Tags:


3D printed gun
July 26, 2012 9:23 PM   Subscribe

"To the best of my knowledge, this is the first 3D printed firearm in the world to actually be tested." Gentleman describes how he used an old 3D printer and CAD files to print his own working gun.(*)
posted by stbalbach (74 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
(*) "Gun" defined legally here in the sense of the "lower" elements ie. not including the upper part, the barrel, which is metal. (via Gizmag)
posted by stbalbach at 9:24 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


3D printing (Wikipedia).
posted by Brian B. at 9:26 PM on July 26, 2012


"old 3D printer"?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:29 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"old 3D printer"?

13 years old is quite a long in the tooth for a technology developing that quickly.



This is cool but I'm holding out for a single piece firearm that I can put a couple hundred rounds through and then throw away (or melt down and reform). No need for preventive maintenance, just stamp out a new weapon every time you need one.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:42 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rule 33: Any new technology will eventually be weaponized.
posted by gwint at 9:50 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is cool but I'm holding out for a single piece firearm that I can put a couple hundred rounds through and then throw away (or melt down and reform). No need for preventive maintenance, just stamp out a new weapon every time you need one.

.zip gun
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:51 PM on July 26, 2012 [34 favorites]


There are only a few guidelines for Thingiverse uploads, but one of them is: "Please don't upload weapons. The world has plenty of weapons already."
posted by gwint at 9:52 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


the pirate bay has a section for printable 3d models - they're a lot more lax than Thingiverse
posted by the theory of revolution at 9:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's interesting to note this is basically made possible by how AR-15 lowers work. It's not so much a functional part of the gun as just a frame that holds the functional parts.

It's not nearly as impressive as making, say, a barrel or a chamber.
posted by dethb0y at 9:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


or melt down and reform

Cue CSI episode where the devious shooter prints out a gun, kills someone with it, and then melts it down and reforms it into a coffee mug which he sends to the crime lab anonymously as a Christmas gift.
posted by XMLicious at 10:00 PM on July 26, 2012 [19 favorites]


This is cool but I'm holding out for a single piece firearm that I can put a couple hundred rounds through and then throw away (or melt down and reform)

Yeah, I really wouldn't want to shoot a gun where the actual parts that matter (barrel etc) had been 3D printed. Can you say blown off hands? But seriously, there's a lot of hard hard problems that are going to have to be solved before 3D printers make parts that matter, parts that have demanding materials reliability needs.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:03 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


And the 3D printer zealots that seem to expect the same Moore's law type of improvements to happen to in the field of actually making things, well, they're sorely mistaken.
posted by Chekhovian at 10:04 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"You wouldn't download a car."

........Actually......
posted by Malice at 10:05 PM on July 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Fascinating. I have actually heard speculation from gun geeks about how the 3D printer will change the gun hobby, but this is the first I've even heard of anyone creating and testing it. Mostly because most guys I know really don't want things blowing up in their faces.

This guy is ballsy, but I'm not sure if it was smart ballsy or stupid ballsy yet.
posted by corb at 10:05 PM on July 26, 2012


An interesting Wikipedia article I came across recently: improvised firearm.
posted by XMLicious at 10:07 PM on July 26, 2012


But seriously, there's a lot of hard hard problems that are going to have to be solved before 3D printers make parts that matter, parts that have demanding materials reliability needs.

I believe that the point of the exercise is that most of the manufacturing/shipping/etc restrictions in the US seem to rely on the receiver as the "gun" part of the equation. There's no real need for someone to print a barrel when you can legally machine it. Someone can fairly easily make and ship a barrel, a stock, trigger/safety assembly or whatever is needed while the receiver is the bit that has paperwork attached. By printing it oneself, you bypass those requirements. That said, I've never fired an AR-15 but as corb mentions I wouldn't want to be the one to test-fire one based on plastic/polymer.
posted by sysinfo at 10:19 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would a 3D printed shotgun be less risky?
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:20 PM on July 26, 2012


I've read of at least one company using parts cast from 3D printed wax models.
posted by the_artificer at 10:22 PM on July 26, 2012


And the 3D printer zealots that seem to expect the same Moore's law type of improvements to happen to in the field of actually making things, well, they're sorely mistaken.

While this would be silly to hope for, it think it is reasonable to expect a much sharper curve than we saw the first time around. As in decades, rather than centuries/millenia. Maybe not a few decades as under Moore's law, for an equivalent leap, but still blindingly fast compared to historical cycles.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:23 PM on July 26, 2012


But seriously, there's a lot of hard hard problems that are going to have to be solved before 3D printers make parts that matter, parts that have demanding materials reliability needs.

You're a bit behind the times. Hip replacements have demanding materials reliability needs, and the jawbone in your face is a part that matters. :-)

3D printers these day's aren't just thermoplastics.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:36 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Its cool guys. We'll all be wearing our Google Goggles and so when we shoot anyone it'll be recorded and put on YouTube. The deaths will be judged by our peers. Thumbs up or thumbs down will be accorded to the crime depending on whether the murder was epic, fail, or win. Later the most entertaining or emotional crimes will be remixed, packaged, and sold, to be later played at parties when the conversation dies down. So, don't worry about the future, after all, it won't worry about you.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


Chekhovian: "This is cool but I'm holding out for a single piece firearm that I can put a couple hundred rounds through and then throw away (or melt down and reform)

Yeah, I really wouldn't want to shoot a gun where the actual parts that matter (barrel etc) had been 3D printed. Can you say blown off hands? But seriously, there's a lot of hard hard problems that are going to have to be solved before 3D printers make parts that matter, parts that have demanding materials reliability needs.
"

YOU would complain about guns, wouldn't you?
posted by Samizdata at 11:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


3D printers these day's aren't just thermoplastics.

At the consumer makerbot level it's all plastic. And for good reason too. Now maybe you have a larger budget and can get an SLS system of your own. Then Why not just buy an actual lathe instead? Cheaper and better at that level.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:39 PM on July 26, 2012


Existenz
posted by snofoam at 11:39 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Casting is much more amateur friendly its True. But its scary for parts in demanding positions. Defects and void are a killer.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:40 PM on July 26, 2012


And the 3D printer zealots that seem to expect the same Moore's law type of improvements to happen to in the field of actually making things, well, they're sorely mistaken.
While this would be silly to hope for, it think it is reasonable to expect a much sharper curve than we saw the first time around. As in decades, rather than centuries/millenia. Maybe not a few decades as under Moore's law, for an equivalent leap, but still blindingly fast compared to historical cycles.
The thing that made Moore's Law work the way it did is that the manufacturing of semiconductors is essentially a question of optics. When you double the resolution of your optics, the number of elements you can print is squared since the doubling happens in both the X and Y dimension.

3D printing isn't like that. You need stepper motors in the X, Y and Z directions. You also need materials and a mechanism for depositing them on demand. Today's 3D printers are probably nothing like the printers that will deliver Tea, Earl Gray, Hot. That sort of assembly requires manipulation at the molecular level, possibly even the atomic level. To make the kind of assembler that can make anything in current human experience, we probably need to go down to the subatomic level.

The top-down approach won't have a fast Moore's Law-like curve because the technologies change radically as scale changes. Building Makerbots and other 3D printers doesn't teach us anything about smaller-scale assemblers except maybe something about the business models (or lack of) around objects-as-software.

Once someone is able to make an atomic or sub-atomic scale assembler that can also clone itself, the project is pretty much done. The curve will be radically faster than Moore's Law because you just use the first tiny assembler to make a bigger assembler. Then use that assembler to make a larger assembler, bootstrapping your way up. Hopefully you don't consume the mass of the earth (or wherever humans happen to live at that point) along the way.


Intellectually, the gun project is an interesting project because it is a rather simple stress test of 3D printing. I wish HaveBlue had Oppenheimer's sensibility about his project.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


The obvious next step is to print it out of bone and throbbing penis-like erectile tissue, for that perfect intersection of David Cronenberg, Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs.
posted by Suddenly, elf ass at 12:09 AM on July 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


The obvious next step is to print it out of bone and throbbing penis-like erectile tissue, for that perfect intersection of David Cronenberg, Philip K. Dick and William S. Burroughs.

I'm just going to say that wasn't quite as obvious to me.
posted by Edgewise at 12:12 AM on July 27, 2012 [21 favorites]


However, it is giving me feed and extraction issues. As these issues persisted when I switched over to a standard aluminum lower, my problems appear to be with the upper.

Well, it still is an AR-15, isn't it?
posted by c13 at 1:30 AM on July 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


As snofoam mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind when someone says "improvised firearm".
posted by dumbland at 1:33 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"And the 3D printer zealots that seem to expect the same Moore's law type of improvements to happen to in the field of actually making things, well, they're sorely mistaken."

I'm really puzzled by this comment because I can't imagine that you don't know this — so I'm not being sarcastic when I ask: you know, right, that Moore's Law is about actually making things?

Bringing me to:

"The thing that made Moore's Law work the way it did is that the manufacturing of semiconductors is essentially a question of optics. When you double the resolution of your optics, the number of elements you can print is squared since the doubling happens in both the X and Y dimension."

Which might be what Chekhovian had in mind, and is more defensible, but I think it's also pretty mistaken. If it were merely about optical resolution, then, man, transistor size would have decreased much more rapidly than it did. But the optics were only part of it — moving to higher wavelengths wasn't really the issue except at certain bottlenecks. The real progress has always been made in materials science, physics, and manufacturing control which are pretty much exactly the kinds of stuff essential to 3D printing.

I mean, semiconductor manufacturing is basically a kind of 3D printing. Literally. A form of printing is photolithography, semiconductor manufacturing is photolithography, but it's layered lithography and thus 3D. It's really sort of remarkable and ironic that you'd argue that progress in 3D printing won't be anything like Moore's Law because 3D printing is nothing like semiconductor manufacturing. In fact, across the whole spectrum of manufacturing technology, 3D printing is far more semiconductor manufacture than it is most other manufacturing.

All that said, I don't expect (but wouldn't be flabbergasted to be proven wrong) 3D printing to progress as quickly as Moore's Law has applied in semiconductor manufacturing because of the issues discussed earlier concerning problems with making a firearm this way.

The difference is a difference of scale, that 3D printing will require that the product be robust and reliable at the macro scale, not the micro scale.

Having known (friend and roommate) a materials scientist who worked at SEMATECH I'm disinclined to discount the messiness and unpredictability of this micro scale stuff — but, still, I intuit that because the range of uses for macro 3D printed product will be so large, certainly in comparison to the very limited scope of semiconductors (which are basically one kind of thing used in one way) the corresponding scope of the problem of materials behavior will be similarly vast. If 3D printers made only a certain kind of macro device used in a certain way, then progress could be expected to be fast, assuming a financial incentive for the corresponding research. But since the point of 3D printers is to be versatile, then this particular problem of materials science (making various macro items that are robust and reliable) is probably essential and unavoidable.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:52 AM on July 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


So much crazy shit goes down in hobbyist forums nowadays. Goddamn.
posted by victory_laser at 2:15 AM on July 27, 2012


Selective laser sintering (SLS) titanium is already showing potential for aircraft components. There's real advantages to SLS components in aircraft. Machining titanium into complex shapes is a hugely tedious process because it's so hard. With SLS there's also very little material wastage (and so reduced costs). Complex shape-optimised components are often 20-50% lighter than conventionally shaped components, but can't be produced using traditional manufacturing means.

Major aircraft manufacturers are already exploring SLS as a manufacturing technique. My understanding is that speeds are increasing very quickly.

There will be an incredible amount of development in this area. It's a young technology and it's vastly different to anything that we're currently using.
posted by leo_r at 4:12 AM on July 27, 2012


*off to print a batch of bullet stopping vests*
posted by yoga at 4:51 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


***PRINTER OUTAGE NOTIFICATION***
3rd Floor Printer adjacent to lunch room can no longer print firearms. If users require firearms please call IT helpdesk on 15551 and state the type and and urgency of the firearm required.
posted by mattoxic at 5:17 AM on July 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


A suprisingly low amount of hand-wringing here, folks. Let's step it up.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 6:13 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


A year ago I was given a tour of a modern, high-tech manufacturing plant, including the area where the company does its own engineering and R&D. Compared to the incredibly complex shapes and parts the machines in the shop were fabricating for test pieces, both out of metal and fancy plastics, making gun parts would have been trivial. So yes, I can easily believe that hobbyist level 3D printers could soon download and fabricate at least the frame, and eventually most of the components for a Glock-style pistol, say.
posted by Forktine at 6:14 AM on July 27, 2012


And the 3D printer zealots that seem to expect the same Moore's law type of improvements to happen to in the field of actually making things, well, they're sorely mistaken

During my life, I've gone from a dot-matrix printer that cost $1500 to a $150 color laser printer capable of publication-quality prints at speed, and $60 inkjets that can print actual photographs.

The evolution of 3D printers is moving much more quickly. Prices are dropping and capabilities are expanding on a yearly basis - the software industry is exploding right now with user-friendly modeling apps designed to work with these things.

The pace of innovation is not as quick as silicon, no, but quicker than any tech that isn't chipmaking. It will completely blow your mind what you'll be able to manufacture in your own home come 2015 - it's an almost internet-big revolution.

I don't mean products, but enhancements to products. Electronics will be sold without a case - you'll print one you like at home. You can print custom orthotics designed to fit precisely into your new shoes. You can print a custom set of metal silverware for fancy dinner parties, or any kitchen utensil you might need for a recipe. Custom ergonomic handles for your lawnmower and weed whacker, replacement buckles and buttons for any garment or bag, parts and trim for any classic car restoration.

Deeper into the future? You'll be able to print exotic food analogues - mock caviar that tastes better than the real thing, as well as salmon fillets and chicken breasts, boneless and guaranteed pathogen-free. Your dentist will be able to print replacement teeth, your doctor a replacement liver.

This is what I expect by the end of the decade, not the century.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:22 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


The best company tour ever with the local Siggraph chapter several years ago was Z Corp one of the pioneers in the field. Of course there was all kinds of high tech discussions on amazing things that could be printed and used directly, the irony was that the customer base that kept them going for many years was sneaker companies.
posted by sammyo at 6:51 AM on July 27, 2012


If you think the best home 3D printers can do is rough melted plastic, take a look at the output from one based on optically activated resin. That quality looks good enough to use for mold production.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:54 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This will be great for producing the no-longer-manufactured fiddly bits to repair old things, which are marked up at ever-increasing costs.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:57 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, so given sufficient advances in 3-D printing, someone was going to turn it to the purpose of creating an infinite number of cheap, untraceable handguns in a basement somewhere. It was inevitable that this technology would eventually be used to facilitate the creation of instruments of killing. And somebody was going to be the first person to do it.

Why did this guy decide that he wanted to be that guy?
posted by Scientist at 6:58 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The evolution in 3D printers needs to move much more quickly, because the problems to be solved are so much more complex. (E.g., how do you print the different kinds of materials you need to make a complex machine, using a single device? Or, at least, a relatively small number of devices.*)

At the same time, I look forward to seeing people use this as an opportunity to re-think design: Think about making things in a way that the printers would be good at making them. Find ways to use a smaller range of materials and materials with less than ideal characteristics.

It will be good practice for when they have to once again rethink engineering design to optimize designs for nanofab.


--
*I realize that at manufacturing scope this is an unrealistic demand, but it's a requirement for the high-concept vision of DIY 3D printing.
posted by lodurr at 7:30 AM on July 27, 2012


I don't mean products, but enhancements to products. Electronics will be sold without a case - you'll print one you like at home. You can print custom orthotics designed to fit precisely into your new shoes. You can print a custom set of metal silverware for fancy dinner parties, or any kitchen utensil you might need for a recipe. Custom ergonomic handles for your lawnmower and weed whacker, replacement buckles and buttons for any garment or bag, parts and trim for any classic car restoration.

So we'll be 3D printing Tchotchkes you mean? I am in full agreement with you there.

Selective laser sintering (SLS) titanium is already showing potential for aircraft components.

Sure. My question is are you going to have a Kilowatt laser SLS system on your desk in the bonus room? I doubt it. Maybe there will be some revolutions in materials that allow for low energy 3D printing of materials that are tough, but it hasn't happened yet. SOTA is SLS or Powder Mettalurgy etc etc. Not "desktop" techniques. More like "factory" techniques.

Maybe Stross is right and we'll be 3D printing genetically engineered spider silk derived plastics that are as strong as steel. You can get 2 part epoxies that set up to be real damn strong. Those are cheats to beat the weakness of thermoplastics without paying the high price of giant lasers or what have you.
posted by Chekhovian at 7:31 AM on July 27, 2012


Rethinking conventional approaches could include things like reimagining a gun barrel as a strong metal or ceramic sleeve reinforced with printable plastics. (yes, i can imagine a bunch of reasons why that wouldn't work, but why let that stop folks from trying?)
posted by lodurr at 7:33 AM on July 27, 2012


I don't know why but I immediately cringed and closed the window when I saw I was on a site called ar15.com
posted by HumanComplex at 7:35 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why did this guy decide that he wanted to be that guy?

Apropos of that, Kalashnikov is supposed to have once remarked that he sometimes would rather he had instead invented something that would be 'helpful to farmers.' ("like a lawnmower.")
posted by lodurr at 7:35 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


TwelveTwo: Its cool guys. We'll all be wearing our Google Goggles and so when we shoot anyone it'll be recorded and put on YouTube. The deaths will be judged by our peers. Thumbs up or thumbs down will be accorded to the crime depending on whether the murder was epic, fail, or win. Later the most entertaining or emotional crimes will be remixed, packaged, and sold, to be later played at parties when the conversation dies down. So, don't worry about the future, after all, it won't worry about you.

Cory Doctorow???
posted by duffell at 7:38 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rethinking conventional approaches could include things like reimagining a gun barrel as a strong metal or ceramic sleeve reinforced with printable plastic...
posted by lodurr


Carbon fiber barrel shoots a target at 100 yards, is then used like a club to smash a cinderblock to rubble, then shoots another group.
posted by 445supermag at 7:48 AM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


i thought about that around 25 years ago and I'm happy to see I wasn't crazy.
posted by lodurr at 7:50 AM on July 27, 2012


Rethinking conventional approaches could include things like reimagining a gun barrel as a strong metal or ceramic sleeve reinforced with printable plastics. (yes, i can imagine a bunch of reasons why that wouldn't work, but why let that stop folks from trying?)

Winchester made a number of fiberglass-barreled firearms in the 1950's - miles of ultra-thin fiber were resined and wound around a thin steel sleeve to make the barrel. It was more expensive to produce than normal barrels, so they were discontinued, but it's definitely been done before, and with ordinary hunting firearms.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:50 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


... By printing it oneself, you bypass those requirements....
posted by sysinfo
DIY does not mean "not breaking the law".
posted by k5.user at 8:03 AM on July 27, 2012


It's not illegal to build your own gun and people have been milling AR-15 receivers in their garages/shops for a long time.
posted by the_artificer at 8:12 AM on July 27, 2012


DIY does not mean "not breaking the law".

*hastily takes apart makeshift meth lab*
posted by duffell at 8:12 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not illegal to build your own gun...

... if your state and local laws permit you to own the gun you just built.
posted by lodurr at 8:26 AM on July 27, 2012


Depending on the upper/lower combo and other features, it can be legal or not. I said that DIY does not equal legal, which is what I read sysinfo's comment to imply - that DIY means you can make any ole gun part and it's OK.

Or, as lodurr said.
posted by k5.user at 8:29 AM on July 27, 2012


Soon we can manufacture our own weaponry and nno onewill be able to regulate it thanks to "freedom of the press" in the USA.
posted by Renoroc at 8:48 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


no one will be able to regulate it thanks to "freedom of the press" in the USA.

That's also why it's perfectly legal to jab people in the throat with really tightly rolled up newspapers.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:21 AM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


So how long before politicians start calling for requiring a license to own a 3-D printer?


Also, one thing I seldom see discussed when 3-D printing comes up is the possibility of our monstrosity of an intellectual property system smothering the industry's future growth. Right now, there's a strong open-source, "information wants to be free" ethic in 3-D printing circles, but I have doubts that it will last. Will we require licenses to 3-D print shoe lifts, silverware, meat substitutes? How expensive would they be? And how hard might it be for someone to buy a license to print a 3-D rifle? As the industry becomes less of a niche, I suspect those are questions we'll have to answer.
posted by Cash4Lead at 9:33 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is really nothing special; companies have made plastic or composite AR lower receivers for a long time. Just google "plastic AR lower".

We're a long, long way away from being able to 3D-print (even with laser sintering) metal chambers and barrels that can stand up to the pressure of repeated centerfire rounds.

Here's a guy that built a lower out of wood, and then built one out of HDPE plastic.
posted by mrbill at 9:49 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


People are already printing carbon nanotube circuit boards. It's a leap, but not a huge one, to go from that to more substantial objects.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:56 AM on July 27, 2012


This is cool but I'm holding out for a single piece firearm that I can put a couple hundred rounds through and then throw away (or melt down and reform). No need for preventive maintenance, just stamp out a new weapon every time you need one.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 23:42 on 7/26
[1 favorite +] [!]
You've heard about global warming, right?
posted by samofidelis at 11:35 AM on July 27, 2012


I don't know much about this technology. Are 3D printers constrained with DRM mechanisms, so that you have to have a license to print something? Are 3D printer makers setting things up this way, as printers gets closer to being something that regular people can buy?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:12 PM on July 27, 2012


My pet theory is that mass adoption of this technology is not going to come via nerds with Makerbots (like myself *cough*) but from kids: It seems likely that a company like Hasbro or Mattel (or Apple? Wishful thinking) will come out with a $199 3D printer for kids, it will become a marginal hit during X-Mas 2014, and once parents watch their children downloading and/or designing and printing their own toys, the seed is planted for more general use. In this scenario, we'd also see the common bifurcation between commercial, DRM-laden, turnkey solutions and the open source, DIY offerings similar to what's out there now.
posted by gwint at 12:22 PM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know much about this technology. Are 3D printers constrained with DRM mechanisms, so that you have to have a license to print something? Are 3D printer makers setting things up this way, as printers gets closer to being something that regular people can buy?

Wow, that totally transmuted some of my excitement to dread.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:04 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are 3D printers constrained with DRM mechanisms, so that you have to have a license to print something?

Currently, there are basically two types of players - the high-end industrial machines for rapid prototyping, and the low-end DIY machines for hobbyists. Neither type needs nor wants DRM at any stage of the pipeline.

DRM is something you get in consumer equipment. If/when consumer 3d printing starts to happen, DRM will follow (in that space) but for now, there isn't the incentive.

At the other extreme, if you go to craft store, you can find CNC vinyl-cutters (similar to 3d printers), and they're so closed and DRM'ed you can't even enter your own designs, you have to buy cartridges of clip-art (at colossal mark-up) and those are the only shapes you can cut out. It looks like the inkjet sales model - sell the printer at cost or at a loss, but design it to lock the consumer into much greater expenditure for stuff that only the manufacturer is allowed to sell.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:43 PM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hmm... an early hurdle for 3d printer DRM - neither the printer nor the computer have any way to know if a print was successful. The best they can do is know that the printer finished and that no system errors occurred. Therefore it can't know if a second print is a copy, or a second attempt to obtain your purchase. I suspect the consumer will be the side that suffers the rough end of that problem.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:55 PM on July 27, 2012


Thanks, harlequin.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:03 PM on July 27, 2012


All this discussion and no one mentions the possibilities inherent in bespoke, ahem, marital aids?

Disappointing.
posted by Samizdata at 4:14 AM on July 28, 2012


You may have missed this comment.
posted by XMLicious at 6:42 AM on July 28, 2012


Would a 3D printed shotgun be less risky?
I put the shotgun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pairs of tennis socks, not my style at all, but that was what I was aiming for: If they think you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude. I'm a very technical boy. So I decided to get as crude as possible. These days, thought, you have to be pretty technical before you can even aspire to crudeness. I'd had to turn both those twelve-gauge shells from brass stock, on the lathe, and then load then myself; I'd had to dig up an old microfiche with instructions for hand- loading cartidges; I'd had to build a lever-action press to seat the primers -all very tricky. But I knew they'd work.
                 -- William Gibson, "Johnny Mnemonic", Omni Magazine, 1981.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:51 AM on July 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Weapons of Mass Creation: Portable 3D Printers Have Arrived
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:51 PM on August 13, 2012


Apropos of that, Kalashnikov is supposed to have once remarked that he sometimes would rather he had instead invented something that would be 'helpful to farmers.' ("like a lawnmower.")

I wonder what he would have thought of this: A Kalashnikov Factory in Russia Survives on Sales to U.S. Gun Owners
posted by homunculus at 2:46 PM on August 15, 2012


'Wiki Weapon Project' Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home
posted by homunculus at 9:54 AM on August 23, 2012


« Older Ross Andersen interviews Robert Pogue Harrison in ...  |  The Ju-Ju Magic of the Miners ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments