Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Printer Security Hardware Politics Technology

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), Gun Control, and Patent Law 380

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-we-outlaw-printers-then-only-outlaws-will-have-printers dept.
retroworks writes "J.D. Tuccille of the conservative think tank Reason Foundation discusses last week's news about the first working 3D-printed gun. According to the original article, the partly plastic '.22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper' fired 200 rounds without any sign of wear and tear. Tuccille takes the discovery in the direction of politically topical gun control. '...the development makes it clear that a wide range of bans, restrictions and prohibitions are becoming increasingly unenforcable.' But in my mind, this example of additive-manufacturing technology raises even more questions about patent law enforcement. Will 3D printing be to the Anti-gray-market-alliance what online porn became to neighborhood blue laws?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), Gun Control, and Patent Law

Comments Filter:
  • Already happening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@b[ ].org ['eau' in gap]> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:03PM (#40830555)

    This fight is already happening. What do ya think the whole war over software patents boils down to? Is it a patentable machine or a copyrightable expression in code? Well soon it will be everything is downloadable and where is the line? That is the heart of this argument in a nutshell.

    • by freeze128 (544774)
      If the files for the equipment are parametric, does that mean that they cannot be copyrighted?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Smidge204 (605297)

        Copyright the plans, patent the actual device.

        Patents are supposed to cover a particular arrangement of components that perform a specific task. Even a parametric design would still have the same fundamental arrangement of major components and perform the same task. You can patent that.

        Then you can copyright the script that generates the device with the given parameters.
        =Smidge=

        • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:54PM (#40831323) Homepage
          The problem is, how do you enforce the patent when people are printing the devices in their basement. You can't go after someone for releasing plans they drew up themselves, as long as they aren't a copy of your originals, and even if they were, the plans are just downloadable files, and we know how well that's working out for the movie and music industries. You can't go after the people producing the items, because there are just in their basements, and you have no way of tracking who is printing off the devices for personal use. I'm not saying it's all bad, but it definitely makes things interesting for companies that produce things that can be printed out on a 3D printer at home.
          • by oakgrove (845019) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:10PM (#40831573)

            I'm not saying it's all bad, but it definitely makes things interesting for companies that produce things that can be printed out on a 3D printer at home.

            Even with 3D printers, large factories will still be able to produce just about anything for a fraction of what you can do it for in your house. As it is right now, the real cost for the companies will be in distribution and R&D. Outsource the R&D to China or India (or evolutionary algorithms based on some of the stuff I see in stores) and streamline your distribution with just in time principles, etc. and I don't think they'll have a whole lot to worry about. Maybe profit margins will be a little thinner but they aren't in any real danger yet. Jobs will be lost in the short term but that always happens when production is streamlined.

          • Re:Already happening (Score:4, Informative)

            by Smidge204 (605297) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:12PM (#40831593) Journal

            You can't prevent someone from building a patented device themselves NOW. Never could. What you CAN do - if you catch them - is take them to court over selling them.

            The digital design/model files are on the same shelf as digital music and movie files. They are not patented but copyrighted - and we have lots of (heavy-handed, often draconian) tools for dealing distribution of copyrighted materials. And just like with digital music and movies, there is nothing you can do to really prevent trading them either.

            In short: 3D printing just lowers the bar for what has always been possible. Content producers will have to either adapt to a new market environment or double down on the draconian idiocy. No point for guessing which path they choose.
            =Smidge=

            • Actually, that is incorrect. You can certainly sue someone that creates an item for their own personal use that infringes your patent. It is just unlikely to work, so most people don't. But suing for the value of a "lost sale" is well established - and since patents allow 10 times damages in the case of willful infringement, it may even be economical.

            • Re:Already happening (Score:5, Interesting)

              by BlueStrat (756137) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:07PM (#40832519)

              They may pass laws forbidding the possession of 3D printers that aren't licensed, like unregistered handguns and fully-automatic firearms. Possessing/using an unlicensed/unauthorized 3D printer would result in a lengthy prison term and huge fines.

              They can use the logic of "since an unlicensed 3D printer *could* possibly print a gun, the penalties for possession/use of an unlicensed 3D printer should match those of someone possessing/using an unregistered/illegal fully-automatic weapon during the commission of a crime" to justify making the punishments comparable.

              The licensed and legal printers, in turn, would be secured through "Trusted Computing" type systems so that they must connect online to some central authority that will check the file(s) you're trying to print against a white-list database of legal/permitted designs that may be printed. If it's not on the list, you can't print it, and for for permitted-but-paywalled items, automatically deduct the charge from a bank account or CC.

              This way they can monetize it and control what and how much can be printed and know who has printed what and when, while simultaneously increasing the amount of money going to criminal defense lawyers and the government and filling even more prisons with another whole class of non-violent criminal.

              Sometimes it sucks to have a good imagination and understanding of government/political/human nature.

              Strat

              • by Smidge204 (605297)

                There is nothing a 3D printer can do that you couldn't do with basic hand tools and patience. In fact basic hand tools can do quite a bit more than 3D printers.

                Just like they haven't banned hand tools, personal computers, photocopiers and personal printers, still and video cameras, VCRs and CD/DVD burners because they had the potential for facilitating copyright infringement - they won't ban 3D printers either. Everything you said applies to all those technologies - and the same arguments were about them in

              • by nospam007 (722110) * on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @03:01PM (#40833341)

                "They may pass laws forbidding the possession of 3D printers that aren't licensed, like unregistered handguns and fully-automatic firearms. Possessing/using an unlicensed/unauthorized 3D printer would result in a lengthy prison term and huge fines."

                The rich have done this with millstones for centuries. Peasants had to bring the corn to the Lord's mill and he sent his brute squad to find and destroy any 'illegal' millstones.

              • I was going to reply to tell you you're correct, and to ask you to stop freely giving out the results of your intelligence to the government in the form of a viable plan of action.

                Then I noticed the flaw. When people print guns freely, and when they're upset enough at the government, the popular, strong refusal to that sort of legislation becomes an insurmountable obstacle to disarming the citizenry.

                We'll encounter state militias mainstreaming again long before we'll encounter any significant threat to dis

    • I am trying to remember the exact citation, but I remember it is legal to make any item or use any process that's been patented as long as it's not shared and for personal use only. The question is then, does the shape file describing an object legal? I presume so, as long as one doesn't sell or share the object in question.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Well soon it will be everything is downloadable and where is the line?

      It wioll be quite a while before you can download food and drink, the #2 and #3 important things in anyone's life.

      I'll bet manufacturers are shitting their pants over home printed things... but then, you can only print plastics at this point. When you can download and print a whole car, hell yes I'll pirate a car!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oakgrove (845019)

        I'll bet manufacturers are shitting their pants over home printed things... but then, you can only print plastics at this point. When you can download and print a whole car, hell yes I'll pirate a car!

        They're shitting their pants in the same way the MPAA shat their pants over the VCR and the RIAA shat their pants over the cassette recorder. As in a lot of foot stomping and posturing then going on to continue making tons of money. Even if you can print a car or a computer or a friggin nuclear reactor, believe that all of that can be made on an assembly line and shipped to your door for much less than it will cost you and still have a nice profit margin for the manufacturer. To me printing cars is borin

  • by EdgePenguin (2646733) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:06PM (#40830595) Homepage

    As guns are far more strictly controlled over here, and as such you can't obtain the parts that you can't home make, this doesn't really apply to the UK or other countries that don't have everybody armed to the teeth.

    ...but its only a matter of time really. I actually like gun control laws, but I can't see any way they can be enforced, long term, in light of this kind of technology - without banning the technology outright, which would be like banning home computers in the 1970s. Obviously, the people who have a stake in selling people stuff they may be able to manufacture themselves in the near future are going to love this. Moral panics are always useful for promoting a ruthless, rent seeking economic agenda, as the debate over digital rights has shown.

    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:08PM (#40830629)

      I don't get the article. People have been making guns for a while. Making them on forges you could build in your garage. Anyone with a half assed machine shop could build almost anything.

      Then you get guys like this guy [geekosystem.com] that build stuff like the Puzzle Gun.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EdgePenguin (2646733)
        Doing it with a machine shop requires time, skill, and more importantly a machine shop. The future that could threaten the effectiveness of gun control is one where desktop devices could produce enough parts of a gun that whatever is left over can be obtained legally in your jurisdiction - and the only entry requirement will be the desktop device itself and an internet connection.
        • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:23PM (#40830859)
          Improvised firearms have been made by pure amateurs for years. The fact of the matter is that most people don't want a gun bad enough to take the risks involved in making their own. However, the whole problem with gun control laws is that people who want a gun for criminal purposes aren't really bothered by those risks (they want the gun to reduce the risk of an already high risk activity).
          • by EdgePenguin (2646733) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:32PM (#40830981) Homepage

            You don't hear home-made firearms being used in crimes much - I'm guessing because the discipline required to make something of high enough quality that it can stand firing a bullet is not normally found in the same individual as the kind of impulsiveness normally required to commit a violent crime.

            The issue here is the possibility of obtaining firearms with no requirement for discipline, training, patience, or anything else that might lower a chances person of using that firearm in anger.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:43PM (#40831157)

              You don't because you, along with the rest of Slashdot, live in and pay exclusive attention to, first world countries. This 3D printed gun thing has set off a spate of gun control articles with the attendant hand wringing and claims that people will now be enabled to perpetrate all sorts of violence.

              Meanwhile hundreds of people will be killed this week throughout the middle east and most of Africa with guns that were made in a tent by someone with no formal training in machining, who probably can't read or write, and has never seen even a conventional printer let alone a 3D one. He'll make a dozen AK 47s today and tomorrow and so on until someone kills him or he has to pack up and flee or some similar thing. This has been going on like this for dozens of years. When I was stationed in Africa the bulk of AKs we recovered after fights were made in part or often in whole, in country in the manner described above. An important factor in the design of the AK was that it could be made that way.

              But continue on fretting someone printing an AR lower.

              • Home made, as long as your home has the tooling given to your country by the former Soviet Union. It's not like someone is going to hammer out an AK-47 on their anvil.
              • Meanwhile hundreds of people will be killed this week throughout the middle east and most of Africa with guns that were made in a tent by someone with no formal training in machining, who probably can't read or write, and has never seen even a conventional printer let alone a 3D one. He'll make a dozen AK 47s today and tomorrow and so on until someone kills him or he has to pack up and flee or some similar thing.

                Make an AK47 in a tent? Please people, don't mod up such drivel, whatever your political views.

            • by nschubach (922175) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:48PM (#40831215) Journal

              I'm pretty pro-gun, but you don't hear of them using homemade weapons because machines weapons are generally easy to get. If they were not, people would be building more pipe bombs and other easy to assemble/deploy weapons. In countries where guns are not as prevalent people resort to other tools to perform crimes. Sadly, as much as guns are portrayed as deadly, other homemade weapons can be far more deadly.

        • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:30PM (#40830955)

          Doing it with a machine shop requires time, skill, and more importantly a machine shop.

          As a guy with a machine shop, rest assured it doesn't require much of the above.

          If you want minimum weight, maximum reliability, all kinds of nifty features including safeties and such, OR if you want to make a precise exact working replica of a historical piece accurate to the tiniest detail, then it takes huge time, skill, and tools.

          But if you're just trying to make what amounts to a short range inaccurate "zip gun" or little more than a shotgun, its trivial, you don't need a "shop". An imaginative plumber can figure something out without a "shop" or gunsmithing skills.

          The AR-15 aspect is important to those who know anything about the law or gunsmithing (I know just enough about both to be dangerous). There is no single part of a gun that screams "gun" so the legal types selected the receiver, which in most guns is a great decision, HOWEVER the AR-15 lower receiver is a not terribly difficult part to make.

          Making a AR-15 lower is pretty easy (well, compared to making a upper, or a barrel). Making a lower is, legally, making a gun. The hard parts to make are everything that bolts onto a lower. Therefore its really easy to "make a AR-15".

          I'm just a hack of a machinist but if I wanted I could easily make a lower on my CNC mill. There is no way in hell, no way, not gonna happen that I could make a barrel from scratch, thats basically impossible for a guy at home. Making a bolt, bolt carrier or chamber would be right around the absolute peak of my skill on my best day in the shop ever.

        • As does this. The lower receiver is basically the trigger mechanism.

          It's NOT the barrel, the chamber, or any of the other parts that see actual stress.

          This article is like saying, in 200pt type, that you 3D printed a car, and then in 5pt type saying "because you 3d printed the dashboard".

          • The lower reciever, for the AR-15, is the only part that bears the serial number. It is "the gun" as far as regulation is concerned. All other parts can be legally purchased anonymously . That is why this is significant.

      • by jmorris42 (1458) *

        I get it. Downloading stuff is what this whole trend is leading to. Now we download content but still have to get our stuff from Chinese factories while the profits still go to the same mega corps who slap a logo on and charge out the wazoo.

        So fear will be used to keep the little people in line. The Soviets feared the printer and photocopier because they were mortal threats to the lie at the heart of their civilization. Our leaders fear this for pretty much the same reason, materialism is the heart of o

      • by jxander (2605655)

        Agreed. The "Gun" angle is just to attract attention. People have built guns out of stranger items. [wikipedia.org] There was an article a while back about someone building an AR-15 lower (the 3D-printed part, in the article) out of plastic cutting boards from Target or Walmart. Just whittled them down and taped em together.

        If anything, the biggest issue going forward will be "ideas." Companies like Games Workshop, who sell cheap plastic figurines for ridiculous profits, or car dealers who sell little plastic tabs at

        • Once I can scan and print them myself, well ...

          Then anything built of plastic becomes "free".
          As long as you can recycle the material locally. A bit of heat and you melt down your old stuff yourself. As soon as technology to make plastics from plants matures you can grow new supplies in your back garden.
          So we see period where even more and more things are made from plastic (plastic houses may come back on the menu). You can have the latest fashion at zero cost.

          But anything made from metal or silicon still needs to be manufactured. Until metal 3D printers

          • Farming can be and will eventually be fully automated. Services based on knowledge will be needed, on the other hand, at least until a proper AI is developed, after which there will be either no humans (if the Machine Apocalypse happens) or we will live in a Utopia where nobody needs to work to live.
      • I don't get the article.

        I don't get the article either. Making a gun using 3-D printing would have no more patent implication than making anything else using 3-D printing. The article is just attached to the gun article to make a bigger bang.

        But, they didn't print a gun using 3-D printing. They made all of the parts of the gun except the parts that actually fire bullets. According to some idiotic regulation they found somewhere, apparently the part that the bullet shoots out of isn't defined as the "gun," but nevertheless, in

      • Anyone with a half assed machine shop could build almost anything.

        No they can't. Someone with years of training and experience may be able to do it, but they are not "anyone", and even then it would take days or even weeks to place, align, shape, and finish all the components. With a 3D printer, you just push the start button and wait a couple hours.

    • without banning the technology outright, which would be like banning home computers in the 1970s

      And as long as not every country bans it then the technology can still advance and leave the Luddites in what will eventually be an economic dead end.
      This is another reason why things like SOPA and other international laws are such a bad and scary thing. The idea of diversity is that we are all free to pursue different philosophies. But that's another argument...

    • by PortHaven (242123)

      It is only a matter of time before someone offers a printable design which requires nothing more than a pre-fab pipe and a few springs from Home Depot...and everything else is printed.

      In fact, a fully automatic firearm is easier to manufacture than a semi-automatic, ironically.

      • by vlm (69642)

        It is only a matter of time before someone offers a printable design which requires nothing more than a pre-fab pipe and a few springs from Home Depot...and everything else is printed.

        The "everything else" does not exist, if you're willing to settle for a pretty crude zip gun or a pretty crude single shot shotgun.

    • I actually like gun control laws, but I can't see any way they can be enforced

      Why would you LIKE a law that is not enforceable, or wildly ignored?

      The effect of such a law is to reduce respect for all laws. When so many laws make so little sense why not simply ignore laws altogether? If you're a criminal all the time why not act like it?

      At this post most western countries are at the only real laws remaining are people's own moral compasses, and tax collection laws which are strictly enforced.

      Meanwhile gove

      • Re:Why like that? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rufty_tufty (888596) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:20PM (#40830831) Homepage

        You've got me thinking, could we somehow apply market forces to laws. Only the fittest survive.
        I've heard it suggested that there should be a maximum number of laws allowed (and if you want to pass a new one you have to repeal old ones).
        How can you have law when it is not possible for even a specialist in the subject to know all the laws and how to apply them correctly. Does not the fact that a lawyer can be a specialist in one area but yet still not know if a law applies to someone not ring that something is fundamentally wrong with the system?
        The fact that I am subject to laws that I cannot reasonably be expected to know about sickens me. I can be legitimately expected to be doing illegal things through no fault of my own.
        How does that not remove respect for the law?

    • by Algae_94 (2017070)

      this doesn't really apply to the UK or other countries that don't have everybody armed to the teeth.

      I assume you're referring to the US with this statement. The US may have a lot more guns per capita, but there are definitely large sections of the population that do not have any guns. Then there are those that have guns that just sit in their homes stored wherever and rarely come out at all. The US is not a mad max zone of people wandering around touting firearms.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:13PM (#40830717)
    For a few hundred dollars I can make a CNC mill and craft a gun out of a block of metal. Frankly, I can do much the same with a metal file. Same goes for patent infringement. Add in a 3D scanner and I can duplicate just about anything. There is nothing intrinsically special about 3D printers VS other methods of manufacturing. Its just an evolution of mass production.
    • For a few hundred dollars I can make a CNC mill and craft a gun out of a block of metal. Frankly, I can do much the same with a metal file. Same goes for patent infringement. Add in a 3D scanner and I can duplicate just about anything. There is nothing intrinsically special about 3D printers VS other methods of manufacturing. Its just an evolution of mass production.

      Actually, there's something very different between what you're suggesting and 3D printing -- what you say you could do requires time, effort, and skill. 3D printing a gun could become no more difficult than cleaning a gun.

    • As a machinists son and myself a software engineer, what is happening is with self-fabrication (CNC/file) you have to engineer the piece yourself, within the right tolerences. With 3D printing, you can download a model where all of that is already done for you, and just hit the print button. Maybe you can get the CAD file but you also have to get your hands on the machine, the space, the material and the software and know how to operate it all. The 3D printing in process isn't much different except all of t

  • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:17PM (#40830775) Homepage

    Reason is libertarian.

    • "See, I told you they'd listen to Reason," Fisheye says, shutting down the whirling gun.

      Now Hiro sees a nameplate tacked onto the control panel.

      REASON

      version 1.0B7

      Gatling-type 3mm hypervelocity railgun system

      Ng Security Industries, Inc.

      PRERELEASE VERSION -- NOT FOR FIELD USE

      DO NOT TEST IN A POPULATED AREA

      - ULTIMA RATIO REGUM -

  • "Conservative" (Score:4, Informative)

    by Scareduck (177470) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:18PM (#40830807) Homepage Journal

    J.D. Tuccille of the conservative think tank Reason Foundation

    You misspelled "libertarian". There is a significant difference.

  • So many of our laws, regulatory frameworks and economic system are based around the idea that manufacturing is capital intensive and requires centralization. Once this stops being true, even a little, it throws everything into complete disarray. Seriously. As a random example, how can the FDA regulate drugs if you can easily manufacture arbitrary molecules at home?

    The idea that manufacturing isn't capital intensive requires a radical rethinking of the structure of our society.

  • that anyone can do it. It doesn't require skills in operating a lathe, mill, grinder or other machine or hand tools. Anyone that can download a 3D file can then just press print and they will have an object. A sharp pointy object or printed parts that might be assembled into a firearm.

    This the point people tend to miss when they compare 3D printing to a home workshop. The workshop requires skills developed over time and practice to fabricate something as complex as a firearm. Not everyone is capable of doin

    • by vlm (69642)

      It doesn't require skills in operating a lathe, mill, grinder or other machine or hand tools. Anyone that can download a 3D file can then just press print and they will have an object.

      I remember reading the same kind of stuff about CNC milling machines, desktop publishing, desktop music production, desktop video production, about 50 bazillion iterations from COBOL to the latest CMS of art history majors claiming that now, those icky computer nerds will no longer be necessary to kept around to write business software...

      Its important, it will have an effect, but its not a miracle Star Trek transporter. Hmm maybe thats not so bad of an analogy after all, the best engineer in the fleet was

  • by Experiment 626 (698257) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:34PM (#40831023)

    Gun control is to the second amendment what censorship is to the first. These are authoritarian push-backs against the Bill of Rights giving people "too much" freedom. The Internet has shown what happens to such restrictive efforts once an enabling technology is introduced to the masses.

    • None of the amendments in the Bill of Rights were ever intended to be completely unrestricted. None of them. Do you think you have unfettered freedom of speech? Try calling in a bomb threat to local law enforcement. Do you think you have unfettered freedom of religion? Try convincing a jury that you were simply consummating a marriage to your 12-year-old "bride" in God's eyes. Do you think you have unfettered freedom of the press? Ask Julian Assange, who U.S. authorities would love to get his hands

      • Gun control does not infringe upon your right to bear arms. Total gun bans do.

        Oddly enough, the Supremes disagree with you.

        Note that by your logic, we'd have Freedom of the Press as long as the government didn't put more than, say, a 1,000,000% tax on printer's ink (that wouldn't be a "ban", just a tax).

        Alas, the Supremes didn't buy that one either, when it came in front of them a couple hundred years ago.

        no one--not even the Founding Fathers--ever intended for your right to bear arms to include private

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @12:35PM (#40831031)

    You can make a lower in steel on a mill right now. You could make one from wood, heck even cheap plywood.

    This is not a highly stressed part, nor one that needs to be machined to very high tolerances.

    It will be news when they can 3d print a barrel.

    • The gun component issue of the story is really a red herring. It's there to make it exciting and controversial, not because it has any fundamental importance in itself. As lots of posters have mentioned, there are many ways already to make gun parts. People have been doing it for centuries. IMHO, the patent or copyright enforceability issue is relatively moot also. Anyone can do all sorts of illegal things in the privacy of their home and get away with it. If one is careful, discreet, and harms nobody, it c
    • You can buy a barrel,no questions asked. Trying to buy a lower receiver involves background checks, permits, waiting periods and so forth. If you can make your own lower receivers, the state's power to intrude on your life is somewhat diminished.

  • This raises a very good question: With it becoming easier to manufacture arbitrary goods with a general purpose 'fab-in-a-box', what kinds of goods/materials will be trivially produced at home - whether there are laws against it or not. There are even metal 3d printers, so I really don't see a limit on what can be 3D printed.

    I can't help but wonder if this is yet another case of Technology rendering laws obsolete - what good is a gun control law that requires serial numbers & bans automatic weapons when

    • by Hatta (162192)

      To pick a politically hot topic: Are gun control laws about to become as obsolete as banning cryptography, where the genie is out of the bottle & can't be stuffed back in?

      What makes you think they couldn't ban encryption? It would be a lot easier than gun control actually. Encryption is easy to detect. There are legitimate uses for encryption, but the government can just enforce the use of encryption with a back door for the government. Any encrypted data that isn't accessible through this back door

  • Two years, tops before all the 3D printer companies are sued into oblivion by IP trolls and greedy corporations. Even open source projects in this relm will have to hosted in more elightened countries (if any still exist by then).
  • This is bullshit.

    First, copyright doesn't cover useful objects. Most of the "grey market" stuff is about brand labels, not the device itself. If you want a mechanical duplicate of a Rolex watch that doesn't say "Rolex", you can buy one legally. (You can even get the same movement made in the same Swiss factory. That's outsourced.) There's a whole third-party auto parts industry, after all.

    Second, stereolithography machines are a slow way to make copies of something. Manufacturing techniques for making

  • 1. People have been making their own ar15 lowers for a loong time. There are sites with CAD files and everything needed to fabricate your own from a block of metal. Mfg's also sell what's called an 85% lower, which just needs some holes drilled to make it complete (does not require a 4473).

    2. The 3d printer is more expensive than the tools needed to finish off an 85%.

  • The article is alarmist and inflated. Doing this would require access to a 3D printer which alone would cost far more than the what your trying to make. While 3D printer are great for making small one off parts, they are far from practical for equipping an army. In the real world it would be far cheaper to go out and buy all of your guns than to start making your own in your garage with a 3D printer.

    Even if you had a 3D printer (say you stole it) you still have logistical issues like manufacturing parts lik

  • by scorp1us (235526) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:00PM (#40831417) Journal

    Short of a radioactive material and toxins, something sitting around does no harm. It is only when something is used that it can do harm. This revolution in manufacturing shows how untenable the approach of "banning" something is. We have to dispense with the idea that prevention of possession is a crime or even possible, and focus solely on damaging uses. In this way we have all the rights and all the responsibility to exercise freedom.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @01:37PM (#40832017)
    Printing a plastic widget which holds the metal bits of a gun together is slightly different from printing a gun. Not that it would be hugely impressive to print an entire gun anyway given the thing would probably be destroyed or rendered unusable within a few shots. Doesn't help much either if you can't print the ammunition.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

Working...