Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Freedom Spooled to Your Printer

Lots of folks have been talking about this story:

Working gun made with 3D printer
The world's first gun made with 3D printer technology has been successfully fired in the US.

The controversial group which created the firearm, Defense Distributed, plans to make the blueprints available online.

The group has spent a year trying to create the firearm, which was successfully tested on Saturday at a firing range south of Austin, Texas.
Since it's a BBC source, they're all but calling this the end of the world, worried about the technology falling into the wrong hands. Because you know every street corner thug has an $8,000 3D printer and the CAD-CAM program and the knowledge to turn a program into an actual firearm. There's wringing of hands about these not showing up in airport checkpoints - as though the X-ray machines can't detect plastic. The fact that criminals already get firearms despite being ineligible escapes these people - or, more likely, is simply ignored as it doesn't fit the narrative.

The brouhaha over the new Liberator is the same kind of breathless fearmongering that accompanied the Barrett M82 when it was first introduced. I remember watching one of the night time "news" specials on the M82 - they repeatedly harped on the fact that it was "easier to buy than a handgun". Which is true, because the M82 is a long arm - however they conveniently omitted a few pertinent facts, like the M82 is five feet long, weighs 30 pounds, and costs $9,000. It's a little hard for Ice Dog and Ray-Ray to do a drive-by shooting with a gun that weighs as much as a cash register and is longer than their hoopty is wide...

This is freedom, delivered to your printer. This is the very essence of the Second Amendment, that we have the necessary tools to prevent tyranny. The evil that a tyrannical government can do is severely limited when every single person could conceivably be printing out a defensive weapon at any given moment. Imagine if the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, rather than having to procure a small handful of firearms, had been able to print up a hundred single shot pistols whereby they could have resisted the Nazis more efficiently?

The genie is out of the bottle. It has been out of the bottle for decades, centuries, really. We haven't seen a significant change in how guns are made in well over 100 years - yes, the materials have improved and are lighter/stronger/etc., but the general concept has not varied in well over 100 years. Heck, three of the calibers currently in use by the military have been around for nearly 100 years. Even the AR-15 - the newcomer in the "ZOMG ASSAULT WEAPON" list - is 50 years old. Fifty years old.

Heck, they're even using a name from WWII: Liberator. The original Liberator, a single-shot .45 ACP was designed to be manufactured quickly and air-dropped to friendly forces behind occupied territories. Imagine that, using the same concept from seventy years ago - a single shot, limited use firearm designed to be put into production quickly and used against a larger force. The real reason for gun control - disarming the population for greater control - slips further and further away from the statists.

And that's a good thing, no matter what your views are on firearms.

That is all.

Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)


Rob said...

"The real reason for gun control - disarming the population for greater control"

It is all about control.

Anonymous said...

So people’s panties are in a bind because if you have access to a 3-D printer you can make a single shot pistol? I think with 80 million plus firearms in the US this a non-event.


Bubblehead Les. said...

I used to work in the Plastics Industry. For Industrial Production, most of the Plastics used (Polypropylene, Delrin, ABS, etc) are shipped in a container called a Gaylord. These are Cubes that are 4 Feet Square, and need a Forklift to move around.

And since most Plastics are made from Oil, Raw Material is EXPENSIVE.

So one has to factor that into the 3D Printing of Firearms also.

But I also remember the Panic amongst the Anti-Gunners when the first Glocks came out.

So yes, the Genie is out of the Bottle. And if need be, they can be made for "Liberation" purposes. But if one needed a "Weapon to get a Weapon," I'd think it would be much easier and quicker to make Crossbows.

Consider this "Liberator" as the equivalent of Robert Goddard's Rocket Experiments in the 1920's. We have a long way to go to get to level of the Saturn Five.

But the Fire is Lit.

Douglas2 said...

I was half suspecting that the couple oz. of steel were cleverly placed where the inherent strength of that material was useful for the strength of the finished product, and I still don't know if that is the case.

I also wondered about ABS plastic and x-ray machines. All I could find was that ABS makes a great tupperware for holding the stuff you want contained when x-raying it, because it distorts the image very little. I know that in the era when PDA's on flights were things like walkman cassette players, the ABS cases seemed to show up just fine on the screen.

Dave H said...

Douglas2: I assumed they at least used a metal barrel insert, but I was wrong. The Liberator that was test fired had only two pieces of metal: the firing pin (which was a nail from a hardware store) and a 6 ounce block of steel that was inserted to comply with Federal law. (The one that says all firearms must be detectable with a metal detector. The folks who are designing this gun have a federal firearm manufacturer license, so they have to obey the rules.) It held up when they fired a .380 cartridge, although it was less successful when they fired a 5.7x28 cartridge.

Forbes had a decent article about it here.

Shane W said...

Its hilarious to see how worked up the anti's are getting over this thing

Wally said...

The next wave of additive manufacturing is essentially 3d printing with metal. It's a very different process, similar results. It is gaining popularity for annoying to machine metals (Ti, frex)

Until then I am relying on conventional CNC to kick out ARs.

Angus McThag said...

I am sick of all the lies around here.

Just the other night I was watching a documentary where the criminals had not just one, but three .50 rifles with explosive bullets and they were terrorizing Detroit.

It also showed the dangers of having a union police force and privatizing those police.

Those were really side stories, the documentary was mainly focused on the amazing advances in prosthetics and how one brave police officer overcame grievous injuries and memory loss and returned to the police force.

Anonymous said...

Dave H., that Forbes article was quite interesting.
I hope the project continues.

Daniel in Brookline said...

On a related front: