I noticed during the convention the Defense Distributed folks had a successful test firing of their 3D printed gun. I had expected a plastic barrel to be a 3D printed grenade, and while it sounds like the barrel won’t last long, they got their 3D printed gun to spit out something, at least. The anti-gun folks are going insane, and Schumer is already moving to try to put the cat back in the bag. Sorry Chuck, but you can’t stop the signal. It’s over. Gun control is now pointless. Without controlling information, you can no longer control guns, and controlling information has never worked out well. From that article:
The current fully plastic gun isnâ€™t a great weapon but itâ€™s the first. Any objections to it being a big deal because of how crude or clumsy it is, is kind of like looking at the Wright Brothersâ€™ Flyer and saying it doesnâ€™t matter because no one is going to want to fly 120 feet. Wait and see.
Yep. It’s not going to get better for advocates of gun control from here. Welcome to the future.
15 thoughts on “3D Printed Gun Test Fired”
I would think the “Information Technology” problem (?) with regard to guns is a very old one at this point. I have not sought out or followed such things, but I would not be surprised if there are CNC files/tapes floating around for the machining of simple blow-back SMGs like the M3 and the STEN, both of which were designed to be built in minimally equipped machine shops.
Today, when I go to machinist hobbyist shows, I see some very affordable kits for making conventional lathes and milling machines into CNC controlled machines; I suspect for a cost comparable to a 3-D printer.
I remember hearing of a small shop around these parts getting busted for building SMGs, more than 40 years ago. In those days the uncontrollable technology was simply the design drawings. The Authorities had a conceptually simple, but actually very difficult problem — enforcement. I would be surprised if literally thousands of one-off SMGs haven’t been built illegally over the years.
So, I don’t think the 3-D printer “problem” is conceptually anything new; only the fabrication technology is new. The Authorities will face pretty much the same problem they always have.
Running a CNC machine isn’t as easy as hitting a button and having product fall out. I haven’t personally used a 3D printer, but writing on the web makes it sound like it comes a lot closer to that ideal.
True, but, not intending to be argumentative, are 3-D printers likely ever to be something that we’ll own the way we own the 2-D printers on our desks? I think the concept is fascinating as all hell, but I personally cannot think of a great number of uses for one — in my life. So, they are going to be owned by specialty hobbyists and small businesses we will support by taking jobs to them to run off for us — analogous to say, the businesses that have large plotters we patronize to do large 2-D printing for us.
That of course is quite analogous to the small commercial machine shops which used to be very common, and still exist at some level. And while using those kinds of machines was typically “semi-skilled” it also was not rocket science.
I’m just sayin’ — I don’t think there is likely to be a time when the average guy will get a bug and decide seconds later to 3-D print a gun, the way I may decide in the next few minutes to print a picture of a gun, or maybe some contraband knowledge. So I think the problem for The Authorities is not going to change a great deal, in terms of enforcement. They will just keep their ears open for snitches reporting people with somewhat specialized equipment, doing naughty things with it. Just like today.
Basic “MakerBot” is $1800. Give it a few years and that will come down.
URL that looks a lot better ;)
That URL looks terrible, so if it doesn’t work google Staples Cube 3d printer.
I remember when good 2-D printers were that much, and were just a printer. Now you can pick up a nice printer/scanner combo for $100.
As more people buy them 3-D will come down too.
And the idea of “Gun Control” as a real possibility has been dead since the Smithy machine was invented.
Probably not, but I could see it becoming a common tool for handy types to keep around. They can be good for fabricating replacement parts, etc, especially if you’re dealing with things that parts can’t be readily found for.
I was just thinking how in the future,20 years from now. We would simply “print” new bowls and plates for our kids.
As the prices for the printers come down, more people will use them. The more people that use them, the more people will find uses for them. The more people with uses for them, the more people will buy 3D printers. The more people that buy 3D printers, the more companies will build 3D printers, which will bring down the prices. The more people that… :)
The current price and performance points of 3D printers are about where desktop laser printers were in about 1987-88, give or take. I wouldn’t bet against ’em getting a lot better and a lot cheaper.
There is a discussion on this going on at Samizdata. One of the commenters, llamas, seems to be very knowledgeable on the topic. No your Staples printer won’t do to make the DD gun (yet).
The cat is out of the bag, however, and isn’t going back.
For myself I think I’m more likely to get a CNC mill than a 3D printer.
Make no mistake, there will be 3D printer registration. And probably a requirement that the printer’s serial number be on anything it produces.
Just thinkin’ ahead.
When you build a 3D printer from spare parts, where’s the serial number come from?
There has been a 3D printer revolution going on for some time, and one of the more recent developments is DMLS: direct metal laser sintering. While hugely expensive, it is not going away. I’m sending out for a quote today for a piece of DMLS jewelry that my daughter designed…this is the here and now, folks. We might be years away from a durable 3D gun, but six months ago I thought we were years away from one that would fire at all.
The implications for industry are huge; creating custom durable goods at home, or in cottage industries, or in factories where there is no expensive investment in steel tooling. Right now the individual ‘piece price’ is way high…hundreds of dollars for a part that would cost a couple bucks made the conventional way. But give it time. IMO the printing technologies to keep an eye on are those that are open-source. The first companies to really commercialize the consumer-level printer are, understandably, trying to make money on the consumables. This is what is keeping piece-prices high.
You can already go online and order simple durable goods that are produced on-the-spot by 3D printers. There are concepts for wearable goods. There has been a system tested to print buildings using concrete, and work being done to print body parts from organic material. Who knows how far off the Star Trek replicator will be, but the technology is progressing way too fast to make any bets.
Oh, regarding a clamp-down or registration of 3D printers themselves: that cat is already out of the bag, too. The original Maker Bot was designed to replicate parts of itself, that was the whole idea. The only specialized parts needed are things like linear bearings. You can put one of these together using plywood, and parts from McMaster Carr.
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