Get ready. It's now possible to print weapons at home.
An amateur gunsmith, operating under the handle of "HaveBlue" (incidentally, "Have Blue" is the codename that was used for the prototype stealth fighter that became the Lockheed F-117), announced recently in online forums that he had successfully printed a serviceable .22 caliber pistol.
Despite predictions of disaster, the pistol worked. It successfully fired 200 rounds in testing.
HaveBlue then decided to push the limits of what was possible and use his printer to make an AR-15 rifle. To do this, he downloaded plans for an AR-15 receiver in the Solidworks file format from a site called CNCGunsmith.com. After some small modifications to the design, he fed about $30 of ABS plastic feedstock into his late-model Stratasys printer. The result was a functional AR-15 rifle. Early testing shows that it works, although it still has some minor feed and extraction problems to be worked out.
HaveBlue has also been testing the "marketplace" for 3-D printing weapons. To do this he asked Thingiverse, the 3-D design sharing site run by Makerbot Industries, whether it was permissible to post weapons designs or not. According to HaveBlue, Makerbot's senior leadership decided to not disallow, but to discourage, the posting of weapons designs. Haveblue then posted a design for an AR-15 part on Thingiverse, but in the intensive legal discussion that followed Haveblue's posting, Thingiverse decided to ban weapons designs outright. However, since Haveblue's design is still on the site, it's unclear whether Thingiverse is enforcing a ban or not.
While there are still some details to sort out, it's pretty clear that making weapons at home using 3-D printers from commonly available materials is going to become much more commonplace in the near future. In fact, as 3-D printing technology matures, materials feedstock improves, and designs for weapons proliferate, we might soon see the day when nearly everyone will be able to print the weapons of their choice in the numbers they desire, all within the privacy of their own homes.
Hey what is he making these weapons out of? Does he have a printer that does metal? Or are these weapons made of some variety of plastic?
I am interested in making metal non-weapon-related parts, but I figured the at-home 3D printers could only do plastic. But if plastic is strong enough for a gun, maybe it's good enough for my purposes.
Now airports will have to scan everyone carry on luggage for battery power 3D printers!;)
Now airports will have to scan everyone carry on luggage for battery power 3D printers!;)
The headline is an outright lie. He made a lower receiver not the entire weapon. Yet no mention of that fact in the entire article.
So much for journalistic integrity.
^Here is a picture of the only component that was printed. A far cry from an actual working .22 pistol. Where do the bullets go John?
The appropriate word to use in the article is "firearm" or "gun". Firearms and guns only become "weapons" in the hands of criminals. I'm not trying to troll, I just think the assumption that every firearm is going to be a weapon is foolish. Is every baseball bat a weapon? No, not when used for sporting purposes, but they certainly can be used as weapons and are used more often in violent crimes than firearms.
You can create metal parts with a "selective laser sintering", but these system are very large and very expensive, I am not aware of any system that is even close to the scale needed for "home use".
I suspect this guy is printing the stock and other non mechanical parts out of ABS and assembling them around off the shelf barrel and firing mechanism.
cholin, you are correct. I heard about someone doing this awhile back, and I'm pretty sure it's the same guy. He made a stripped lower receiver out of ABS plastic. The lower receiver on an AR-15 is definitely an important part, but it's a relatively "low stress" part. It's the "shell" that, when completed with the trigger mechanism, fire selector switch, safety lever, magazine release, magazine well, and both the grip and buffer tube attached (all of which come from the lower parts kit, and none of which can be made of plastic from a 3D printer), becomes a "complete" lower. This can then be mated to a REAL upper receiver (barrel, gas block, hand guards, chamber, breach, bolt, etc) to make a "functional" rifle. It's not a reliable firearm by any means though.
wylekyote, that is the most idiotic comment I've ever heard. Of course a gun is a weapon. It was designed with one purpose only, to kill. It doesn't matter if it's defense or attack, its purpose is to kill. Even for sport, it's still a weapon against animals.
A baseball bat was not designed to kill, it was designed for sport. That, when in the hands of someone with malicious intent or defending themselves can become a weapon, but a gun is always one.
@wylekyote "Firearms and guns only become "weapons" in the hands of criminals."
What about soldiers, and people defending their homes? They use guns to kill. Are they criminals too?
When I was in the military it was taboo to call them guns, rifles or fire arms. We called them weapons out of respect for their ability to kill. When you carry a loaded gun around with you all day, it is important to remember it is as something dangerous. If you start thinking of them simply as tools, you loose respect for their power and end up unintentionally putting holes in things (bad).
Nice attempt at a troll. Didn't work. BTW, those other article you point to have real errors in them.
I give you the point about the use of the term "weapon." I'm a military thinker, so I tend to see all firearms as weapons.
Your correct. It's a common to consider the generic items as inconsequential to the full system.
The Thingverse design was from last year. He did a lot more work on this one and tapped into some other development efforts.
Thanks for the excellent feedback guys.
Ok - first off, yeah, the topic headline is completely wrong and it was not "A working assault rifle made with a 3d printer" it was a functional plasctic PIECE of a rifle and nothing more. There are more than 100 pieces to an AR-15 type rifle and sometimes more.
Second, guns are NOT all weapons. Guns are not "just designed to kill" either. Have you ever heard of sport shooting before? MILLIONS of people participate in competition shooting that don't or never even used a gun to kill in their lives. Clay shooting and sharp shooting have been sports for DECADES.
Shotguns for sport shooting aren't even designed to kill. They are designed to shoot clay targets at distances using what is called a "Choke".
Flare guns are also "guns" and are not "weapons designed to kill" either. Nor 40mm and 38mm grenade launchers, they are designed for shooting flash-bang, smoke, LTL (Less than Lethal) rubber balls, gas canisters and illumination cartridges, yet there is the option for HE (High Explosive)grenades too which is what everybody thinks they are "Designed for"...
I'm a certifed, accredited firearms instructor. I will occasionally hunt, but my targets are primarily paper. Guns are not a problem in the hands of law-abiding citizens, and the more effective the rifles we can give our soldiers the better. I have multiple guns for concealed carrying (which I instruct, and support), and would not hesitate to use my guns if I felt like my life or the life of another is in imminent threat of death or serious injury. I do not consider using a firearm in defense, be it of yourself, your home, the life (or liberty) of another, or your country, to be anything to be ashamed of and it's unfortunate you took that out of my comment.
Certainly, firearms are powerful things to be respected. My point was that the article was worded poorly. Why not refer to these as firearms/guns/rifles/handguns instead of weapons/assault rifles? Of my 3 AR-15's, none have ever assaulted anything that I'm aware of (although they've put a lot of holes through my outdoor targets).
I do admit to killing a skunk with my Glock 30. In that situation, I legally used a firearm as a weapon (rural, private property, shooting in a very safe direction, and skunks are considered "varmint" which can be legally killed year round). I put it back in my (concealed) holster and it was, again, a gun. I consider hunting a "sport", at least for those who don't sit in heated blinds by a feeder.
A gun is a tool, albeit a dangerous one that deserves respect. One of its' rarest duties, outside of war, is to be used as a weapon.
I appreciate you addressing my comment and giving a reasonable explanation for the use of the term.
I'm a bit sensitive about guns constantly being portrayed as weapons by the media, especially after the incredibly senseless, tragic event in Aurora. Concealed carry of a firearm is technically illegal at any "mass assembly", yet even given that, if someone in that theater had been carrying and shot that SOB they would have been hailed as a hero (I'm not saying that anyone should break the law, or that the person would avoid charges for doing so). They have the potential for accomplishing "good", when legally and justifiably used by law abiding citizens, and laws that make it harder for the majority of us who abide by the law to purchase firearms do absolutely nothing to keep them out of the hands of criminals. It's kind of in their nature to break the law. . .
On a different note, the recent advances in the use of laser sintering to create new, much more precisely engineered springs that outperform what can currently be manufactured is a pretty exciting prospect that will surely be merged with 3D plastic printing to make more complex, robust mechanical devices that require no assembly. Hopefully these technologies continue to become cheaper, better, and more available until cheap commercial scale production is feasible.
Just asking the question. Thank you for clarifying. I appreciate your sentiment, but as a product of my military training I will always see rifles as weapons (particularly those related to the AR-15).
Provide us with a credible source that indicates every component of that pistol/rifle is printed on a 3D printer and I will issue a heartfelt apology. Otherwise, I see this article as nothing short of irresponsible journalism.
If every piece were printed by a 3D printer, it would be incredibly effective at nothing but hurting the shooter. . .there's no way a plastic barrel/chamber could withstand that much pressure.
(can't edit, so this is the rest of my last comment. . .)
So yeah, I agree that we won't be seeing anything to justify the title (which is misleading, at best).
WTF!!! am i the only sane person left in this sad sad world who is shocked about this stupid article suggesting that everyone being able to make weapons at home is a good thing???? what is this world coming to?????????
Well, its been possible to make weapons at home for a while. All the way from a sharp pointy stick to chemical explosives.
As with any paradigm technology, to put it very crudely, the good comes with the bad.
If 3D printing ever gets to the level of sophistication that you can print most if not all of a firearm, I would be very happy. Not because we can print firearms, but because we could print a hell of a lot of other really functional stuff.
Knowing industry or government, the designs for these will be regulated pretty heavily. And i know, that wont stop someone really determined, but it never has (look at mass murder shootings or home made bombs), but the point will be to make it as hard as possible so that the average consumer wont ever think or bother to do so.
Generally a nice article on progression of 3D printing, even if its only a low function part of a firearm.
I didn't say it was a good thing, I said it's going to be a fact.
The conventional approach to measuring success is the ability of the machine to produce the unique portions of the item being manufactured and not relatively generic components.
For your consideration:
- mass murder of civilians only happens in Gun Free Zones
- if you can't keep drugs away from 12 year old's in any city in America, don't try to convince me you'll keep guns away from criminals and lunatics.
- Since Major powers have been armed to the teeth with Nuclear weapons, their have been no major wars. Disarming is a dangerous thing to do as it invites anyone with tanks and guns to pull another Hitler.
- There are very large numbers of people in the world who aren't the least bit interested in world peace.
- along with putting condoms on cucumbers in 1st grade we should be teaching basic gun safety with mock up guns, so fewer children will die from gun 'accidents'.
Points 1 and 2 most significant please.
I am going to have to get one of those 3D printers. I am really impressed by what a person can make from this article. It seems rather cool!
Whether you call it a firearm or gun, its a weapon! It was never meant for anything other than to injure or kill. You can call it a Crimson Rose if you want, but its still a weapon.
Thanks for all the info, guys. I figured that if an all-plastic gun was possible, someone would have already created a non-3D-printer one by now. It is nice to know that my view of the universe does not need to be changed to include a gun that has no metal components.
There is something wrong with your measuring stick when you say they have gone a mile, but they have only traveled an inch.
"A Working Assault Rifle Made With a 3-D Printer"
A lower receiver is not a working assault rifle. Not by a long shot. You know this. HaveBlue did not print a working assault rifle. He printed a lower receiver. It is not possible to print a working assault rifle. But you want people to think he did simply to get their attention. You may call it a trick of the trade, I call it fraud.
I'm assuming you got your information on ceramic guns from Die Hard 2? Because they don't exist. You are right that ceramic is very, very hard (high compressive strength), but it's lacking in tensile strength when compared with steel (there's a very similar comparison to be made between steel and concrete, and that is why they are so often paired together in post tension systems). Tensile strength is what comes into play when a round is fired and the enormous amount of pressure pushes outward on the barrel (trying to make it stretch to contain the gases, putting it under tension). Ceramics are brittle. Properly treated steel is not.
And just to play devil's advocate, the lower receiver is technically the only part on an AR-15 that has a serial number and is registered as a "firearm" (it is also the only part which cannot be shipped directly to your door, as it must be transferred by someone with a Federal Firearms License). You fill out the same paperwork for a stripped lower as you do for an entire AR-15 (or other firearms for that matter). You can purchase "80%" lowers that are completely unmarked, do not require registration (at least until they're completed. . .) and lack a small amount of machining (which can be done with either a mill or a drill press pretty easily) in order to function. The individual is responsible for engraving unique, identifying markers to the lower receiver. Depending on the intended use of the lower, these markings may not be necessary.
Dont tell the media that you can own a metal machine shop at home and people have been making guns for years :P
Will it be legal for a website to offer 3D models for download if they could allow you to break the law? Print full WMDs with just a click, or if you're in Alabama, sex toys. Who would be prosecuted, the person who distributed the file or the person printing it?
To the point. Thanks wyle.
"the lower receiver is technically the only part on an AR-15 that has a serial number and is registered as a "firearm" (it is also the only part which cannot be shipped directly to your door, as it must be transferred by someone with a Federal Firearms License). You fill out the same paperwork for a stripped lower as you do for an entire AR-15 (or other firearms for that matter). You can purchase "80%" lowers that are completely unmarked, do not require registration (at least until they're completed. . .) and lack a small amount of machining (which can be done with either a mill or a drill press pretty easily) in order to function. The individual is responsible for engraving unique, identifying markers to the lower receiver. Depending on the intended use of the lower, these markings may not be necessary."
@D13 If there is such thing as an all ceramic gun (that won't simply blow up in your hand) it is news to me. In fact, such a thing would be very big news since it would make just about every security check point out there ineffective. Please show your source.
@wylekyote There was also a ceramic gun in the movie "In the Line of Fire".
But I think the myth of the ceramic gun comes from the story of David Byron (not the singer) who has repeatedly attempted to make them for the US military. The DoD has invested some money in Byron, but he has yet to produce anything that works.