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'Wiki Weapon Project' Wants Your 3D-Printable Guns 570

Posted by timothy
from the next-round-of-illegal-shapes dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Earlier this month, University of Texas law student Cody Wilson and a small group of friends who call themselves 'Defense Distributed' launched an initiative they've dubbed the 'Wiki Weapon Project.' Their goal: to raise $20,000 to design and release blueprints for the world's first entirely 3D-printable gun. If all goes according to plan, RepRap users will soon be able to turn the project's CAD designs into an operational firearm capable of shooting at least one standard .22 caliber bullet, all in the privacy of their own garage. Wilson and his handful of collaborators at Defense Distributed plan to use the money they raise to buy or rent a $10,000 Stratysys 3D printer and also to hold a 3D-printable gun design contest with a $1,000 or $2,000 prize for the winning entry — Wilson says they've already received gun design ideas from fans in Arkansas and North Carolina. Once the group has successfully built a reliable 3D-printed gun with the Stratysys printer, it plans to adapt the design for the cheaper and more widely distributed Reprap model. The group had already raised more than $2,000 through the fundraising platform Indiegogo, but the site took down their page and froze their funds on Tuesday. They're continuing to seek donations through their website via Paypal and Bitcoin."
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'Wiki Weapon Project' Wants Your 3D-Printable Guns

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  • by cfvgcfvg (942576) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:43PM (#41098185)
    I would think the limiting factor would be the strength of the plastic and not the design itself.
    • by Baloroth (2370816) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:48PM (#41098249)

      That was my thought as well, although someone claimed they were able to print out a receiver for an AR-15 and fire a few hundred rounds without noticeable wear. Since the receiver is the "gun" part according to US law, that is all you need to circumvent any regulations. The rest of the parts can, I believe, be acquired with no or very little licensing. I don't think making the entire thing of plastic is very practical, and might not even be possible for most gun designs (anything that requires a spring, for example, won't work).

      OTOH if you could, it would give you a weapon undetectable by normal metal detectors. The bullet and casing would be metal still, but you could probably get around that.

      • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:52PM (#41098305)
        The reciever is just the component that holds all the other components. The trick is to print the items that take direct impact or heat, like the barrel or the firing pin.
        • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:02PM (#41098465)
          Or you could design a multi-barrel zip-gun. Four barrels, four bullets. Four shots, and the gun is destroyed. Or you could design it to use something commonly available as a barrel, like a particular size of standardised plumbing pipe.
      • by Nimey (114278) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:13PM (#41098651) Homepage Journal

        That's the lower receiver on an AR which is legally the gun. The lower doesn't have the chamber (the upper receiver does), so it doesn't have to be particularly strong.

      • by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:20PM (#41098761) Journal

        IIRC my understanding is that what was printed was the LOWER receiver.
        The upper receiver - which is also "the gun" legally AFAIK - is the part that has the chamber, etc that's going to be the critical part to the function of a gun.

        So no, at least with my understanding of the plastics available for 3d printing, nobody's actually going to making a "gun" with a 3d printer. The MINIMUM breach pressure (.22 rimfire handgun cartridge, barely more than a bb gun) is 21000 psi or about 1500 bar. Real guns start at 40-50,000 psi or 3000-3500 bar (most sporting handgun/rifle cartridges).

        OK yes, it would be possible to build a "gun" with a thick enough barrel that it might withstand the pressures, but it would be more akin to a wooden cannon, and I wouldn't want to be near it for the 2nd or 3rd firings...

        Anyone know more about the plastics in the printers?

        But then "someone printed parts that could be attached to a gun" isn't a very exciting headline, I understand.

        • by Baloroth (2370816)

          Oops, missed the "lower" bit when I was skimming TFA. However, according to wikipedia only the "serialized" receiver (lower for the AR-15) is the "gun" in US law for guns that have multi-part receivers, so you would still get around the legal difficulty of purchasing an AR-15 (not that they are terribly difficult to find, in any case). But I agree, you won't have people printing complete plastic guns anytime soon: even if plastic could be strong enough, the kind you use in a RepRap certainly isn't. It tends

      • by cawpin (875453) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @03:15PM (#41099677)

        Since the receiver is the "gun" part according to US law, that is all you need to circumvent any regulations. The rest of the parts can, I believe, be acquired with no or very little licensing.

        First, you aren't circumventing any regulations; you are allowed to build a firearm for yourself with no licensing. Second, correct, no other part of a firearm is regulated.

    • by jxander (2605655)

      That's entirely the point: designing ways to compensate for the weakness of plastic.

      • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:30PM (#41098959) Homepage Journal

        That's entirely the point: designing ways to compensate for the weakness of plastic.

        This story is huge. We all know that home 3d printers are just a matter of time, but this is probably the 'magic app' that causes the tech to go mainstream. Think about it, we are going from tech geeks and designers wanting these, to gun fans, which there are a lot of. Also, the venn diagram of the two groups isn't close to overlapping, so the tech is going to spread, and fast. Moreover, Corry Doctrow has written articles about the 'coming war on war on general purpose computing', describing how corporate entities want to control how you use your computers. This story could mark the beginning of the government wanting to try to control how you use them too. While contemporary printers cannot make plastic guns that fire thousands of rounds, mass adoption will lead to increases in quality, tolerances, and material strength of printed materials, while lowering costs. If you can print a one shot .22 pistol now, we are within a decade of being able to print a 10,000 round life Mac-10. If the ATF isn't flipping its shit over this, they should be. Ignoring the whole question of if it is constitutionally legal or not to bear arms, their current organizational goal is to regulate firearms, and that bus is pulling out of the station as we speak.

        Obviously, you cannot control who gets their hands on files to print guns. They have been trying to stop digital child porn since the early days of the net, and that is a clearly winnable war. Unlike something like child porn, guns are not reviled by a good 99% of the population so good luck in regulating gun blueprints. Everybody will have access to them, for better or worse. I am not too concerned about criminals getting (more) guns, but I am worried about your average slob with poor judgement being empowered like this, since there are far more of them with plenty of good intentions. Get ready to see school shooting fatalities go up, as the kids in the trench coats upgrade from 9mm handguns to uzis.

        I for better or worse, we are turning a corner.

        • by Diss Champ (934796) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:33PM (#41099015)

          This could also be the magic app that leads to the govt to start trying to control access to replicators.

        • Get ready to see school shooting fatalities go up, as the kids in the trench coats upgrade from 9mm handguns to uzis.
          How is changing from a 9mm semi-automatic pistol to a 9mm semi-automatic Uzi going to increase fatalities? Do you believe the larger magazine will drastically improve the cyclic rate of fire for these would be assailants? Or is this based on the belief that the Uzi looks scary so it must be more lethal? And I would love to see the 10,000 round MAC-10 since the originals weren't that well pu
    • Agreed. If the plastic firing pin can trigger the primer, the overpressure doesn't blow the chamber and the breech apart, and the rifling doesn't transition to smoothbore after the first round, it might be worth it. But you need stronger plastics for that, and that may be past the printer's ability to liquefy and print.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        I doubt very much you will get rifling at all. The momentum of the bullet is probably far greater than the force needed to shear off any plastic rifling. Not to mention that it's probably an advantage to make the barrel's bore a little larger (gun barrels are actually slightly narrower than the bullets that go in them and they deform the bullet as it passes along) so that you don't get as much gas pressure which would tear the gun apart. Makes for a much slower bullet but the object was to shoot (without ki
        • Might as well just throw the bullet at the target at that point....

          Yell BANG!

        • If the aim is to shoot, we can stick to rubber bands. I think the aim here is to have a workable gun: accurate within reasonable limits (say, 75-100 meters), and lethal, or the very least, damaging. A tumbling bullet is not accurate, and likely slows down enough to be non-lethal even.

          If these criteria are not met, I see absolutely no point in a printable gun. If they are, they can be a great tool for national defense militias: a network of such printers could churn out these low-grade weapons quickly and ch

      • by mjr167 (2477430)
        You don't necessarily need rifling. It helps, but people made guns that worked just fine without it for quite some time.
      • by tibit (1762298) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:11PM (#41098621)

        The plastic could be reinforced with an additive, like perhaps glass fibers. What's also important is that plastic mix may be designed to ablate instead of melting. Ablation takes more heat away per unit volume than melting. It'd wear out as it's heated up, instead of just melting away. Sure thermal management becomes very important on such a design, and you do need to do some finite element thermal and mechanical modeling before anything gets manufactured. To mechanically withstand the stresses, all it takes it to throw enough plastic at the problem, as long as said plastic doesn't deform "too much". It'll be probably necessary to have a statically underbored design, with smallest bore diameter closest to the shell. If you measure it, the bullet "won't" pass through the bore. But in presence of the hot gas, it'll stretch to correct geometry. The gas pressure will be highest at the rear of the barrel, thus you'll want it most underbored right there. This is a similar approach to modeling the machining stresses and passing a deformed shape to the CNC mill such that it will acquire correct shape when machined under presence of hold-down and cutter stresses.

        You could probably do something funny with hot gas scavenging, perhaps trading off some of the bullet's kinetic energy to suck some cool air into the barrel to cool it off.

    • by mspohr (589790)

      I would think the limiting factor would be stupidity of the user.

    • by davidc (91400) <davidc.ccmi@salk@edu> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:02PM (#41098461)

      I forsee many shot-out eyes...

    • by retep (108840) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:05PM (#41098523)

      Keep in mind that in some cases you can use the 3d printer to make the tools needed to make the parts, rather than directly making the parts themselves. For instance barrels need to be made out of metal, yet a 3d printer could still make a jig, essentially a purpose built machining tool, that would give you the ability to make the barrel without purchasing a lot of expensive equipment. Even simple stuff like cutting templates can be a huge time-saver compared to machining parts manually.

      • From what I can tell, a rifled barrel is the most difficult part of the gun to manufacture, the machines used for it are expensive as hell and the process is time consuming.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:44PM (#41098205)

    Looks like the Government is tired of this 3D printing business, so they got some yahoos to start printing guns.

    Interestingly, this is EXACTLY how 3D printing was shut down in the Cory Doctorow book "Makers".

    Life imitates art!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:57PM (#41098375)

      Ironically, I would trust a stranger with a gun over anyone sanctioned by government (especially cops). Rationale? The stranger is merely an unknown, but government has proven over and over again that they are willing to use deadly force as a means to achieve their agenda (both inside and outside the border) -- regardless of whether that agenda is moral and just.

      It amazes me that so many people want to forcefully remove firearms from those who handle them responsibly, yet at the same time, they NEVER question the fact that government wields deadly force as a matter of daily business.

      • by Nimey (114278) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:15PM (#41098689) Homepage Journal

        You have successfully captured the paranoia of the stereotypical American gun nut. Nicely done.

        • by Feyshtey (1523799) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:35PM (#41099047)
          And every person of color in the inner city. And everyone of color in the southern states. And every person of a little-understood religion. And every foreigner from heavily dictatorial nation. And members of anarchist groups. And members of biggoted groups. And hardcore political activtivists on the left and right....

          But other than that, yeah, it's just the wacko gun nuts...
        • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @03:53PM (#41100379)

          Its only "paranoia" if the fear is irrational and unjustified.

          Unfortunately recent history is full of examples of abuse of governmental power and the "civilized" ways for the governed (courts, elections) to obtain justice for which have been rendered largely useless for a large portion of the victims.

          The court system is not only guaranteed to bankrupt one being persecuted (not to mention that when facing a group of thuggish government officials on a power trip the first step is usually freezing/confiscation of all assets of the victim) but the courts themsevles have proven to be easily manipulated by the government bureaucrats and officials and are consistently siding with various three letter agencies. Even if they are not, their rulings are ignored (such as the recent TSA rulings), until such time when a new, more favourable ruling can be managed or in more extreme cases where the "law" can be reworked post-facto to the power-holder's advantage (such as the "legality" of torture and indefinite detention without trial of Guantanamo detainees).

          Similarly, elections are largely meaningless since the US (and increasingly all the other "Western democracies") feature gigantic 2-way, gaudy sporting matches where the spectacle of personality cults and insane exaggerations of minutia differences between two or three facets of the ruling elite are meant to hide the fact that no real (in practical terms) differences exist between the team "red" and team "blue" and they are all working with/for the same elite and its ideology. You are just supposed to paint your face one of these colours and go screeching - spittle flying - at the supporters of the other team, a model successfully borrowed from the Football (or Soccer) scene. Just make sure you do not actually pause to think what you are doing and who benefits from this madness.

          Now top it with the obvious trend of the governments expanding their power by leaps and bounds (TSA, extra-judiciary powers of the President to drone-assassinate American citizens he deems "enemies", etc and so on) and instead of making the poster you are replying to look like a paranoiac, you are making yourself look to be - at best - an uncurious, inattentive, "it can't happen here", "I can't hear anything lalalalalala", individual so desperate to believe that everything is "all right" that he is willing to ignore every second news item for a decade or so, or - at worst - an autocratic shill who actually likes the idea of "putting the malcontents in their place" and who worships naked, raw power and believes those who wield it deserve it and therefore can do no wrong.

          Incidentally, 3D printed guns are not even a factor in the equations of power and constitute a negligeable "threat", but never the less will be dealt with harshly using hugely overreaching, draconian powers because even a tiny "threat" to the power-holders has to be neutralized immediately or else in can blossom into a much larger one and an unthinkable situation of a significant untraceable group of citizenry capable of physically resisting their government (to however a small degree) would possibly result. And thus the rulers would have to start actually be wary of the ruled, instead of just the other way around. And so "at 3am came balaclava-clad ATF knocking, with battering rams and bags to put on our heads, one for me, one for my wife and two wee ones for our kids, for I was guilty of an Unlicensed Possession of a 3D Printing Device and Printing an Unapproved Object".

      • You don't want to give a gun to a government employee because they have done bad things. Rather, you are willing to give a gun to a complete non-government stranger because complete non-government strangers have never done anything illegal, or the achieve his agenda. *blank stare*

        • by moeinvt (851793)

          The OP stated he would trust 'A' OVER 'B'

          "I would trust a stranger with a gun over anyone sanctioned by government"

          The difference is that it is illegal for your average (non-government) stranger to use force except in defense against an imminent threat. Government employees by contrast are legally sanctioned to use violent force in any number of situations.

          I agree with the OP entirely. I'm much more wary of armed government employees (cops) than armed citizens.

      • Move to South Central Los Angeles, it has lot's of "strangers with guns".

        Here's an interactive map maintained by the LA Times showing homicides in the greater LA area.

        http://projects.latimes.com/homicide/map/?year=All+years [latimes.com]

        The large concentration of deaths is Compton/Watts where there is a lot of illegal activity (gangs) and lots of illegal weapons. Random people get shot there all the time. It doesn't even make the headlines, unless it's a child.

        Your are a privileged right wing arrogant asshole. You h

  • Barrel? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MetalliQaZ (539913)

    How exactly are they planning to 3D print a barrel that can withstand real ammunition? How are they planning to rifle it?

    Also, God help us if this ever became a reality.

    • by Bigby (659157)

      3D print the rifling. The barrel isn't so much an issue as the firing point at the base of the barrel. If the projectile is moving straight, the barrel is just a guide with that takes on some friction (especially with rifling).

    • by MarkGriz (520778)

      Right, because "real" guns are oh so hard to come by.

    • How exactly are they planning to 3D print a barrel that can withstand real ammunition? How are they planning to rifle it?

      A .22 is a small enough bullet and 3D printers have advanced enough as far as materials that can be used, that it might well be practical to have a barrel that held up. Especially if you were willing to replace the barrel every hundred shots or so. Why not, when you can just print more...

      Also, God help us if this ever became a reality.

      Why? The reality TODAY is that anyone can get a gun

    • Also, God help us if this ever became a reality.

      Because no criminals have guns now. And just buying one on the black market will never be easier than learning on to make one yourself...

    • 3D printing would actually make the rifling very easy. Trivial, even. Making the barrel durable, though, is not. With a really tough plastic I can imagine getting a few shots off, but the gun won't last long. If all you want is something to shoot muggers with, that will be enough. If it's printable, you can produce replacement barrels easily.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sqr(twg) (2126054)

      Also, God help us if this ever became a reality.

      Actually, I'm tinking of donating. If we can get the lunatics to make plastic guns and blow their hands off, then much fewer innocent people will get shot.

      Admittedly a bit messier than gun control laws, but it may also be more effective.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) *

    Notice how often some ideas will get instantly censored and others won't?

    Post plans to make a gun and get yourself instantly frozen out. Classified military secrets go straight to the NYT and the leaker is called a hero.

    Question politically correct orthodoxy in the pages of the Chronicle of Higher Edication and be fired almost instantly.

    Say outrageous, at LEAST borderline if not outright, racist things for years and if you are Joe Biden your career doesn't end; no that is just Crazy Joe. Need it even be p

    • Curiously, if you go to conservative forums, you find people complaining that liberals will tear apart republicans for saying awkward things but democrats are never held accountable for what they say. It seems both sides are blind to the flaws of their own people.
    • It is kinda funny watching people scramble to change sides for this issue. :)
    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      I want to be able to walk into Wal-Mart and buy my printer, my ammo, and my plans all in one stop :)
    • When do we get to call you guys intolerant, bigots, etc.?

      Who is this "we" and "you guys" you are talking about? The "you guys" that are very vocal about thier stance on a particular issue is rarely the same "you guys" that are just as vocal the next month, when another hot topic issue comes up. You gave two specific examples in your post, but neither one has much to do with the viewpoint of a random person on slashdot.

      The mainstream media ignores Joe Biden's retardation but jumps on Akin? Um, yeah . . that's the mainstream media and anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention knows to take the new yellow journalism with a grain of salt. Go vent your frustration at CNN or FoxNews forums if you want. You're preaching to the choir here.

      A political party sees an issue as more than just black and white and so might have differing views when specific issues are addressed? Say it ain't so! Even if you completely missed the last century of government and you don't know that political parties have been throwing around hypocrasies and double standards for quite a while now, you should be able to realize a simple truth. Printing your own gun and copying someone's music CD is not quite the same thing.

      If printing your own gun becomes legal, or stays legal, what have you, and then the Pirate Party says it is against people using a particular gun design because it has a copyright, then that would be a double standard. If the Pirate Party says it should be illegal to print your own gun, then no, that is not a double standard. That is two standards for two different things. Either way, if you have issues with political parties, take it up with them. Refer to my earlier statement about preaching to the choir.

      Just to be clear, I'm not against you speaking your mind. But from the quoted bit from your post, you don't seem to be distinguishing your audience (us) from the people you have issues with (msm and political parties).

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:18PM (#41098747) Journal

      By 'instantly censored' and 'frozen out' you mean "Indiegogo.com decided to drop them, they switched to using paypal, nobody else has done more than chatter"...

      It might come, er, something of a surprise to people like http://www.cncguns.com/ [cncguns.com] (operational since 2004, if their site stats are accurate) that some ideas are "instantly censored"...

      I realize that being a persecuted speaker of truth amidst the world's hypocritical sheep is ennobling and all; but please try to keep it empirically grounded.

    • by mickwd (196449) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:29PM (#41098937)

      "Me, I want more of this. I want plans to 3D print a fully automatic weapon. Just to watch the heads explode at the realization that the genie is out of the bottle and ain't going back."

      Yeah, won't it just be fucking fantastic when billions of people around the world can 3D-print gas centrifuges and the equipment necessary to extract uranium from seawater. Won't that be fun to watch.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @03:18PM (#41099747) Journal

      As for this idea, it is a veritable certainty it will be denounced by exactly the same people who support all other information being free. Pirate Party Yea! But not this. Double standard.

      As a supporter of information freedom and (from the average American perspective) a radical leftist, I would like to say that I support this project in the strongest terms possible. These people are exercising their freedom of speech and should be able to do so without interference from the government. I want you to have those plans to 3D print a fully automatic weapon, just to watch your head explode at the realization that I'm OK with that.

      Go ahead, 3d print whatever you want. It's all just shapes until you shoot someone.

  • Donations (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:50PM (#41098285)

    People need to stop using PayPal and other sites that allow them to freeze your funds because they are feeling contrary. Start using wire funds transfers to offshore accounts, or mailing in checks, etc. I know it may not be as convenient but these companies are happy to eat your money and give you nothing in return. And while that money is frozen, you're not getting interest on those funds either -- they are. It's in their best interests to search for reasons to freeze your funding, and people will keep throwing money at them because it's convenient to do so.

    Stop supporting these companies, and for that matter, stop doing business with companies in the United States -- that includes Visa and Mastercard. Most organizations worldwide are moving off the dollar and away from US-based businesses for financial support and advice because they've become a militant government that commits acts of economic terrorism.

    • Re:Donations (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tom (822) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:00PM (#41098411) Homepage Journal

      Give me an alternative that works a) world-wide, b) takes credit cards and c) no setup-fees and I will move off PayPal.

      Until then, my less-tinfoil-hat alternative is to never keep any substantial amounts of money in there. Whenever my account has accumulated a few hundred bucks, I transfer it to my bank account.

      So far, works like charm. If they ever do freeze my account for whatever crazy reason of the day, I've lost an amount that sucks, but doesn't endanger me.

    • They are taking donations via PayPal. It's IndieAGoGo (I think that's the name), a kickstarter-like clone that locked them out.

    • People need to stop using PayPal ...

      As if people need yet another reason to stop using PayPall. Although, I guess they do!

  • by donaggie03 (769758) <d_osmeyer@hoAAAt ... inus threevowels> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:51PM (#41098293)
    For someone with limited knowledge about 3D printing technology, the obvious question is: Does the 3D printed material have enough strength to withstand a small explosion in a compact space? What about the heat created from the explosion? Can it do so repeatedly?
    • by romanval (556418)
      I don't even know if cheap 3D printers have the resolution to do smooth curved surfaces (as in .00001-inch). It would be more accurate to 3D print the stock and bore out the barrel with standard drill press.

      In the end I don't think 3D printers are an advantage for making guns, since an experienced person can build a regular metal gun with a few billet pieces and ordinary CAD/CAM+machining tools.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, no, and no. Not with current plastics. And rifling a barrel is NOT an easy thing to do without highly specialized and expensive machinery.

      So, all this angst about 'OMG, plastic guns!' is totally wasted. Amusing, though.

  • by Tom (822)

    ...if there's one thing the world needs more of, it's guns.

    I didn't realize anyone would consider the Lord of War quote regarding the other 11 a call-to-action.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:58PM (#41098393)

    Why spend the money/time printing one? Some people just make them for $7 out tubing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1wV3lmbSv4 [youtube.com]

  • You can have my gun.... When you pry my 3-D printer from the table over there. Seriously, it's just in the other room, you can have it. I don't want any trouble.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:00PM (#41098409)

    I was gonna do this.

  • Fundraising via Paypal ending with Paypal freezing all proceeds in 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1..

  • It's not hard to make a firearm. It's hard to make an accurate, reliable firearm with useful ergonomic features like multi-shot magazines.

    Kids have been making "zip guns" in shop for years. The simplest single shot designs use a nail driven by a rubber band to strike a cartridge held in a metal tube. For a .22 barrel you can use a length of copper tubing set in epoxy in a steel pipe. Or you can drill a hole in a solid piece of steel. For a shotgun shell, an iron or steel pipe will do.

    If you want to ensur

  • This is stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goodmanj (234846) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:16PM (#41098711)

    Nerds need to take more shop classes. Everybody on Slashdot thinks that 3-d printing represents the dawn of a new paradigm, where we can actually *make physical objects ourselves* rather than buying them at a store. Guess what? Making your own things is not some brilliant new hack, people have been doing it for centuries.

    Give me a block of steel, a drill press and a .22 caliber drill, and in 20 minutes I'll make you a gun that's a hell of a lot more accurate and reuseable than anything you can print out with your RepRap. Give me a few more hours and a milling machine, and I'll make you one you wouldn't be ashamed to rob a bank with.

    Hacking the physical world isn't something computer nerds just invented. It just seems new to you because you chose to take web design as a high school elective rather than metal shop.

    • Re:This is stupid. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chronosan (1109639) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:52PM (#41099343)
      The exciting part isn't just making something in meatspace, if it was we'd just bake cookies. It's the ability to effortlessly duplicate a design, which can be shared, improved upon, and manufactured with repeatable precision. Now, as far as building parts with the strength of metal, there are 3D printers that use metal, but they are expensive multi-stage processes. I can only imagine that they will get better/less expensive with time.
    • by trout007 (975317)

      First let me flash my credentials. I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science. I have a LOT more mechanical engineering experience and have worked in design and machine shops for 20 years and have been using commercial 3D printers for about 10 years.

      3D printing is a new paradigm just like CNC controls were a new paradigm 30-40 years ago. It allowed much greater flexibility, speed, and accuracy in manufacturing. Things that could only be done by expert mold and tool makers could be built by p

  • FP-45 or Deer Gun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:33PM (#41099005) Homepage
    I would think they would look to something like the FP-45 Liberator [wikipedia.org] or Deer gun [wikipedia.org] which were basically single use disposable handguns that the US made for resistance fighters in WWII and Vietnam. While they were intended to be reloaded their primary function was to be a one time use and to be dropped behind enemy lines to be picked up by resistance fighters. They were dirt cheap to make and in my mind this seems like it would fill a similar function as it would basically be 1 time use.
  • What a kind and noble goal, what the world really needs is more cheap and widely available weapons!

  • Gyrojet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AJWM (19027) on Friday August 24, 2012 @01:08AM (#41105747) Homepage

    Several posters have rightly pointed out the problems with 'printing' a whole gun, namely the need for hardened and high-pressure-resistant parts.

    However, if you put that requirement in the ammo instead and make the gun essentially a rocket launcher, like the Gyrojet [wikipedia.org] weapons developed in the 1960s, you probably could print the whole thing (except maybe for some springs).

    Problem is that since nobody (AFAIK) makes Gyrojet ammo any more, the rounds -- which were never cheap compared to conventional ammo -- now cost in the range of $100 a piece.

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