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The World's First 3D-Printed Gun 846

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:59PM (#40779233)

    Toss these 3D printing folks in prison. Then ban guns altogether. There are way too many people defending themselves from spree shooters and psychopaths.

    If you ban guns, criminals won't be able to buy them anymore. Remember when they had a war on drugs, and now we don't have drugs anymore??

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

  • Re:Oh brother (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @01:07PM (#40779365)

    But that's the thing, 3D printing is energy and materials intensive in the way that copying files isn't. 3D printing is like carpentry in the 1950s and 1960s. I don't know if you are familiar with the magazines of the era, but they were filled with plans and designs for furniture and what not. Everyone had tools and a space it seems. How many people you know these days that build their own furniture? How many people make their own clothes? In the same amount as you think people will embrace 3D printing? This 3D printing fad just reflects our rotten value system as a society ("ooh making objects at home is what life is all about".) Would you wear clothes you made yourself?

    How much work do you think this gunsmith had to do to the part before it was usable? How many prototypes did he try? It's a hobby, and anyone who wants a receiver will simply buy one.

    Basically mass production beats 3D printing, and most people simply don't have the time, patience, resources or skills to dick around for weeks to get poorly aligned slobs of smelly expensive plastics to show their friends.

    The same way mass-produced furniture beats dicking around the garage to end up with an inferior, more expensive product. It's that simple. Time will tell, and I'm sure I'm right. 3D printing will revolutionize nothing, since this is a hobby that comes from established industrial techniques, not the other way around. The world is *already* "revolutionized", you just have an expensive hobby.

  • Re:But ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @01:08PM (#40779385)

    Which constitutes only 1.37% of the population...

    Beware the tyranny of the minority.

    What is it that the NRA wants to ban in law, exactly? It's not tyranny of the minority if they're not forcing anyone to do anything.

  • Re:But ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @01:12PM (#40779461) Homepage
    I don't have children, yet I still pay for schools in my taxes. I don't drive a car, but I do buy gasoline for my lawnmower and snowblower, so I am paying road taxes as well even though I don't drive on them. Sorry, but people that have kids and send them to private schools don't get my sympathy if they pay for public schools out of their taxes too. I don't have a problem with some of my taxes going towards public schools as I think investing money in education is a good idea. But your argument holds no water with me at all.
  • Re:But ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @01:33PM (#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?
  • Re:But ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by airdweller ( 1816958 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:14PM (#40781879)

    "The gun the shooter use was already illegal in Colorado."
    No, it wasn't. He bought it at a pawn shop. They interviewed the owner on TV.
    Your sources?

  • Re:But ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:20PM (#40782005) Homepage Journal

    You don't need to have kids in public school to benefit from public education. Without public schools, where are you going to find workers for your business? If you have no business and your boss need workers and can't find them, he'll go out of business and so does your job.

    Jees, /.'s collective IQ has seriously dropped in the last 5 or 10 years. This stuff is brain-dead simple, kids. A five year old should be able to figure it out.

  • by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:26PM (#40782111)

    Yup, because the lower on an AR-15 (which is considered the "firearm" by the BATFE) isn't a structural part - it simply keeps all the other parts in appropriate alignment.

    And, perfectly legal to make your own firearm, as long as it isn't for commercial purposes (sale), and as long as you follow all NFA rules. You can make a SBR, AOW, etc. as long as you get the proper tax stamp first.... Only thing you can't make is a full auto since the NFA registry for FA/select fire stuff was closed in May 1986. Of course, if you have your FFL and SOT for NFA manufacture, you can still make FA/select fire items *with* the appropriate request for demo unit from a law enforcement agency or military.

  • Re:But ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kwiqsilver ( 585008 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:13PM (#40786069)

    If only pro-gun folks knew how easy it was to live without the things, and what a sense of peace one gets knowing they aren't about. Walking through an American city must be like walking through a cactus field - watch yourself all the time lest you get punched full of holes.

    It's easy to live without the internet, too. Should we force you to do so because some people use it to molest children?
    I walk through an American city (Seattle) on a regular basis. There are thousands of gun owners here, and many of us carry concealed or openly on a regular basis, yet we have a lower murder rate than most large cities on Earth. Why? Because we don't have a huge drug-based turf war.
    Gun related deaths, outside of the drug trade, are very rare. And that's a completely different problem.

    A hard to elucidate but very real reason why I (and I suspect, many others) want laws banning guns is because they are such inherently ugly and vile things - with the exception of hunting rifles, they exist for one purpose, to facilitate the most abhorrent crime there is.

    Target shooting is the most abhorrent crime there is? That is the primary use of guns in America. I would have gone with something like genocide, which, interestingly enough, only seems to happen to unarmed populations.

    Defense and offense are malleable terms

    Not in the least. Defense is the resistance against offense, and offense is the initiation of force.

    Beyond that, ban everything but slow-shooting hunting rifles. You don't need anything else.

    Again, you don't need the internet, but we don't ban it just because some people use it maliciously. One of the costs of living in a free society is having to put up with shit you don't like. If one of your neighbors owns a gun, either deal with it or move. Unless he does something wrong (such as pointing it at another person), you have no reason to complain.

    The police in the UK have and still to a degree manage to police their country without guns; surely regular citizens can get by in the same way in your country. Recall one of the reasons why police in the UK were able to operate that way: since criminals knew the police didn't carry guns, the criminals had less of a reason to do so themselves. Compare that situation to the US, where a veritable arms race has occurred, to the point were criminals and police carry military rifles on what appears to be a regular basis.

    I'm curious which Hollywood movie you get your knowledge of American crime from. The vast majority of criminals in the US do not carry firearms, because carrying one adds a hefty decade or two to a prison sentence.

    Interestingly enough...if you check the data [], there's no real correlation between crime rates and gun control. Of the top 10 violent crime cities in the US, five are in very anti-gun states, the other five are in middle-of-the-road gun control states. What the high crime cities do have in common are gangs, poverty, and drugs.

    As an aside, if you ever want to overthrow your government, then you will succeed when army units defect to the rebels' side. If the army is united, you can't win against it, for they are better armed. But the army is made of of citizens, and a just rebellion should be able to convince soldiers not to shoot fellow citizens and to oppose tyranny.

    There are 1.4 million active duty military personnel in the US military. There are over 100 million legal gun owners in the US. We are far better armed. They might have tanks, bombers, and artillery, but controlling a population requires infantry. You can say that a full-auto M4 is better than what civilians own (but it's not). Our rifles have better range on average, and due to superior numbers, we can put more rounds on the target.

    No mil

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