Just a few months after the first 3-D printed gun caused plastic panic around the globe, there is now a 3-D printed rifle, revealed this week by YouTube user ThreeD Ukulele. The rifle, named "the Grizzly" after Canadian-built Sherman Tanks in WWII, successfully fired a single shot before the barrel and the central part of the gun split.
For the shot, ThreeD Ukulele chose a .22 Winchester Dynapoint, a hollow-point bullet used mostly for target shooting. It's the same size of ammunition Boy Scouts use to earn Rifle Shooting merit badges, and generally avoided by the military in favor of faster, longer range, and deadlier bullet types. Much like the .380 bullet used in the first 3-D printed handgun, it's likely this round was chosen more for it's low cost than its killing power. Right now, the Grizzly is basically a one-shot squirrel gun.
That the gun split during testing not surprising. Australian police, wary of the new technology, assembled two 3-D printed pistols themselves, and recorded video of one exploding when fired. (German police are also planning to test the technology—maybe they'll have less explosive results.) Defense Distributed, the organization behind the first 3-D printed gun, had an early 3-D printed gun part malfunction after firing six shots.
Early failures don't rule out future success. After Defense Distributed experienced a break in their 3-D printed rifle part, they created an improved version, and then released a video of someone firing it 600 times. The first generation "Liberator" 3-D printed gun could only use a single barrel once, but another designer took the schematics and made a stronger, cheaper, reusable version.
As for ThreeD Ukulele and the Grizzly rifle? I wouldn't be surprised if, three months from now, there's a functioning version that can fire multiple shots out of the same barrel before breaking, made either by the same person or someone else inspired by their work. The fascinating and terrifying part of 3-D printed weapons is how seamlessly their schematics cross borders, despite the best efforts of the State Department, as well as how quickly these designs can be improved upon by others.
Why "terrifying"? Why not "functional" or "reality"? Have you embraced the anti-gun movement that much? Is it not a potentially really awesome thing that we can have a hunting or sport rifle custom made for us that can be used for game hunting or a potential food source? Popsci frequently does articles on war machines that fit "terrifying", but apparently "terrifying" is only appropriate for use on something a civilian might be able to use ethically, and morally. Maybe only the government should be trusted with anything that goes bang...
If this is terrifying to the author then I hope no one lets them know about hardware stores and all the metal pipes they stock that could be made into a working gun that could fire multiple shots... She'd never leave the house.
I find all of this sort comical. The whole belief is that if you make something that looks like a gun you have a gun. Ignoring the fact that toys can look (and act) very much like guns, so what?
With plastic for key components not only do they blow up they would not be very accurate. Does rifling ring a bell?
People should look up "zip gun" and see how little it takes to make a working gun if all you want is a single shot, and don't care a lot about accuracy.
So what you have here is some people spending lots of money to build something that is worth less to a "bad guy" then a few bucks worth to parts from any hardware store.
Wow, what a terrifying example of poor judgement. Firearms have been tested for hundreds of years by proofing a barrel. That old test and modern engineering, mechanical and material knowledge provide a device that can be relied on under controlled use. I have no idea how anyone could subject plastic to a round that uses copper being crushed to test it's explosive limits (CUP and LUP). Modern smokeless powder is a very active propellant and can generate significant force. It can easily generate more force if the entire system isn't correct to specific designs.
These 3D guns are dangerous and should not be attempted by anyone. If you must play with a firearm, get trained in safety first, learn all handling safety and range safety.
Agreed, the only thing terrifying about this... firearm, is relying on it to work.
How much money does a 3D printer cost, $1,000 - $2,000 for a good one? If I was a criminal I could think of far easier ways to get a gun.
1: Buy one. Assuming you have no past offenses or anything else that would fail a background check, a new rifle could cost less than $500. THAT rifle won't break the first time you use it.
2: Steal one. To my knowledge the majority of firearms used in crimes were stolen from family members or friends.
3: Modify one (illegally). If I wanted to I could modify an existing firearm by shortening the barrel, removing or working around the mag release restrictions, or making it capable of fully automatic fire. Alternately, I could buy a class 3 firearm from an illicit dealer although this is probably the most expensive option.
Quite frankly, If I wanted to go on a killing spree I wouldn't need a gun. Knife wounds are both more common than gun wounds, knives are quieter, knives are cheaper, knife wounds are more difficult to treat, and unlike bullets knives are not left at the crime scene to be traced. Frankly, I wouldn't use a gun if I was planning on killing someone. Both of my rifles are for hunting and home defense, and honestly a Mosin-Nagant 91/30 is a better club than house defense rifle... my shotgun would probably be what I grab first.
I do not think this is a Rifle. I think this is smooth bore. I agree with the others above that "terrifying" is a bit of an overstatement since more people are killed in the U.S. with personal weapons (think feet and hands) than all rifles combined.
An entry level professional 3d printer is around $12k. The DIY style low end printers start around $2k. You can spend many tens of thousands for a good high end 3d printer.
When printing you can take the same file on the same printer and have drastically different strength characteristics based simply on the orientation and print path. Objects are printed in horizontal layers and across those layers it is weakest. You should think of a 3d printed object as a stack of bonded surfaces. Although the filament may be a continuous strand it is still applied one flat layer at a time.
If I wanted to print a functional baseball bat I would print it horizontally (or nearly so) because it will be strong like that. If I wanted to print a gun barrel I would print it vertically at a slight angle near vertical. This will leave the part more susceptible to breaking in half but it will be much less likely to split down the sides.
But 3d printers especially low end ones have a hard time printing tall spindly objects like that. They often use lots of support material and will sometimes deform or break away from the substrate.
Another think I don't hear mentioned often is that if you can 3d print a gun for $30 then you could injection mold hundreds of thousands of much stronger ones at $5 each.
Like I said before, what is the raw material (ink) for the printing?