I'm not sure selling a weapon you make is a problem. Unless the weapon leaves the state you live in. There are more than one groups of people who have thought of manufacturing weapons in Texas. There are some thinking of making 100 watt incandescent light bulbs. There is no problem till the articles cross the start line and come under Federal jurisdiction.
My thought was to use the printer to make prototypes for casting molds
I think this article is a bit hysterical.
"Move along. Move along. There is nothing here to see. Move along.
Wow... now someone feels sorry for me and my peers... I don't get it, but OK. The assumption that we "right-wing" types don't engage in broader discussion is just as inane as the assumption that the original article is worth the space it occupied on the cloud. Y'see... my friends and I are not about to lose one breath of sleep over the things that make the spineless jellyfish among the unarmed or otherwise defenseless populace squirm. Quite the opposite. As thinking men and women, as educated men and women, and as realistic men and women we routinely revel in the freedoms we claim as Americans and laud the creative application of all kinds of technology to the enjoyment and benefit of all. This is what engineering and design is all about. And, as the needle deflects from professional-level creativity to trade-level hands-on application, it is pure rubbish to ask that fine folks within our government protect us from ourselves. Quite honestly we are more than capable of doing so without much assistance, especially if we are not stripped of the freedom that allows us to do so. Attitude? Yes, absolutely. I am proud to be an American, proud to be as self-sufficient as I can be, and proud to live with little or no fear. How can one possibly live in this great land of ours without some "attitude"? But it's a good and wholesome attitude. I refuse to become part of the hysterical set that demands that EVERYONE stripped down to a cell phone and a home alarm system as self-defense mechanisms. Too slow, too ineffective, and too late. And, quite frankly... the attitude embodied in the original article is far more bothersome to freedom-loving Americans than ANY of its opposition so well-expressed by those who took the time to express their valuable counter-arguments. Enjoy?? indeed. Bring it. I LOVE a good debate.
Thanks for the article, it's a fun diversion to read the comments on these "red meat" subjects.
I would be interested in seeing the cost comparison between additive methods vs. other manufacture methods for the firearms industry. It would also be interesting to see how close state of the art 3D printing is to being a viable part of the industry and how close it is to being able to produce the stressed parts. Metal deposition is already being used in aerospace structural elements for fighter jets; but that customer base has deep pockets.
Everything, including new technologies, has unintended consequences. In light of our violent culture, it seems that discussing the ease of weapon manufacture is relevant just as is software development with regards to identity theft and that 2D printing technology you mentioned for counterfeiting. We can handle these seemingly peripheral topics as they are a consequence of the underlying technology.
I'm rather dismayed to see the wrong fear-mongering question again being asked in one of our trade magazines. If we're going to write about 3D-printed guns, the question should be how to make new and innovative guns, not whether or not someone could make one for evil purposes. We can read about a new drug in terms of its benefits, without any mention of how someone could use it for criminal purposes. We can read about a new rocket motor without any mention of someone using it for a ballistic missile. We can read about a new metal alloy without worring that someone is going to use it to make a deadlier knife. And we can certainly read about all kinds of software innovations without any discussion of how someone could use them for criminal purposes. For that matter, people could (and sometimes do) use plain old 2D printers to commit fraud and forgery.
So how about Design News sending a reporter to a legitimate firearms company and interviewing the engineers there about how they are using 3D printers? I can think of two main applications. One is to produce non-firing prototypes to check fit and finish and fine-tune ease of assembly. The other is to produce PARTS for weapons in production. The AR15 platform seems to be the most popular for home builders.
Most of the receivier of any gun, but particularly an AR15, is subject to fairly low stress, and yet it has a complicated shape. In any gun, the chamber, the bolt, and the bolt lugs are the high-stress parts. Most of the rest is just a jig to hold the trigger assembly, stock, and magazine in position. A reasonable approach would be to machine or forge a piece of metal, of fairly simple shape, to carry the ~50,000 psi stresses of firing, while using 3D printed high-strength plastic to hold that and the other low-stress parts together.
An article focusing on how to optimally combine 3D printing with traditional metal manufacturing processes would also be far more useful to us real engineers than another round of hand-wringing about "what if criminals print guns?"
Wow, now that's a lot of attitude! I do feel sorry for those 250 engineers you know though. You could have ignored this of course, but no, you couldn't. You had to throw your 2 cents in to let everyone know just how right-wing you are, never to miss just such an opportunity. Besides, this is an issue for engineers to discuss just as was the nuclear bomb for physicists. Enjoy!
A company in South Africa is aready looking at 3D printing for Military hardware. They are working out the details of using laser sinturing to build parts for a military drone aircraft.
While we spend all our energy worrying about how a civilian might use this technology to create a low production weapon, what about any governments ability to mass produce weapons and use them on the civilians?
Engineers and scientists have produced many things over the years with no thought as to how they could be misused, of maybe without imagining how they could be misused only to have various governments gladly pay for a way to weaponize them. Aircraft - much of the early development was funded by governements to use as weapons. But we still use them for peaceful putposes every day. Nobel - explosives used in mining only to be weaponized by governments going to war.
And lets look at the things that truly create dangers for peopel. Guns are not the first thing on the list, but they are the first thing that many would do something about. What about the dangers brought about by alchohol? or Drugs? or Baseball bats? Or are we just more comfortable with those things and better conditioned to not see the misuse of other common objects?
Lets apply some of that engineers logic and analysis and be a bit less knee-jerk and more level headed in our approach.
The 3D printing revolution seems to have a knack for quickly moving technology ahead by way of collaborative effort and even a little friendly competition -- all of course in the name of scientific advancement.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is