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Author Topic: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control  (Read 3828 times)

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Offline DriskollTopic starter

Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« on: March 25, 2013, 04:37:36 PM »
I watched this documentary today and I can't stop thinking about it. There's definitely a lot I could say about this, but I'd like to hear some other thoughts and opinions first. Now, without further ado...

3D Printed Guns (Documentary)

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 06:21:48 PM »
Very interesting concept, and very troubling - but can one actually 3D-print in material that would be able to withstand the heat and speed of bullets being fired? That takes solid metal, doesn't it? Compressed sheets of paper or plastic won't do at all, not even if they were glazed or strengthened in some other way. It would be, well, far more useless than even trying to shoot with a cheramical clay gun.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 06:23:10 PM by gaggedLouise »

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Offline Oniya

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 06:30:19 PM »
Electron Beam Melting is a variant that can produce titanium objects.  It's currently too expensive for home/hobbyist use, but other methods can be used to create molds from polymers which can then be used to craft metal pieces.

I'm fairly sure that I saw one of the shops on either O.C.C. or Sons of Guns use a 3D printer for a custom part.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 06:47:07 PM »
But could stuff like the actual barrel, trigger, chamber or repeater mechanism be made by printing? To be practically usable, they'd have to be strong enough not to be distorted or burnt into by the firing or by the (repeated) forward thrust of the bullets. No one would make a gun out of terracotta, even if it could be made to look like the real thing.

Looked around a little for 3D printing tech and I notice that some industrial printers (used for doing quick prototypes) can handle materials like sand, metal powder and so on - mold it and burnish it into a mixed, solid material that has a bit of the strength of metal. But those would be heavy-duty machinery on a quite different scale than a home printer and with much higher resistance to heat near the printing machinery. Or is the idea that only some parts of the weapon would be printed and not e.g. the barrel or the firing mechanism?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 06:48:55 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 06:53:48 PM »
But could stuff like the actual barrel, trigger, chamber or repeater mechanism be made by printing? To be practically usable, they'd have to be strong enough not to be distorted or burnt into by the firing or by the (repeated) forward thrust of the bullets. No one would make a gun out of terracotta, even if it could be made to look like the real thing.

With EBM?  Yes.  They currently use this technology to make turbine blades.  The parts are fully dense, void-free, and extremely strong.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 06:56:19 PM »
I asked my brother, who has messed with industrial modelling on this sort of thing and he said a real 'printed' gun that lasted more than possibly a single shot would require something similar to carbon composites or a new media similar to the media Oniya and others have mentioned earlier. He said that a carbon composite could be 'cooked' up and metal/plastic hybrids MIGHT work.

Of course he said HE wouldn't shoot it.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 07:01:49 PM »
I just looked to see if there were any current 3-d printing techniques that used actual metal, rather than plastics, polymers, or other weaker materials.  When I saw 'titanium', I looked closer.  Once you've learned about the 'titanium bathtub', that one word garners a lot of respect.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 07:17:32 PM »
Okay, very intriguing, but titanium is very expensive to produce (google "Kroll process") and less resistant to heat and, especially, oxidization (fire) than bulk iron and steel. So not sure if titanium guns (or still less, missile launcher parts fpr example) would be practical. And guns have to take the force of explosive, heated gases in a locked tube space with one small opening in front, that's a different kind of strain than water or steam running around turbine blades.

You can certainly form-press steel, or steel alloys. to a moulded predefined format, but that's not really printing or possible to do at home...

EDIT: saw that printed polymer moulds had been mentioned already and those might be used to, in turn, manufacture real bulk metal objects.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 07:27:49 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline DriskollTopic starter

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 09:22:11 PM »
Very interesting concept, and very troubling - but can one actually 3D-print in material that would be able to withstand the heat and speed of bullets being fired? That takes solid metal, doesn't it? Compressed sheets of paper or plastic won't do at all, not even if they were glazed or strengthened in some other way. It would be, well, far more useless than even trying to shoot with a cheramical clay gun.

While the technology is still in it's infancy, I am of the opinion that fully functioning 3D print guns could become a reality provided that R&D is continued. Materials currently available for 3D printing obviously leave something to be desired even when dealing with just the lower half of a semi-automatic rifle, but look how durable they've proven to be already.

DefDist Printed AR Lower - Part III

That's 600 rounds passing through a fully printed component. I can only imagine that the durability and number of components that can be printed will increase with time. And the self proclaimed crypto-anarchist at the head of Defense Distributed is interested in doing just that.

So, are we seeing the beginning of the end for any realistic gun control?

Offline Retribution

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2013, 09:57:54 AM »
Uh as a long time firearms enthusiast how can I put this gently? Bullshit is the summary that comes to mind as well as a few other choice words. Listen they do wonderful things with technology there days and things that seem impossible can and do become possible. BUT I am of the opinion that once the technology is developed to say achieve this the cost will go up to the point I do not see what you would really gain. The chamber pressures in a firearm are extraordinary and the chamber is where such things tend to fail if there is a failure.....such failures can end up in the shooter getting the bolt through his face.

Enough sheets of paper can stop a bullet a lot depends on the bullet all lead bullets flatten out fast since lead is a soft metal...jacketed bullets are more robust. Myth Busters also did a bit one time showing that an ice bullet would not work. People are not going to be printing firearms off on their home printers for Pete's sake it is just not practical. It all reminds me of a Rube Goldberg Machine.  Just for reference http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=233787 chamber pressure of a .22 is 24,000 PSI and that is a baby round. Are we really worried people are going to start printing guns at home? If you can design paper that is going to withstand 24,000 PSI you are more than a basement tinkerer.

Offline Retribution

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2013, 10:07:08 AM »
While I am being vexed....the video of the printed lower. The lower means basically trigger mechanism and yes there are people who can make those at home now. Note the bolt and barrel are factory made of metal as that is where failures happen. Uhhh well gee you got to go through legal channels to buy a barrel and bolt. I shoot 4k rounds a year and there is no way I am standing behind a gun with anything made out of paper.

*takes a deep breath and edits* okay my point is there are people in the world right now who can and do build firearm on their own. These are skilled folks and it takes more than a little skill to do such a thing. I feel if say printer technology gets to the point that we are printing firearms then we are still dealing with skilled people. Your average Joe is not going to print his own gun. Anyone who says otherwise is just spewing gun control propaganda or being self aggrandizing.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 10:17:14 AM by Retribution »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2013, 10:14:50 AM »
No one is talking about paper being used at all.  3D printers are already being used in fabrication shops to create both metal and plastic/polymer parts.  Like most technology, what starts out being specialized and expensive will become more accessible if there is a market for it. 

Offline Retribution

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 10:31:30 AM »
"Fabrication shops" there are metal fabrication shops right now that can do the same thing with far less hassle. I know machinists who with the right tools and materials could build you about anything. Unless I am missing something here the whole argument is that this will render gun control obsolete because people will just make firearms at home.

Let look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgeport_(machine_tool_brand) a Bridgeport machine is used for milling like say gun barrels and the modern versions of this machine work in accuratecies that make my brain melt. You might note the company was founded in 1938 and is still in operation just it was purchased in 2004. Now that is technology that has had time to age and become cheap. I still do not see a rise in basement gun production.

Look I have said on this forum before I would be willing to give in on gun control to a point. But then when I see hysteria like this it makes me go "okay not giving an inch." And that is how I view stuff like this just plain hysteria. It also reminds me why I prefer to avoid these type talks because they irritate the heck out of me. We can all toss factoids and what ifs at one another, but if we want real reform that actually helps to address gun violence both sides need to get away from this sort of extreme rhetoric.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2013, 10:35:56 AM »
If you can design paper that is going to withstand 24,000 PSI you are more than a basement tinkerer.

The phrase 3d printer may be misleading here. They don't print with paper.

The actual method varies from model to model, but they take either a polymer or metal in powder or liquid form and layer by layer build a real physical object according to a digital blueprint.

The price of this technology is dropping significantly, and while it still remains either a very expensive geek toy with little capacity or a moderately expensive piece of industrial equipment which can do a lot more we are seeing continuous developments in the technology and lowering of costs.

Devices built in this fashion are no weaker than any other method of constructing plastic or metal objects. Sometimes they're stronger because they are fashioned from the inside out and maintain a consistent structure.

The problem isn't that these parts couldn't be built already. Naturally there has been a long history of home or illegally manufactured guns. However previously they required specialized equipment which could be controlled and watched.

Now anyone can legally purchase a 3d printer and use it to construct firearms parts without the messy evidence or specialized equipment that would have previously been required.

Offline DriskollTopic starter

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2013, 10:39:50 AM »
BUT I am of the opinion that once the technology is developed to say achieve this the cost will go up to the point I do not see what you would really gain.

That's definitely a possibility. I also think that when the first fully printed gun is made the total cost of producing it will make it impractical for most people to actually try and get one.

The problem is I don't necessarily think it will end there. As we see with most technology today, things generally become cheaper over time and therefore more accessible. I do think 3D printers have a lot to offer people, and once they become more affordable I could see why people like Nick Bilton feel as though they'll become a popular item.

If that does happen, and the quality of the print guns is increased by that time, I think this may end up being a real problem. Granted, a problem that won't show up for 20-30 years perhaps.     

Are we really worried people are going to start printing guns at home? If you can design paper that is going to withstand 24,000 PSI you are more than a basement tinkerer.

3D printers can make things out of hard plastics and even types of metal. 

As we can see from the multiple videos here, these printed pieces can withstand that kind of pressure for a time. It's just my opinion that these parts will only get better and better with time.

Let's assume for a minute though that printed weapons will never be able to hold up for more than an a few minutes or even a few seconds. It only takes a small window for a gun to be used, and these weapons will be available to anyone. No background checks, no questions asked.

There's a reason why Cody Wilson is thought to be one of the most dangerous men in the world.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2013, 10:42:38 AM »
The issue is there will be no hassle at all in the construction of these weapons once 3D printing gets to a better level with better composites.  Currently the person featured in the film is able to print up and manufacture the lower piece of a weapon along with magazines able to fire 30 rounds.  The lower piece can actually fire 600 rounds.  As was pointed out in the video stronger composite materials are being produced and on the horizon for 3D printing.  In the near future people are predicting every hobbyist will have a 3D printer in their home if not every person.  This is amazing simple and easy to manufacture weaponry. 

Machinest tools and items require a significant investment, which 3D printers will not once they become more main stream and their production is streamlined, and require at least some skill to operate.  Once the schematics are uploaded into the 3D printer there is no skill.  The hassle you are seeing is in the design, not in the manufacturing.  Once the design is over, thatís the end of the hassle.  That the younger generation is the one coming into this technology is also frightening because children now will be teenagers then.  Teenagers that are able to go online, download the schematics for a gun and construct one with a simple 3D printer.  Wham, bam, following a book to put it together and a 15 year old now as an assault rifle.  This is not extremist rhetoric, but simple reality.

So the question is how gun control legislation can control that aspect of this debate.  Any discussion of gun control at this point must encompass and consider this future technology of basement mass production.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2013, 10:46:03 AM »
...Unless I am missing something here the whole argument is that this will render gun control obsolete because people will just make firearms at home.... Look I have said on this forum before I would be willing to give in on gun control to a point. But then when I see hysteria like this it makes me go "okay not giving an inch." And that is how I view stuff like this just plain hysteria. It also reminds me why I prefer to avoid these type talks because they irritate the heck out of me. We can all toss factoids and what ifs at one another, but if we want real reform that actually helps to address gun violence both sides need to get away from this sort of extreme rhetoric.

I haven't seen a single person on this thread discussing a change in firearms policy. Where are you getting this from?

People are saying how a technology may prevent the existence of gun control in the future, how does this affect present policy? In what way do we logically go from, "gun control is going to be hard to do in the future" to "ban guns today"?

With respect, I think you may be reading something into this topic that just isn't there.

Offline Retribution

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2013, 10:49:34 AM »
The price of this technology is dropping significantly, and while it still remains either a very expensive geek toy with little capacity or a moderately expensive piece of industrial equipment which can do a lot more we are seeing continuous developments in the technology and lowering of costs.

I get you, but my point remains I know a lot of people who have Bridgeports for example in their basements or workshops. I know a very talented 19th century reenactor who builds his own blackpowder guns starting with 4x4 piece of walnut and a metal blank. And yes prices can and do drop on various items. I do not see any of this having become a real big gun control issue. Heck, I have had some of my skilled friends make parts for me when I needed them because it is cheaper, but the point remains gun control issue? I just am not buying it.

The argument is that "in the future" this will all be so cheap and easy to do everyone will do it. Well people have said in the future we will all fly hover crafts that run on water to work that does not mean it is happening.  What I would like to see right now is meaningful background checks on all gun sales, comprehensive mental health care because I think we have a real mental health problem, and while I am wishing a national database that lists people with  violent mental health issues and prevents them from obtaining a butter knife let alone a gun.

Give me those three things then I will be more than happy to talk about basement gun smithing.

Offline Retribution

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2013, 10:54:37 AM »

So, are we seeing the beginning of the end for any realistic gun control?


Is the answer to where I get the impression that we need to address this as a gun control issue. And I am out I have said my peace but like I said I would much rather address the three things I listed in my previous post than this. I honestly think those things might save a life. Thing is those things like well this get all bogged down in the other stuff that makes plants grow.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2013, 10:55:14 AM »
Flying cars are not on a youtube video being successfully flown around on the street.  This 3D printed weapon is being successfully shown on a youtube video firing 600 rounds.  One is the talk of what if, the other is talk of what is. 

Meaningful background checks are useless on guns that do not have serial numbers and are not traceable.  There is nothing to stop someone diagnosed with a mental health disorder, being treated but resistant to care from ordering online from a local basement gunsmith a weapon that fires 600 rounds that is not numbered or registered. 

That is the point of this discussion.  Does this technology and the future presented make things such as a national registry, background checks and so on moot? 

Offline Retribution

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Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2013, 11:08:34 AM »
Flying cars are not on a youtube video being successfully flown around on the street.  This 3D printed weapon is being successfully shown on a youtube video firing 600 rounds.  One is the talk of what if, the other is talk of what is. 

Meaningful background checks are useless on guns that do not have serial numbers and are not traceable.  There is nothing to stop someone diagnosed with a mental health disorder, being treated but resistant to care from ordering online from a local basement gunsmith a weapon that fires 600 rounds that is not numbered or registered. 

That is the point of this discussion.  Does this technology and the future presented make things such as a national registry, background checks and so on moot?

My last comment really. My point is what you are describing can be done right now. I do not see it as being that much of an issue right now aside from odd ball cases for lack of a better way to describe it. It may not be using composites so on, but there are a lot of people out there perfectly capable of making firearms without serial number from scratch within certain costs. They walk the streets all around you they are called skilled laborers and there are a lot of them.

Now I am really out.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2013, 11:10:48 AM »
Yes, but when everyone can do this without any skill or real effort on their part this becomes a problem.  When someone can, on a whim, google search schematics to 3D print an assault rifle or pistol and then construct one within a couple days without any skill or commitment of time then there comes a problem.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2013, 11:22:48 AM »
Yes, but when everyone can do this without any skill or real effort on their part this becomes a problem.  When someone can, on a whim, google search schematics to 3D print an assault rifle or pistol and then construct one within a couple days without any skill or commitment of time then there comes a problem.

I don't think it's that big a danger yet. This machine isn't like a USB printer. It is still a bit technical to use. I could make more destructive things more easily out of my cleaning chemicals in my kitchen. And there are options to making things traceable.  The addition of taggants into the mix of materials, just like they do with explosives. Adding a signature code to the firmware that makes for a printer 'fingerprint'.

And most of the materials that ARE more resilient have metal content, which means the 'plastic gun' is still not that big a hazard.

And let's be honest, the genie is out of the bottle. You can't put it back in, so all that remains is to find ways to regulate in.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Wiki Weapons and the Future of Gun Control
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2013, 11:27:44 AM »
As i said, not yet.  When things are more streamlined and more user friendly though is not particularly when I want to see people trying find ways to make others safe.  Better to realize the technology is there, see the potential problem and handle this rather than simply sticking the proverbial head in the sand.  Also, not overly afraid of the plastic gun situation.  More afraid of the unsupervised child making a handgun for show-and-tell. 

Taggants in the composite mix is an option.  Once more, the idea I get from this discussion is whether such technology and a future as presented would make gun control obsolete or in what way would gun control have to be altered to accommodate.