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UK Ballistics Scientists: 3D-Printed Guns Are 'of No Use To Anyone'

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the might-hurt-if-you-throw-them-at-somebody dept.

United Kingdom 490

New submitter graveyardjohn writes: "The BBC has a short video about why the U.K.'s National Ballistics Intelligence Service thinks 3D-printed guns are 'of no use to anyone.' They show a 3D-printed gun being fired in a test chamber. The barrel explodes and the bullet flops forward a few feet. They say, 'without additional expertise and the right type of ammunition, anyone attempting to fire one would probably maim or even kill themselves.'"

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Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130675)

I'm fucking sick of seeing 3D printers associated with guns.

Re:Good (-1, Troll)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47130689)

And I'm sick of gun people thinking of guns as a great equalizer that anyone can make without substantial engineering expertise. But somehow I suspect neither group is going to respect the results of this research.

Re:Good (0)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 2 months ago | (#47130775)

I imagine the wizards at IBM in the 1960s said the same thing about computers in the homes of the unwashed masses.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130833)

And I'm sick of gun people thinking of guns as a great equalizer that anyone can make without substantial engineering expertise. But somehow I suspect neither group is going to respect the results of this research.

Tell that to the guy who made an AK out of a shovel.

Re:Good (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 months ago | (#47130909)

Techinically he used a shovel, a barrel blank, and a parts kit, but that thing was still pretty damn cool.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131109)

I looked up some pictures of "AK Shovel." Looks to me like he simply replaced the stalk with the handle from a shovel. I fail to see how this is innovative or interesting.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130839)

Seriously. Guns are for pussies and cowards who are too frightened to settle things face to face.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 2 months ago | (#47130853)

I'd really rather not wrestle a moose.

Re:Good (2)

PoisOnouS (710605) | about 2 months ago | (#47131227)

A Møøse once bit my sister....

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130877)

And for people who don't want to get shot by the aforementioned cowards with guns.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130923)

Niggers, you mean.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130967)

and you know people who like to eat wild game, and dont like to be eaten by other wild game

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130969)

And women. Bunch of pussies.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131209)

Seriously. Guns are for pussies and cowards who are too frightened to settle things face to face.

like the police.
and the army.
and the secret service.
and bodyguards.
and all the other "special groups" that people like you think it's "ok" to have guns while us poor plebeian mortals shouldn't need them.

Re:Good (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130859)

Apparently, Phillipean barrios are full of people with substantial engineering expertise.

http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/2013/04/08/backyard-gun-shops-in-the-philippines/

Re:Good (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 months ago | (#47131051)

Some of these designs are 50 to 150 years old. Many of them are specifically intended with ease of manufacture in mind.

What kind of "engineering" does it really take to pull off replicating something that's been around so long that the original examples would be considered antiques by anyone's standards?

Re: Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131281)

Watch the first episode of Vice on HBO (season 1) where they go to a backyard gunsmith. The fit and finish of the guns made from old ship metal is impressive.

You're also neglecting the fact that gun are generally simple devices. So there's a strong diminishing return on advanced engineering.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131065)

Probably because douchebags like yourself keep bringing it up.

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | about 2 months ago | (#47131225)

And I'm sick of gun people thinking of guns as a great equalizer that anyone can make without substantial engineering expertise. But somehow I suspect neither group is going to respect the results of this research.

Do you have access to a steel pipe with a reducing coupling, a spring, and a nail? Then yes, you can make something capable of more-or-less safely firing most lower pressure rounds. By "more or less", I mean I wouldn't touch one with a 10 foot firing pin, but it would work just fine 99 times out of 100.

For the 3d printed guns we hear the most about, keep in mind that they have the goal of a "pure" implementation, using just 3d printed parts. Your local street punks probably don't care about the "purity" of their finished product... So, remove that constraint and add a trivial metal part or two (a chamber and at least the throat of the barrel - just a plain ol' dumb metal tube, in essence - would single-handedly solve the "blows up on firing" problem), and even your local wannabe-thugs could manage to print and assemble a fairly effective DIY gun.

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 months ago | (#47130803)

At this point it's still cheaper to buy a gun than a 3-D printer

Re:Good (0)

c6gunner (950153) | about 2 months ago | (#47130823)

It's also cheaper to buy a book than a normal printer.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130973)

Probably not the case in the UK, but even getting ammo there would be tricky. But yeah, here in the US you can get a serviceable 9mm semi auto pistol for under $200 or an AK style semi auto for $650.

Re:Good (-1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#47131031)

And we are sick of pinheads like you.

Re:Good (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47131221)

"Oh look what a cogent statement about the viability of firearms as a mechanism of social equality"
--Me, in an alternate universe where gun-nuts actually back up their stupid beliefs.

Re:Good (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 months ago | (#47131049)

IM not because it forces people to confront the edge-case uses of this tech. Better now than later.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131165)

If, at the beginning, the first general use of the Internet had been porn sites featuring beastiality, rape, etc. then you can be sure it would not be around today.

Leave a technology alone when it's young so that it has time to becomes ubiquitous and then try your fringe uses with it.

Actually, a gun is a useful machine (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 2 months ago | (#47131099)

As the company Solid Concepts discovered, 3D printing metal guns demonstrates the ability to create fined machine parts that are also durable.

But... (3, Insightful)

Richy_T (111409) | about 2 months ago | (#47130677)

But we're always being told the criminals will grab the guns and use them against us.

So this is a win.

Re:But... (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 months ago | (#47131047)

But we're always being told the criminals will grab the guns and use them against us.

What gun? This is the UK where guns are more restricted. Their firearm-related death rate [wikipedia.org] is 0.25, vs. 10.3 for the US. That is, our death rate from guns is 41 times higher. Printed guns mean something entirely different in a nation that isn't already awash with them, where you can't just go to walmart and buy one.

Re:But... (2, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 months ago | (#47131159)

http://www.politifact.com/trut... [politifact.com]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... [dailymail.co.uk]

When you start comparing crime rates, violent crime rates, gun deaths, or any other socially important data, you really need to pay careful attention to terminology. It matters little that the UK may experience only 1% of our gun deaths, if they also experience 800% of our violent crime rate. After you are mutilated or dead, is it really going to matter to you that you were killed with a gun, or a knife, or a stone, or you were choked to death? Violent crime is violent crime.

Given the choice, I think I'd rather be shot to death, than bludgeoned to death. The suffering is likely to end much, much sooner.

BOTTOM LINE: liberals, progressives, and socialists always want to disarm the public. But, disarming the public never makes the public any safer. It only makes it safer for GOVERNMENT TO OPPRESS THE PEOPLE!!

Ask any number of infamous people, starting with Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao tse Tung.

Yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130699)

Yet...

Not a very thorough evaluation (2)

schwit1 (797399) | about 2 months ago | (#47130705)

3D printed guns are in their infancy and already quite capable according to these tests in Wired [wired.com] .

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130797)

Not really tests there.... More like video linking...

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (5, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 months ago | (#47130811)

Why even bother printing guns when you can just buy a legally unregulated upper, a trigger assembly, and an 80% lower reciever blank then just mill the blank and assemble a fully working, untraceable and unserialed AR-15?

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 2 months ago | (#47130921)

And when you can't buy a legally unregulated upper, a trigger assembly, and an 80% lower reciever blank then just mill the blank and assemble a fully working, untraceable and unserialed AR-15?

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47130935)

umm, because the things you listed are hard, while anybody can download a file to make a gun and print one out? that's why it's called 3-D printing?

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 2 months ago | (#47130943)

First off, because most of us don't have milling machines. Second, because we can. Third, because most of the world doesn't have such things as legally unregulated uppers or trigger assemblies.

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 months ago | (#47130991)

First off, because most of us don't have milling machines.

Most of us don't have 3-D printers either.

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 2 months ago | (#47131011)

Those of you who live by government permission slip will also not have access to 3d printers that can make guns.

The BATFE designated a shoe lace as a machinegun because they can. Your government will do whatever it wants to take from you whatever it wants. 3d printing included.

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131175)

You can mill them out with a $500 end mill from Harbor Freight. Or a $120 drill press from Harbor Freight with a little more further effort and a little more further care. Or a $15 drill and a $20 rotary tool from Harbor Freight with a little more further effort and a little more further care. Or a $15 drill and a $5 file set from Harbor Freight with a little more further effort and a little more further care.

You don't need to use a $3000 CNC mill to mill out an AR-15 80% lower. And we're not even talking about the ease with which an AK blank can be nibbled and bent to spec.

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131015)

You used to be able to buy a 100% lower receiver. That was change.

BATFE can easily change it again where the lower receiver or the frame has to have a serial number with a signing of a pen.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this happen. The 2A people are scrambling for the hills right now, especially with "The Senator's Daughter" movie coming out that entirely debunks the NRA and the entire "gun culture" and the 50 million that Bloomberg handed out.

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#47131095)

Why do that when you can buy a blob of raw aluminum and make it all from scratch? Or ever better, recycle the aluminum from scrap in a furnace. I can do it, why not you?

Once you figure out the answer to that question you will understand why your statement was ludicrous, and bordering on trolling.

Re:Not a very thorough evaluation (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47131219)

Because you can't buy all that stuff legally in the UK. Also, most people don't have a mill or milling skills, and in the UK most don't have a clue what you are talking about.

Good thing technology never moves forward (5, Funny)

BoberFett (127537) | about 2 months ago | (#47130709)

It's a good thing technology never moves forward. This issue can now be put to bed.

Re:Good thing technology never moves forward (1)

eexaa (1252378) | about 2 months ago | (#47130793)

Yeah. Moreover, if UK Ballistic Police Department couldn't do that, who else would? Nobody, obviously!

I saw like dozens of videos of successful printed guns, did they completely miss that?

Re:Good thing technology never moves forward (4, Insightful)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 months ago | (#47131127)

Or maybe they intentionally did a bad job so others wouldn't even try?

The media (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130723)

Good to see that Ameriker hasn't cornered the market on worthless media reports. Also seems like some of the homebrew done stateside has had much better results.

Others exist (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130731)

Yet others have been fired multiple times, successfully.

Either the UK-NBIS sucks at 3D printing, or this is disinformation.

Re:Others exist (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 2 months ago | (#47130977)

Maybe the UK sucks at gun-making in general... How many British gun makers can you think of off-hand?

Re:Others exist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131193)

I'm not sure that this 3D printed gun was made in the UK.

Nothing in the report said anything about it leaking oil, so I have to assume it wasn't.

Thanks... (2)

bytethese (1372715) | about 2 months ago | (#47130733)

Thanks a lot U.K.'s National Ballistics Intelligence Service, way to throw down the gauntlet and challenge folks...

Re:Thanks... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130885)

It's not a challenge. It's just a way of pointing out the advantages of carrying a small explosive device.

Just carry a loaded 3D printed gun with you everywhere you go, then, when confronted with a criminal, wave it around like a total n00b and let them take it from you. When the criminal fires it, you win.

Re:Thanks... (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47131203)

Just make a fake "Liberator" gun that doesn't really do anything. Except that its trigger has been modified and has a small hole in it with a mechanism that pushes a sharp needle into the finger when you press it.

Sounds like police propaganda. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130739)

Even the BBC article admits that 3D-printed guns have been successfully fired in the United States, and this is a police body warning people not to try to 3D print a gun.

Re:Sounds like police propaganda. (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47130761)

"Have been successfully fired" does not contradict the conclusion: 'without additional expertise and the right type of ammunition, anyone attempting to fire one would probably maim or even kill themselves.'

Re:Sounds like police propaganda. (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 months ago | (#47131161)

"Have been successfully fired" does not contradict the conclusion: 'without additional expertise and the right type of ammunition, anyone attempting to fire one would probably maim or even kill themselves.'

Technically this is true for a non-3D printed gun. Using the wrong ammunition and without training, any gun is going to be more dangerous to the shooter than anyone else.

Re:Sounds like police propaganda. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47131291)

Please. Don't be dense. The manufacture of munitions(unlike guns, which at their simplest are literally just metal tubes) isn't something that can be done at home by 3d printing. Modern chemical charges can't be made through home processes, and trying to make black powder or other simpler chemical propellents isn't within the grasp of most of the people declaring "revolution" against gun laws, and would be extremely dangerous.

If they sell standardized .22 munitions to go with your 3d printed .22 handgun, there's a good chance you can also acquire the firearm itself(in a designer cheaper and more reliable than the 3d printed version).

This is about as much as an argument as saying "anyone can do backyard rocketry, thus anyone can launch nuclear ICBMs"

No use/threat...right now (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 months ago | (#47130745)

What about in the future, after more iterations of design and better 3d printers?

If they ever get reliable enough to be a problem I wonder how much of a high powered laser would be needed to damage the barrel enough to render it useless.

Though I guess a flamethrower could be used in a pinch.

Re:No use/threat...right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130855)

I don't know if I can leave my house knowing that I might encounter an ordinary civilian with a high powered laser or a flamethrower.

Re:No use/threat...right now (2)

saider (177166) | about 2 months ago | (#47130925)

Most of these studies focus on implementing a semi-automatic. Here the problem is going to be the higher case pressures of modern ammunition. If they made a 3D gun to an older spec (e.g. 45 Colt revolver cartridge instead of 45 ACP) they would probably have better results.

Re:No use/threat...right now (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 months ago | (#47131177)

It depends on use. A criminal could be well off with a small caliber firearm because the threat of the weapon is what he needs more than actual firepower. A legal owner is going to expect that what he has is going to last through thousands of rounds. A crook just needs it to fire a few times, and if it is used for firing, it will be at point-blank range.

Re:No use/threat...right now (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 months ago | (#47131267)

Because plastic guns in Fisher-Price blue always strike terror in the hearts of men.

You want threat, just buy a plastic replica.

polymer AR lower recievers... (5, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 2 months ago | (#47130759)

There are several commercially successful makes of polymer AR lowers.
In AR-land, the serial is on the lower.
A 3d printed lower gives you the ability to print a non serial numberd AR. Which is legal (US federal. YMMV) because home-made guns don't have to be serialized.

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (2)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 2 months ago | (#47130899)

Yep, people have already fired larger caliber handgun and some types of rifle ammunition from 3-d printed firearms hundreds of times with no failure. Just because they sucked at it doesn't mean the people developing them (like Defense Distributed) suck at it too.

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 months ago | (#47130903)

A 3d printed lower gives you the ability to print a non serial numberd AR. Which is legal (US federal. YMMV) because home-made guns don't have to be serialized.

You can already purchase 80% milled metal reciever blanks and mill them yourself. No serial numbers or anything. I would trust that more than a 3D printer polymer lower. That being said, I own a polymer AR-15 (Carbon-15) rifle, and I love how light it is, but I haven't put enough rounds through it to know it's durability.

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47130959)

careful, it might blow in your face!

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 2 months ago | (#47130951)

what's the difference between a lower and an upper? which part has the barrel? or the trigger and "chamber"?

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (5, Informative)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 2 months ago | (#47130985)

what's the difference between a lower and an upper? which part has the barrel? or the trigger and "chamber"?

Barrel, chamber and bolt assembly go on the upper receiver. The trigger, magazine, stock and serial number on the lower receiver.

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about 2 months ago | (#47131001)

Upper is the top part of receiver it connects to the gas system and the barrel

lower is ... the bottom part of the receiver it contains the trigger group

this is a very simplified explanation but should suffice

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131075)

All high pressure parts, barrel / chamber / firing pin, are in the upper. Trigger and hammer are in lower, lower takes no pressure.

People build 50 cal BMG uppers on normal AR-15 lowers, one company builds a crossbow upper for an AR-15 lower as well. You could probably make the lower out of wood and have it work for years. The unregistered upper needs to be made of steel and aluminum.

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 2 months ago | (#47131085)

the upper of an AR platform (based on the Stoner design) mounts the barrel and houses the bolt and bolt carrier.

the lower has the magazine well, mounts the trigger mechanism, and houses the buffer and buffer spring housing (around which, the stock is mounted).

the chamber is an area of the barrel that holds the cartridge for firing.

I think you need to go shooting with your friends some time.

http://www.fulton-armory.com/%... [fulton-armory.com]

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (2)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 2 months ago | (#47130963)

Yes, the New Frontier ones are pretty good. I have two of them and they're pretty sturdy. I've heard of one that broke right outside the stock tube thread on the top, but I hear mostly good reports from these. The stock joint is the critical load point on these; not loads regarding the cartridge firing, but the load the user puts on the stock when they fire to manage the recoil, as low as it is. But NF receivers are fiber-filled polymer, as far as I can recall, and that is not achievable in Joe Blow's garage with a DIY printer. At least not in the near future.

In printing these, you'd have to have control of the filament direction to try to align the filament with the expected load at every critical point. I don't think the technology is there yet, but that's not to say it won't be.

Re:polymer AR lower recievers... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 2 months ago | (#47131005)

There are several commercially successful makes of polymer AR lowers. In AR-land, the serial is on the lower. A 3d printed lower gives you the ability to print a non serial numberd AR. Which is legal (US federal. YMMV) because home-made guns don't have to be serialized.

On top of that, after you've printed your (non-serialized) lower, you can order the rest of the parts over the internet with ease, and no further requirements for registration are necessary.

This is about the only valid issue that I think gun-fearing goofs will want to address today, even though milling machines have been around for decades, and Cavalry Arms was making plastic lowers long ago.

The UK tests were rather pointless. Even a moron should understand plastic isn't going to support the pressures in the chamber or the barrel.

Humbug... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130763)

This technology will improve, it will become widely available, 3D printed guns will become very usable, the knowledge to build them will become widely available and when that happens they will (depending on your political leaning) either become a big problem or they will solve all of mankind's problems because everybody and their dog will be packing a 3D printed Uzi.

Re:Humbug... (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 2 months ago | (#47131101)

The technology will improve, BUT fabbers capable of actually printing a working uzi aren't likely to be something everyone would have in their home.

Plastic is not a good material for making firearms, especially 3d printed plastic, which currently has worse mechanical properties than injection molding.

Sure 3d printers can print metal and ceramics, but they are not something every normal person would want in their home. They either require explosive metal powder, large amounts of power, a precision kiln, or inert gases.

This is much the same with CNC machines today, most people don't have a big CNC machine in their garage, aside from the fact they're expensive, they're messy!

I made a house out of crackers and it collapsed! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130769)

Hint: you're using the wrong materials for your chosen design.

Also, cars are of no use to anyone (5, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 2 months ago | (#47130781)

The BBC has a short video about why the U.K.'s National Ballistics Intelligence Service thinks 3D-printed guns are 'of no use to anyone.' They show a 3D-printed gun being fired in a test chamber. The barrel explodes and the bullet flops forward a few feet. They say, 'without additional expertise and the right type of ammunition, anyone attempting to fire one would probably maim or even kill themselves.'

In a related story, the U.K. Horse and Buggy Registration Service thinks the automobile will be 'of no use to anyone.' They show a vehicle being driven on a test track. It travels a short distance at 10 mph, then the engine blows a rod and one wheel falls off. They say, 'without additional expertise and the right type of petrol, anyone attempting to drive one would probably main or even kill themselves."

Re:Also, cars are of no use to anyone (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 2 months ago | (#47131189)

Simple formula. To disprove something someone else did, make it yourself badly, and video tape it failing. Therefore the thing you is proven a failure, thus, nobody else anywhere can make it work.

Because just look at all the fools in the late 1800s who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars combined to create a heavier than air flying machine. We all know that one would have to be a brilliant engineer with millions of dollars to make something like that! What, you think a couple of bicycle mechanics could do that!?!

Natural Selection.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130789)

That is exactly the reason

[wdw]

Is it illegal now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130807)

To bring a 3D printer onboard a plane? One could print themselves a gun or knife

Re:Is it illegal now (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 2 months ago | (#47131151)

Worse than that.

You could 3d print several other 3d printers, each could then be used to construct one part of a giant robot. The giant robot could then learn how to 3d print some plastic yoda heads until the materials were exhausted.

Good luck lugging a giant robot, 7 3d printers, and 4000 plastic yoda heads to the airport parking structure, sucker!

Is the UK for real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130813)

Reading an article like this confirms it's all monarchs and corgis living in some fantasy land.

These guys know nothing about 3Dprinting (1)

n2hightech (1170183) | about 2 months ago | (#47130849)

If you watch the video you will notice they printed the barrel with a rectangular fill density of about .2. In other words the barrel was mostly air! Anyone printing for strength would use a density of 1 (solid) and a contour following fill pattern. In other words a continuous series of strong rings. Of course they may be trying to fool bad guys into not trying this. However it does understate the performance capability of 3D printed weapons.

The metal printing methods are a different story (2)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 2 months ago | (#47130889)

Yes, I do, in fact expect the plastic ones to disintegrate under the typical chamber pressures that come from firing a round. The plastic 3D printers are the ones everyone is gushing about in the sensationalist news sites everywhere and that are practical to be widely available to the everyman. The metal deposition, selective laser sintering types that make metal parts are much more costly and not nearly as widely available, but those can, depending on the material and method) make viable gun parts that will withstand the loads for several rounds before succumbing.

Re:The metal printing methods are a different stor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131007)

Properly fabricated 3D metal guns would operate no different from a traditionally fabricated version. The density and material strength is roughly equivalent to a wrought part.

3D Printing is Not Just Glorified Glue Guns (4, Informative)

LuxuryYacht (229372) | about 2 months ago | (#47130917)

It's sad that 3D printing had become synonymous with FDM or glorified glue guns (GGG). There are lots of different technologies that fall under the umbrella of 3D printing.

Here's a gun that was 3D printed using DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) for the metal parts and SLS for the grips. It's both durable and viable.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]
http://www.engineering.com/3DP... [engineering.com]

Here's a few other 3D printing processes that are not FDM glorified glue guns:

SLS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

DMLS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org]

LOM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

SLA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

Re:3D Printing is Not Just Glorified Glue Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130987)

FDM is the wrong tech for this. They may as well of carved guns from bars of soap or wood and then proclaimed them of no use to anyone.

Gun Wasn't Fully Dense (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47130941)

Look at the exploded gun barrel in the video. They used the wrong setting and didn't set the machine to completely fill the volume with solid plastic. Of course the gun is going to fail if you intentionally weaken it.

No need to cripple 3d printing then! (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 2 months ago | (#47130957)

Since they have found these guns are completely useless, then hopefully they won't enact legislation to require all 3d printers have crippling DRM that makes it impossible to print guns.

Or maybe they might, but given that they now have a government study that say these guns are useless, it's gonna be a lot harder(I hope) for scare-mongering politicians to cripple or ban 3d printing

"...yet" (1)

Wain13001 (1119071) | about 2 months ago | (#47131017)

You in fact SHOULD be concerned about this technology now, even if it's currently ineffective...because it won't be ineffective or useless forever.

Re:"...yet" (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 months ago | (#47131107)

I don't live in a place where I have reason to fear my neighbors.

If I did live in such a place, guns would probably still be the least of my worries.

The paranoid narcissism of liberal busybodies would be funny if it weren't sad and anti-social.

THEN... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131027)

Then they shouldn't be crying about it.

"probably maim or even kill themselves" Really ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131033)

With a "bullet ( that ) flops forward a few feet". Come on, get real.

Clueless BBC Video (3, Interesting)

MrSteveSD (801820) | about 2 months ago | (#47131037)

In slow motion you can see that the bullet barely travels any distance at all. - Quote from the video

What we in fact see is that the object that "barely travels any distance at all" is the spent shell casing. This is completely fine as the aim is not to magically embed the spent shell casing into the target. That is what the projectile part is for. The projectile is likely to have whizzed off as expected, albeit not with great accuracy.

As for the general usefulness of plastic firearms, even if they can only fire a few shots, there are clear advantages.
1. You can obtain a firearm without it being registered to you or exposing yourself to criminal firearms dealers/police sting operations.
2. They are less detectable.
3. You can melt and/or burn the murder weapon with ease.

The tone of the video is a bit odd. It's comes across like a video trying to convince kids not to play with fireworks. It's not as if we all have loads of ammunition laying about here in the UK just waiting for a 3D Printed gun to come along so we can finally have some fun. Making something that can fire a bullet (at least here in the UK) is not the main obstacle to a working firearm. The main obstacle here is obtaining the ammunition.

In conclusion.. (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 2 months ago | (#47131045)

"anyone attempting to fire one would probably maim or even kill themselves "

Well, that itself could be pretty useful.

Even if true (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#47131063)

I suspect the test was setup to fail, to prove a predetermined agenda, but even if it was 100% true, we are just starting out with this use for printed materials, and it takes time to perfect new technologies. Even if it *never* becomes viable, it still helped push the limits of the technology and will benefit other uses.

Pretty sad when if people were to operate that way " well, it doesn't work so no point in trying"... If that was always the case, we would still be living in caves hoping we dont get eaten.

Good, now let's get on with the business of.. (2, Funny)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47131067)

Sex Toys! Yes, Sex Toys are the real 3D Printing market! [pinkrocket.co.uk]

let's call them Darwin guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131105)

because the guy's last words would be along the lines of 3d printed guns don't kill people....

Then there is no need for laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131143)

So if this is no good there is no reason to rush out and pass ridiculous laws, right?

Oh yea, this is more fud.

disinformation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47131179)

All their little spectacular proves is that government is scared to death of 3D printing improving to the point everyone will be able to use it to manufacture weapons without any government ability to control it. So they're attacking early and doing a bad job of it. The funny part is the government isn't worried about crime they're worried those weapons will be pointed at them.

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