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The gun thread

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Re: The gun thread

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri May 10, 2013 10:42 am

rabble wrote:3d printers are going to be for sale at office max before the end of the year. By next year they're going to cost about as much as a good assault rifle.

I think you would be surprised at how many wannabe gun owners know somebody who can read a printer manual.


Just did a bit more reading on the Liberator and it's development. You might want to read up a bit.

The gun was created with a low end material, ABS plastic on a low end industrial printer (that only cost $20,000, where have you been pricing assault rifles?). As of right now, the low end printers can't handle higher quality materials (require too hot a temprature) which is why the firearm is prone to explosion and rapid breakdown. Getting past that hurtle would either using better machines ($100,000 - $400,000 range) or someone developing a technique to use the higher end Plastics in the lower end machines.

Interviewee does make it clear that a home enthusiast could take a desktop system such as Makerbot sells and modify it to work in the higher temp ranges, and change the code to be more precise. Such development would require far more then "being able to read a printer manual". There will obviously be home printers that cater to those interested in plastic firearms, but most of that crowd can already buy guns legally and without being tracked.

I guess my question at this point is what is your area of concern here? My first interpretation is that you were concerned that someone who wanted a gun fast for illicit purposes (aka ex-hubby wants to shoot his ex-wife) could use this method, which seems pretty unrealistic at this point and for at least the next few years.

If your concerned that gun buyers will suddenly have a new method of buying guns that can't be tracked, you have a point but it's hardly the biggest issue with gun control right now. They already have methods to do that that haven't been closed, are far more time effective and give them access to usable guns.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby rabble » Fri May 10, 2013 12:31 pm

I don't see anything there to make me think it won't evolve a lot faster than we are led to believe. In fact, there's this from that article:
All of these things can be overcome. There are lots of people working in their homes on inexpensive desktop systems [like those MakerBot produces] who are going to be geeky, experimenting and optimizing their systems. They’ll write their own code and figure out how to compensate for their equipment and materials. That’s what my students do. There is some knowledge that you have to develop to use these systems optimally.


You seem to think that you need the same skills to code the system as you do to build a system someone else has designed. Are you familiar with the term "script kiddies?"

We'll see in a few years. Maybe it'll fizzle out. The prize is a cheap, untraceable, undetectable, mass produced throwaway firearm with a portable manufacturing station you could build into a van. Who in their right mind would try for THAT?
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Re: The gun thread

Postby rabble » Fri May 10, 2013 2:26 pm

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Re: The gun thread

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri May 10, 2013 2:28 pm

rabble wrote:I don't see anything there to make me think it won't evolve a lot faster than we are led to believe. In fact, there's this from that article:
All of these things can be overcome. There are lots of people working in their homes on inexpensive desktop systems [like those MakerBot produces] who are going to be geeky, experimenting and optimizing their systems. They’ll write their own code and figure out how to compensate for their equipment and materials. That’s what my students do. There is some knowledge that you have to develop to use these systems optimally.


You seem to think that you need the same skills to code the system as you do to build a system someone else has designed. Are you familiar with the term "script kiddies?"?


Perfectly familiar, but look at the section you just quoted; I bolded the key point. Anyone who is going to develop the machine, and code to do this is going to heavily modify their tools. I'm sure they will track and probably create videos of their changes, but some inexperienced "script kiddie" isn't going to be able to just watch and duplicate their work without spending a decent amount of time learning about 3D printing in general and a decent amount of time and money upgrading their gear. It will happen, just not to the extent I think you are envisioning.

rabble wrote:We'll see in a few years. Maybe it'll fizzle out. The prize is a cheap, untraceable, undetectable, mass produced throwaway firearm with a portable manufacturing station you could build into a van. Who in their right mind would try for THAT?


I doubt it will fizzle out, but given the work involved versus time invested, I don't think it ever be more than a niche. A somewhat frightening niche I will grant you, since the only people who are going to really want this are people with a need for almost undetectable guns. I doubt it the term mass produced will ever be a term associated with 3D printed anything. If a viable design for a plastic gun is developed, someone will come up with a quicker and cheaper method to mass produce it. The strenght of 3D printing is in it's customization ability not in it's speed or price.

I will note one thing that does worry me. The Liberator was designed by a law school student who wanted to promote gun rights. He neither used the best tool, nor the best plastic for his development and still came up with a reasonably functional first attempt. Someone with more knoweledge, and resources could definitly have developed a much better weapon. Without the same goal (promoting gun rights), they might not have any interest in releasing said design to the public.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri May 10, 2013 2:33 pm



You're a bit late :P

but not as late as the State Dept was. It's already up on pirate bay and I'm sure other sites. You can't removed data from the internet.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby rabble » Fri May 10, 2013 3:02 pm

True. I meant to say escalated but I was in a hurry. :-) And of course, as usual, we're slamming the wrong barn door.

My prediction stands. Within three years, maybe two, there will be mass produced limited life plastic guns. If you buy a gross you can have your group's colors imprinted. Or your rival group's colors.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Dangerousman » Fri May 10, 2013 3:11 pm

I'm all for promoting gun rights, but again I think the plastic 3-D printable gun is hugely nonsense because it is taking a very long scenic route to arrive somewhere that is already much quicker, cheaper and easier to arrive. It's like buying a ticket for the Queen Elizabeth as part of your plan to get to Middleton from downtown Madison. Because of this fact, I think it is mostly a publicity stunt and not a serious attempt to promote gun rights or make gun control laws moot.

Want a legal, reliable and non-home made, untraceable, gun with a proven track record over 150 years long? Go buy a muzzle loader. It's steel and wood and looks nice and produces a fantastic sulfuric cloud of smoke that smells great. Pay cash. No paperwork. Can still buy them mail order if you want. Hell, it's even legal under federal law for a felon to own because they're not even classified as firearms as defined in the US Code. (Perhaps not legal under WI statutes which seem to have a different definition. But you're not required to fill out any paperwork or anything in WI, so that's still an open question IMO.)

A Remington 1858 or Colt Army 1860 will give you 6 shots that are more accurate and powerful than that puny .380 single-shot plastic gun. Want more power? The Colt Walker from the 1840's was the most powerful handgun around until the .357 Magnum came out in 1935.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby rabble » Fri May 10, 2013 3:12 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:Anyone who is going to develop the machine, and code to do this is going to heavily modify their tools. I'm sure they will track and probably create videos of their changes, but some inexperienced "script kiddie" isn't going to be able to just watch and duplicate their work without spending a decent amount of time learning about 3D printing in general and a decent amount of time and money upgrading their gear. It will happen, just not to the extent I think you are envisioning.

I still think you vastly underestimate the resources available to the people who want these weapons. People said the same thing about meth labs. The process is too complicated to be much of a bother.

Once it's designed, it will get built. The script kiddies will just be a little more sophisticated. Same concept, slightly more advanced. But the money will bring them.

Every innovation was preceded by people who said you can do the same thing this way, so that way will never catch on.

Watch. Just watch.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Stebben84 » Fri May 10, 2013 3:32 pm

rabble wrote:Every innovation was preceded by people who said you can do the same thing this way, so that way will never catch on.

Watch. Just watch.


I'm with you on this one. The technology is primitive now, but 3-D printers are hot right now and that means more and more people developing the technology and the materials that can be used on them.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Fri May 10, 2013 3:39 pm

rabble wrote:I still think you vastly underestimate the resources available to the people who want these weapons. People said the same thing about meth labs. The process is too complicated to be much of a bother.

Once it's designed, it will get built. The script kiddies will just be a little more sophisticated. Same concept, slightly more advanced. But the money will bring them.

Every innovation was preceded by people who said you can do the same thing this way, so that way will never catch on.

Watch. Just watch.


You may very well be correct. To be honest I think easily available home built (but not mass produced) guns will happen, just at a slightly slower pace then you do.

D-man, while untracable, all of those guns are detectable, which is probably going to be a large draw for 3D guns, though you do bring up an itneresting point. I bet the first commercially viable 3D printed firearm will be a revolver.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Ned Flanders » Fri May 10, 2013 4:56 pm

Gang bangers have been making and using zip guns for years. The horse is already out of the barn on this one.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Dangerousman » Fri May 10, 2013 11:57 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:D-man, while untracable, all of those guns are detectable, which is probably going to be a large draw for 3D guns, though you do bring up an itneresting point. I bet the first commercially viable 3D printed firearm will be a revolver.


Hmmm, a revolver huh? Maybe a .22 revolver, since any other commonly available revolver cartridge is going to be more powerful than the .380 that was used in the test-fired gun and will require much greater strength of materials.

I might venture that they'd still stick with a simple design, such as the old pepperbox pistol.

While a plastic gun would be undetectable to a metal detector, it would still be open to other detection methods and show up on X-ray and body scanners. Plus, the ammo is still almost completely made of metal. There are techniques of getting guns and other weapons through common security checkpoints that have a reasonably high chance of success; but I am certainly not going to discuss them on a public forum, or even privately with anyone who doesn't have a professional reason.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Sat May 11, 2013 12:38 am

Dangerousman wrote:Hmmm, a revolver huh? Maybe a .22 revolver, since any other commonly available revolver cartridge is going to be more powerful than the .380 that was used in the test-fired gun and will require much greater strength of materials.

I might venture that they'd still stick with a simple design, such as the old pepperbox pistol.


Remember the test fired gun was made with lower end ABS plastic on a lower end industrial printer. I'm assuming anything that makes it into commercial use will be built with a higher grade and higher temperature resistant plastic on a printer with higher resolution and control.

I would think being able to fire multiple rounds before reloading is going to be a goal for anything commercial, unless this is limited to just being a high tech zip gun. It would seem given that goal a revolver would be a better choice over a magazine or clip fed gun. You know the mechanics better than I do though, so maybe I'm missing something.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Dangerousman » Sat May 11, 2013 11:10 am

Francis Di Domizio wrote:I would think being able to fire multiple rounds before reloading is going to be a goal for anything commercial, unless this is limited to just being a high tech zip gun. It would seem given that goal a revolver would be a better choice over a magazine or clip fed gun. You know the mechanics better than I do though, so maybe I'm missing something.


That's why I suggested something along a pepperbox or other multiple barrel design. I don't know how much precision these printers will be capable of producing. But when it comes to a firearm on which your life may depend, reliability is the most important quality it can have. One video clip of a single firing of the gun demonstrates nothing in terms of reliability. Guns are manufactured with very strict tolerances and moving parts will eventually wear. With all the advances in plastics technology, the moving parts in guns are almost exclusively still manufactured from metals. The plastics used in a Glock, for example, are extremely durable and strong but they mostly just hold the metal moving parts. I doubt the plastics used by 3-D printers are of similar strength and durability and yet they'd be used to fabricate the moving parts of a gun. For that reason, I think simplicity of design with a minimum of moving parts would be the best approach. Perhaps a reasonable design would be a combination of 3-D printed parts and readily-available non-printed parts. The prototype used a nail as the firing pin.

I don't want to underestimate the ability of technology to advance rapidly but I've outlined some of the problems that would have to be overcome. I'll be surprised if a printable gun appears anytime soon that comes close to the performance and reliability of the more cheaply manufactured current firearms. If all guns magically were removed from the market and our houses, a printable gun would be far down my list of possible ways of acquiring a gun, and well below using the more tried and true methods of manufacturing improvised firearms that I learned decades ago courtesy of the US Army.
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Re: The gun thread

Postby Henry Vilas » Sat May 11, 2013 11:45 am

Some people think that guns in the home should be at the ready (loaded and not locked up) in case of a home invasion. Yet if those people have children, tragedy often ensues.

Guns in the home proving deadly for kids

Although mass shootings get more attention, children are far more likely to be killed at home.

Through homicide, suicide and accidents, guns cause twice as many deaths in young people as cancer, five times as many as heart disease and 15 times as many as infections, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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