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

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.

  • Barrel? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:49PM (#41098263)

    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 jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Thursday August 23, 2012 @01:50PM (#41098273)

    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 pointed out that any R saying things that dumb/retarded (say Akin for example) are denounced by the same people who cover for Joe and his boss?

    When do we get to call you guys intolerant, bigots, etc.?

    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.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • News flash. If you, me or anyone with average intelligence goes postal lack of a gun won't lower the body count much.

    Look at the recent nut who went off at the Batman premiere. He left bombs in his apartment. Had he carried those and lobbed them into the packed audience it would have been at least as deadly, probably more. So hearing that, bed wetting types like yourself will next work to ban any access to chemicals that can go boom, right? You do know that would ban almost everything useful, right?

    Control the criminals and the mentally ill, not household cleaners, not knives, not firearms.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by Maxwell'sSilverLART ( 596756 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:17PM (#41098729) Homepage

    It's also a legal requirement for any sort of handgun. If it's not rifled, it's legally classed as a short-barreled shotgun, which is much more difficult (in some jurisdictions, outright impossible) to own legally. An SBS is any smoothbore device with a barrel length (measured from the face of the closed bolt to the muzzle) less than 18", or a total overall length less than 26."

  • 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 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.

  • 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...
  • 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 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.

  • 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".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @08:06PM (#41103735)

    I gathered that the purpose of this project, in part, was to circumvent the authority of organizations such as the ATF. Having the ability to have what others wish you not to have by simply removing them as gatekeepers.

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