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.
I don't feel sorry for you but those you know. You didn't comprehend my post so of course you don't get it. What was that diatribe about? First you don't want to talk about the implications of the 3D printing of guns and then you spill your guts about what you believe, which is nothing but singing the praises of your "freedom" (whatever that means) loving, and more important, tough self. Wow! You're not afraid! Thanks for letting us know.
The fact is that guns don't guarantee "freedom" (whatever that means), culture does. This article is not a wate of time as it forces a discussion of things that are a consequence of engineering and are thus part of engineering. Of course you could "debate", but you haven't. All you've done is belly ache about you.
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?"
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