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'Download This Gun' — 3-D Printed Gun Reliable Up To 600 Rounds 582

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-wouldn't-download-a-car dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We've talked previously about Texan gunsmith Cody Wilson's efforts to create 3-D-printable parts for firearms. He has a printed magazine that can withstand normal operation for quite a while. But he's also been working on building parts of the gun itself. An early version of a 3-D printed 'lower receiver' — the part of the gun holding the operating parts — failed after firing just 6 rounds. Now, a new video posted by Wilson's organization shows their design has improved enough to withstand over 600 rounds. Plus, their test only ended because they used up their ammunition; they say the receiver could have easily withstood a thousand rounds or more. Speaking to Ars, Wilson gave some insight into his reasoning behind this creation with regard to gun laws. 'I believe in evading and disintermediating the state. It seemed to be something we could build an organization around. Just like Bitcoin can circumvent financial mechanisms. ... The message is in what we're doing—the message is: download this gun.' A spokesperson for the ATF said that while operating a business as a firearm manufacturer requires a license, an individual manufacturing one for personal use is legal."
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'Download This Gun' — 3-D Printed Gun Reliable Up To 600 Rounds

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  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @12:37PM (#43054477) Homepage Journal

    I wouldn't be surprised if this guy met with an unfortunate accident.

    There has been a lot of that happening recently in the gun-rights subculture.

    LK

    • to far but maybe some FPMIA or gitmo

    • by game kid (805301)

      Speaking to Ars, Wilson gave some insight into his reasoning behind this creation with regard to gun laws. 'I believe in evading and disintermediating the state. It seemed to be something we could build an organization around. Just like Bitcoin can circumvent financial mechanisms. ... The message is in what we're doing—the message is: download this gun.'

      ...and if the Powers That Be read that and say "oh noes another open access manifesto [slashdot.org] but for pew-pew things! also he likes bitcoins!", then the acci

    • You mean like how nobody in the government was arrested for Fast & Furious, an op which even some of those tasked to carry it out deemed a false flag designed to give the government the justification for taking the right to bear arms away from its citizens? Frankly after Fast & Furious nothing would surprise me when it comes to the government trying to curtail individual rights.
    • by Jawnn (445279)

      I wouldn't be surprised if this guy met with an unfortunate accident.

      There has been a lot of that happening recently in the gun-rights subculture.

      LK

      [citation needed]
      ...or did you expect to lob your nut-case conspiracy theory in here and not get called on it?

    • by _KiTA_ (241027)

      I wouldn't be surprised if this guy met with an unfortunate accident.

      There has been a lot of that happening recently in the gun-rights subculture.

      LK

      Hahahaha, yeah, the liberal mafia is coming to get ya. BOOGIDY BOOGIDY BOO~~~.

      Anything to keep people paranoid and scared and above all else, buying more guns they don't need.

      Having said that, I expect this to be banned, with the NRA's support. Not because of safety regulations or what have you, but because the NRA's purpose is to get people buying more guns, and if you can print a gun for effectively nothing, they're not going to be all that enthused about the idea.

    • "There has been a lot of that happening recently in the gun-rights subculture."

      "Gun rights" is not a "subculture". It is part of our Constitution.

      You might as well say there is a "free speech" subculture or a "trial by jury" subculture.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @12:47PM (#43054539)

    sound a idea for a in the line of fire 2

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @12:48PM (#43054543)
    Someone whose stated goal is "evading and disintermediating the state" being tied to gun ownership and production. Plays right into the gun-control crowd's narrative of how gun owners are all crazies and trying to subvert the government or think a civil war is about to happen. Wilson, please do all of us gun owners a favor and shut up. Feel free to keep working on 3D printed firearms-to me they are no different than purchasing an 80% receiver and milling the rest yourself- just don't talk.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@woCURIErld3.net minus physicist> on Saturday March 02, 2013 @12:57PM (#43054603) Homepage

      From the point of view of most Europeans where guns are generally banned you all look crazy. We don't have guns and yet somehow aren't being robbed, raped and murdered nearly as much as you guys. At no time in our history would guns have helped us rise up against the government either.

      From our point of view you should be trying to figure out how to change your society so that you don't need guns, rather than trying to advocate more of them. You are treating the symptom, not the cause.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        [...]

        From our point of view you should be trying to figure out how to change your society so that you don't need guns, rather than trying to advocate more of them. You are treating the symptom, not the cause.

        yes, that's what we do here in the USA. But don't worry -- the treatment will, no doubt, cause an unforeseen problem that we can then treat with even more crazy ideas.
        Sort of like keeping a pet lion to keep the neighbor kids and their dogs off your lawn. What could go wrong?!

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        From our point of view you should be trying to figure out how to change your society so that you don't need guns, rather than trying to advocate more of them. You are treating the symptom, not the cause.

        My 1863 Lorenz Rifled Musket isn't useful to defend from robbery or murder. Neither is my Snider Conversion Shotgun (also known as a Zulu Shotgun). I guess my 1904 Springfield .30-40 Krag rifle could technically be used for that, but it is rather impractical. The same goes for my .30-06 hunting rifle and my 80-90 year old side by side shotgun that I use for bird hunting. Why do I need these guns? Well, the first one was passed down through my family since the 1800s. The second 2 are antiques: the shot

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, 2013 @01:07PM (#43054669)

        From the point of view of most Europeans where guns are generally banned you all look crazy.

        That's alright; to us, you look crazy for allowing guns to be banned.

        At no time in our history would guns have helped us rise up against the government either.

        Oh ho ho. That's a good one. Are you really that ignorant of your own history, or do you seriously need a list of examples where it actually happened? I'll give you the first one for free - France, 1789.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We don't have guns and yet somehow aren't being robbed, raped and murdered nearly as much as you guys. At no time in our history would guns have helped us rise up against the government either.

        The you haven't been studying europe's history too well. Hell, even in the late 20th century what you said is untrue. There is so much blood in europe's soil it makes america's domestic problems look like a papercut.

      • Which Europeans? (Score:3, Informative)

        by nten (709128)

        The UK has the most stringent gun laws in the EU (though Germany is close) and even there you may own rifles and shotguns. Belgians and the Czechs have very active firearm cultures that are not related to hunting. I know Switzerland is not a member, but they are in the region and they also have such a culture. The remaining states mostly have hunting related firearm cultures from what I have read.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          I'm not saying we don't have gun crime, I'm saying we have vastly less of it than the US does.

          Apparently pointing this out gets you moderated "troll". That's one of the reasons why the gun lobby gets such a bad rep. No engagement or discussion, just "you are a troll/anti-American/a coward".

      • I was living in Austria till about a month ago. You don't even need a licence to own/buy rifles as long as your over 18. Licence requirements for pistols are pretty easy too. I now live in Switzerland. Gun ownership here is quite high.
      • by hawk (1151)

        > At no time in our history would guns have helped us
        >rise up against the government either.

        Whereas, we actually pulled that off . . . against a European overlord.

        And two of the three North American attempts since then have been successful . . . (California & Texas, yes; Confederacy, no).

        hawk

      • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @04:08PM (#43055763)

        Before I say anything else, I want to say that I do agree with your concluding point, and I'll come back around to that later.

        At no time in our history would guns have helped us rise up against the government either.

        There'a an argument to be made that the U.S. itself contradicts that statement, given that it was a collection of European colonies that broke away from European rule, largely through the use of firearms. Had it not broken away, wouldn't it still be a part of European history, at least in a broader, cultural sense, if not in reference to the literal continent?

        Ignoring that, however, your comparison is a rather useless one anyway, since European history is long. Throughout most of European history, people were capable of rising up against their governments with either homemade or repurposed items. I.e. The disparity between the government's equipment and the people's equipment was small enough that the people were always a concern, and we're hopefully all aware of at least some of the rebellions, revolutions, and coups that make up the fabric of the continent's past. Guns wouldn't have helped because the people always had a means of rising up, and frequently did just that!

        In contrast, at the time of that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written, that was no longer the case, so it's no surprise that their authors ensured that the people of the nation would always have a right to the same tool that the government could use to subjugate and oppress them. After all, that's exactly what they had done just a handful of years prior when they broke free from the people they viewed as oppressors.

        Of course, there's a question today of whether or not firearms are still relevant in a world where fighter jets, cluster bombs, and ICBMs exist. Firearms are becoming increasingly irrelevant, since the disparity is quickly reaching the point where citizens would need to be given far more advanced weaponry than any reasonable person would suggest if they would want to have a hope of overturning their government. Even so, given enough citizens and enough guns, I do think it's possible, so I still see value there.

        All of that said, I agree with your final idea about treating the symptom, rather than the cause. I wholeheartedly agree that we need to have some major societal changes take place, though I doubt that all of my ideas would be in line with those of a typical European. As you, however, I would love to see a reduced need for guns and a reduced perceived need for guns. Achieving both would likely lead to a reduced presence of guns, and, to me, that means that we need a government that protects our rights above all else and a lower violent crime rate. The latter has already been taking place, with rates dropping pretty consistently and quickly for most of the last two decades. Even so, the government's decision to engage in security theater and fear-mongering (terrorists everywhere!) have helped to spread a culture of fear that's encouraging people to arm themselves against threats that they believe are both internal and external. That needs to stop.

    • by JWW (79176)

      Oh yeah, let's just pick and choose the freedoms we want to let others defend. That'll work great.

      I assume you've never heard:

      First they came for the ........

      It's kinda sad how hard it is to vigorously defend our rights.

      Most of the bill of rights state things in terms of "Congress shall make no law" but yet Congress spends a lot of time trying to make rights restricting laws anyway.

      • first they came for the ellipses
        i do not use ellipses so i did nothing

        then they came for capital letters
        i do not use capital letters so i did nothing

        then they came for lowercase letters
        and between me and e e cummings we were too weak to stop them

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Saturday March 02, 2013 @01:49PM (#43054963)

      Plays right into the gun-control crowd's narrative of how gun owners are all crazies and trying to subvert the government or think a civil war is about to happen.

      "Plays into"? I would have said supports the idea 100%.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      He would at least have a point if guns were banned in the US, which they are not. They are manufactured and purchased by the millions. There is not even a proposal on the table to ban any gun with the capabilities of his "printed" gun (which I put in scare quotes since all the functional parts are not printed). His implication of victimhood and outlaw is entirely manufactured.
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @12:49PM (#43054551)
    They are simply doing what the law allows them to do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
    • They are simply doing what the law allows them to do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

      As an aside, I'll note that something doesn't have to be illegal for it to be ethically questionable. "Not forbidden by law" and "not wrong" are categories that generally have some mutual overlap, but should not be conflated. From a technical standpoint, I believe sociologists and psychologists refer to individuals who define their personal morality solely by what is or is not illegal as "assholes".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ALeader71 (687693)

        True, this is well within the limits of the law. In fact, this guy is attempting to obtain a federal firearms license. He isn't subverting the government. He's wriggling through the holes in the legal system to do what he wants. One of these 'wants' is to show that the government isn't quite as high and mighty as many believe.

        For me, this is further proof that a new "assault weapons ban" will be as useless as the previous ban. Gun related hommicides didn't decrease, only those involving so-called assau

        • by i.r.id10t (595143)

          This doesn't include the full-auto Uzis, AK-47s, and other military carbine rifles that the ban didn't cover because they were never available for public purchase in the first place. The last man portable fully automatic weapon sold to the public was the Thompson sub machine gun. The current debate has nothing to do with military rifes. Instead it's about semi-automatic rifles which look like miliary rifles.

          Wrong. Up until 1968, it was legal to import a full auto for civilian ownership, and up until 1986

      • Opinions vary considerably on what is 'ethical'.

        This is why we have a process called 'rule of law' which constrains these opinions.

        The body of legal thought in the United States includes a basis on natural law:

        In Cotting v. Godard, 183 U.S. 79 (1901), the United States Supreme Court:

        The first official action of this nation declared the foundation of government in these words: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalien

  • I TOTALLY WOULD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 02, 2013 @12:52PM (#43054567)

    YOU WOULDN'T DOWNLOAD A GUN

    • Someone tried to fax me a gun but it came out flat and my 3-D bullets would not load.

      I bet if i download it though the inter-tubes it won't get squashed. *note to self - do NOT compress the download or the gun might be too small for my bullets*

  • Raise a Fuss (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I do get it. The public mood concerning guns is highly amplified at the moment and nothing would draw attention as quickly as a gun that could be printed easily at home. Beneath that may reside an unusually powerful change in the very basics of society as we know it. Obviously if one can print a gun then one could print almost everything else. Need a bicycle, a car or a new home? Then turn on the printer. The entire monetary and investment systems now in play would be shot not only in one foot but

    • by Jeremi (14640)

      The notions of employment, investment and even concepts of ownership could be highly effected. After all, why bother to own a bicycle when a printer can whip one out for you as needed?

      For the foreseeable future, anyway, the answer would be: because the bicycles available in the shops are both cheaper and higher quality than anything you could print out yourself.

      3D printers are currently able to make plastic toys; maybe someday they'll be able to do more and cost less to operate, but that's only speculation at this point.

  • 'I believe in evading and disintermediating the state. It seemed to be something we could build an organization around.Just like Bitcoin can circumvent financial mechanisms.'

    What's this? Exercise in syllogism?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To those who aren't AR-15 enthusiasts:

    The only 3D printed part is what is referred to as the "lower reciever" (the part that appears white or clear in the pics/vid). While printing this part (which can last 600 rounds apparently) is an achievement, it probably isn't even among the top 10 parts which experience the most stress...come back and talk to me when they can print:

    - The barrel
    - The chamber
    - The upper reciever
    - the bolt
    - the bold carrier
    - the gas tube ...etc.

    The confusion might be from the fact that

    • Which just means that even if he is successful in his aim, it just means the government would need to extend gun control restrictions to also cover some other part of the gun. Something either too fiddley to print (the bolt, trigger assembly) or exposed to pressures and temperatures higher than a printed part could take (the barrel). It's a doomed aim, unless he can come up with a design made entirely from 3d printed parts and general-purpose plumbing and construction supplies.

  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @01:10PM (#43054699) Homepage Journal

    they just tested a single beta copy by firing 600 rounds and it did not fail. There's a difference.

    Which is not to say this isn't an impressive achievement from an engineering standpoint, or that it doesn't have important policy implications. It's just that I deal with that particular conflation of a successful test with statistically meaningful proof every day. My teenaged son will do something stupid, and when I say that he'll break his neck if he keeps doing it his response is always, "Yeah, but I *didn't*."

  • by LuxuryYacht (229372) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @01:12PM (#43054709) Homepage

    The resolution and materials commonly available for FDM/FFF are too poor for application like these. The quality of the print is just too poor and they are only using p400 ABS [aetlabs.com] for material. That is why their prints aren't very durable.

    SLA [google.com] however offers the resolution and the materials to produce parts that are strong and reliable enough for these types of rugged applications. Some photopolymers for SLA are 100-1,000 x stronger than the ABS they are using.

    • by Radtastic (671622)
      I'm surprised that no one has made (or at least, made public) an AR lower using Direct Metal Laser Sintering [youtube.com]. As others have mentioned, the stress on the lower receiver isn't terribly great, so I would think DMLS lower's would perform fine?
      • They probably don't have access to an SLS printer which will work for an application like this along with the right alloy.

        SLA [google.com] may be used to print the part in one step or print a mold that may be used for lost wax type casting [wikipedia.org] of several alloys durable enough for an application like this.

  • You can make a suppressor with a few hand tools and a clean oil filter, but you'll still get hard time getting caught with it.

    If assault-style weapons are banned and someone prints one, it will be just as illegal.

  • If the object is to limit firearms deaths, is it time to shift from regulating the weapons to regulating the explosives, such as gunpowder and ammunition?

    I never understood why the ATF defined a "gun" in terms of its lower receiver. I assumed that it was because such a thing was difficult to make outside of a big gun factory, which would provide a decent point of control for ensuring that firearms would be sold only to people for legal purposes. (Yeah, that didn't work either, but that's a different questio

  • Not a big deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quantaman (517394) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @02:08PM (#43055105)

    Guns aren't hard to acquire now and even with decent gun control they probably won't be that hard to acquire in the future.

    The problem with the US (well a problem for me) is the gun culture where having a gun is considered cool and manly, as a result lots of people have guns and feel normal keeping them and using them. Change the culture so gun ownership is weird, so that when you tell someone you own a device designed to kill people they give you an odd look and get uncomfortable, once that happens you'll see a real drop in guns and violence. I don't see 3D printed guns as being a big factor either way.

    • Re:Not a big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @02:21PM (#43055187)

      when you tell someone you own a device designed to kill people they give you an odd look and get uncomfortable, once that happens you'll see a real drop in guns and violence.

      None of my guns were designed to kill people. My shotgun was designed to kill birds and small game. The rest of my firearms were designed to fire a small lead ball at a target of my choosing. That is what guns are designed to do: hit what the person is aiming at. If the person is aiming at another person, then the gun might kill them. But that is the fault of the person firing the gun, not the gun itself. It is the person killing the other person. I do not and would not ever own something designed solely to kill someone.

    • Re:Not a big deal (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @03:58PM (#43055687) Homepage

      "That rifle on the wall of the laborer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there."
      -- George Orwell

      "Every Communist must grasp the truth, 'Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun'"
      -- Mao Tse-Tung

      "The gun control agenda is based on the view that ordinary citizens cannot be trusted to use the physical power of arms responsibly. But a people that cannot be trusted with guns cannot be trusted with the much more dangerous powers of self-government. The gun control agenda is thus an implicit denial of the human capacity for self-government and is tyrannical in principle."
      -- Alan Keyes

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