I think the bigger problem here is the gun manufacturers intellectual property is being made willy-nilly. Guns are not open-source. So, I am sure people who print them may get prosecuted if they try and peddle their wares. Same goes for any object.
However, to the model builder, this is the ultimate evolution.
I am amazed that any plastic material could stand up to the chamber pressure of a gun. Of course it seems that the one used had a lower chamber pressure than most military ones.
Perhaps the legal definition needs to be revised a bit.
Of course many of those other matal parts could be made from a ceramic material, which would probably not show up on a metal detector. I know that knives made of FR4 circuit board matrerial, and of polycarbonate material, don't show up at all. The polycarbonate knife does not hold a decent edge very well, but the FR4 one will stay sharp long enough to cut up a cheap steak. They both resharpen with an ordinary sharpening stone.
Don't ask how I know, I forget the names of those who carried things as a test.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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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