CAD/CAM Corner
3D-Printed Weapons & the Consequences

Have Blue's 3D-printed converted AR-15. (Source: Defense Distributed)
Have Blue's 3D-printed converted AR-15.
(Source: Defense Distributed)

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Unintended consequences...
Constitution_man   12/13/2012 10:55:14 AM
Yes, culture underpins freedom, and government is the product of culture. The bottom line here is this... I have no opposition to debate if the original premise is legit.  However, in this case, the article begins with the completely false assumption that the 3D printing of a weapon is a noteworthy development.  I would easily argue that in fact it is not.  People have developed hundreds if not thousands of methods to hurt [or terminate] each other since time began.  It's a product of the culture.  As such, the only common denominator to all those methods is the human being. So, in summary, I will not accept even a suggestion or hint that the wrong item be termed causal and then summarily demonized, limited, restricted, or regulated on the false premise that it'll somehow make us all "safer".  THAT, my friend, would be an unintended consequence of a paranoid and squeamish culture.  And, for the record, there wasn't any "belly-ache" in my previous post.  Nothing but love and enthusiasm, buddy.  Have a nice day.

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That's your opinion.
jeffbiss   12/13/2012 12:22:25 PM
Alright, so you don't think that it's note worthy. That's your opinion and I don't see anything in the article that supports your assumption as there are references to other articles on the subject. The article is a good overview discussion of the legality of use of 3D printing to manufacture a gun - it points out accurately the legal issue of producing a gun without metal.

I think that your opinion is clouded by your ideology and that inhibits your ability to engage in a discussion as there is nothing in the article that demonizes 3D printing nor even guns - saying that guns are deadly or that a catastrophic event could kill is merely stating fact. That you see demonization implies that you are more concerned with projecting your will than anything else.

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Re: Much ado about something
NiteOwl_OvO   12/13/2012 3:48:27 PM

The frame, grips and magazine shell can be made of plastic. I few other low-stress parts could be as well. However, the parts of the gun that make it a firearm can't be made of plastic. At least not the plastics we have today. We're not talking about metal inserts, either. The chamber, barrel, hammer and firing pin, plus various pins and springs must be made of metal.

Real weapons manufacturers might consider 3D printing for initial prototyping, but I doubt they would concider them for manufacturing. It's far cheaper and faster to cast plastic parts than print them.


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3-D printing and fabrication - Open Source
rhoefelmeyer   12/15/2012 6:14:55 AM
This is the beginning of the end of government control of everything. As we move down the chain of size, we will be able to print or fabricate anything, regardless of government, public or other opinion.

It's this thing we call freedom.

Just avoid the thrashing tail of the government dinosaur. You know the reason politicians hate the idea of uncontrolled weapons is that they will be the primary targets. We have a near infinite supply of politicians, so we may eventually get some honest ones.

The best solutions will be open source.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: 3-D printing and fabrication - Open Source
Cabe Atwell   12/17/2012 3:44:27 PM
Arguments aside, will 3D printing change the manufacturing world? In particular, the weapons makers of the world?

This person's experiment shows that the materials needed to make the gun work is not what is readily available. Is glass filled plastic for printers is an option? Even if the gun's critical areas are metal inserts, the surrounding plastic would warp easily.

I think 3D printing may still stay in the prototype/concept/model area for some time to come.


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Re: much ado about nothing
mrdon   12/17/2012 6:11:12 PM
redandgearhead, I agree. Guns aren't the problem but irresponsible people who used them. The 26 deaths that just occured in Newpoint, CT is a good example of how irresponsible and unstable people are. Giving them access to print guns make these concern not hysterical, but a dangerous REALITY. Like all things created for the benefit of society, those who are unstable will find a dark side application for them. Its unfortunate that a good machine like a 3D printer can now be used to make weapons instead of a child's toy. Speaking of a child's toy, my prayers go out to all the parents, family, and friends that have lost their children, and co-workers in such a senseless act of destruction.

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Re: much ado about nothing
GTOlover   3/15/2013 9:51:08 AM
So you agree that it is the person and not the object that is irresponsible, so why is it "unfortunate" that a 3-D printer can print said object? If I have a 3-D printer capable of providing me a competive product (that is protected from government infringement as clearly stated in the 2nd amendment), why is it not economically good for me? Can I not use my resources to provide for myself?

And by the way, I do not believe 3-D printers are used to make child's toys (except maybe in prototype engineering for toy companies). This same type of technology is being used to prototype and produce military hardware!

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Good Article
bronorb   3/15/2013 11:34:05 AM
Good article, Cabe and good discussion. I think it is very important that we are all aware of the progression of this technology into the arena of gun manufacturing. A lot of the discussion is around the fact that an actual firing gun cannot be created with a 3D printer,... yet. As the technology moves ahead, it surely will be possible.

As an instructor in a college where we use 3D printers every day, I have to be aware that students may be downloading files from the internet and building inherently dangerous objects such as these. I really can't think of a student of mine that would use this technology to harm others, but how do I really know for sure. The Sandy Hook killer was just a guy with some mental issues before that tragic day.

The 3D Printed cat is out of the bag. This article increases our knowledge-base on the capabilities. Be aware, people.

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Re: Good Article
GTOlover   3/15/2013 2:06:08 PM
Are suggesting beware of the printed object or the people with mental issues? Because I would not fear an object and would not object to students utilizing their intelligence for exploring their interests (or 2nd amendment rights).

Somehow the "cat is out of the bag" tripe is emotionalizing something that is just a technology no different that machining the same components. These are the facts and trying to place an emotional connotation to a legal engineering venture is political haymaking!

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Re: Good Article
bronorb   3/15/2013 2:30:13 PM

Take a chill-pill pal. I merely suggested that the article has some legitimate points about the fact that dangerous items may be produced with 3D printing and I feel that it is important that we keep up on that. As an instructor, I have to guide my students and make sure that they do not do anything inappropriate. For example, our students can get in big trouble for surfing porn on school computers. Using our 3D printers for creating potentially lethal items is another thing I will have to watch out for. They can "utilize their intelligence" in a less destructive direction.

I would also suggest that you are the one getting a little "emotional" here. 

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