry is that it worked at all, even for 6 rounds. It would be interesting to know how much of the gun was printed and how much was AR parts.

I don't see the BCG or barrel being made on a printer, but anything is possible.

The BATF must be having fits about this. I wonder if they had a FFL to manufacture.

Jim

Trent
December 5, 2012, 12:56 PM
Don't need an FFL to manufacture a title 1 firearm for personal use.

mgmorden
December 5, 2012, 01:01 PM
Don't need an FFL to manufacture a title 1 firearm for personal use.

Yep. One thing I think we might see arise out of this would be to simply see a cartridge developed that can operate within the limits of the tech.

Say a .22 caliber cartridge that's centerfire, rimless, and reloadable, but still operates down near the pressure-level of a .22LR.

If a particular design got popular enough I don't see why some company might not spring up to supply the more difficult parts while you make the rest at home. IE, you buy a "kit" which consists of the barrel, firing pin, and a few other parts, and then the rest of the thing you just 3d-print.

Neo-Luddite
December 5, 2012, 01:01 PM
And here comes the future....give it time and away we go.

gkainz
December 5, 2012, 01:34 PM
I worked at Coors Ceramics quite a few years ago - they were making a lot of ceramic based products that were strong enough ... like armor seat pans for helicopters, exhaust manifolds, etc

edit - oops, apparently "quote" failed ... this was in response to a post a page back where someone pondered "how about ceramics"?

MachIVshooter
December 5, 2012, 01:52 PM
What about making the barrel out of phosphor bronze? Non-ferrous, very strong.

Bronze worked fine during the Civil War.

But what would be the benefit? It'd be heavier than carbon steel or stainless, softer, weaker and still not pass through metal detectors.

Bronze and brass were common in those days because they're easier to work with using low tech equipment. If they were superior alloys, they wouldn't have been supplanted by steels, aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, scandium alloys, etc.

It would be interesting to know how much of the gun was printed and how much was AR parts.

They only printed the bare lower receiver. Everything else was off the shelf parts (AR-57, not a standard 5.56mm AR)

Trent
December 5, 2012, 02:11 PM
But what would be the benefit? It'd be heavier than carbon steel or stainless, softer, weaker and still not pass through metal detectors.

Bronze and brass were common in those days because they're easier to work with using low tech equipment. If they were superior alloys, they wouldn't have been supplanted by steels, aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, scandium alloys, etc.


Yeah, modern metal detectors are pretty good at finding non-ferrous metals; what is it, about 1.5-2x the size of ferrous metals for detection? A gun barrel in any size is certainly going to be large enough.

Still wondering where anti's came up with the whole "invisible gun" thing. :)

mgmorden
December 5, 2012, 02:20 PM
Still wondering where anti's came up with the whole "invisible gun" thing.

I think a lot of them got it from Die Hard:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecwK3UMxoxQ

Seriously though I was born in 81 and I remember being a really young kid (like 5 or so - which puts the time frame right) heating concerns on the local news about plastic guns and them going through metal detectors. Mostly just uninformed people jumping to conclusions and thinking a "polymer" gun means the whole thing is made of that.

I will admit though that though I have those memories of concerns when I was a kid, I haven't heard any serious worries regarding plastic guns and metal detectors in a long time. I think the public (even the antis) know its a myth by now.

fatcat4620
December 5, 2012, 02:23 PM
Could you print a Glock 7 with one?

Trent
December 5, 2012, 02:25 PM
Yeah the stuff that's more dangerous is seemingly innocuous items that are sent through the x-ray, scanned, and cleared. Like that North Korean flashlight-gun that was in the news recently.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/poison-pen-flashlight-gun-north-korean-assassin_n_2191255.html

No need to get something through the metal detector if it passes an x-ray and manual examination.

SSN Vet
December 5, 2012, 03:35 PM
3D printing is the modern way to prototype new designs, once you've solid modeled all the parts and assembly. You can check for interference, calculated dynamic forces, center of mass, etc... but if you want to know how it feels in your hand.... or pass it around to test with different sized hands... you still need a physical prototype.

Also, the plastic printed part is often used to make one offs with investment casting.

Now metal sintering 3D printers can make accurate metal samples.... but these machines are REALLY expensive.

The AR lower was designed with Aluminum in mind... so printing it in ABS plastic without modifying the geometry was kind of pointless.

Still... lot's of interesting things to be learned from the trial. I'm wondering if they were able to assemble the AR components without chasing the printe threads with at tap.

MachIVshooter
December 6, 2012, 03:03 AM
what is it, about 1.5-2x the size of ferrous metals for detection?

Depends on the detector and it's sensitivity setting, but it seems that most will pick up anything larger than the button on you blue jeans.

The courthouse in the neighboring county ditched their metal detectors; They now have a full body scanner, and make you completely empty all pockets. You're not getting anything in there, polymer or otherwise.

bigfatdave
December 6, 2012, 06:12 AM
They now have a full body scanner, and make you completely empty all pockets. You're not getting anything in there, polymer or otherwise.


yeah, sure
those scanners are more easily defeated than a metal detector, the security theater at your local courthouse is just to make the sheep feel better

230RN
December 6, 2012, 06:36 AM
gkainz said,

I worked at Coors Ceramics quite a few years ago - they were making a lot of ceramic based products that were strong enough ... like armor seat pans for helicopters, exhaust manifolds, etc

edit - oops, apparently "quote" failed ... this was in response to a post a page back where someone pondered "how about ceramics"?

That was me. One of the "ticklers" in my head (besides silicon carbide) about ceramics was the trauma plates on regular body armor. Seems like that's pretty strong stuff.

Oh, well, it was just a thought.

After all, look at what happened with magnets. Nowadays we have neodynium "super magnets" that you can't hardly pull apart. And if you do, they can do you injury if you get a piece of yourself between them when they clap together again.

Terry, 230RN

MachIVshooter
December 6, 2012, 09:12 PM
yeah, sure
those scanners are more easily defeated than a metal detector, the security theater at your local courthouse is just to make the sheep feel better

How do you figure? This thing picked up the little wrinkled piece of foil paper from a pack of cigarettes that was still in my shirt pocket (not the pack, just the paper)

bigfatdave
December 6, 2012, 11:52 PM
someone really intending to do harm will use a deeper pocket

Warp
December 7, 2012, 12:22 AM
The fact that a TV drama has depicted something as part of the plot of a piece of fiction has little bearing on the reality of the state of technology.

I would even suggest that that indicates it is NOT reality

russ69
December 7, 2012, 01:15 AM
I worked in rapid prototyping for a major aerospace company. There are many ways to make parts using polymers and powdered materials using some kind of rapid prototyping process. It's not a big deal. What the story is missing, is facts. From what I could see they made a polymer AR15 lower using a desktop prototyping system. The rest of the gun was normal AR15 parts made out of the normal materials. The design was unsuccessful because the material used was not suitable for the design they used.
The machines are great tool for their intended purpose but if you are making firearms at home, it's much easier to buy the parts you need because reinforced polymer receivers are already on the market. When I left the field, reinforced (discontinuous fibers) polymers were not suitable to most rapid prototyping processes.

MachIVshooter
December 7, 2012, 05:31 AM
someone really intending to do harm will use a deeper pocket

Yeah.....I don't think I want to be the guy to find out the hard way just how good those scanners really are.

bigfatdave
December 7, 2012, 06:10 AM
Something of a side-track, but the scanners are worthless.
Here's one example with links to more:
http://tsanewsblog.com/1901/news/passenger-slips-metal-by-tsa-scanners-repeatedly/

And they don't scan internally, so the deeper pocket is always available. Remember, someone planning a rampage in the courthouse is less afraid of testing the scanners than you are, violent criminals have a different priority set than you and I do.

It would be trivial to "package" (ewwwww) a small derringer or NAA mini, then use it "FP45 Liberator style" to pick up better weaponry from the staff.
Mass murderers don't care about the risks of being caught any more than they care about making it out alive, generally.

===

Regarding printing the important components of a weapon, obviously it would work better if the design played to the strengths of the material, rather than copying the shape of an aluminum part.
I can envision a laminated receiver made of thin layers printed out, then slathered with resin, add a hinge and some extremely basic fire-control parts and you have a shotgun. Work out how to get a bolt and recoil springs into the design and I bet you could make an ugly submachinegun in a low-pressure round easily.


15 years ago, I couldn't use my phone to look up schematics or pictures for reference while I was out and about and had technical difficulty. Now I can do that easily, if I have good data service I can generally dig up a how-to video.
The same might prove true of rapid prototyping machinery or other 3D printer tech. I know a guy who made his own CNC machine to whip up foam model plane kits, an alarmist would call it a "clandestine drone plane factory" if they wanted to sell ad space. I think that some of the articles about the printed weapons are similarly alarmist.

But ... Printing up firearms components means that there is no "manufacturing facility" to make sure the barrels are all rifled and the serial numbers are all different.
After all, if the Polish could make a working submachinegun during the WW2 occupation by Nazi forces, I doubt the BATFE could regulate off-hours printing of critical components by guys on nightshift at work.
http://www.forgottenweapons.com/submachine-guns/polish-blyskawica-smg/
(Read that article, really. Weapons manufacturing has been impossible to really control for a long time, adding 3D printing just makes it a bit harder to regulate and might allow for faster production of the harder parts)

Trent
December 7, 2012, 04:49 PM
Arguably the harder parts to fabricate are fire control groups. Plenty of examples of guns with plastic components for that; FS2000, PS90, Steyr Aug, etc. The only metal parts in the fire control group of a PS90 or FS2000 are springs and pins.

Take the FS2000, the ENTIRE receiver is plastic. Hammer, disconnector, sears (both of them) are plastic.

Which leaves the "unprintables" list - bolt assembly, guide rods, barrel, and optics rail. The "flat rectangular" bolt would be pretty simple to make on even a non-CNC milling machine with no great skill required. The guide rods are just steel rods and springs, optic rail can be purchased commercially for cheap. Magazines are standard STANAG, easy to procure.

Which leaves... a barrel. Those are a bit tough to make at home. :)

While an AR-15 lower receiver printed of plastic broke after a few shots; I bet an FS2000 or PS90 receiver would last a very long time indeed. Those were designed around the material of plastic, while the AR15 was designed around the material of aluminum.

So, maybe the 3D printers are barking up the wrong tree. Choose a suitable candidate and I bet you could print out a receiver for a modern FNH rifle in no time. (Of course, injection molding them would be easier and allow a much larger scale.)

Yeah. Print an FS2000, including fire control group. Forget the AR-15 crap, too many modifications would be required to make that design "robust" enough with plastic.


Easier to see the metal parts here;

http://www.gunslot.com/files/gunslot/images/75147.jpg

(Source: http://www.gunslot.com/pictures/fn-fs2000-xray-image)

tyeo098
December 7, 2012, 05:45 PM
This guy made an AK from a SHOVEL.

A SHOVEL.

SHOVEL.

http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/threads/179192-DIY-Shovel-AK-photo-tsunami-warning

I see no difference here. Make the receiver, order the parts. Like men have been doing for thousands of years. The only difference is how the receiver is made.

BLACKHAWKNJ
December 7, 2012, 06:27 PM
How about something on a par with the Liberator Pistol?

MachIVshooter
December 7, 2012, 07:34 PM
Weapons manufacturing has been impossible to really control for a long time

Yup. Which is why strict gun gontrol has always failed. One can assemble a crude but functional cartridge firing gun in a few minutes after a trip to the hardware store. It's also not that difficult (though time consuming) to completely manufacture ammunition.

I suspect that is one of the reasons ATF doesn't try to regulate home made weapons that are muzzle loading or title I, and for personal use.

I have built many single and double barreled muzzle loading and cartridge firing handguns. The muzzle loading guns I have built completely from scratch, the cartridge guns I used existing barrels because I do not have the equipment to rifle a barrel, and it's not legal to manufacture a smoothbore cartridge firing handgun without form 1 approval & tax.

RedAlert
December 7, 2012, 08:09 PM
Two things. Ceramics are wonderful in compression loads and not so good at tensile loads.
A firing chamber would experience all tensile loads as the force would be pushing outwards.

Quote: "If you sit on one, will it reproduce you butt? " I'm sure it would but why would anyone want to reproduce something so butt ugly?

230RN
December 7, 2012, 09:26 PM
Post deleted by poster

Wes B
December 7, 2012, 09:44 PM
Why is it being billed a 3-D printed gun. It was just a printed lower :banghead:

I'll be impressed when someone prints a receiver, bolt, action, ...

Blackstone
December 7, 2012, 09:49 PM
Isn't the lower the part that's defined as the gun though?

Trent
December 7, 2012, 10:14 PM
Isn't the lower the part that's defined as the gun though?

Yeah, which is what has all the anti's panties in a twist.

If you build your own lower you skip the 4473 / background check.

The rest of your stuff can be ordered shipped right to your door.

They're worried about felons building "untraceable" guns. Which, granted, is possible, with or without 3D printing. However, this problem cannot go away, ever, for reasons mentioned above (AK "shovel", homemade guns, etc.)

It is a fact of human nature that mankind will build weapons. Period.

It's always been that way, and it's always GOING to be that way.

MachIVshooter
December 8, 2012, 12:12 AM
I'll be impressed when someone prints a receiver, bolt, action,

That's easily done.............If you can afford the CAD CNC equipment.

This is a video of "printing" an engine block (119 hour process, $800K machine):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsmiIeAkE-o

Wes B
December 8, 2012, 02:00 AM
I understand that, but the whole thing is as impressive as someone making their own stock for a bolt action and doing a trigger swap.

So, again, I will think this is impressive if someone prints a plastic upper that holds together.

And yes, I get that the lower is the part defined as the gun. However, I have never really understood that part. It's just a trigger assembly, magazine well, grip, and stock.

Doesn't the bolt carrier group fit into the upper receiver? That's the bit that makes the gun go bang.

So, requiring the lower to go through an FFL is, in my mind, the equivalent of requiring a Timney or Jewel to go through an FFL and/or a replacement stock for a bolt action to go through an FFL.

Anyways, I still thing this is just drama for the sake of having drama. It was the stock that broke, same thing would have happened if they printed a plastic stock for bolt action rifle. Ok, maybe not a .22 but for dang sure if they did it for a 45/70.

W L Johnson
December 8, 2012, 07:25 PM
3-D Printed Gun Only Lasts 6 Shots

And the Wright Flyer 1 only flew for 12sec and 120ft on it's first flight. Did they give up because it didn't cross the Atlantic?

Got to start somewhere.

Trent
December 8, 2012, 08:33 PM
I still say they're barking up the wrong tree with the AR-15.

The original system was designed around aluminum. Building the same exact design to the same dimensional specifications out of plastic will have predictable results. Change the specifications and you have a new design; "not quite" an AR-15, isn't.

Now, build something up around something which was originally designed around polymer, and you'll have something.

There are quite a few firearms build around polymer. FS2000, PS90, Steyr Aug, etc.

Glocks and other polymer framed pistols would be an interesting experiment but they have substantial metal reinforcement at key parts of the frame (to keep the slide from violently flying off towards your nose...). To do those properly you need a pretty sophisticated mold to hold precisely crafted steel reinforcements at precise points (introducing intersting flow issues in the mold, I'm sure). On top of that.. you some REALLY high strength polymer, not cheap plastic. :)

So the relevant question is, what's the strongest polymer material that you can buy, and print with?

And is there an existing design which will work at those strengths? If not, what reinforcements or alterations are necessary on the stress points to MAKE the design work?

bigfatdave
December 9, 2012, 02:02 AM
I still say they're barking up the wrong tree with the AR-15.Probably

There are quite a few firearms build around polymer. FS2000, PS90, Steyr Aug, etcmakes sense to me

Glocks and other polymer framed pistols would be an interesting experiment but they have substantial metal reinforcement at key parts of the frame
So why not start the design from scratch, focusing on making it work with available plastic and common washers/pins anyone could get from the hardware store?
I'll note that washers or other metallic reinforcement could be easily added to a laminated design.

mljdeckard
December 9, 2012, 02:07 AM
.....it's a start. :)

we are not amused
December 9, 2012, 11:56 AM
Personally, since I believe every one should control a weapon, I find the concept of "printing" a gun to be fascinating and exciting advance!

A couple of people have brought up the WWII "Liberator" as an example, and I agree! Anything that make Totalitarians nervous makes me happy.

The concept of 3-D printing is very new, and was considered science fiction just a few years ago. While most 3D printers only work with plastic, some are now capable of working with metal as previously noted. Some are even affordable for the home hobbyist.

While no 3D printer is currently capable of completely making a gun from scratch, the technology is still in it's infancy, and advancing fast.

As far as "illegal" guns being made, I would worry far more about the home hobbyist with a metal lathe and metal shaper than some one with a plastic 3D printer.

As far as the hysteria over "plastic guns" being x-ray invisible? I merely point out that has been a staple of the anti-gun whackos for a long time.

gym
December 9, 2012, 12:11 PM
The key to it in my opinion is to find a better sustance to use in the printer. Someone will come up with a more durable material that can be used to copy the parts with.
Once that happens then you may have a real gun.
But still these could get through metal detectors and be usable, even if only for a short time. A group of 3 or 4 men would have 15 or 20 ronds to fire, in a secured location, if they could get the ammo in. perhaps a courthouse, or airport?
I am sure whatever they are using can be improved upon.

Prince Yamato
December 9, 2012, 05:09 PM
That's pretty darn impressive. The application potential for this is immense. Personally, I could see this being more feasible for handguns. Imagine having the ability to print handgun parts in your home. XYZ part needs replacing? Load the file and print it. Voila! Replacement part.

Once the printing material is strengthened, I could see a future application whereby manufacturers would sell you a part file online for a couple of dollars, you download it, and print it once. Kind of like how you can purchase sheet music online.

barnbwt
December 9, 2012, 10:02 PM
I wonder how long it will be before the BATFE shuts down this Tech Shop place:

http://www.techshop.ws/

A publicly available shop with everything you need to make anything. Sounds too laissez faire for our Govt to trust us with it (these days).

Personally, since I believe every one should control a weapon, I find the concept of "printing" a gun to be fascinating and exciting advance!

"What gunpowder did for war the printing press has done for the mind."
--Wendell Phillips

The internet has greatly democratized the First Amendment; I believe RP has the opportunity to do the same for the Second. Cost of a ready-to-go Makerbot setup is down to <2000$. Unassembled/used kits go for ~500$ on Ebay

TCB

Trent
December 11, 2012, 10:10 AM
Interesting, I didn't know a cottage industry like that even existed.

A lot of the equipment needed to mass produce anything of substance and durability is well outside of the means of a normal individual (heat treating, laser cut steel tables, etc.) The 3d water-cutter CNC mill that my uncle uses at the Coast Guard base in N.C. is a good example. The thing can fabricate all SORTS of neat stuff (like parts for his aging Dodge truck engine :) ), but the cost of it is well beyond the means of mere mortals.

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