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Working Handgun Printed On a Sub-$2,000 3D Printer

timothy posted about a year ago | from the liberator-lite dept.

Hardware 521

Just a few weeks after Cody Wilson and friends successfully fired an instance of their own 3-D printed handgun design, Sparrowvsrevolution writes, "a couple of Wisconsin hobbyist gunsmiths have already managed to adapt Defense Distributed's so-called Liberator firearm and print it on a $1,725 Lulzbot 3D printer, a consumer grade machine that's far cheaper than the industrial quality Stratasys machine Defense Distributed used. They then proceeded to record their cheaper gun (dubbed the 'Lulz Liberator') firing nine .380 rounds without any signs of cracking or melting. Eight of the rounds were fired from a single plastic barrel. (Defense Distributed only fired one through its prototype.) In total, the Lulz Liberator's materials cost around $25 and were printed over just 48 hours."

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This isn't news. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781325)

I also printed out your mom's face [goatse.cx] on a 3d printer!!

Mod parent informative! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781647)

Seriously, who modded this down? It is a broken link, but it is a pertinent point. For my first 3D printing project, I printed figurines of a few of my family members.

Requires more metal (5, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43781347)

The Lulz Liberator uses more metal parts than the original Liberator...so at least this would be harder to sneak past a metal detector.

Re:Requires more metal (5, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43781471)

Both have a non-functional metal piece inserted in order to make them deliberately detectable, (and hence legal).
The ungodly would leave that bit out, I assume.

In addition, this modified version has bore rifling to escape restrictive legislation on smoothbore weapons.

But, FTA:

"After each firing, the ammo cartridges expanded enough that they had to be pounded out with a hammer."

Keep your Semmerling for the moment, Jack...

Re:Requires more metal (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43781539)

Both use a metal firing pin and are designed with the non-functional metal piece, the Lulz version also uses some screws for structural strength that would be much harder to replace with something non-metallic.

Re:Requires more metal (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43781485)

I think bullets and casings contain enough metal to set off most metal detectors anyways, though I'm already envisioning ways to bypass that.

Re:Requires more metal (3, Funny)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year ago | (#43781599)

Metal detectors contain metal parts!

I don't know how they can stand it. If I was a metal detector that would drive me crazy.

Until someone is challenged to a duel and they choose the plastic pistol over the metal one, we dunna have a story here.

Re:Requires more metal (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#43781721)

Metal detectors contain metal parts!

I don't know how they can stand it. If I was a metal detector that would drive me crazy.

Yeah! It's like how I can't use a stud finder.

Re:Requires more metal (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781731)

Metal detectors contain metal parts!

Metal detectors are really conductivity detectors. Most people think they can only detect iron, but they can detect anything that conducts electricity. Even a human body causes a small signal. A loop of carbon fiber would cause a very large signal. Poor anthropomorphized metal detector.

Re:Requires more metal (2)

gregulator (756993) | about a year ago | (#43781667)

When was the last time you walked through a metal detector?

Seriously?

For myself, I can think of only a handful of times in the last year.

1) When going into a state courthouse. (Metal detector, but legally allowed to carry a gun anywhere but in the actual courtroom (with state permit to carry.))
2) At the airport, but only about 25% of the time, and ONLY when "opting out" of the naked image scanners.

3D-Printed Revolver? (2)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about a year ago | (#43781349)

How long until this design graduates from a single-shot?

Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (2, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43781423)

You can't 3d print a spring with a plastics printer. You can't 3d print most of the mechanical components that make (semi)automatics work. It would essentially up the number of machined components up to a point that it would no longer really be a "3d printed gun" and more be a gun kit where you can provide the frame.

Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781479)

You can't 3d print a spring with a plastics printer.

Printing a Compression Spring on a RepRap / RepStrap 3D Printer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHrlasCSa3U

Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781511)

Most those types of parts can be ordered without and background check as replacement parts for existing guns. In general there is one one solid metal part on all guns with the serial number that is traceable. Everything else can be ordered anonymously, the one part can be printed.

Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781617)

also, stuff like springs are not exactly controllable items

Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43781807)

No, but neither is fertilizer when you get down to it. I'm about to go on a tirade for a position that isn't really even mine:
Gun control is about impulsive people.

You're never going to stop a McVeigh of Bin Laden with gun control. They're meticulous planners who will not be impeded by inconveniences, and will work around them. They'll build their own materials, circumvent safety control systems, and seek to maximize damage. Those people aren't the most common problem. Their problem is that they are certain that their cause is just.

The most common thread in criminals, particularly murderers, is poor impulse control and emotional volatility. People kill because they get angry, or desperate. 3/4 of people who attempt suicide will be deterred by a simple obstacle or obstruction in their way. People being rational don't murder. Gun control is about limiting the ease with which someone can engage in irrational acts.

Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43782045)

*Gun control is about limiting the ease with which someone can engage in irrational acts.*

Then maybe, just maybe, we ought to be working on helping the irrational rather than banning inanimate objects that can do nothing at all on their own.

But you know what? It will never happen, because the gun banners DON"T CARE about addressing the base cause of violent crime, they just want to ban guns. Period.

Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (2)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#43781945)

And... companies have already started experimenting with 3D printed metal. I believe BMW was messing around with it, and was reporting it worked but the metal was not as strong.

Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (4, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#43781677)

Despite it no longer being a "3d printed gun", it would still be a game changer in the sense that this would be a functional multi-shot gun that can be manufactured by pretty much anyone with access to a crappy consumer-grade printer, without requiring any gunsmithing, metal working or other mechanical skills. If you can assemble a simple Lego kit, you can put together such a gun.

Re:3D-Printed Revolver? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#43781851)

Two Words.

Rupertus Pepperbox.

The spring would not be necessary.

Define "working" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781371)

FTA: " Over the course of its test firing, Joe and Guslick say it misfired several times, and some of its screws and its firing pin had to be replaced. After each firing, the ammo cartridges expanded enough that they had to be pounded out with a hammer."

Sure, so other than that...

Re:Define "working" (3, Informative)

crakbone (860662) | about a year ago | (#43781603)

What did you expect from a 25 dollar gun that is in its beta stage?

and because of this. (2)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43781373)

weapon smugglers won't need to smuggle weapons any longer. Just smuggle the printer and the raw materials. What will become more valuable will be the specs for any new weapon design. Welcome to the future....

Re:and because of this. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781463)

Zip guns are nothing new. You can with a bit of know how make one from stuff you buy at a hardware store (and far cheaper and easier).

This 3d printed gun thing is just a variation on zip guns. I would go as far to say it is a novelty more than anything.

Right now the cost of the plastic to put into these things is worth more than the object they are making.

Re:and because of this. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781477)

I wouldn't be surprised if some type of DRM appeared on printers to prevent this, similar to the algorithm in color copiers which at best locks up a copier, at worst phones home, if someone places a dollar or Euro on the glass and hits copy.

The DRM could look for blueprint designs by hash, or certain "gun-like" items.

This could easily become law in days.

Of course, it will result in a cat and mouse game, but in a cat and mouse game, the cat almost always wins.

Re:and because of this. (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#43781715)

Even assuming that such DRM were feasible to implement, it still could not stop people from printing guns which do not conform to legal standards in the first place, but may still be entirely functional.

Of course, I expect that once this is fully realized, home manufacturing of any kind, without some sort of license and thus subject to regular inspection, is I'm afraid likely to be outlawed in the not too distant future.

Re:and because of this. (1, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year ago | (#43781763)

I wouldn't be surprised if some type of DRM appeared on printers to prevent this

3D-printers are actually pretty easy to build even at home and if you build one of your own there wouldn't be any sort of a DRM.

The DRM could look for blueprint designs by hash, or certain "gun-like" items.

Impossible. There is no way for the printer or the software to know what the parts will be used for. There is no universal definition for "gun-like" as even a simple, straight tube would be "gun-like."

Re:and because of this. (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43781765)

Many of the most popular 3D printers are open-source designs, including the firmware. This makes DRM embedding essentially impossible since the whole concept is based on security by obscurity.

Re:and because of this. (4, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#43781869)

Of course, it will result in a cat and mouse game, but in a cat and mouse game, the cat almost always wins.

Sorry for the digression, but real predator-prey dynamics are more complicated than that. Predators are far short of 100% efficient (citation needed; I am lazy!), and predator and prey populations are interdependent [wikipedia.org] . I can only speculate about the analogy to regulation and disobedience, but it seems possible that it still holds up. There could be the same back-and-forth between the success of regulators and the success of those who circumvent or evade the regulation.

Re:and because of this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781871)

What kind of fascist a-hole would even start thinking about how to employ DRM or legislation to control something so irrelevant. Please bleach yourself from the gene pool.

The greatest shitstorm of our times. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781379)

so it begins

stratasys lies about strength? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43781381)

according to the guys they claim the usual home printer abs is stronger than the stratasys abs+.
though it wouldn't be that far fetched to believe the stratasys just uses it so they can keep tighter stranglehold on the consumables..

Re:stratasys lies about strength? (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43781407)

When a marketing claim conflicts with real-world-testing-based claims by tinkerers, I consider the marketing claim to be false until proven otherwise.

Re:stratasys lies about strength? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781809)

I consider the marketing claim to be false until proven otherwise.

That's really all you need to say.

Re:stratasys lies about strength? (4, Funny)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#43782067)

When a marketing claim conflicts with real-world-testing-based claims by tinkerers, I consider the marketing claim to be false until proven otherwise.

You could have saved yourself some effort if you left out everything prior to the comma.

so what (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781397)

In 1994 a friend and I assembled a .22 from hardware store pipe, a hacksaw, a drill, some nails, and springs. It had a hammer and a trigger. We followed no plans...we just knew you needed a barrel, and something to smack the rim of the bullets we had...and we improvised. It worked fine, but you have to unscrew the barrel to to reload its single shot.

Re:so what (5, Insightful)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about a year ago | (#43781495)

In 1994 a friend and I assembled a .22 from hardware store pipe, a hacksaw, a drill, some nails, and springs. It had a hammer and a trigger. We followed no plans...we just knew you needed a barrel, and something to smack the rim of the bullets we had...and we improvised

Ah, but you forgot something something Libertarian something something Internet something something Freedom!

This is the entire fucking point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781625)

Making a gun is damn easy, people did it with what we would now consider very simple tools. It is literally not rocket science.

The AK-47 is rather famous for being cheap to and easy to produce. Various other weapons were also designed to be build with simple metal working tools because that was all that was available. Not a crappy plastic shooter but military grade weapons.

Anyone with access to a modern metal working shop can produce a decent weapon. Explosives are harder but again gunpowder is hardly a secret anymore.

And in the US most can buy a gun anyway. So what exactly is the point? That now nerds who can't hold tools can do it too?

What next, 3d printed Molotov cocktails? To show the man he can't deny us our store bought ones?

Re:This is the entire fucking point (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#43781993)

There are two parts to the whole "3D printed gun debate" that I've heard people spouting.

A) Gun restrictions are pointless because I can just print a gun
B) I can print an untraceable metal-less gun

A... is pointless because as you say it was always possible to make a cheap gun from common parts. Especially when it doesn't have to be particularly re-usable or reliable or accurate.

B... is kind of an issue. Some thug needs a burner gun for just one or two shots and he can dispose of it or melt it down. Granted, I guess it could always have been done with PVC piping and a 22, but this was does make it more convenient.

Re:so what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781671)

This is the sort of thing that underlines how fake it is to put up vague fences. Lots of BS "rules" (lolRIAA) are supposedly circumvented with the use of a camera/robot proxy, and now more still by anyone with a block of metal, plastic, and a kitchen knife. No wait - sharp fingernails.

Re:so what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781929)

We used to used a pipe and a hammer to smack the rim. Had to wear gloves and the pressure was probably much lower than in a proper barrel, but it worked.

Re:so what (1)

wift (164108) | about a year ago | (#43782051)

One of the issues was the material the guns were made of wasn't detectable by metal detectors. Although I assume the ammo would be.

Waiting for the nanny statists (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43781459)

Won't be too long before they try to ban 3d printing at this point...

Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43781509)

Yes, yes, we know everyone who's really attached to their guns is paranoid about impending tyranny. You don't need to remind us.

Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#43781799)

Tyranny is already here. It is just masked in Bureaucracy. All you need to know is that the Powers that be, have already targeted "enemies of the state", simply because they oppose the Bureaucracy's over reaching power.

Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (2, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43781821)

I just told you we don't need to be reminded that you're paranoid. Christ

Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (2)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#43781897)

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Re: Waiting for the nanny statists (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year ago | (#43781977)

thank you for that laugh kind sir.

Paranoid? IRS? Fast & Furious? Seized Records? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781825)

Silly, paranoid people! Why, it's like they believe they live in a country where:

Silly, paranoid gun owners!

Thank God we live in America rather than that paranoid, nightmarish, Orwellian police state!

Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781733)

And here I was waiting for someone to whine about "the nanny state." At least one of us is satisfied.

Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781769)

Won't be too long before they try to ban 3d printing at this point...

I don't mind having them make it illegal to print guns since it is already illegal to print money. Or are you having issues with that too?

Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43781947)

I have a problem with your apples and oranges comparison, if that's what you're asking.

Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781867)

We should just summary execute people that own 3d printers then steal the printers to make even more fake fiat currency while subduing due process and pissing on aborted bald eagle eggs.

I sometimes wonder if this is really how Libertarians see everyone not like them. Perhaps one day they'll realize the irony.

Re:Waiting for the nanny statists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781969)

I can't speak for all libertarians, but THIS libertarian looks at very few people that way. It's the government and parties that we have such disdain for.

It's not a gun (5, Informative)

SupplyMission (1005737) | about a year ago | (#43781475)

It may be a fun proof of concept, but about the only things it is good for are generating political hype and drawing attention to the inventors.

People fail to realize that it's much easier and cheaper to make a home made gun using existing tools and materials. Just because someone now made a [not very good] one using a 3D printer, everybody seems to be freaking out.

Further well-grounded and thoughtful discussion on the matter can be found here:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/10/oh_no_its_the_plastic_3d_gun/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:It's not a gun (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781653)

It requires much less skill, basically putting some plastic "cartridge" in the off-shelf device and downloading the model off some lulz hacker site. But at least metal bullets and explosives are needed to make harm, and maybe some other metal parts. What is entertaining (or scary) is that it's possible to print a homemade gun in various shapes. Airport security officers will have no chance against that, except if they ban any weirdly looking of plastic piece. But then airport security is more of a show than serious threat prevention.

Re:It's not a gun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781705)

That explains the rash of shootings with these home made guns. I hear this bullshit about how easy it is to make guns at the moment from idiots like you all the time, why don't you make a youtube video of yourself building and firing one, prove your point?

Re:It's not a gun (1)

SupplyMission (1005737) | about a year ago | (#43781837)

Did you reply to the wrong comment?

Re:It's not a gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781745)

Before the current "OMG buy up every gun you can" frenzy, you could get a fully functional semi-automatic made-in-USA Hi-Point 9mm for ~$150. Traditional manufacturing is still way cheaper than any of these designs, so I agree, it's a fun proof of concept but not likely to be of much interest to most people.

Re:It's not a gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781957)

Before the current "OMG buy up every gun you can" frenzy, you could get a fully functional semi-automatic made-in-USA Hi-Point 9mm for ~$150. Traditional manufacturing is still way cheaper than any of these designs, so I agree, it's a fun proof of concept but not likely to be of much interest to most people.

Yeah, I have one of those Hi-Points in .40 caliber. It's a total POS. i couldn't in good conscience sell it on to somebody. Seriously thinking of throwing it away.

Re:It's not a gun (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#43781987)

Is this a gun, as in a fully functional and useful tool? No. But it's not proof of any kind that 3d guns are impractical in principle (as that Register article claims); quite the contrary. The Liberator proved that it's possible to print a gun that can be fired (unreliably) on a printer, without blowing up. The Lulz version proves it is possible to create one that can be fired repeatedly, and can be created on a consumer grade printer. From here on in the reliability will improve, and perhaps someone will come up with a double barreled one or a six-shooter even.

This development is not interesting for gun enthusiasts. It may be interesting for people who need to smuggle a gun past security (you still need to get the metal parts + cartridges through the detector). It's not that interesting for people with the skills, tools and smarts to build their own gun, nor is it for criminals who can (in most countries) quite simply acquire a gun from an illegal source. But it is very interesting for people who want to acquire a gun illegally, not necessarily because they want to use it for criminal purposes, but in case they want one to defend themselves but the gov't doesn't let them have one.

And for that purpose, you wouldn't really need something that can reliably fire 10.000 rounds. 6 reliable shots would already be a vast improvement over nothing at all. And given the progress already made on these printers, I'd say that printing and assembling such a gun by anyone may well be viable in a few years.

Not for Serious Gunowners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781481)

No way I'd ever trust anything like that in my hand (I only ever get two). Maybe someday there will be a nanometal process that will form strong printed materials. Very rarely is anybody a good shot with a gun they've never fired before. Put 200 practice rounds through it sure, but then the thing is probably toast, so the best one could hope for would be to use it at short range.

Then, $25 isn't much less than a gangbanger would pay for a stolen handgun made of real metal. In order for anybody to want to use one of these things, the reward needs to be much greater than the risk. Who needs slow access to an easily meltable, potentially hazardous, limited-use handgun? A low-rent James Bond? Why do politicians think anybody would want one (aside from being disconnected from reality)?

Does making these for $5 even change the equation?

Re:Not for Serious Gunowners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781737)

This is true, these are not for serious gun owners.

They are for members of a resistance movement who are otherwise unarmed, and are meant for the close-up killing of an enemy soldier so you can steal his weapons. That's what the original WW2 Liberator was designed for, and it's the ONLY use these printed pistols will have.

Re:Not for Serious Gunowners (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781747)

Who needs slow access to an easily meltable, potentially hazardous, limited-use handgun?

Anybody looking to off their neighbor and destroy the evidence in their home microwave?

Re: Not for Serious Gunowners (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year ago | (#43782047)

The 3d printing tech is rapidly increasing. It's good to have the discussion now, rather than later. Of course, if home made fire arms remain legal, then it's a non issue.

Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics. (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#43781487)

The fundamental tenet of the gun rights advocates is that, armed citizenry will take down tyrannical governments. Well, we are now going to see how true it is. These 3D printed cheap plastic guns are going to flood Africa and other such places with very cheap guns. We will know if it enables them to take down tyrants.

The main effect of these cheap plastic guns for us Americans is going to be even more draconian gate rape at the airports. Buy stock in Megabus, Boltbus etc. Air travel is going to be used only when it is unavoidable.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (1)

SupplyMission (1005737) | about a year ago | (#43781585)

Nope. Nothing will change as a result of these poor quality, single shot, plastic 3D printed guns. Not in Africa, not nowhere.

Before piling onto the 3D printed gun hype bandwagon, think about the practical aspects of deplying these toy guns for any purpose, besides messing around in your basement with your 3D printer and CAD software.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781665)

This gun requires you to pound the cartridge out after each round, metal and high strength plastic does serve a purpose that relatively softer plastic can't really do. Not very appealing considering how comically cheap guns are in Africa. Sure the tech will improve and the printers will get cheaper but it's not going to compete well with $20 hand guns and sub-$500 fully auto AK47s.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43782017)

Sub-$500? Well, that is true I guess, I have seen them at $100.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781781)

The fundamental tenet of the gun rights advocates is that, armed citizenry will take down tyrannical governments...We will know if it enables them to take down tyrants.

If you're referring to the Arab Spring incidents, many countries indeed had their leaders kicked out due to armed rebellions. Syria is a sticking point because it's a much more complex situation than just "entrenched ruler vs. dissatisfied mobs".

These 3D printed cheap plastic guns are going to flood Africa and other such places with very cheap guns.

Good luck competing against the flood of cheap AK's and WW2 surplus they've had for decades.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43781803)

Is this a joke? Africa and the former Soviet republics are already awash in cheap AK-47s, and have been for years.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781997)

No kidding. I do not think people realize how many of them there are. The ak47 is *the* most produced gun ever. The Soviets (and now the russians) and the Chinese have been cranking them out by the millions for 40+ years. And that is just those 2.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#43781835)

The fundamental tenet of the gun rights advocates is that, armed citizenry will take down tyrannical governments.

No, the fundamental tenet of gun rights advocates is that self-defense, which includes the right to own the tools of self-defense, is a basic human right. That fact remains true whether tyrants can survive armed populations or not.

Now it is true as a matter of history that one point the "Founding Fathers" considered was that a nation that relied on a militia (armed and trained body of citizens) for its defense, rather than a standing army, had a built-in defense again its government going tyrannical.

These 3D printed cheap plastic guns are going to flood Africa and other such places with very cheap guns.

Guns are already cheap and easy to make. That's the whole design philosophy of the AK-47 -- you can already get them for around $50 in some parts of Africa [frumforum.com] .

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#43781839)

Because we all know that Africa and former Soviet republics are teeming with 3D printers.

No, wait, they are teeming with AK47s. AK's, AK's, AK's for days.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#43781873)

If you are fighting a rebellion, a chemist and physicist would be much more useful that a 3d printer, unless you intend to drop the 3D printer on someone. This is the funny thing about gun people. They seem to think the gun gives them a magic shield that will protect them from everything, even the well armed FBI, or despotic government that is willing to use air strikes against civilians, or Rand Paul who wants to use drones against robbery suspects.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#43781909)

In some parts of africa, a full auto AK-47 is cheaper than a goat. These little plastic zip guns are not "cheap".

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year ago | (#43782059)

From what I have heard they run about $20 in the markets. One of my cousins was over in that area with the US military and they all received stern warning upon arrival not to acquire one of the cheap AKs as they couldn't bring it home and would end up in a metric ton of trouble with their COs. Being a good person my cousin didn't attempt it even though he probably could have gotten away with it.

Re:Let us watch Africa and former soviet republics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781991)

One need only look to present day Syria to see the absurd claims of the pro-gunners are false.

Armed revolution is simply not possible in the modern world where a nation's soldiers fight for almighty cash-money instead of freedom and the ideals of their nation. Even if the entire military broke ranks and joined the revolutionaries, this guarantees a military dictatorship if the revolution is successful by the way, the nation they are fighting against just hires dime a dozen mercenaries from whatever handy poor nations they have sitting near by. In the ensuing war of attrition, no one wins and the war drags on until the revolutionaries see the futility of their efforts and conclude that it's not worth dying to win a prize that is a war ravaged hellscape.

Exspensive (1)

WhoEvrIwant2b (1165497) | about a year ago | (#43781499)

It may only cost $25 but even at 10 rounds that is still rather expensive per shot. Still a lot cheaper to find a redneck to weld you some steel tubing together and make a cheap rifle.

Re:Exspensive (2)

SupplyMission (1005737) | about a year ago | (#43781615)

Yes. Anybody with a cheap Harbor Freight welder and Chinese 7" mini lathe can produce a gun. Total cost of the tools is about 1/2 that of the Lulz 3D printer, and you'd be able to make actual guns, not these fragile plastic toys that everybody is losing their shit over.

Re:Exspensive (2)

runeghost (2509522) | about a year ago | (#43781877)

You left out the need for some decent metalworking skills. What's special about the 3D printed gun is that anyone who's computer-literate can download the specs and hit "print".

Bad (1)

w3bd4wg (938648) | about a year ago | (#43781601)

But thats illegal!

here's a question (2, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43781633)

Everyone is freaking out like before this you needed to be God himself to create a firearm. How long does it take a gunsmith to build a gun from scratch? Compare that to the time it takes to design one in AutoCAD or whatever and then 3D print it and assemble it. It's probably pretty comparable and the metal one doesn't look like a bad sci fi prop. I bet I could design a working rifle that would fire a couple bullets from a trip to the hardware store, or especially a shotgun! You need a barrel, aka steel pipe. Then a handle so solder/glue basically anything on. Then you need an end cap with a semi-sealed firing pin to strike the bullet so a piece of scrap metal and a spring. Tada, gun (at about the same reliability level).

Re:here's a question (2)

kaizendojo (956951) | about a year ago | (#43781995)

Your example gunsmith tends to use metallic parts whic are easier to detect at airport screenings instead of 3D pritned plastic... That's why everybody is freaking out.

What else is new, kiddies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781713)

zipgun [google.com]

Re:What else is new, kiddies (1)

hughbar (579555) | about a year ago | (#43781865)

Thank you, as a relic from the 60s, I was about to mention zipguns, but you beat me to it, all kudos. If you're quite young, get off my lawn though!

a slight break in logic (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43781717)

"Joe, who asked that I not reveal his full name..."

"The clip was filmed by Michael Guslick, a fellow Wisconsin engineer who helped Joe"

Hmmmmm, lol.

Re:a slight break in logic (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#43781941)

Are you suggesting Joe is his full name?

Slashdot approved tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781755)

What the Slashdot front page is telling me is that a printable gun in every household is exciting, and people wearing glasses with built-in displays is creepy.

Wake me up when ammo can be printed (2)

Novogrudok (2486718) | about a year ago | (#43781775)

Until then I am not impressed. So you can print a plastic tube with a handle. Wow. Now for the trip to a "hardware store" to buy some bullets. Oh wait, I am not in USA, there are no bullets for general sale here, unless you are a registered gun owner.

Re:Wake me up when ammo can be printed (2)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#43781887)

For what it's worth... here in the US it varies from region to region.

Sure, some states have guns and ammo available at general stores. Others, like mine... not as easy. Guns are only sold in gun shops as well as ammo. No "Walmart" or "KMart" gun shops here.

So buying bullets would be more of a pain than, say, Texas. Since there aren't THAT many places here.

But I don't know if there's a restriction of "needing to be a gun owner" to buy them here. I don't THINK so but I don't know.

Why would you consider using a 3D printer? (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about a year ago | (#43781859)

When you can create your own molds of clay / polymer / wax that can be used for casting much higher precision than cheap 3D printing and at a much lower price.
I don't understand the hype around gun printing. Making plastic guns has been possible for decades.

Says a lot about human nature. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43781895)

This generation's equivalent of the printing press is being used to construct weapons. How is his helping the human condition? Can't we do something better than this?

I'll just leave this here. (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about a year ago | (#43781935)

nocera.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/the-gun-report-may-21-2013/#more-3086

Re:I'll just leave this here. (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about a year ago | (#43781981)

Why 3D printing? (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43781989)

I don't get the obsession with using 3D printing for guns. Other than the fact that it sounds cool and futuristic, it seems inferior to CNC-machining in just about every way. It's not even cheaper; you could buy a pretty decent hobbyist CNC machine for less than the $1725 that this 3D printer cost. And it's unlikely that cost gap will change significantly, since 3D printers need many of the same components (precise linear guidance rails and stepper motors) that CNC machines do.

The truth is that this is just a crappy plastic zip gun. I generally like to give tinkerers and hackers the benefit of the doubt, but it's hard to see what legitimate purpose it could serve. Certainly not self-defense. Even if you're envisioning some future scenario where you fight against tyranny, how is this going to be better than a zip gun made of common metal parts? Do you think the government is going to ban plumbing pipe? The only thing these plastic guns can do that a regular firearm can't is to get past metal detectors. They are weapons only suitable for criminals, assassins, and terrorists. I don't think that is what the people designing them have in mind, but if they are actually used for anything in the real world, that's what it will be.

I think the best commentary on this is a speech by Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park: "I'll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you're using here, it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could [...] Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should."

So undetectable gun.... (2)

kaizendojo (956951) | about a year ago | (#43782023)

Call me when you start printing plastic ammunition. Until then, this isn't all that much of a threat as far as I can see.
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