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Printer Hardware Build

The World's First 3D-Printed Gun 846

Posted by timothy
from the ok-ok-you've-got-my-order-now dept.
MrSeb writes "An American gunsmith has become the first person to construct and shoot a pistol partly made out of plastic, 3D-printed parts. The creator, who goes by the name HaveBlue and is an AR-15/M16 enthusiast, has reportedly fired 200 rounds with his part-plastic pistol without any sign of wear and tear. HaveBlue's custom creation is a .22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper. In other words, the main body of the gun is plastic, while the chamber — where the bullets are actually struck — is solid metal. ... While this pistol obviously wasn't created from scratch using a 3D printer, the interesting thing is that the lower receiver — in a legal sense at least — is what actually constitutes a firearm. This means that people without gun licenses — or people who have had their licenses revoked — could print their own lower receiver and build a complete, off-the-books gun." Here come the illegal shapes. Note that the legal fiction of receiver-as-firearm is true in the U.S., but may not be in other jurisdictions, and that no gun license is required in most of the U.S. to purchase or possess a semi-automatic weapon.
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The World's First 3D-Printed Gun

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  • But ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oPless (63249) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:40AM (#40778915) Journal

    Who will they blame when some nut-job goes postal with one of these illegal shapes?

    Will they ban 3D Printers?

    • Re:But ... (Score:5, Funny)

      by gman003 (1693318) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:41AM (#40778935)

      Knowing our Congress, they'll try to ban teaching Geometry in schools.

      After all, you can't print illegal shapes if you don't know shapes!

      • Re:But ... (Score:5, Funny)

        by doubleplusungodly (1929514) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:45AM (#40779007)

        After all, you can't print illegal shapes if you don't know shapes!

        That would've made Apple v. Samsung a lot more interesting.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Who will they blame when some nut-job goes postal with one of these illegal shapes?

      Will they ban 3D Printers?

      It'll just add to the political football match we've had for decades. Nutjobs will still kill people with weapons bought legally, with ammo bought leagally and nothing illegal done until they day they act.

      I'm waiting for the first 3D printed bomb

      • Re:But ... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by flyingsquid (813711) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @01:09PM (#40780739)

        It'll just add to the political football match we've had for decades. Nutjobs will still kill people with weapons bought legally, with ammo bought leagally and nothing illegal done until they day they act.

        I'm waiting for the first 3D printed bomb

        That's entirely true, as long as there are human beings, people will go insane and kill people. But when certain classes of weapons become illegal or are made more difficult to obtain, the outcome of these events would be rather different. The most recent headlines would probably read something like "man goes on insane rampage, kills six with bolt-action hunting rifle", as opposed to a dozen. The NRA likes to say, guns don't kill people, people kill people. Which is true. But guns are tools people use to do a job, and when you can't get the right tools for the job (in this case, murdering people), then you can't do your job as well. Canada, for instance, places restrictions on the size of the magazine (5 rounds for rifles, 10 for handguns) are requires that you take a test and get a license called a Possession and Acquisition License before you can buy a handgun. Their rate of firearms-related deaths (4.78 per 100,000 people) is about half that of the United States (10.27 per 100,000 people). The U.K. has effectively banned semiautomatic rifles and handguns and has an even lower rate of firearm related deaths (.46 per 10,000). All else being equal, the more restrictions are placed on handguns, the fewer deaths there are. Obviously, people can and will resort to other tools, but it's a lot less efficient to stab, poison, strangle or bludgeon people to death. Canada still has a lower murder rate (1.7 murders per 100,000 people) than the U.S. (4.7 per 100,000) and the U.K. is even lower (1.23 per 100,000). These stats are all off Wikipedia, incidentally.

        Think of it this way. We already have gun control; you can't buy a fully automatic assault rifle. What if there wasn't any restriction on what you could buy? If you could buy anything you wanted, you wouldn't conduct a massacre with a semiautomatic AR-15, you'd buy a fully automatic AK-47. For one thing, on automatic an AK can fire 600 rounds per minute. The other thing is that they're simple, rugged and reliable, designed for use by untrained peasants fighting in the hills. The AR-15/M-16 was notorious for being finicky and jamming at the wrong moment, particularly when the rifle was first fielded in Viet Nam. It's better these days, but the fact that the AR-15 used in the Colorado killing jammed is the only reason more people didn't die. The bottom line is here, gun control (as limited as it is) saved lives during this massacre, more gun control would save more lives.

        • Re:But ... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:03PM (#40782845)

          "The most recent headlines would probably read something like "man goes on insane rampage, kills six with bolt-action hunting rifle", as opposed to a dozen."

          No, they wouldn't, because we ALREADY know that doesn't happen. Keep in mind that various states and municipalities have banned guns every which way from near complete bans to restrictions on "assault" weapons, and they've been doing it for over 50 years (80 if you count Federal restrictions that were put in place back in the 30s).

          The Department of Justice has been keeping records and statistics for all of that time. And we KNOW that bans don't work. The government's own statistics prove it.

          The places that had the strictest bans continued to have the highest crime rates. The only real difference was that the guns used were, by definition, illegal. But they were still obtained, and still used.

          I am well aware that the "fewer guns equals fewer deaths" argument seems straightforward and logical, and even obvious. But things are not always what they seem. And we KNOW that, at least here in the United States, restrictions don't work. They don't reduce crime. In fact, the number and severity of crimes tends to go UP.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      when 3d printers become good enough to make knock-off products that's when real battle about copyrights heats up.
      however, in most cases, one could do it without a 3d printer too. but there's going to be a line when it's much simpler to do it with them.

      now this guy could have constructed the bottom part without a 3d printer too.

      • Re:But ... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:25PM (#40779773) Homepage Journal

        now this guy could have constructed the bottom part without a 3d printer too.

        Somebody once made a working lower out of paper mache. The lower isn't the high-stress part of the gun. I'll note from the article that it mentioned the chamber was solid metal - I'll point out that the barrel is as well if he's using a standard upper as it states.

        We've been able to make 100% plastic lowers for quite some time. They're just not durable enough quite yet for common use.

      • Re:But ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:33PM (#40779961)
        Copyright and, to a lesser extent, patents. A lot of surprising things are covered by patents. For example, I own one of those bagless vacuum cleaners. As I empty it of dust I tap it against the edge of the bin and it is quite possible that one day, dislodging a particually stubborn dustball, I may break it. A simple plastic part of a very specific shape that isn't available on the general market - a perfect example of where 3d printing would be of help. I can just jump on the internet, find a 3d model of the part (or failing that, make my own and publish it for anyone else with this problem) and churn off a new piece from the printer. But that bagless cyclone technology is patented by Dyson - and by printing my own component, I'd probably be infringing their patent. But, would this extend also to any site hosting the model file?
  • Don't freak out. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:44AM (#40778977) Homepage

    While the lower receiver is legally considered to be the serialized firearm it is fairly simple part. Folks have been making them on CNC machines for years. The metal upper receiver is much more difficult to manufacture and required precision metal machining. You need both to have a functional weapon. Without the upper, the lower is completely and utterly useless.

  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Score Whore (32328) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:46AM (#40779017)

    The apparent amazement about the "plastic" pistol is a bit baffling. I mean come on. [bing.com]

    And as far as concern over someone who can not lawfully own a gun using a 3d printer to manufacture a weapon, really? For a very small amount of money pretty much anyone who wants can go buy a gun on the street. For slightly more money they can purchase a totally legal gun through the classifieds or a gun show.

  • Odd statement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:50AM (#40779065) Homepage
    No gun license required? Why would anyone need a license to exercise a right guaranteed by the law of the land? Do you need a license to vote? Do you need a license to be safe from being enslaved? Do you need a license to own a printing press and open a newspaper? I'm totally lost here. What sort of brain structure causes this mental vomit to occur?
    • No gun license required? Why would anyone need a license to exercise a right guaranteed by the law of the land? Do you need a license to vote? Do you need a license to be safe from being enslaved? Do you need a license to own a printing press and open a newspaper? I'm totally lost here. What sort of brain structure causes this mental vomit to occur?

      anti-gun pussies
      think every gun is a crime
      law does not matter

  • That's just an illegal custom firearm. The AR-15 has a split receiver design and the lower is serialized and constitutes the firearm. By fabricating the lower receiver this gunsmith just made a new custom firearm (legal), but did not serialize it (illegal). Also a crappy plastic gun.

    • by nyet (19118)

      It only needs markings that uniquely identify the lower before assembling it into a firearm. An unserialized lower by itself is simply an incomplete part (not illegal).

  • Well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by DnemoniX (31461) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:50AM (#40779069)

    A synthetic AR-15 lower receiver is nothing new, printing one yourself is however. Is it dangerous? Yeah kinda, unless you a printing with a rather high strength polymer. Is it illegal? Not if you follow the BATF guidelines. Hobby machinists have been milling them from aluminum for ages. You can buy all sorts of jigs and receiver blanks. If you were to say start manufacturing lower receivers, or do not qualify to legally own them and get caught the penalties are very severe. Also as anyone who builds their own AR-15s will tell you, certain parts are in very high demand, you may wait weeks to months for something simple to complete your build. So I wouldn't worry about somebody building a ton of "off books" rifles any time soon.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:50AM (#40779081)
    I can make a gun with a wide range of tools. How is this fundamentally different then a CNC mill?
    • by sohmc (595388)

      This actually could be a good thing. Right now, the public mentality is that gun owner = nut job. Unless Congress is willing to criminalize owning a 3D printer, it might actually force people think about the current state of laws and actually make sensible gun laws.

  • by icannotthinkofaname (1480543) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:57AM (#40779197) Journal

    Shit, yo, why we gotta turn everything into weapons, huh? wouldn't we be more civilized without weapons?

    • No we wouldn't. Better weapons equalize humans. They are a civilizing influence.

      Look at all the people that were killed in the 20th century because unarmed subjects were unable to control their own nation. Bullies take over and then it takes a war to straighten things out.

  • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:01PM (#40779263)

    Making your own firearms is a well-established hobby in the U.S. Lots of people do it. There are forums devoted to it. Federal law specifically provides for it. It's nothing new. Nor is composite as a material for AR lowers; youtube has plenty of videos of people shooting "Plum Crazy"-based AR rifles. And 3D printing has been around a while.

    What's newsworthy here? I don't get it.

  • Durability (Score:5, Informative)

    by JakFrost (139885) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:23PM (#40779697)

    There is a reason why firearm manufacturers create parts out of single bar stock aluminum or steel metal pieces and machine them out, that is to maintain durability during firing process of the gun so it doesn't explode in your hands and injure you or worse and that it will last over repeated uses.

    The most difficult part of creating the gun is the creation of the barrel with a chamber that can withstand pressures of 22,000 to 55,000 pounds-per-inch and not explode into shrapnel hurting you badly. Barrel creation is difficult and taken very seriously with many manufacturers using a magnetic particle inspection process to ensure that there are no metal weak points or fractures inside the walls of the barrels to prevent them from exploding.

    Until these low priced home 3D printing machines can print out of aluminum, steel, or other metals to maintain some kind of rigidity on the parts these printed firearm pieces will just be an exercise in computer aided design and prototyping. Many of the pistols now use plastic frames

    As far as legality of manufacturing your own firearm by people who are somehow restricted by law from owning one, well it's the possession and ownership that is restricted, not the creation so all possession restrictions still apply.

    You can create your own firearms according to the Gun Control Act of 1968 for personal usage just not sale or distribution. If you decide to make these 3D printed firearm receivers you would have to apply for a Federal Firearms License type 7 or 10 and register your business then put serial numbers on these parts.

    US BATFE (aka, ATF, BATF) [atf.gov]
    Q: Is it legal to assemble a firearm from commercially available parts kits that can be purchased via internet or shotgun news?

      For your information, per provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCA for his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution."

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