Slashdot: News for Nerds


Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

'Wiki Weapon Project' Wants Your 3D-Printable Guns

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the next-round-of-illegal-shapes dept.

Hardware Hacking 570

Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Earlier this month, University of Texas law student Cody Wilson and a small group of friends who call themselves 'Defense Distributed' launched an initiative they've dubbed the 'Wiki Weapon Project.' Their goal: to raise $20,000 to design and release blueprints for the world's first entirely 3D-printable gun. If all goes according to plan, RepRap users will soon be able to turn the project's CAD designs into an operational firearm capable of shooting at least one standard .22 caliber bullet, all in the privacy of their own garage. Wilson and his handful of collaborators at Defense Distributed plan to use the money they raise to buy or rent a $10,000 Stratysys 3D printer and also to hold a 3D-printable gun design contest with a $1,000 or $2,000 prize for the winning entry — Wilson says they've already received gun design ideas from fans in Arkansas and North Carolina. Once the group has successfully built a reliable 3D-printed gun with the Stratysys printer, it plans to adapt the design for the cheaper and more widely distributed Reprap model. The group had already raised more than $2,000 through the fundraising platform Indiegogo, but the site took down their page and froze their funds on Tuesday. They're continuing to seek donations through their website via Paypal and Bitcoin."

cancel ×


Strong enough plastics? (5, Insightful)

cfvgcfvg (942576) | about 2 years ago | (#41098185)

I would think the limiting factor would be the strength of the plastic and not the design itself.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41098249)

That was my thought as well, although someone claimed they were able to print out a receiver for an AR-15 and fire a few hundred rounds without noticeable wear. Since the receiver is the "gun" part according to US law, that is all you need to circumvent any regulations. The rest of the parts can, I believe, be acquired with no or very little licensing. I don't think making the entire thing of plastic is very practical, and might not even be possible for most gun designs (anything that requires a spring, for example, won't work).

OTOH if you could, it would give you a weapon undetectable by normal metal detectors. The bullet and casing would be metal still, but you could probably get around that.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (4, Informative)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 2 years ago | (#41098305)

The reciever is just the component that holds all the other components. The trick is to print the items that take direct impact or heat, like the barrel or the firing pin.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#41098465)

Or you could design a multi-barrel zip-gun. Four barrels, four bullets. Four shots, and the gun is destroyed. Or you could design it to use something commonly available as a barrel, like a particular size of standardised plumbing pipe.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | about a year ago | (#41098727)

Under American law, those parts can be purchased relatively easily. It is the "receiver" that is considered the firearm for regulation purposes.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (3)

Nimey (114278) | about a year ago | (#41098651)

That's the lower receiver on an AR which is legally the gun. The lower doesn't have the chamber (the upper receiver does), so it doesn't have to be particularly strong.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#41098289)

That's entirely the point: designing ways to compensate for the weakness of plastic.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | about 2 years ago | (#41098329)

Agreed. If the plastic firing pin can trigger the primer, the overpressure doesn't blow the chamber and the breech apart, and the rifling doesn't transition to smoothbore after the first round, it might be worth it. But you need stronger plastics for that, and that may be past the printer's ability to liquefy and print.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#41098505)

I doubt very much you will get rifling at all. The momentum of the bullet is probably far greater than the force needed to shear off any plastic rifling. Not to mention that it's probably an advantage to make the barrel's bore a little larger (gun barrels are actually slightly narrower than the bullets that go in them and they deform the bullet as it passes along) so that you don't get as much gas pressure which would tear the gun apart. Makes for a much slower bullet but the object was to shoot (without killing yourself), not to be accurate or have a fast muzzle velocity.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year ago | (#41098513)

You don't necessarily need rifling. It helps, but people made guns that worked just fine without it for quite some time.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (3, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#41098621)

The plastic could be reinforced with an additive, like perhaps glass fibers. What's also important is that plastic mix may be designed to ablate instead of melting. Ablation takes more heat away per unit volume than melting. It'd wear out as it's heated up, instead of just melting away. Sure thermal management becomes very important on such a design, and you do need to do some finite element thermal and mechanical modeling before anything gets manufactured. To mechanically withstand the stresses, all it takes it to throw enough plastic at the problem, as long as said plastic doesn't deform "too much". It'll be probably necessary to have a statically underbored design, with smallest bore diameter closest to the shell. If you measure it, the bullet "won't" pass through the bore. But in presence of the hot gas, it'll stretch to correct geometry. The gas pressure will be highest at the rear of the barrel, thus you'll want it most underbored right there. This is a similar approach to modeling the machining stresses and passing a deformed shape to the CNC mill such that it will acquire correct shape when machined under presence of hold-down and cutter stresses.

You could probably do something funny with hot gas scavenging, perhaps trading off some of the bullet's kinetic energy to suck some cool air into the barrel to cool it off.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#41098459)

I would think the limiting factor would be stupidity of the user.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (4, Funny)

davidc (91400) | about a year ago | (#41098461)

I forsee many shot-out eyes...

Re:Strong enough plastics? (4, Interesting)

retep (108840) | about a year ago | (#41098523)

Keep in mind that in some cases you can use the 3d printer to make the tools needed to make the parts, rather than directly making the parts themselves. For instance barrels need to be made out of metal, yet a 3d printer could still make a jig, essentially a purpose built machining tool, that would give you the ability to make the barrel without purchasing a lot of expensive equipment. Even simple stuff like cutting templates can be a huge time-saver compared to machining parts manually.

Re:Strong enough plastics? (2)

Broken scope (973885) | about a year ago | (#41098683)

From what I can tell, a rifled barrel is the most difficult part of the gun to manufacture, the machines used for it are expensive as hell and the process is time consuming.

Ah! How to Shut Down 3D Printing 101... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098205)

Looks like the Government is tired of this 3D printing business, so they got some yahoos to start printing guns.

Interestingly, this is EXACTLY how 3D printing was shut down in the Cory Doctorow book "Makers".

Life imitates art!

Re:Ah! How to Shut Down 3D Printing 101... (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 2 years ago | (#41098277)

Yes, I think that shutting this down is going to be hard. Remember the days that one bought a CD from his allowance, and the rest of the friends copied it to tape, then from tape to tape (later we had doublespeed)... Now, that was about music, what will a government do if the kids start to print out their weapons, and find a way to manufacture the barrel and chamber and the other parts that need to be from metal?
Governments, and especially the non freedom-loving ones (like in Yurp, most of Asia) see them lose the violence-monopoly...
Its going to be a great time! Weapons on doublespeed!

Re:Ah! How to Shut Down 3D Printing 101... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#41098535)

People make their own guns now. It's not that hard to do. Who needs accuracy when you press it against someone's head.

Re:Ah! How to Shut Down 3D Printing 101... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#41098593)

I would assume that anybody who is terribly concerned would move to restrict ammunition supplies.

Not too much you can do about somebody moderately competent DIYing something resembling a usable propellant(though, noob explosives production is a good way to lose fingers, and building bombs is probably a better bang for your buck than making propellants) and lead casting is limited largely by your willingness to damage your nervous system; but proper, reliable, modern ammunition is fairly polished stuff...

These 'zOMG 3D-print a gun!!' projects are mostly a novelty, both in the sense that anything you could 3D-print a gang with some machine tools could stamp out a few hundred, better and cheaper, in a random garage somewhere; and in the sense that the BATF only tracks some parts as 'weapons' and you can thus dodge some reasonably vexing engineering just by buying the rest of the parts and ammunition to suit over the counter.

Between the relatively easy availability of mass-produced weapons that don't suck, in unrestrictive jurisdictions, and the availability of illegal weapons(or the unavailability of engineering-critical parts and consumables, depending on how good the enforcement is) in restrictive jurisdictions, there really isn't too much of note here.

Re:Ah! How to Shut Down 3D Printing 101... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098375)

Ironically, I would trust a stranger with a gun over anyone sanctioned by government (especially cops). Rationale? The stranger is merely an unknown, but government has proven over and over again that they are willing to use deadly force as a means to achieve their agenda (both inside and outside the border) -- regardless of whether that agenda is moral and just.

It amazes me that so many people want to forcefully remove firearms from those who handle them responsibly, yet at the same time, they NEVER question the fact that government wields deadly force as a matter of daily business.

Re:Ah! How to Shut Down 3D Printing 101... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098573)

Amazing reasoning. Well do!

Re:Ah! How to Shut Down 3D Printing 101... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098595)

Well done! opps

Re:Ah! How to Shut Down 3D Printing 101... (4, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | about a year ago | (#41098689)

You have successfully captured the paranoia of the stereotypical American gun nut. Nicely done.

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098207)


Won't get far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098215)

I don't see them getting far with this before someone comes knocking on their door with a search warrant and a C&D order.

Re:Won't get far (5, Informative)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about a year ago | (#41098485)

That wont happen until someone passes law governing the activity. And its an absolute certainty that the law would be taken to the supreme court.

There's nothing illegal about developing a firearm for your personal use.

From the ATF website here : []

Q: Is it legal to assemble a firearm from commercially available parts kits that can be purchased via internet or shotgun news? For your information, per provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCA for his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution.

The GCA, 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3), defines the term “firearm” to include the following:

(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive: (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or silencer; or (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

Since it is generally the reciever of the weapon that has the serial number, and the law specifically states that you can legally assemble (build/create/construct) a reciever...

The limitations here would probably be applied in the case of weapons that would be illegal by their nature (sawed off shotguns, fully auto assault weapons, etc.) under these sections

Finally, the GCA, 18 U.S.C. 922(r), specifically states the following:

It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under the[GCA]Section 925(d)(3).as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes . Also, 27 C.F.R. 478.39 states:

(a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes .,

Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098223)

This is a project for law students? Are they trying to create something that will produce future clients?

Guns without Ammo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098225)

Where on earth can you buy bullets and not buy guns to go with them? Unless there is also 3D-pritable bullets and gunpowder, I'm not sure how this is useful.

Re:Guns without Ammo? (1)

beschra (1424727) | about 2 years ago | (#41098255)

Bullets are easy to get and require no background check, etc. And even if it's not 'useful', it's a pretty fun project.

Re:Guns without Ammo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098349)

Not easy to get in Canada. You need a Firearms license to purchase them.


Re:Guns without Ammo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098265)

It's cheaper, faster, and paperwork-free.

Re:Guns without Ammo? (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#41098267)

You can make black powder (so long as you have access to chickens), and mold lead ball...or even use chunks of rock/quartz.

Just saying..

Re:Guns without Ammo? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#41098503)

Lead-ball is fine if you're happy with a muzzle-loader one-shot. Modern bullets with the charge and projectile in one tidy case are trickier.

Re:Guns without Ammo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098685)

Just because that shit works on Star Trek, doesn't mean it'll do anything in reality other than blow your arms off ;)

Re:Guns without Ammo? (1)

glueball (232492) | about 2 years ago | (#41098291)

Bullets can easily be cast.

Re:Guns without Ammo? (5, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#41098337)

I understand that - if you have the right contacts - there is a group of loosely associated, mini-nation states in one part of the world where they have permanent bazaars/markets where the shelves are lined with all kinds of ammunition. They'll even sell you the gear to make your own. You just walk up, prove that any one of those mini-nations has authorized you to drive a car, and off you go with as much ammo as you can afford, or with up to 25 pounds of black powder. On occasion, several of these nations hold temporary bazaars in large warehouse-like buildings where you can go in and trade the local currency for all sorts of weapons - no questions asked.

Just be careful if you go there; there's a lot of crazy shit that goes on.

Ha ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098407)

You are talking about the wacky United States of America!

Re:Guns without Ammo? (3, Funny)

Broken scope (973885) | about a year ago | (#41098429)

Or you can just go to bass pro shop.

Re:Guns without Ammo? (4, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#41098489)

Just be careful if you go there; there's a lot of crazy shit that goes on.

Naa... Most of the crazy shit only goes on in that one court in east Texas. The gun shows are much more sane.

Re:Guns without Ammo? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year ago | (#41098551)

I wish I had mod points...

Re:Guns without Ammo? (1)

genkernel (1761338) | about a year ago | (#41098417)

Where on earth can you buy bullets and not buy guns to go with them? Unless there is also 3D-pritable bullets and gunpowder, I'm not sure how this is useful.

It is easy enough to buy bullets,even with gun regulations. Sure if guns are completely banned in some places, it will be moderately difficult to acquire ammo. However, most places in Canada and the US only have gun-registries. For instance, handguns where I am here have to be stored in a secure location, separate from ammo, and you have to call the police if you want to take it anywhere (and tell them you are going to a shooting range). Getting ammo isn`t a problem, its getting a gun that the police cannot track as easily.

Even in places where ammo is not available, it may not be illegal and can be safely acquired via a vacation to the US. Finally, should ammo be illegal, it is much easier to sell bullets discreetly than guns. Seriously, how are you going to prevent someone from, say, hiding a bullet in a computer case and shipping it (or even putting it through checked baggage).

Just one bullet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098257)

You could build that for under $10 at home depot already. It's called a zip or pipe gun. More than one bullet is the hard part.

Great (0)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#41098259)

Maybe they should accept plans for entirely printable coffins while they're at it.

Re:Great (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#41098443)

Too big. You have to print them in sections and construct the pieces. Sort of goes against the spirit of having a makerbot in the first place.

Barrel? (1, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 2 years ago | (#41098263)

How exactly are they planning to 3D print a barrel that can withstand real ammunition? How are they planning to rifle it?

Also, God help us if this ever became a reality.

Re:Barrel? (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year ago | (#41098431)

3D print the rifling. The barrel isn't so much an issue as the firing point at the base of the barrel. If the projectile is moving straight, the barrel is just a guide with that takes on some friction (especially with rifling).

Re:Barrel? (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | about a year ago | (#41098447)

Right, because "real" guns are oh so hard to come by.

Help yourself, it's reality today (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#41098457)

How exactly are they planning to 3D print a barrel that can withstand real ammunition? How are they planning to rifle it?

A .22 is a small enough bullet and 3D printers have advanced enough as far as materials that can be used, that it might well be practical to have a barrel that held up. Especially if you were willing to replace the barrel every hundred shots or so. Why not, when you can just print more...

Also, God help us if this ever became a reality.

Why? The reality TODAY is that anyone can get a gun that wants one, and for a lot cheaper than 3-D printers will probably ever be.

It does illustrate just how farcical the notion of gun control really is, when so obviously control over guns is soon to be even more impossible than ever before...

If you are worried, the solution is to get a gun yourself and get training on how to use it.

Re:Barrel? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#41098529)

Also, God help us if this ever became a reality.

Because no criminals have guns now. And just buying one on the black market will never be easier than learning on to make one yourself...

Re:Barrel? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#41098549)

3D printing would actually make the rifling very easy. Trivial, even. Making the barrel durable, though, is not. With a really tough plastic I can imagine getting a few shots off, but the gun won't last long. If all you want is something to shoot muggers with, that will be enough. If it's printable, you can produce replacement barrels easily.

Re:Barrel? (2, Interesting)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about a year ago | (#41098587)

Also, God help us if this ever became a reality.

Actually, I'm tinking of donating. If we can get the lunatics to make plastic guns and blow their hands off, then much fewer innocent people will get shot.

Admittedly a bit messier than gun control laws, but it may also be more effective.

Re:Barrel? (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#41098703)

As I understand it, they're only printing the receiver. The barrel, firing chamber, pin, etc... can all be bought legally as parts, only the receiver is restricted because that's where the serial number is.

So really it's just a project to make untraceable guns easier to acquire. Yay.

Re:Barrel? (1)

retep (108840) | about a year ago | (#41098709)

You don't have to 3d print a barrel if instead you 3d print a machine to make a barrel. I do know one of the first (the first?) machine tools ever designed were for making gun barrels. I'm sure building that machine would be a lot easier if you can 3d print all, or almost all, the parts for it. The parts of that machine that need to be accurate can then use off the shelf mechanical parts like precision guide rails are readily available and standardized, with the 3d printer providing the "stuff" required to put everything in the right places.

You ever heard of the Gingery Series [] ? It's essentially a how-to manual on bootstrapping your own machine shop from scratch; at the end of the process you'll have an accurate metal cutting lathe and mill. It's quite reliant on time-consuming metal casting, as well as precision scraping [] to get the accuracy needed in a machine tool. With 3d printing you can replace the metal casting with printed parts, and the scraping can be replaced with pre-made linear rails and ballscrew assemblies. A 3d printing bootstrapped gun barrel making machine would essentially be a purpose-built version of this concept.

Why give something like this the publicity ? (0)

Space cowboy (13680) | about 2 years ago | (#41098271)

Is /. *really* that hard up for page-views ?

Do you *really* want someone to come up with a way to make a plastic gun ? I personally think the plastic wouldn't be strong enough, but I don't see any reason to tempt fate by saying it can't be done. Just like rebar strengthens concrete way beyond what you'd expect, there probably is a way.

I guess I'm not entirely happy with the idea that any moron who would have been denied a gun permit (even in the "sure! go kill someone" gun-happy USA) could possibly get a reprap or ordbot for a few hundred dollars and go print themselves their own damn killing device.

Simon. Not impressed.

Re:Why give something like this the publicity ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098365)

Unfortunately censorship won't do much to stop them. Technology advances and you can't close the lid on Pandora's Box.

Re:Why give something like this the publicity ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098577)

Yeah, it's a damned shame that censorship isn't effective in fortifying your own sensibilities.

Re:Why give something like this the publicity ? (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year ago | (#41098469)

The legal ramifications of 3D printing guns are already upon us. TFS references an older article where someone printed out a Lower Receiver, which IS the gun, legally speaking.

This article is much more about "can we do this impossible thing." Can you 3D-Print a barrel that doesn't melt after a few rounds? Can you 3D-Print some kind of recoil absorption method (most fire-arms use metal springs)? ...a firing pin that strikes a primer with enough force to fire? ...a bolt strong enough to take the impact, or possibly an advanced recoil absorption method to reduce the strain on your bolt...

A lot of hurdles to cross before a gun can be fully 3D-Printed. And a lot of wider ramifications as to the 3D-Printing world, if those hurdles can be cleared.

Re:Why give something like this the publicity ? (1)

WillDraven (760005) | about a year ago | (#41098509)

I would agree if you had to do something violent to be denied a gun permit. Unfortunately in the USA you can lose your right to bear arms for any felony, many of which have nothing at all to do with being violent or dangerous.

Re:Why give something like this the publicity ? (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | about a year ago | (#41098525)

News flash. If you, me or anyone with average intelligence goes postal lack of a gun won't lower the body count much.

Look at the recent nut who went off at the Batman premiere. He left bombs in his apartment. Had he carried those and lobbed them into the packed audience it would have been at least as deadly, probably more. So hearing that, bed wetting types like yourself will next work to ban any access to chemicals that can go boom, right? You do know that would ban almost everything useful, right?

Control the criminals and the mentally ill, not household cleaners, not knives, not firearms.

Re:Why give something like this the publicity ? (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about a year ago | (#41098541)

I personally think the plastic wouldn't be strong enough, but I don't see any reason to tempt fate by saying it can't be done.

I do: when Darwin weeds out 3D printer owners with bad performing gun designs, then chances are those 3D printers will find a new owner. Likely smarter people who have better uses for a 3D printer than making guns.

Re:Why give something like this the publicity ? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#41098571)

Anyone can get a gun in Mexico right now, and they have restrictive laws and few repraps...

Re:Why give something like this the publicity ? (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#41098715)

I guess I'm not entirely happy with the idea that any moron who would have been denied a gun permit (even in the "sure! go kill someone" gun-happy USA) could possibly get a reprap or ordbot for a few hundred dollars and go print themselves their own damn killing device.

That same "moron" can go to the supermarket and buy a dozen or so different ingredients needed to make a bomb too. Should we ban supermarkets? There's always going to be a small minority of people that, for whatever reason, become violent. Your discomfort and unhappiness with this fact notwithstanding, there is no way to prevent this. There are, however, ways to minimize the damage.

It does not bother me that someone can manufacture a plastic gun in their own home. They could own a home full of guns for all I care. They could, in fact, make their house out of nothing but guns, and carry a dozen handguns around while they do their local shopping. Guns by themselves are not the problem -- the problem comes when the guy carrying a dozen handguns is the only guy like that in a crowded place when he snaps and decides to go all murder-happy.

I have never felt safer anywhere on this earth than on a military base where people carried their weapons openly and were trained in how to use them. And I have never felt less safe than walking around on the streets after dark in poverty-striken neighborhoods, because I know there's a lot of people there who haven't had any training and think a gun is the answer to all their problems. And still, guns aren't the problem here -- it's poverty, systemic injustice, racism, etc., that all create a factory pumping out desperate people.

Nobody needs a gun, or a bomb, to kill you. With training, you could be killed by someone with their bare hands and there would be nothing you could do to stop that either. Rather than sit there like a limp dick and be helpless, why not take steps to defend yourself? Take some self defense classes. Buy a gun, or a knife, or a tazer... whatever you feel would help with this obvious insecurity you have. I am not afraid of a guy with a plastic gun, anymore than I'm afraid of a guy with a real gun -- I know the odds of dying due to violent assault, and in fact my personal risk is very much higher than yours because I'm a member of a minority group that experiences the highest rates of suicide, murder, and violent attack in this country. I do not carry a gun, a a knife, or a tazer. I have been trained enough to know what to do if anyone ever presents a weapon -- regardless of the material it is made of. I feel totally safe, not because I have a weapon, but because I am a weapon.

If everybody was trained, and was given a sidearm, like many countries where military service is compulsory, this wouldn't be a problem. Guy goes crazy in a public place, and a dozen other guys with military training fill him full of bullets. 3 people are killed or injured, and live goes on... not this "Guy goes crazy in a public place, dozens dead or injured, more killed when they storm the place to free the hostages" bullshit that happens now.

It's obvious you can't stop someone who really wants a gun from getting one: They're easy to design, make, and use. It's a very simple mechanical device. So rather than invest an inordinate amount of resources so that the general population can remain ignorant and defenseless, why not train them and give them ready access to firearms? Being trained and able to defend yourself is a far superior deterrent to crime, and as a bonus, it's also a better use of our tax dollars.

Notice the intolerance? (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 2 years ago | (#41098273)

Notice how often some ideas will get instantly censored and others won't?

Post plans to make a gun and get yourself instantly frozen out. Classified military secrets go straight to the NYT and the leaker is called a hero.

Question politically correct orthodoxy in the pages of the Chronicle of Higher Edication and be fired almost instantly.

Say outrageous, at LEAST borderline if not outright, racist things for years and if you are Joe Biden your career doesn't end; no that is just Crazy Joe. Need it even be pointed out that any R saying things that dumb/retarded (say Akin for example) are denounced by the same people who cover for Joe and his boss?

When do we get to call you guys intolerant, bigots, etc.?

As for this idea, it is a veritable certainty it will be denounced by exactly the same people who support all other information being free. Pirate Party Yea! But not this. Double standard.

Me, I want more of this. I want plans to 3D print a fully automatic weapon. Just to watch the heads explode at the realization that the genie is out of the bottle and ain't going back.

Re:Notice the intolerance? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098467)

I think you forgot to take your medicine.

Re:Notice the intolerance? (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | about a year ago | (#41098655)

Nah, just annoyed. Even this /. summary tried to bury the lede. We already had a 3D printed gun thread, that ain't news. The censorship is the news, not a footnote.

Media bias usually isn't typically as blunt an instrument as it has become lately in the presidential elections and big policy disputes, it is more subtle. Some stories just aren't news, while some are beaten to death days beyond when most people are shouting "ENOUGH OF THIS CRAP" and flipping the channel. And like this one, the bias is in how a story is presented, what aspect is or is not presented with OUTRAGE, what key phrases are used in the story, etc.

Re:Notice the intolerance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098713)

Mods think otherwise.

Re:Notice the intolerance? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#41098567)

Curiously, if you go to conservative forums, you find people complaining that liberals will tear apart republicans for saying awkward things but democrats are never held accountable for what they say. It seems both sides are blind to the flaws of their own people.

Re:Notice the intolerance? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#41098589)

It is kinda funny watching people scramble to change sides for this issue. :)

Re:Notice the intolerance? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year ago | (#41098611)

I want to be able to walk into Wal-Mart and buy my printer, my ammo, and my plans all in one stop :)

Re:Notice the intolerance? (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | about a year ago | (#41098659)

When do we get to call you guys intolerant, bigots, etc.?

Who is this "we" and "you guys" you are talking about? The "you guys" that are very vocal about thier stance on a particular issue is rarely the same "you guys" that are just as vocal the next month, when another hot topic issue comes up. You gave two specific examples in your post, but neither one has much to do with the viewpoint of a random person on slashdot.

The mainstream media ignores Joe Biden's retardation but jumps on Akin? Um, yeah . . that's the mainstream media and anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention knows to take the new yellow journalism with a grain of salt. Go vent your frustration at CNN or FoxNews forums if you want. You're preaching to the choir here.

A political party sees an issue as more than just black and white and so might have differing views when specific issues are addressed? Say it ain't so! Even if you completely missed the last century of government and you don't know that political parties have been throwing around hypocrasies and double standards for quite a while now, you should be able to realize a simple truth. Printing your own gun and copying someone's music CD is not quite the same thing.

If printing your own gun becomes legal, or stays legal, what have you, and then the Pirate Party says it is against people using a particular gun design because it has a copyright, then that would be a double standard. If the Pirate Party says it should be illegal to print your own gun, then no, that is not a double standard. That is two standards for two different things. Either way, if you have issues with political parties, take it up with them. Refer to my earlier statement about preaching to the choir.

Just to be clear, I'm not against you speaking your mind. But from the quoted bit from your post, you don't seem to be distinguishing your audience (us) from the people you have issues with (msm and political parties).

Donations (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41098285)

People need to stop using PayPal and other sites that allow them to freeze your funds because they are feeling contrary. Start using wire funds transfers to offshore accounts, or mailing in checks, etc. I know it may not be as convenient but these companies are happy to eat your money and give you nothing in return. And while that money is frozen, you're not getting interest on those funds either -- they are. It's in their best interests to search for reasons to freeze your funding, and people will keep throwing money at them because it's convenient to do so.

Stop supporting these companies, and for that matter, stop doing business with companies in the United States -- that includes Visa and Mastercard. Most organizations worldwide are moving off the dollar and away from US-based businesses for financial support and advice because they've become a militant government that commits acts of economic terrorism.

Re:Donations (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#41098411)

Give me an alternative that works a) world-wide, b) takes credit cards and c) no setup-fees and I will move off PayPal.

Until then, my less-tinfoil-hat alternative is to never keep any substantial amounts of money in there. Whenever my account has accumulated a few hundred bucks, I transfer it to my bank account.

So far, works like charm. If they ever do freeze my account for whatever crazy reason of the day, I've lost an amount that sucks, but doesn't endanger me.

Not PayPal that froze them out (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#41098517)

They are taking donations via PayPal. It's IndieAGoGo (I think that's the name), a kickstarter-like clone that locked them out.

Re:Donations (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#41098657)

People need to stop using PayPal ...

As if people need yet another reason to stop using PayPall. Although, I guess they do!

Re:Donations (1)

cvtan (752695) | about a year ago | (#41098705)

Bank transfers need to be free. Right now they are so expensive in the US that you can't use them except for large $$$ purchases. Try to buy something from eBay Germany. Many sellers do not use Paypal or take credit cards or checks because they have free bank transfers. So you have to send them cash in the mail. Last time I did that, the cash never made it (big surprise).

Material Strength (2)

donaggie03 (769758) | about 2 years ago | (#41098293)

For someone with limited knowledge about 3D printing technology, the obvious question is: Does the 3D printed material have enough strength to withstand a small explosion in a compact space? What about the heat created from the explosion? Can it do so repeatedly?

Re:Material Strength (1)

romanval (556418) | about a year ago | (#41098665)

I don't even know if cheap 3D printers have the resolution to do smooth curved surfaces (as in .00001-inch). It would be more accurate to 3D print the stock and bore out the barrel with standard drill press.

In the end I don't think 3D printers are an advantage for making guns, since an experienced person can build a regular metal gun with a few billet pieces and ordinary CAD/CAM+machining tools.

Re:Material Strength (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098669)

No, no, and no. Not with current plastics. And rifling a barrel is NOT an easy thing to do without highly specialized and expensive machinery.

So, all this angst about 'OMG, plastic guns!' is totally wasted. Amusing, though.

This is idiotic behavior. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098327)

What the hell is this, Trouble Thursday on Slashdot ?

First we get some moron who tries to fly with a protest
t-shirt on, and now we get some idiots who want to make
their own firearms, hot on the heels of not one but several
shootings in the US.

Clearly, some people just don't get it. When the feds come for your
t-shirts and your 3d printers, you will whine and say your rights are
being violated.

But what has really happened is that these idiots are squandering their rights
with the mindset of a young child who does not know or care about the possible
consequences of his or her behavior relative to others.

Fucking idiots. They're lucky I'm not in charge, they'd get a couple of semesters at
Parchman Farm for the mere suggestion of printing guns.

Re:This is idiotic behavior. (1)

Otter Popinski (1166533) | about a year ago | (#41098511)

Why would they go to Parchman? That's two states away.

Re:This is idiotic behavior. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098723)

But what has really happened is that these idiots are squandering their rights

No it isn't, because "squandering" does not mean "exercising in a way I don't personally approve of". And yes, that IS exactly what you meant.

They're lucky I'm not in charge, they'd get a couple of semesters at Parchman Farm for the mere suggestion of printing guns.

In other words, you explicitly and actively oppose the very concept of free speech in any possible form. That does explain your position on those t-shirts.


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41098355)

Way to ruin a good project by turning it in to a weapon.

Why do we allow Texas to still exist, again?


houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#41098695)

Way to ruin a good project by turning it in to a weapon.

Why do we allow Texas to still exist, again?

Sorry, but in Texas we do not need printers to own guns.

What a terrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098357)

This sounds like the worst idea for a cool 3D printing design contest ever.

IF this succeeds, and someone actually creates something useful like this, this will create instant wrath of the governments over 3D printers and their supplies.

Just think of the consequences: plastic guns avoid metal detectors altogether, people that other cannot obtain a license and should not have a gun suddenly will have a free access to one, and finally, this will bypass gun laws in all countries.

This will have so many negative legal side-effects that we'll be sorting out this mess for next 50 years.

Re:What a terrible idea... (1)

Broken scope (973885) | about a year ago | (#41098601)

Well the good news is that we can't reliably make all plastic cartridges, let alone all plastic weapons,. On top of that, people with access to a CNC mill have been quite capable of machining a rifle parts out of billet for years(Specifically the controlled part of the weapon). Yet the world hasn't fallen apart.

Re:What a terrible idea... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year ago | (#41098725)

IF this succeeds, and someone actually creates something useful like this, this will create instant wrath of the governments over 3D printers and their supplies.

Supplies? You mean old coke bottles? This is one genie that is WAY out of the bottle.

because... (1)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#41098383)

...if there's one thing the world needs more of, it's guns.

I didn't realize anyone would consider the Lord of War quote regarding the other 11 a call-to-action.

Too Cool (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year ago | (#41098395)

You can have my gun.... When you pry my 3-D printer from the table over there. Seriously, it's just in the other room, you can have it. I don't want any trouble.

Ah, shoot. (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#41098409)

I was gonna do this.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098479)

I know I'm paranoid and all but, really? Which organization is running this little game? Is it the TSA or is it some pathetic wannabe terrorist group?

'Hey, let's crowd source undetectable improvised gun designs!'


If it really is an innocuous game being run by private citizens, it's a really stupid one, in the sense that they just drew a whole lot of scrutiny that they won't want.

all in the privacy of their own garage... (1)

cjjjer (530715) | about a year ago | (#41098483)

So the have a wiki that wants to publish the plans on making a 3D gun on the internet and they are using PayPal...

I am sure nothing bad will happen to them...

When 3D printers are outlawed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098493)

... only outlaws will own 3D printers.

Why a 3-d printer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098519)

If you're really concerned about people not being able to make weapons, wouldn't the better solution to be design guns that could be made with something like a drill press and minimal metal stock? Far more commonly available than a 3-D printer, cheaper, and it's far more plausible that it would actually be serviceable for more than one or two shots.

No clear winner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098557)

It seems to me the clear winner would be the user who didn't pay out his ass just to use an OS that performs equally to or less than one that is free.

Fundraising... (2)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about a year ago | (#41098585)

Fundraising via Paypal ending with Paypal freezing all proceeds in 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1..

What's the big deal? (1)

hey! (33014) | about a year ago | (#41098643)

It's not hard to make a firearm. It's hard to make an accurate, reliable firearm with useful ergonomic features like multi-shot magazines.

Kids have been making "zip guns" in shop for years. The simplest single shot designs use a nail driven by a rubber band to strike a cartridge held in a metal tube. For a .22 barrel you can use a length of copper tubing set in epoxy in a steel pipe. Or you can drill a hole in a solid piece of steel. For a shotgun shell, an iron or steel pipe will do.

If you want to ensure people are always armed, figure out a way to make *cartridges*. Or perhaps design a gun that works reliably with improvised cartridges. Maybe adapt a home cigarette rolling machine to make paper cartridges disguised as smokes.

Consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098667)

People donated ? Who in the universe want to lose money in such reckless and inappropriate venture...

Oh yeah, the article says it all : Texas, Arkansas and North Carolina.

If that project goes on, in some years, we'll hear about another shooting in a Cinema done with a 3D-printed gun that looked like the props in the film and taught to be a toy. And no, this law student, became lawyer, won't be accountable for...

Since I'm not american, maybe I don't understand freedom and put responsibility in front of it but, tell me, can't they really imagine those "unforeseen consequences" , free man ?

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#41098691)

Anyone who can't make a .22 LR pistol from any random assortment of scrap w/ minimal hand tools shouldn't have one. The notion of making a practical firearm entirely from plastics is silly because it demonstrates a very poor understanding of materials.

As for the legality. In the US it's perfectly legal to make anything which is not otherwise restricted (i.e. full auto, silencers, destructive devices and other NFA weapons). You're just not allowed to sell them unless you get a manufacturing license.

Designing a durable single shot shotgun w/ good ergonomics that can be built from readily available materials IS a worthy endeavor. Designing a $30 gun that requires a $1000+ 3D printer is pointless. There are much cheaper fabrication methods.

This is stupid. (4, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | about a year ago | (#41098711)

Nerds need to take more shop classes. Everybody on Slashdot thinks that 3-d printing represents the dawn of a new paradigm, where we can actually *make physical objects ourselves* rather than buying them at a store. Guess what? Making your own things is not some brilliant new hack, people have been doing it for centuries.

Give me a block of steel, a drill press and a .22 caliber drill, and in 20 minutes I'll make you a gun that's a hell of a lot more accurate and reuseable than anything you can print out with your RepRap. Give me a few more hours and a milling machine, and I'll make you one you wouldn't be ashamed to rob a bank with.

Hacking the physical world isn't something computer nerds just invented. It just seems new to you because you chose to take web design as a high school elective rather than metal shop.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account