I just have to say as a mechanical engineer and a firearms designer you are completely irresponsible in writing and article like this. This article will be taken by a person who knows no better that "Yes I can print a whole gun". You will potentially be responsible for someone getting hurt from try to fire a printed gun. Even though you used a metal based upper receiver assembly that contained a properly designed barrel assembly and bolt carrier assembly people who are not engineers may miss that point altogether.
By the way it is completely legal according to the B.A.T.F. for a non-prohibited persons to build their own firearms as long as that do not fall under the regulations of the National Firearms Act, which regulates automatic weapons short barreled rifles etc... or build it with intent to sell it.
The whole argument about criminals printing non-traceable guns is a bogus point as they; (1) by definition are criminals and therefore will not or would not abide by the law or laws anyway.
(2) are usually lazy and opprotunists, who will go out and steal a real firearm rather than spend the time and effort required to print and build a firearm.
Please in the future think more about the consequences of an article such as this and the unintended consequences of the interpretation of said article by a person or persons who do not have the educational background to fully understand the consequences of purposely initiating what should be a controlled explosion mere inches from ones face to expell a projectile from a barrel.
I'm appalled at the scare tactics of this terribly mis-informed article. 3D plastic printing of a gun receiver still leaves a lot of necessary metal parts- there is no such thing as a plastic gun. 3D plastic printing of gun parts is for gun geeks, not criminals, plain and simple. There is zero reason or advantage for a criminal to print a 3D receiver.
I do apologize for any confusion in my alleged rant about 3-D printing. To clarify, the group of engineers I refer to is many years into the effective utilization of 3-D printing. It is, in our case, old news, if you'll pardon the contradiction in terms.
Your reaction completely missed the meat of the message. My point, to be clear, was about the hemorrhoidal reaction of gun-worriers and their hinting at the need for some form of "control" over what is allowed to be produced in the 3-d world. That, and the insinuation that this phenomenon is the next burgeoning source of violent crime tools... BOTH issues are political and uninteresting when one seeks to find technical/industrial [not political] content on a certain site.
I've been working with this technology since the late 1990's mostly in automotive at the time but it was a fast way to find interferance fits and other anomolies when designing vehicles. At the time it was abs plastics but today, you can print in ceramics and even metals. A gun made with ceramics can effectively meet the standards used for normal firearms and with the use of minimal amounts of metals if any at all. These have been demonstrated as being able to pass through security devices with out issue. My concern would not befor the commercial use of these but the illicut intentitional use of such weapons and the govt, needs to react to this quickly and be ahead of the curve for a change. This is a change this world DOES NOT NEED.
I agree Dave - hubby grew up in West Texas where every home had fire arms. Children were taught gun safety at an early age and no one ever heard of anyone getting shot. If you needed to kill a stray coyote attacking the herd - you had a solution.
I just can't imagine a criminal bent on violence taking the time, effort and expense to fabricate a gun when they are so easily accessible otherwise. I am not even sure why you would want to go through all that trouble legally as a hobby - just go down to your local Cabellas - they have a fine selection of used rifles and shotguns out on the sales floor that you can walk up to and play with. I even saw an M-1 Garand there a couple of weeks ago...
Well put. I agree completely with the ridiculousness of the upper/lower receiver distinction. My hunch is that this developed from the fact that, in many cases, the lower receiver controls the rate of fire (full vs. semi automatic) which was used as the distinction between "legitimate" firearms and assault rifles. Obviously this definition is somewhat flawed.
I don't want to trivialize the effects of gun violence, but printing assault weapons won't flood the streets with weapons of mass destruction. Any citizen can go to the hardware store right now and get everything they need to make slew of pipe bombs and cause some serious mayhem. The REAL cause of violence isn't the availability of weapons, but the social, economic, and mental health factors that make people behave violently. Any serious effort to control gun violence (or any other type) should worry less about the availability of weapons and more about the root causes.
My first reaction to this article and many of the comments are impolite and unprintable. Let's start, then, with a few basics of firearms. Even the lowly .22 cartridge requires a metal chamber and barrel to contain the heat and pressure of the propellant gasses, and centerfire rifle and pistol cartridges even more so. Engineers, do the math! Chamber pressures range from 40,000 to 80,000 pounds per quare inch (psi), and the temperature of the expanding gasses is on the order of 2100 degrees Kelvin. Simply put, an "all-plastic" gun would instantly and catastrophically fail. What the author and makers have failed to to disclose is precisely how much metal is actually employed, and where it is--e.g. the chamber, barrel and breach. All firearms require high-strength steels to conatin the pressures and temperatures of the cartridge--this is an incontrovertible fact. The discussion of "plastic guns" concerns only the fabrication of what is often termed "the furniture". I do realize that that the "lower reciever" is the part recognized to constitute the "firearm", but this was the invention of idiotic bureaucrats in an era of all-metal guns. The minimally-structural lower reciver that merely supports a fully-structural barrel/reciever/breach appears to be the "invention" of record. This is truly much ado about nothing. As an aside, I would be interested to see a demonstration of a 100% printed gun (behind a shield, of course)!
If this was sooo boring perhaps yourself and the 250 friends you have so kindly spoken for should have been inteligent enough to stop reading. more over you continued to waste your time writing a rant about afformentioned boring article.
3d printing is on the verge to becoming one of the next big revolutions in prototyping and manufacturing, get used to hearing about it!
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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