3D Printers Are Great For Hobbyists, But They Can Also Be A Problem

3D Printers Are Great For Hobbyists, But They Can Also Be A Problem

As we’ve just seen, 3D printers are great for hobbyists and DIY toy-makers. But because the machines can make practically anything, they can make, well, practically anything, including assault rifles. That’s going to be a problem.

3D Printed Guns [Vice]


  • woooooooooah.

    I love how they use the “it’s a tool” defence, can’t remember the last time anyone said “I need to fire deadly projectiles at 100+ rounds per minute” oh except of course when it came to killing people.

      • I’d hardly call a nail “deadly”, fired from a standard nail gun it would have to be in precisely the right spot to kill you, and if it said nail gun was powerful enough to kill you as easily as an semi/automatic gun it is no better than those guns.

        Nail guns are more hazardous, like a standard 12 gauge shotguns, a gun that could be classified as a tool.

          • sounds like some sort of superhero. Any thing can be deadly in the right hands, I’m not disputing that, but a nail gun has real world application besides killing, an assault rifle really doesn’t.

        • Don’t bullets also need to hit you in the right spot to kill you? I’d imagine a nail to the heart, throat or head would do a very good impression of killing someone at the very least.

        • Nail Guns need to be pressed against the surface to fire, at least that’s how I think modern ones are designed.

          • yeah, most are fitted with safety devices so they cant be fired at people. It is a ridiculous hypothetical so I thought bringing something as logical as that into the equation wouldn’t really change the already poor argument.

          • A guy died via Nail gun in Lethal Weapon, therefore it must be real and a nailgun is a danger.

          • yeah they have to be pushed up to fire but they can be held back so you can shoot at stuff. but in saying that the nail will tumble in the air so getting hit by the tip isn’t likely and it moves a hundred times slower then a bullet

          • a: Duct Tape can disable the safty mechanism.
            b: a nail gun would still be useless as a ranged weapon, there is no rifling so the accuracy would be way off, and the power just isn’t there. At range you may kill someone with an exceedingly lucky shot, but most likely you’d just give some-one a boo-boo… and most likely not the person you were aiming for….

  • This actually came up in a novel called The Androids Dream. It’s set in the future, but the things are fairly commonplace, but the machines all have a specific ‘tell’ to link it to what it made, as well as records of the printer materials are kept strictly regulated. Ddin’t stop the black market, however.

  • People should have the right to defend themselves, family and property and that includes through the use of firearms, so there’s no problem with people printing them.

  • You might be able to print a frame, but good luck printing a firing mechanism.

    Even if you could print all the little parts that make up the firing mechanism, and magically gained the skill of a gunsmith needed to put it together, plastic would hardly stand up to the pressures exerted by the explosive gasses released by firing a round.

    (FYI you need a licence to purchase a firing mechanism in Australia, just to preempt that argument)

    • Yes, the Printed guns that people have made are just the “lower”… basically the print everything bar Springs, Barrel and Firing mechanisms… so it’s actually pretty useless (since I’d expect these parts to be regulated the same as a firearm).
      That said, there was a story about someone printing an extended magazine that would contravene some US laws (some state have laws on the maximum number of bullets held by a magazine), and the printers are only going to get better and more freely available over time. So whilst this sort of thing may not be an issue at the moment, give it a few years.

      • The issue, as pointed out in the video, is that the lower is the only part of the gun that has a serial number. Everything else can be bought without documentation.

        • Not in Australia you cant. Our laws are much stricter.

          I’d also like to point out that registration of longarms does not curb gun violence. Recently (2012) Canada ( which has a much more conservative gun laws than America) abandoned the registration of long arms. 81% of the 2600+ police officers surveyed voted for the registered to be dismantled because it was so ineffective at preventing and solving crime.

          At the end of the day, you should be persecuting those who commit crime and not those who want to be able to use 3D printers.

          I doubt you will find any correlation in the gun crime statistics and 3D printer sales if you look back in 20 years. America is already swamped in cheap and abundant firearms, and Australian laws make such a set up next to impossible without already owning a firearm licence to purchase the more complex parts, like a firing mechanism.

  • Who needs 3D printers? There are a few step by step plans out there already to make TEC-9 type semi-auto pistols out of sheet metal.
    With a basic understanding of engineering drawings and how to use basic sheet metal equipment anyone could construct one.
    PS, I in no way condone constructing your own firearms.

    • you pointed out the major flaw in that argument yourself
      With a basic understanding of engineering drawings and how to use basic sheet metal equipment anyone could construct one
      With a 3D printer you don’t need such knowledge, you plug it in, download a file, follow a simple tutorial and print the thing. Any moron can do it.

  • 3D printers are pretty crazy.

    Oh and to the people who are all “what does this have to do with vidya games!?”, the answer is… it’s a related story, not a direct one.

    3D printers are (from what I can tell) most commonly discussed, in the realm of the entertainment industry, when it comes to video games and nerd culture. So the application of 3D printers in creating weapons is a bit of a big deal.

    You might be making 3D prints of your WoW character in a particular pose, or as a game artist you can create a 3D print of something you have created, but your neighbour… he might want to borrow it; to make a gun. It’s worth being informed, and VICE make some pretty good docos.

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