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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 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Barrel? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sqr(twg) ( 2126054 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:09PM (#41098587)

    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 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 girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:16PM (#41098715)

    I guess I'm not entirely happy with the idea that any moron who would have been denied a gun permit (even in the "sure! go kill someone" gun-happy USA) could possibly get a reprap or ordbot for a few hundred dollars and go print themselves their own damn killing device.

    That same "moron" can go to the supermarket and buy a dozen or so different ingredients needed to make a bomb too. Should we ban supermarkets? There's always going to be a small minority of people that, for whatever reason, become violent. Your discomfort and unhappiness with this fact notwithstanding, there is no way to prevent this. There are, however, ways to minimize the damage.

    It does not bother me that someone can manufacture a plastic gun in their own home. They could own a home full of guns for all I care. They could, in fact, make their house out of nothing but guns, and carry a dozen handguns around while they do their local shopping. Guns by themselves are not the problem -- the problem comes when the guy carrying a dozen handguns is the only guy like that in a crowded place when he snaps and decides to go all murder-happy.

    I have never felt safer anywhere on this earth than on a military base where people carried their weapons openly and were trained in how to use them. And I have never felt less safe than walking around on the streets after dark in poverty-striken neighborhoods, because I know there's a lot of people there who haven't had any training and think a gun is the answer to all their problems. And still, guns aren't the problem here -- it's poverty, systemic injustice, racism, etc., that all create a factory pumping out desperate people.

    Nobody needs a gun, or a bomb, to kill you. With training, you could be killed by someone with their bare hands and there would be nothing you could do to stop that either. Rather than sit there like a limp dick and be helpless, why not take steps to defend yourself? Take some self defense classes. Buy a gun, or a knife, or a tazer... whatever you feel would help with this obvious insecurity you have. I am not afraid of a guy with a plastic gun, anymore than I'm afraid of a guy with a real gun -- I know the odds of dying due to violent assault, and in fact my personal risk is very much higher than yours because I'm a member of a minority group that experiences the highest rates of suicide, murder, and violent attack in this country. I do not carry a gun, a a knife, or a tazer. I have been trained enough to know what to do if anyone ever presents a weapon -- regardless of the material it is made of. I feel totally safe, not because I have a weapon, but because I am a weapon.

    If everybody was trained, and was given a sidearm, like many countries where military service is compulsory, this wouldn't be a problem. Guy goes crazy in a public place, and a dozen other guys with military training fill him full of bullets. 3 people are killed or injured, and live goes on... not this "Guy goes crazy in a public place, dozens dead or injured, more killed when they storm the place to free the hostages" bullshit that happens now.

    It's obvious you can't stop someone who really wants a gun from getting one: They're easy to design, make, and use. It's a very simple mechanical device. So rather than invest an inordinate amount of resources so that the general population can remain ignorant and defenseless, why not train them and give them ready access to firearms? Being trained and able to defend yourself is a far superior deterrent to crime, and as a bonus, it's also a better use of our tax dollars.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:28PM (#41098915)

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

    Guess what? The morons in the right-wing already do. And it's just as false as Akin's apology that stated he just mispoke.

    No, he wasn't just misspeaking, but saying something that was outright fabricated nonsense to justify his indifference to a serious issue that confronts many women. But rather than realize that he's utterly in the wrong, he just claims he shouldn't have used the word legitimate.

    I've had quite enough conservative trolls spewing their vitriol against liberals, progressives and Democrats, that they then follow-up with a complaint that its the liberals censoring and rating them because they're called on their personal attacks and petty insults.

    And other conservatives? Resounding silence. That's why nobody believes you when you cry about being the victims of intolerant and bigoted liberals. It's blatany hypocrisy on your part.

    We aren't fooled by your disingenuous attempts to make yourselves the martyrs. It's just like when Romney complains about a less than conpletely accurate Obama statement (that's he's just exaggerating anyway) but when confronted with his own outright lies, he doubles down on them.

    Or fucking Sarah Palin complaining that liberals are the mean ones, with no recognition of her own words. Like how she uses shackles and chains as metaphors.

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:29PM (#41098935) Journal
    A barrel can be rifled and still be of slightly larger diameter than the bullet. As far as the law is concerned, it's rifled. As far as the physics of the bullet, it's smooth bored.
  • the NRA does not represent the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

    The NRA represents gun manufacturers.

    Gun manufacturers won't like upstart easy gun assembly, it hurts their business.

    So watch the NRA come out against this.

    Like many issues in America, a certain segment of the population is hoodwinked by corporate interests who hire demagogues and propaganda artists to talk a good talk, but underneath it all is corporate interests that in fact will happily stand against the common man when it comes to the bottom line.

    I'm still waiting for this segment of the US population to wake up to how their easy to identify prejudices are being manipulated by financial interests that happily hurt them. Such as healthcare insurers who happily charge you more to live less than other industrialized countries, or fossil fuel multinationals who don't want to pay more to make their fuel burn cleaner. The common man suffers. But the common man is manipulated and pandered to to hurt themselves (destroyed environment, hurt health, curtailed rights), and aid the bottom line of some greed machine that does not even represent capitalism, but represents cronyism, nepotism, and monopolistic practices.

    Wake up.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday August 23, 2012 @02:37PM (#41099097)

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

    Small caveat: Everyone is mentally ill. I can give you a psychology test and find something wrong with you. In fact, psychologists become suspicious when there testing doesn't find anything wrong -- that usually indicates someone is manipulating the test results. What's even more damning is that the only difference I've found between people who are in-patient, and the general population, is that one is surrounded by walls and the other isn't.

    People like you who segment themselves away from "the criminals" or "the mentally ill", labor under the delusion that they aren't, and/or couldn't become, part of that group. But it takes very little to become a criminal, or mentally ill. In the right circumstances, anyone can be a murderer, or become mentally ill, or any variation on the theme therein. So rather than engaging in this ego-protection, you need to admit that the problem isn't only the people, but the situations that create them.

    In every violent act where a gun is used, someone's always there to say that we should ban guns to prevent it... but very few people say "We should have helped this person sooner." If you want to stop violence, understand the reasons for it, rather than just advocating bandaid solutions to it.

  • 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.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall