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ATF Tests Show 3D Printed Guns Can Explode

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the atf-vs-the-people dept.

Government 233

Lucas123 writes "The ATF has been testing 3D printed guns over the past year and, not surprisingly, has found that depending on the thermoplastics, 3D printers and CAD designs used, some can explode on the first attempt to shoot them. The ATF published videos this week of the tests on YouTube showing what looked like a Liberator model of a 3D gun exploding upon being fired. Another model, created with the popular ABS polymer and an advanced printer, could fire as many as 8 shots. The tests were published at a time when a law passed in 1988 banning the sale of guns made entirely of plastic is set to expire next month." I hope they post the videos when they do the same tests on Solid Concepts' 1911.

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233 comments

do tell (5, Insightful)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 5 months ago | (#45426694)

metal guns explode, too.

Re:do tell (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 5 months ago | (#45426724)

Is this the same federal govt that developed movies and campaigns saying that smoking pot would cause you to go insane, kill and rape people?

Re:do tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426974)

Is this the same federal govt that developed movies and campaigns saying that smoking pot would cause you to go insane...

Why Pot Makes Some People Psychotic [livescience.com]

People who smoke pot may be at increased risk for psychosis if they have a certain genetic marker, a new study finds.

The results show people with this genetic marker who use cannabis are twice as likely to experience psychosis compared with those who use the drug but do not have the genetic marker.

Among people who use the drug every day, the risk for psychosis increases sevenfold for those who have the genetic marker.

The Marijuana-Psychosis Connection Goes Both Ways In Teens [forbes.com]

Re:do tell (3, Insightful)

poopdeville (841677) | about 5 months ago | (#45427394)

That's nice and all, but... use Bayes theorem. If you get statistically significant results, let us know.

That is, the summary statistics are incomplete for the kind of inference you want to draw.

In particular, the summary statistics you give tell us that having the genetic marker makes a smoker twice as likely to experience psychosis as a smoker who does not have the marker. It does not tell us how much more or less likely psychosis is compared to a non-smoker.

Critical thinking failure.

Re:do tell (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427710)

Oddly enough I get the sense that the purpose to which you put your abilities for critical thinking is to ensure an uninterrupted supply of marijuana rather than determining its actual risk.

Re:do tell (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 5 months ago | (#45427064)

Well, it's true that if you smoke Mary Jane you will eventually die. Absolutely certain.

Re:do tell (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#45427558)

A friend of mine has this to say about "gateway drugs":

So what if 20% of marijuana users go on to use "hard" drugs? They ALL started on milk!

Correlation does not equal causation.

Re:do tell (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about 5 months ago | (#45427338)

Is this the same federal govt that developed movies and campaigns saying that smoking pot would cause you to go insane, kill and rape people?

From the perspective of reducing your eventual jail sentence, doing the killing before the raping actually seems relatively sane, insofar as at that point, presumably all you're guilty of is desecrating a corpse.

Re:do tell (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#45427420)

I don't think the DA, judge or jury will care about the order and it will be off to the "big house" for a very long time, unless you are in a death penalty state where it's off to "death row" for a few years.

Re:do tell (2)

fermion (181285) | about 5 months ago | (#45427380)

Yes, and the same federal government that says hospitals cannot deny care to an injured person, and sets a policy that gun shots must be investigated. If we lived in a world where parents accidentally shot their kid, and if they did not have a way to pay for treatment, the parents had to find a way to a way to treat the kid not at the taxpayer expense, and the taxpayer were not paying police to investigate it, then the argument would be fair. The problem with dope, and even crack and meth, is that the taxpayer is paying huge amounts to do basically nothing. OTOH, the taxpayer will likely be on the hook when a gun explodes, so doing tests for guns that routinely explode is beneficial to everyone. It like testing cars for flaws. Sure, cars will roll over, but we really don't want cars that roll over by design.

Re:do tell (1)

icebike (68054) | about 5 months ago | (#45427490)

Reefer Madness!! [youtube.com]

Given any commercial shoulder arm or hand gun, I can load you a round the will burst the barrel.
Not that hard.

Re:do tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427634)

I knew a dude who disposed of his splitting brass by overloading it (with the fastest powder he could find) then dropping it on the street.

His theory: anybody dumb enough to load a random round off the street into their weapon should not own a functioning gun (or hand, or eye etc). He was kind of a bastard.

Re:do tell (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#45426786)

And yet those cases make up a miniscule fraction of the number of times they hurt people. Exploding as soon as you use it is a bit more serious.

Re:do tell (2)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#45426840)

Put too hot a round into almost any firearm, be it plastic, metal, or whatever, and it will explode.

I think this is really a non-issue. The Liberator was a proof of concept more than anything else. Of course, the technology will get better, but the only way one would use a 3D printed plastic pistol is if they had no other recourse.

The real tests I'm curious about, would be the Solid Concept's 1911. I wonder how well sintered metal will take a high round count. Since the 1911 was made back when metal technology was fairly primitive, it might just be that the metal stereolithography (what 3D printing was called before it was called 3D printing) process is good enough. Plus, shooting a .45 round puts a lot more pressure on components than a .22 or .25.

Re:do tell (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 months ago | (#45426984)

no, most modern firearms fail more gracefully than that as the weapon gets destroyed

Re:do tell (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#45427042)

I should have been clearer with my wording. Any firearm will rupture or fail if too high power a load is put in. It might not explode with pieces going everywhere, but it will render the firearm into modern art sculpture, even though the user would be unharmed because of the good engineering.

Re:do tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426918)

Yes, they do. Every single one of them do every time they are fired. The bad part is when the explosion is not controlled properly.

Not often (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 5 months ago | (#45426950)

If you have a properly made gun, it takes a pretty bad malfunction to explode, and then usually they don't actually explode in any normal sense of the word, they just distend and crack. Guns are made to be reliable, since the agencies that buy them tend to value that.

Re:Not often (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427506)

If you have a properly made gun, it takes a pretty bad malfunction to explode

No true Scotsman's gun would ever explode.

Re:do tell (2)

QA (146189) | about 5 months ago | (#45427158)

I used to belong to a gun club. Competitive Bull's-eye shooter here.

I've seen the top strap of a S&W model 686 (Stainless Steel 6" barrel .357 Magnum revolver) get peeled back due to an "explosion". The top of the cylinder was blown open, then the top strap was blown upwards and back.
Now a revolver is inherently stronger than an automatic in most cases, and Smith & Wesson is a well manufactured pistol, but do you know what caused it? It was caused by a squib load.
A squib load is not enough powder in the case. Lets say you were hand loading your own cartridges and you were measuring out 14 grains of powder, but instead only put 4 grains in. Now, instead of a controlled burn (which is how firearm cartridges work) you really DO have an explosion. Too much pressure, probably in excess of 50,000 PSI, way too fast. Boom goes your handgun.
So, I don't have a tinfoil hat on, but things may not always be as they seem.

Re:do tell (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427726)

A squib load is not enough powder in the case. Lets say you were hand loading your own cartridges and you were measuring out 14 grains of powder, but instead only put 4 grains in. Now, instead of a controlled burn (which is how firearm cartridges work) you really DO have an explosion. Too much pressure, probably in excess of 50,000 PSI, way too fast. Boom goes your handgun.

Yeah, no. A squib load is a cartridge with insufficient energy to send the bullet all the way out of the barrel, true. But if you're trying to convince me that a cartridge with less energy potential than a standard round has the ability to destroy a a handgun by itself, I'm not buying it. With that logic, a colibri round would end the world as we know it. The true danger of a squib load is that it does fire (so the problem may not be apparent) and lodges the bullet in the barrel. The next round fired is when you can experience catastrophic failure. That revolver failed due to either a bullet stuck in the barrel, or a double-charged hand load.

Re:do tell (1)

sugar and acid (88555) | about 5 months ago | (#45427288)

A properly manufactured weapon will fire thousands of rounds, with basic cleaning and maintenance. These printed guns can't make 10. They are not weapons, they are a political statement arguing that controlling the sale of guns is impossible because anybody can make one. It's not true, and the argument is literally blowing up in their face.

Re:do tell (2)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#45427498)

These are zip guns. The plastic printed one is obviously dangerous and unreliable even by the standard of zip guns (which usually start with a pipe from a hardware store and go downhill from there). This is a "look at what's possible" statement, and nothing more, especially in America where you can make a perfectly serviceable AR15 from some kit parts and a CnC mill, and legally so in most places.

Heck, you can make a working AK47 for a shovel [northeastshooters.com] without advanced tools, if you're skilled.

The technology will only improve. The plastic gun is just "here's a new way to do this thing we can do in other ways - so far it's useless, but this way is very likely to improve".

Re:do tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427592)

sure they're weapons, they're just the first generation of a new class of weapons. i expect in 10 years printed guns will perform as well as traditionally machined gun

Re:do tell (2)

krotkruton (967718) | about 5 months ago | (#45427748)

Especially if you want them to explode. I'm not saying they did or didn't perform tests using sub-par equipment or design the guns specifically to explode after a certain number of rounds are fired, but they sure didn't provide enough information about their testing procedure to reproduce the results or confirm they were valid tests.

I don't know a whole lot about guns, but I'm pretty sure that if someone wanted to build a conventional gun that would reliably explode after the first shot, they could do it pretty easily, so I've got to assume that the ATF can build a 3D gun that would reliably explode as well.

Coming soon - 3D printable everything (4, Funny)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about 5 months ago | (#45426700)

Once they have these minor inconveniences ironed out I look forward to printing my own hand grenades, flame-throwers, rocket-launchers, heat-seeking missiles, and battalion of robo-troops to deploy them on my 3D-printed floating island in the pacific.

Dammit - printer jam. brb

Re:Coming soon - 3D printable everything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426850)

Soon you can print your own prosthetics when you blow your fingers off!

Captcha: weeper

Re:Coming soon - 3D printable everything (2)

freeze128 (544774) | about 5 months ago | (#45427034)

Molotov Cocktails are cheaper, more easily available, and faster to produce.

Re:Coming soon - 3D printable everything (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#45427070)

I suspect that we...won't see them widely on the civilian market... but makers of larger explosives and munitions might actually have some very interesting ideas about 3d printing.

In principle, as long as there is some 3d printing process that it doesn't react violently with, a propellant charge or warhead could be printed, with very precise control of shape and composition throughout the entire piece: one or more explosive varieties, binders/fillers, etc. deposited where you want them, in the combinations you want them, without the constraints of standard casting or pressing.

It wouldn't be cheap; but if it renders the armor on the T-XY series battle tank substantially less survivable, somebody'll stump up for it.

Re:Coming soon - 3D printable everything (1)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#45427562)

There's already a neat technology that replaces the primer charge in a tank shell with an electrical system, and delivers slightly better performance. The army has tested it out, but isn't rushing to change over. Change comes slowly with this sort of thing, I guess. Maybe 3D printing would have an advantage as it doesn't require anything new in the tank, but it would still be an inventory/procurement change which I suspect is the real hurdle.

Re:Coming soon - 3D printable everything (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#45427608)

Oh, I don't doubt that it'd be a cost and inventory nightmare; but somebody would probably love to have a propellant load whose burn rate changes continuously throughout, based on distance from the point of ignition, so that the properties are optimal for the expected volume of the barrel at that point in the shell's progress out of it...

Re:Coming soon - 3D printable everything (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#45427630)

Sure, 3d printing will revolutionize explosives. But it's also going to revolutionize reactive armor.

Re:Coming soon - 3D printable everything (1)

lgw (121541) | about 5 months ago | (#45427772)

Well, the real problem today is that the primary still takes some time for the explosion to travel, and only certain shapes are possible. The nice thing about the electrical approach is far more freedom to shape the primary, and it all explodes at the same instant. But, yeah, getting clever with the main charge might also yield more, and who knows what cleverness might be possible with normal artillery charges.

The thing is, they're already quite close to optimal. There's just a few % in performance to be gained by any of this.

Re:Coming soon - 3D printable everything (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about 5 months ago | (#45427372)

Once they have these minor inconveniences ironed out I look forward to printing my own hand grenades

Apparently, you can already make a hand grenade. It's called a Liberator.

Lowest Bidder? (2)

Liquidretro (1590189) | about 5 months ago | (#45426728)

So the same contractor who built the health care website builds 3D printers now? Joking aside this would not be a very good test if the agency regulating guns came out and said the ones you make yourself without regulation work better than the ones we regulate, now would it.

Lets flood the web with faulty designs.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426744)

Then we can spot terroists more easily. They will be the ones with 9 fingers!

Re:Lets flood the web with faulty designs.... (2)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 5 months ago | (#45427144)

the middle east is already flooded with c4 filled rifle ammunition which will destroy the rifle and likely the person holding it too. if you're over there be very careful what ammunition you're using, especially in your little plastic liberator.

Re:Lets flood the web with faulty designs.... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#45427488)

Who needs to print a gun in the middle east? They seem to be awash in Russian weapons and starting to build up an inventory of US made ones too. Obtaining one should not be a problem.

Re:Lets flood the web with faulty designs.... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#45427690)

I'd just like to say 'well done' to whatever spook agency came up with that idea. Excellent!

It's obvious. Make all guns illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426750)

What could possibly go wrong?

Unforgiven (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#45426762)

I'm thinking of the scene in the western where the Sheriff is telling the writer what he got wrong in his story. "And BLAM! It blows his hand off, which was a failing common to that model."

I can see making one just to see it work, but in a vice with a string on its trigger. You'd be a fool to shoot a gun with a plastic barrel while holding it. Even steel breaks sometimes.

Re:Unforgiven (0)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 months ago | (#45427172)

No, firearm needs human body to recoil against to avoid damage. Don't put a standard caliber handgun or rifle in a vice (or even put stock of rifle against hard object for firing) Ransom(tm) rests or similar for sighting in weapons thus have system to pivot to absorb recoil

Re:Unforgiven (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#45427700)

That depends on what kind of firearm it is, and how it is operated, e.g. recoil vs. gas.

What I find interesting is how some firearms don't operate correctly if you don't hold them correctly. Tightening your grip will stop FTF in some 1911s.

NEWS AT 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426768)

Seriously... is this news to any of us?

Point being (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 5 months ago | (#45426774)

Real world point "Don't be an idiot and make a gun out of plastic". Fear mongering point., "someone might make a single shot pistol that could be smuggled past a metal detector".

Let the fear mongering begin!

Fear mongering ahoy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426842)

Where the hell are these people getting their 3D printed bullets?!

Re:Fear mongering ahoy (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#45427066)

You can get a bullet past a metal detector without a problem. Put it next to a common metal item, or as a disguised part of a large key cluster (inside a rabbit's foot, with the inside also lined with lead will get you through.

Re:Fear mongering ahoy (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 months ago | (#45427184)

some dense metals are not very inductive, would go through standard metal detector. gold, for instance

Re:Point being (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426852)

Real world point "Don't be an idiot and make a gun out of plastic". Fear mongering point., "someone might make a single shot pistol that could be smuggled past a metal detector".

Let the fear mongering begin!

I know!

How about we give our government MORE money to solve this problem, along with every other one we could think of?

Right?

Things will get better if everyone were only to pay their "fair share"?

Right?

Doesn't our government DESERVE more money?

Fearmongering at its finest. (2)

intermodal (534361) | about 5 months ago | (#45426784)

The plastic gun sale ban is the motivation here. The ATF doesn't care how many people get hurt by bad, homemade guns. The ATF cares about making their own jobs easier by keeping the plastic gun ban in place.

That said, I think most plastic guns are a horrible idea. But, that's why I don't buy nor use them. I have no problem with others doing so while safely away from me.

Re:Fearmongering at its finest. (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 5 months ago | (#45426908)

Are you including Glocks in your "plastic guns are a horrible idea" statement? Because they are generally considered to be of above-average reliability, and are substantially (but obviously not entirely) made out of plastic.

Re:Fearmongering at its finest. (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 5 months ago | (#45426960)

I wasn't as specific as I should have been. I was referring to the entirely (well, nearly entirely) plastic 3D-printed guns. And entirely/nearly entirely plastic moulded or carved (machined? Can you call it that?) guns, I suppose, while we're at it.

Re:Fearmongering at its finest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427002)

As with any "poly-frame" pistol only the handgrip and magazine assembly is plastic, the slide and barrel are always metal.

Re:Fearmongering at its finest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427514)

A Glock isn't a "plastic gun" any more than a Corvette is a "plastic car". There's some plastic cladding on the outside but the stressed parts are metal.

The article headline may as well read: "Breaking news! Government discovers that plastic stuff breaks more readily than metal stuff!"

Re:Fearmongering at its finest. (1)

glitch0 (859137) | about 5 months ago | (#45427648)

But, that's why I don't buy nor use them.

If plastic guns are banned, then you can't buy nor use them anyway. You don't even have the option.

Given the trustworthiness of law enforcement... (0)

kylemonger (686302) | about 5 months ago | (#45426810)

... in these matters, I'd be more inclined to believe in these tests if Consumer Reports did them. Or maybe the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Re:Given the trustworthiness of law enforcement... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#45427742)

Consumer reports rated the 'vette unacceptable because it was a lousy economy car.

I'm sure they couldn't get past the agenda with guns. They would rate them all 'bad'.

of course their demo exploded (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 5 months ago | (#45426846)

So they can show that 3d printed guns are bad and should be outlawed.

WTF, how is this even news?

Re:of course their demo exploded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427302)

If you had RTFA or WTFV, you would know the Liberator made of ABS withstood 8 firings before they stopped testing it. It didn't appear to sustain any damage.

And THAT is why they want to ban 3d printed guns - because they have the potential to work reliably. Not because they will blow up if made of the wrong material.

So no new laws then (4, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#45426860)

It looks then like we don't need to pass any laws around 3D printing of guns, since according to the feds it's a self-correcting problem.

Re:So no new laws then (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 5 months ago | (#45427804)

It looks then like we don't need to pass any laws around 3D printing of guns, since according to the feds it's a self-correcting problem.

By that logic, so are suicide bombers.

Entirely Appropriate (3, Interesting)

hedgemage (934558) | about 5 months ago | (#45426870)

I think its entirely appropriate for government to determine safety standards and inform the citizenry when something doesn't comply. With the manufacturing of /everything/ by 3D printers, the vast majority of the populace has no way to determine which designs are safe and stable and which are junk because most of them are not engineers or materials scientists. I think that testing and rating designs for potentially dangerous items, not just firearms, that could cause grievous harm due to catastrophic failure is good role for government to act in the common good.

Keep the designs free for all, but provide a central database where I can reference a rating performed by experts. I wouldn't mind my tax dollars going for that.

How accurate - and reproducible - is it? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 5 months ago | (#45426876)

The plastic gun might be novel and all, but if it can't hit anything because the barrel and other important parts flex and distort too much, then it's not worth anything as a weapon. And if another one gets off 8 shots before self-destructing the question should be asked of whether the first 7 shots were of any accuracy.

Re:How accurate - and reproducible - is it? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 5 months ago | (#45426972)

I'm sure someone will mention that a device that just has one shot in an airplane can mean more than an AR-15 on the ground.

Then there is the fact that some gangster may not really care about accuracy. For most things, pulling out any type of firearm on a victim will get the criminal the car, wallet, bag o' meth, or even a hostage.

Of course, this gives me a fear that the other shoe will fall -- DRM on 3D printers. I can see this implemented very easily:

1: No printer will function unless the pieces are signed by a third party that vets them for "non-gun" use. So, if someone has an object they want to make, the WRL file has to be uploaded, scanned, then downloaded with an authorized signature for it to be printed.

2: Printers would be registered and tags added to objects, similar to the yellow dots on color printers.

Re:How accurate - and reproducible - is it? (1)

Professr3 (670356) | about 5 months ago | (#45427170)

This might be feasible if it wasn't so darned easy to build your own 3D printer without DRM in it.

Re:How accurate - and reproducible - is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427724)

I'm sure someone will mention that a device that just has one shot in an airplane can mean more than an AR-15 on the ground.

One shot? Seriously? What are you going to shoot? A window? One of the two pilots? Somebody else?

I can assure you that since United Flight 93, there will be more people willing to die stopping you than you will ever be able to get enough rounds though security to shoot. The best you could hope for would be to disable the aircraft, which is going to be quite the trick with ONE shot. You are going to need at least TWO well placed rounds to cause enough damage to the redundant systems to make the plane uncontrollable and your best bet for that is to get both pilots. Good luck shooting something you cannot see, though a locked door. You will have the same amount of fun trying to shoot the flight controls or fuel systems.

Oh, and before you start into thinking about decompression by shooting out a window or some other foolishness, remember that even if you manage to break a window, the aircraft is still flyable only now you will be unconscious in a few seconds. You might kill a few folks, but you are not bringing down the airplane.

Early technology is not perfect (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#45426890)

Original musket style guns had a problem with exploding too, yet metallurgy and gun designs have improved since then.

3D printing is still in is infancy, so the 3D guns will get better as designers learn about the weaknesses of the materials and design around them.

I wouldn't see a 3D gun as any more than a novelty today, but within a few years they will be much improved -- efforts to legislate them will just drive the designs and designers underground, it's not like the war on drugs has made it impossible, or even difficult to find drugs.

3d printers, A tool with bad press (3, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 5 months ago | (#45426904)

I can think of many tools that if used wrong can kill.

3d printers just get bad press because manufacturing is afraid of losing out on money.

Anything that is new will get bad press if people will lose money.

Examples: MPAA/RIAA hated the Internet for sharing songs. So they sued grandmothers for millions and won.
Cable companies are afraid they'll give you too much bandwith and never pay for TV again. So they restrict usages like jerks.
Newspaper is worried that free online newspaper will put them out of buisness. So Murdoc makes threatening claims.
Petroleum giants are afraid of the electric car, so anything something slightly goes wrong with a Tesla, it makes press.
Energy Utilities are afraid of solar, so solar gets all sorts of negative press that it will never fly or be a solution.
It just goes on and on. People with money are afraid of losing their cash cows, so instead of doing what's good for society, they do whats best for themselves. And part of the equation today is,"You can only get away with so much in USA politics. If you can't make a bull shit propoganda story why something is bad for society, people won't elect the crook next cycle." And really, that is about the only thing that keeps the USA from going from suck to blow. So any time someone paints a bullshit propoganda story to you, be a good citizen and dismantle it.

I wonder what that cost (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 months ago | (#45426912)

Well great, the government has done us the service of telling us what we already know. Also, water is wet. How many billions of dollars did this official report cost? Because hell if a website is running into the billions, certainly field testing has got to be worth a couple billion at least!

Re:I wonder what that cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427068)

Well great, the government has done us the service of telling us what we already know.

Define "we".

We're a nation where the average person thinks an "assault rifle" is an actual thing; a thing that is something other than purely cosmetic functions.

The average person is going to eat this nonsense up ("ZOMG! ASPLODES!"), wet themselves (possibly going number two as well), and then mew at their elected idiots to do something - anything - for teh chillens!!!!!!!!!!!!111111

Money well spent by an incompetent government hell-bent on disarming the populace rather than addressing actual issues facing the nation.

Scarcity USA (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 5 months ago | (#45426932)

3d printed guns would matter in the USA if guns were expensive or scarce. But at the moment. Metal mass produced guns are cheap and plentafull. Even crazy people and children can afford guns.

Edison (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#45426934)

I would make a wisecrack about Thomas Edison being put in charge of making these videos, but it appears no elephants were harmed.

Regulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426936)

See, they aren't regulating 3D printed guns because they are guns.
They are regulating 3D printed guns because they too closely resemble a hand grenade!

Re:Regulation (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 5 months ago | (#45427146)

They (the federal government) is not regulating 3D printed guns because they (the federal government) has no right to do so.

The ATF.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45426946)

If you're too stupid to work for the CIA or FBI, the ATF is hiring. Or so says an old CIA fellow....

Breaking News (1)

ebonum (830686) | about 5 months ago | (#45426954)

Plastic not as strong as steel!

On a related subject. Plastic doesn't hold up to the extreme heat generated by multiple rounds as well as steel.

If you didn't see this coming, you are on track to earn a Darwin.

Well...remeber the name... (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#45426982)

"Liberator"..... as some friends of mine pointed out, takes the name of a gun that was dropped in Nazi occupied germany; and essentially encouraged people to use it...once... to shoot a nazi and aquire a real gun. :)

I think the idea is just that, this obviates the need for manufacturing outside and air dropping in, if any geek with a modest personal investment can make them by the 10s or 100s.

Re:Well...remeber the name... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#45427256)

I don't know where the cheapest 3d plastic printer is priced. But I'd be amazed if it was cheaper then a cheap drill press, a vice, a 25 rim chamber reamer and drill set. Plus .25 ID blackpipe, caps, nails as firing pins and rocks as hammers. Buying a pipe cutter/threader might be worth it if you're mass producing.

Zip gun manufacturing kit:

http://www.harborfreight.com/5-speed-bench-drill-press-60238-9067.html [harborfreight.com] 70 bucks.

http://www.harborfreight.com/5-inch-multi-purpose-vise-67415.html [harborfreight.com] $70 bucks, overkill.

http://www.jgstools.com/2010catalog.pdf [jgstools.com] No prices obvious. I'm gonna guess $50 for hss.

http://www.harborfreight.com/29-piece-titanium-nitride-coated-drill-bit-set-5889.html [harborfreight.com] $20 bucks

Yes, I've given a little thought to draining the gun buy-back funds. Purely as a service to society. Protect the good guns by giving them zip guns to melt down and make a decent payday in the process.

Re:Well...remeber the name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427766)

Yes, I've given a little thought to draining the gun buy-back funds. Purely as a service to society. Protect the good guns by giving them zip guns to melt down and make a decent payday in the process.

I like the way you think.

This kills the "heritage" argument for me (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 5 months ago | (#45427092)

A lot of the hunters and such around here go on and on about how their guns are part of their family heritage, they are beautiful works of engineering, etc. I agree with all those arguments. There's something beautiful in a hundred year old pistol that still works, or a lovingly crafted replica of a piece from 1776.

This thing? This is an ugly piece of plastic made by people just to give the proverbial middle finger to the government. There's no heritage here. Just the same kind of morons who refuse to wear seat belts because they're protesting the seat belt law.

Re:This kills the "heritage" argument for me (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 5 months ago | (#45427114)

What Law are these people protesting? It is perfectly legal to manufacture your own firearm for your own use.

Re:This kills the "heritage" argument for me (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#45427678)

This is an ugly piece of plastic made by people just to give the proverbial middle finger to the government.

The fact that an ugly piece of plastic does give the middle finger to the government is what makes it an important political statement.

They would say that, wouldn't they? (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about 5 months ago | (#45427232)

Or am I being too cynical in suggesting that they might just want to indulge in a little FUD wrt plastic guns...

BATFE (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427260)

they also tested airsoft rifles and concluded they could be readily converted into machine guns, so take any of their test conclusions with a pound of salt.

Re:BATFE (1)

felrom (2923513) | about 5 months ago | (#45427672)

Some other famous ATF rulings:

Shoestrings are machine guns.
ChoreBoy pot scrubbing pads are silencers.
If the ATF can swap out 7 internal parts of your gun with machine gun parts, and make it fire full auto, then you were in possession of a machine gun.
If you possess a combination of parts that could be used to make an illegal gun, you're guilty of having made it.
If, in 8 hours of work in a modern machine shop, you could convert a semi-auto gun to a machine gun, then it is "readily convertible" and illegal.
Baseball is not a sport. (Yes, that really is an argument the BATFE has made.)

I wont even begin on their rulings concerning the NFA, armor piercing ammunition, or import regulations, where their idea of logical comes completely unglued from reality.

Really? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 months ago | (#45427296)

I never would have thought that possible. Captain Obvious hard at work i see.

Remember tho, its all part of a plan to scare people into staying away from this technology and not advancing it.

"Set to expire".. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 months ago | (#45427330)

Like that matters, as they wont let an anti-freedom law expire in the current totalitarian environment out there in Washington.

Re:"Set to expire".. (1)

felrom (2923513) | about 5 months ago | (#45427750)

The problem for the ATF and the president is that they can't just ask that the current law be renewed in its previous form. They don't have the self control to just do that.

The replacement law they've proposed would not just ban "undetectable" firearms, but would also ban all of the most popular handguns (which contain LARGE amounts of metal), hugely popular magazines containing plastic and metal, and large swathes of the scary looking cosmetic features that Feinstein wets herself over (since they're made of plastic).

We literally have a government so infantile, underhanded, immature and naive, that they'll pass on renewing a law they like just because they instead want to try and cram a lot of other garbage through with it.

Restating the obvious,and a warning (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 5 months ago | (#45427526)

1. Anyone paying the least attention would know that the developers of the Liberator prototype had numerous failures, some on first discharge. Much press, several reports.

2. Defying the law banning the sale of plastic guns was not the point of the exercise to design a 3D printed gun. There is, as of yet, no law I am aware of that prevents the manufacture of a plastic gun for your own use. The point was to demonstrate it was possible for individuals of relatively common skill, with access to technology, to manufacture their own firearms. That is not yet entirely evident, but progress is being made. ATF is engaging in a bit of a PR campaign to get ahead of that, I think, and influence our government to prevent that from being permitted. Note I did not say 'from happening'. It WILL happen.

3. When the state of the art of 3D printing develops so that someone like me can successfully print a plastic gun that fires at least one shot, you can expect a law will be proposed to prevent THAT. But the issue here is that making your own gun has not been illegal. Possessing it if you are prohibited by law from doing so would get you in trouble, but making was never illegal. and no problem, so long as it took considerable skill to do so. When it becomes possible for the general populace, it will be considered a problem and a threat, and of course legislation will be proposed to prevent it.

4. We will have to shame or threaten our representatives to not do this. Not being able to MAKE your own gun is the ultimate subversion of the Second Amendment.

5. Yes, I am an extremist. Just as my nation's founders were, so am I. Save that I don't quite yet see the need to take up arms and join in liberating myself from an oppressive government. Oh, wait, neither did they at first. Darn.

As someone who works in the firearm industry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45427656)

We call plastic guns Tactical Tupperware. Stuff like Glocks, where everthing is plastic with the exception of maybe the slide, mech and barrel. Even then, I've seen extruded plastic components for slides and ratchets. Make them lighter? Yes. Make them easier to conceal from security checks? Yep. Loud? Pardon, what was that?

This just in (1)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 5 months ago | (#45427736)

The ATF cheaped out on their 3D printer, in other news reports have come in about corner cutting in other branches of the government. More at 11.

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