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News & For Sale “3D printing a firearm” by Amanda

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Amanda 6 years ago on 05/06/13
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I found a fairly even-handed representation of the "issues" surrounding the very first 3D-printed firearm that's capable of actually firing a gun.

http://hackaday.com/...gun-has-been-fired-and-i-dont-care/

I agree with the article for the most part. I can't see any huge consequences of this particular "first". I hope the fear-mongering happening in the rest of the community is not indicative of the general reaction.

Anybody else here into the 3-D printing thing with a different perspective? At the very least it's a Pretty Neat Thing that guy did.
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John Booty 6 years ago on 05/06/13
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For those not reading the original story, which is probably 90% of the people who will have an opinion on it (not you, Amanda) this is a legal gun - the manufacturer applied for a U.S. firearm manufacturing permit and the guns ship with a piece of metal embedded in them so they can't be used to slip past metal detectors.

I agree with you. This is more like a proof-of-concept; something for media to easily digest because it's a... commercial product with a SKU, not something that some crazy hobbyist can theoretically do with a "3D Printer" which is a thing that Average Joe American doesn't understand.

Just like the article says, you can easily make a zipgun using a rimfire bullet with like $10 worth of stuff from Home Depot.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Improvised_firearm
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StuntCock 6 years ago on 05/06/13
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This is one of those situations where the advances in industry are going to cause people with an investment in something, political or financial, to take notice.

As 3-D printing advances people are going to let it evolve itself naturally until the interests of a lobbying group or powerful company are piqued. Once that happens people are going to step in and attempt to further the interests of their group. It's no different than De Beers having an interest in the development of synthetically created flawless diamonds.

Predictably enough these companies aren't going to take notice when something is in the idea phase. Proof of concept phase? Oh, they're going to take interest. The other option is to stick their head in the sand like the music industry did with the mp3.
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John Booty 6 years ago on 05/06/13
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I'm thinking the gun industry doesn't care? Unlike mp3s (which were so obviously the future, and were equal to or better than CDs in the minds of almost everybody right out of the gate) plastic guns don't seem like they'd ever compete with "real" guns.

But something tells me I'm probably short-sighted there. Are there signs that these things are ever going to be comparable to regular guns? (I don't mean that rhetorically)

The government, obviously, will care. Sort of. From an actual tactical standpoint these things are less capable than the homemade guns people have been able to cheaply make for decades if not centuries. Though I imagine that some politician(s) will hop on this cause anyway.
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Kumba 6 years ago on 05/06/13
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John Booty said:
I'm thinking the gun industry doesn't care? Unlike mp3s (which were so obviously the future, and were equal to or better than CDs in the minds of almost everybody right out of the gate) plastic guns don't seem like they'd ever compete with "real" gu...


The gun industry will care. A lot of manufacturing industries are keeping a very close eye on the 3d printer market, because it's going to open up an entirely new world of intellectual property debates. Regardless if the output medium is plastic or not, the concern is more over the blueprints and 3D design files. Companies obviously store these on their internal networks, but probably not in a super-safe fashion. One employee's computer gets compromised, and that cat will be out of the bag forever.

Think about how much of a threat this is for Games Workshop. They'll just be the first to go on the offensive. The battle w/ the movie and music industry was just the tip of the iceberg. Things are going to get really fun over the next decade or two.
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Amanda 6 years ago on 05/06/13
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I just realized the OP talks about a gun that fires other guns. This is what I get for creating a thread first thing in the morning.

Kumba said:


The gun industry will care. A lot of manufacturing industries are keeping a very close eye on the 3d printer market, because it's going to open up an entirely new world of intellectual property debates. Regardless if the output medium is pla...


Your argument that this matters from an IP point of view is nonsensical to me, because I don't see 3-D printing as somehow different in scope from any other manufacturing process.

I mean, sure, it has way more applications in rapid prototyping than for mass manufacturing, but the technology itself doesn't warrant any special treatment for IP law in my eyes.
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John Booty 6 years ago on 05/06/13
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I think there are very few things of value that can be duplicated on these printers.

Think about how much of a threat this is for Games Workshop.


Games Workshop figurines and other figurines are one of the few things of value that could be duplicated on these machines.

Still, though, for far less than the cost of a 3D printer... you've been able to make your own resin copies of figurines for deecccccccades.
PS: Thinking of every single thing of value that I own, the plastic bits are exceedingly small portions of those objects' value. The valuable bits are leather, silicon, glass, batteries, printed circuit boards, etc and the know-how to assemble it all.

I could, at best, use a 3D printer to replace some of the parts on those items if those broke - like for example, I could probably replace my laptop's upper and/or lower case shells. But despite the obscene markup on real OEM laptop shell replacement parts, I don't think that's really where laptop manufacturers make their money.

For example, in the world of game consoles, you've been able to buy dirt-cheap replacement plastic parts forrrrrrrevvver: https://www.google.com/search?q=replacement+xbox+360+case

We know that console manufacturers are quite litigation-happy, yet I have never seen one have legal issues with these plastic replacement parts.
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nategri 6 years ago on 05/06/13
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I admit when this first showed up on my radar a few months ago my first reaction was 'Christ some asshole is trying to print a gun. Of course. Thanks dude.' This is mainly because I think 3D printing is really cool, and while it's in that sensitive period where Joe Schmoe is just starting to hear about it, I don't want a bunch of bad and stupid press to saturate coverage.

That article has settled me down a bit, but long term there I think this stuff won't be so easy to dismiss. Eventually you'll be able to buy a decent and capable 3D printer for about the cost of a pricey laserjet, and then it will certainly be the case that manufacturing lethal projectile weapons will be easier than it ever has been before.

But then again we've been facing this basic problem for ages now. Everyone drives, but most people don't run people over. Everyone has computers, but most people don't run botnets. We'll have to face the same issues with 3D printing and DIY bio.
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Cognac Jack 6 years ago on 05/06/13
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nategri said:
I admit when this first showed up on my radar a few months ago my first reaction was 'Christ some asshole is trying to print a gun. Of course. Thanks dude.' This is mainly because I think 3D printing is really cool, and while it's in that sensitive ...


I agree with this. Right now, 3D printing is going to mostly be a non issue, but as it gets cheaper and more advance I'm sure all those problems this article says isn't important will become an issue.
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Kumba 6 years ago on 05/07/13
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John Booty said:
I think there are very few things of value that can be duplicated on these printers.


John Booty said:
Thinking of every single thing of value that I own, the plastic bits are exceedingly small portions of those objects' value. The valuable bits are leather, silicon, glass, batteries, printed circuit boards, etc and the know-how to assemble it all.


The medium is irrelevant. Right now, it's either some kind of ABS plastic that can be heated to a gel and arranged to form a replica, or a powdered plastic that's built up in layers. But what about five years from now? Ten years from now? Twenty years from now? Who says that future 3D printers won't be able to work with different mediums, like steel, silicon, glass, or graphene?

In a way, think of the current generation of 3D printers as the dot matrix of old. Eventually, someone's going to cook up the laserjet equivalent, followed by the color laserjet, solid ink, and inkjet versions. New mediums, new ways of building things, that's going to happen at some point.

But as for the digital side of things, the fact that average joes like you can me can download some bits of data and replicate something that previously could only be done at a fab plant with $100k equipment? That's the revolution that the manufacturing industry is ill-prepared for. The music and movie industries have already fought, and still are fighting, those battles. But in the terms of overall economic clout, those two industries pale in comparison to manufacturing. What happens to the internet when they turn their full attention to combating digital piracy?

I know this thread is about this 3D gun specifically, but this is the opening of a door into a much bigger issue than I think many people realize. Are we ready?

I kinda draw these thoughts from an article in Foreign Affairs, Nov/Dev 2012 issue, written by Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, called "How to Make Almost Anything". Unfortunately, it's a premium article, so there's no point in linking to it, but I did find this Youtube video that covers basically the same topic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPbJmYCSCgA

And another article on Gershenfeld's concept by the Economist:
http://www.economist.com/node/4031304
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Amanda 6 years ago on 05/07/13
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You can already use ceramics, metal, cement, etc in various 3-D printer technology, FYI you guys.

There's an open-source paste extruder that you can use for ceramics, and frosting or whatever. At MIT they're doing projects using 3-D printers with cement to make variable density building materials, which is a neat thing! The metal 3-D printers work by shooting lasers at metal powders. Also a neat thing!

Kumba you're kinda being a fear-mongering turd. The technology you're asking "are we ready for" already exists and is being used for prototype manufacturing.

3-D printed mass manufacturing is not viable for a handful of reasons. The biggest one is that it's impossibly expensive to run a 3-D printer compared to a mill. The only advantage 3-D printing has over a traditional mill setup is the "unmillable" parts, like items with holes somewhere in the middle, etc.

Also I don't get why you think the manufacturing industry is not also exploring 3-D printing technology in a wide variety of materials because I have first-hand knowledge that they totally are.
PS: OH NO THE 3-D PRINTERS ARE COMING, TIME TO QUOTE MOORE'S LAW AND SHIT
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nategri 6 years ago on 05/07/13
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Maybe this will resolve just like regular paper printing did? I don't recall ever hearing about there being a panic from publishing houses when cheap home printers became available. Those devices, while extremely useful, were (and remain) in a completely different league. Not too difficult to imagine 3D printing will find the same equilibrium.

I mean, we could all be straight up printing out Magic: The Gathering cards and flipping Wizards of the Coast the bird, but no one does that. People want the real deal.
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Lord_BullGod 6 years ago on 05/07/13
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I'd be more concerned with a 3d printed katana.

'Cause then I'd be all like, "Hey man, where'd you get the money to get that crazy big printer. Can I borrow $50?"
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Moonage Daydream 6 years ago on 05/07/13
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Amanda said:
I just realized the OP talks about a gun that fires other guns.


Sounds like a challenge for the 3-D printer community! Or the Acme corporation

 
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Achtung! Wafflesnatchers 6 years ago on 05/08/13
Amanda said:
Kumba you're kinda being a fear-mongering turd.


Kumba is not saying we're not ready for the technology. He was saying that we're not ready for the battle that will follow with the manufacturing industry, and we definitely need to expect it, because it will come. As he pointed out, the entertainment industry has been fighting a battle to pass legislation all over the globe to combat digital piracy and protect intellectual property, and the failed passage of bills has not stopped more from coming. In 2011, the music industry in America made $5.7 billion in profit, while manufacturers made $142 billion in a single quarter.

People are wearing rose tinted glasses about the future of this technology and the issues we will face as a result. No one is saying that we should abandon this technology or tread lightly, but that the battles we're facing today with the entertainment industry will be fought in the future with an industry that is significantly more politically and financially powerful.
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Amanda 6 years ago on 05/08/13
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what BATTLE dude??

You and Kumba are both speaking in vague, threatening tones (internet voices, alright) and I'm pretty sure that's what fear-mongering is.

THE VIOLENT CLASH OF THE PLASTIC TITANS

CONSUMERS MAKE PLASTIC TRINKETS

INDUSTRY REACTS WITH PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES

Neither you nor Kumba has actually presented a reason the industry and the consumer will be at odds. There isn't one! "The Man" has already embraced 3-D printing technology and "the little guy" has too, so wtf are you guys even talking about.
PS: rose tinted glasses what the fuck, give me some legitimate evidence and not some vague statements about "what will come"

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nategri 6 years ago on 05/08/13
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So, to advocate a position I was pedaling back from...

This is kind of a stretch, and it's nothing that's going to happen anytime soon, buuuuut: If you imagine really robust, cheap home manufacturing (not just plastic -- but printed circuit boards, and hell maybe even ICs)... It's almost trivial to imagine the problems. Like, there ain't no way Toshiba is gonna be totally cool with your printing out a laptop based on pirated schematics for the cost of raw material.

Constraining to just plastics and arguing from that position (though more realistic) is a bit of a scarecrow since Kumba mentioned media like silicon and graphene with obvious electronics applications.

But on the other hand it's correct I think to say that there's probably no dang way that legal issues are an imminent concern. That's still the realm Doctorowian sci-fi.
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Amanda 6 years ago on 05/08/13
Equipped: Flux Capacitor named "THE FALLOPIAN TUBES OF TIME TRAVEL"
But you can do that already with a laserjet. Printing a PCB at home is trivial! In fact, you can print out the PCBs, buy components on the cheap, and solder all together with a few months worth of research and a really steady hand.

You can pick up a used pick & place machine and have a crockpot fill of solder paste and crank out PCBs you stole the designs of all day long. In fact, that setup would cost you LESS than the printer that produced the gun mentioned in the news article of the OP. That's how Sparkfun does their kits, actually!

I'm not talking out of some void of "this could work this way if" potentiality. I have seen all of these things with my two eyeballs.

DIY has existed literally forever. And I don't see how a 3-D printer DIY of a consumer product is somehow equivalent to an entirely digital item such as an mp3. If you want to compare it to the music industry, make a reasonable comparison. Like people suddenly producing records in their own homes and preferring that to the music industry at large. Ridiculous.

But hey, whatever, it better suits the purposes of discussion to have a LOOMING BATTLE on the horizon I guess.
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nategri 6 years ago on 05/08/13
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Amanda said:
...and solder all together with a few months worth of research and a really steady hand


Annnnnnd that's exactly why contemporary manufacturing tech isn't in the same league as the potentially near-future stuff that could cause a bunch of litigation.

This is kinda like saying "Hey ANYONE can make a computer!" in 1975. While technically accurate, there's a big skill barrier. So: Effectively no one does it.

Here we're (fuck -- 'we'? -- do I even agree with this, lol?) talking about tech that removes most of the skill barrier. These are proven things that are already happening, but they aren't happening in Joe Consumer's house. The (wildly hypothetical) point is: What if it did become cheap and easy enough for Joe? Or, equivalently, what would happen if this tech went as mainstream as personal computing.

But this is a bunch of defending a whatifwhatifwhatif that I'm starting to find mildly exhausting. Paper printers worked out, VCRs (with a little drama) worked out. I'm guessing this will work out too.
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Imaginos 6 years ago on 05/08/13
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Amanda said:
DIY has existed literally forever. And I don't see how a 3-D printer DIY of a consumer product is somehow equivalent to an entirely digital item such as an mp3. If you want to compare it to the music industry, make a reasonable comparison. Like people suddenly producing records in their own homes and preferring that to the music industry at large. Ridiculous.


So much this. mp3 and digital files messed up the media industry because they created a false scarcity to extract a profit. MP3s broke this by being equal in quality, cheaper and faster to obtain. That is when it broke the threshold. That said they even got some of that back when they helped to make iTunes and netflix easier to use than searching the web for pirated files.

When dealing with an actual physical good economy of scale comes into it. Whatever device they make that lets me "print" things at home the same tech can and will be scaled up to industrial processes creating a cost savings, so they will be able to make the same things faster and cheaper. There where will always be a floor as to materials cost, and in that the person that can buy a ton will get a better price than the guy who buys a pound.

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