Angry Minnesotans Take 3D Printer Away From Gunmaker

Karloff

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Angry Minnesotans Take 3D Printer Away From Gunmaker


Would-be plastic gunsmiths fight for the right to create printable pistols.

The engineers out there may know what Minnesota-based Stratasys makes: 3D printer technology, used to create functional parts and prototypes that work just like the final product. 'Just like, you say?' thought the folks at Defense Distributed [http://defensedistributed.com/]. 'Why not print out a working gun, then?' It was this entrepreneurial spirit that inspired Stratasys to pull its printer out of Defense Distributed's clutches just as quickly as it could.

Defense Distributed claims that its campaign wasn't intended to sell guns to anyone. The idea was to create CAD blueprints, which would be freely distributed so anyone could print their own plastic pistols. "WikiWep is about challenging gun control and regulation," says its FAQ. "We look to inspire and defend those who live (and are threatened to live) under politically oppressive regimes. Firearm Rights are Human Rights."

Stratasys wasn't keen to get into a legal debate with Defense Distributed. "It is the policy of Stratasys not to knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes," its legal representatives said in a letter to Defense Distributed. "Therefore, please be advised that your lease of the Stratasys uPrint is cancelled at this time and Stratasys is making arrangements to pick up the printer." The WikiWep developers response was to comment, "Imagine if your biggest part in the human drama was to stand in the way of an innovation," but presumably a website snark [http://defdist.tumblr.com/] isn't going to stop Stratasys from taking its printer back.

As 3D printer technology is so new, the law really hasn't caught up with the implications of its use. In America there are various forms you have to send to the ATF before you can make some kinds of firearm, and of course different states have different gun control regulations. "It's what this old world of legal hierarchy requires," said Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed. "I have to go through a legal process just to try something."

Well, that and get funding. This isn't the first time Defense Distributed has frightened the bejeezus out of people; when it tried to crowdfund its project through Indiegogo, the folks at Indiegogo booted Defense Distributed from its site. Fortunately - or unfortunately, depending on your point of view - in September Defense Distributed was able to raise the funding it needed from other internet donors. "I think it shows they really believe in a future where the gun is inalienable," said Wilson at the time, "a kind of faith in American individualism, the sovereignty of the individual."

Source: Forbes [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/02/wiki-weapon-plan-printable-3d-gun]


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Skeleon

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As awful as their idea and plans may have been, I can't help but admire their simplistic approach. Plastic guns that have all the working parts of a regular gun? Would be an interesting experiment. I can't imagine such an item would be very durable, what with the heat and forces involved, but still. It might be functional for a couple of shots, I suppose.
 

Frontastic

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Plastic guns... would that even work? Like yeah BB guns etc are fine but if we're talking real, dangerous guns wouldn't plastic ones just shatter when fired?
 

NightHawk21

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Frontastic said:
Plastic guns... would that even work? Like yeah BB guns etc are fine but if we're talking real, dangerous guns wouldn't plastic ones just shatter when fired?
Little bit of optimization required maybe but I imagine you could get a couple shots off before it broke completely (depending on the quality of the stuff printed). It'll be interesting to see how long it takes us to enter the era of disposable guns though lol
 

Karloff

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If only Defense Distributor had real guns, they could have stopped them!
Damn Liberals!
 

FEichinger

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NightHawk21 said:
Frontastic said:
Plastic guns... would that even work? Like yeah BB guns etc are fine but if we're talking real, dangerous guns wouldn't plastic ones just shatter when fired?
Little bit of optimization required maybe but I imagine you could get a couple shots off before it broke completely (depending on the quality of the stuff printed). It'll be interesting to see how long it takes us to enter the era of disposable guns though lol
They have only been printing the lower receivers by now. Not entire guns. The question as to how far the technology can be pushed is interesting, though.
 

Zombie_Moogle

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While the implications & dangers associated with such a project are obvious, they have a definite point here. Imagine what it would be like if oppressed & impoverished parts of the world could cheaply & quickly develop the means to defend themselves. I can't help but wonder if such technology wouldn't help balance the scales in countries like Iran, Libya, Sudan, The Republic of The Congo
 

DugMachine

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No way all plastic guns would work for more than 2 or 3 shots. That said, pretty interesting idea.
 

Karloff

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In America there are various forms you have to send to the ATF before you can make some kinds of firearm
Sorry Adam, but this is very, very wrong. Unless it is an NFA weapon or a full auto, no paperwork is needed. And for NFA weapons you just fill out the Form 1 on the BATFE's site and 200 dollars later you can make one. Can't make full-auto's though.

In any case, a single shot .22lr pistol, what they were trying to make, needs no paperwork. The fun part is gonna be when Cody Wilson sues that pants off of Stratasys for violating the terms of the lease.

Also, I would like to point out that Stratasys is the functional equivalent of a cross between the worst DRM and vendor lockdown attributes of Apple and Microsoft put together in the 3D printer world.
 

-Dragmire-

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Having a cheap plastic gun that looks identical to a real one may create serious problems. I am against using the tech for this purpose.
 

Something Amyss

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Angry Minnesotans sounds like an iPhone/Android game. MAKE IT SO!

Frontastic said:
Plastic guns... would that even work? Like yeah BB guns etc are fine but if we're talking real, dangerous guns wouldn't plastic ones just shatter when fired?
Maybe if we were in the 50s. Glock would kind of like a word with you.

There hasn't been a truly plastic-only gun yet to my knowledge, but the novel part of this is printing on demand.
 

rcs619

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Zombie_Moogle said:
While the implications & dangers associated with such a project are obvious, they have a definite point here. Imagine what it would be like if oppressed & impoverished parts of the world could cheaply & quickly develop the means to defend themselves. I can't help but wonder if such technology wouldn't help balance the scales in countries like Iran, Libya, Sudan, The Republic of The Congo
Honestly, I have to wonder how much it actually would help. I mean, if we're talking about countries with extremely oppressive regimes, the main issue would be getting the 3D printers in to begin with (since the defense company was just interested in creating freely distributed schematics), and if the oppressed people of said country could get a hold of something like a 3D printer, certainly the regime could as well.

In more backwards areas like central Africa... it could *maybe* help some. Where its just men w/guns against men w/guns. But in a place like Iran, where the regime does have a modern military they'd basically be useless. That's not even getting into the question of just how viable an all-plastic firearm is to begin with and how its performance would stack up to traditional firearms.

Potential good intentions aside, I just don't like the vibe I get from Defense Distributed. I support the right for people to have guns, but I am of the mindset that it should be a more regulated right than it is, not less (limit the number of bullets in a clip, make extended clips and mags illegal and so on). My personal opinion is that the potential risks of letting this particular genie out of the bottle outweigh the benefits. The last thing we need in the US is *more* guns floating around, completely unregulated guns that someone with sufficient funds to get a hold of a digital printer could manufacture en masse and pass out with zero documentation or oversight. Guns that could get past metal detectors as well.
 

Assassin Xaero

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ravenshrike said:
In America there are various forms you have to send to the ATF before you can make some kinds of firearm
Sorry Adam, but this is very, very wrong. Unless it is an NFA weapon or a full auto, no paperwork is needed. And for NFA weapons you just fill out the Form 1 on the BATFE's site and 200 dollars later you can make one. Can't make full-auto's though.

In any case, a single shot .22lr pistol, what they were trying to make, needs no paperwork. The fun part is gonna be when Cody Wilson sues that pants off of Stratasys for violating the terms of the lease.
Do you have anything to back that up, just out of curiosity? From my understanding, you need a license (or maybe it was just the tax stamp) to "manufacture" a weapon. For example, I have one of these:


And it is illegal for me to put a vertical grip on it without getting a tax stamp since it is manufacturing a weapon.
 

Something Amyss

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The fun part is gonna be when Cody Wilson sues that pants off of Stratasys for violating the terms of the lease.
Well, of course. No lease could possibly have terms in it dictating use.

Maybe they should print up some single-shot .22s to defend themselves from the tyranny of oppressive leases!
 

Anton P. Nym

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DD didn't think this through too well. The damned thing is untraceable; it's a perfect disposable weapon suited for criminals. However it's utterly useless for home defense or "militia" stuff.

In a way I hope they do sue Stratasys, so DD's list of donors can be called for in discovery and we can see whose bright idea this was.

-- Steve
 

iniudan

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I think the idea is stupid, mostly because damn thing got lot of chance to explode in your hand, due to heat deforming the barrel and other element around the chamber combined with the pressure created by firing.

But just for simple gun modeling I don't see anything wrong with it, has long has you remember to put a orange tip in the barrel if someone gonna yield it in public (else they might get shot by police for thinking they yield a real gun =p)
 

dangoball

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For those of you saying plastic is not a usable material in gun production, I would like to point out that there are already hardened plastics used to make guns.

Wiki excerpt:
"The Glock's frame, magazine body and several other components are made from a high-strength nylon-based polymer invented by Gaston Glock and called Polymer 2.[31] This plastic was specially formulated to provide increased durability and is more resilient than carbon steel and most steel alloys. Polymer 2 is resistant to shock, caustic liquids and temperature extremes where traditional steel/alloy frames would warp and become brittle.[31] The injection molded frame contains 4 hardened steel guide rails for the slide: two at the rear of the frame, and the remaining pair above and in front of the trigger guard."

Granted, there are still metal parts, but given time and money, I'm sure someone could come up with plastic variants of those.

As for the article?
Yeah, every army in the world is surely thrilled that any civilian and therefore any nutjob would be able to print himself working light support machine gun! Right?
 

Karloff

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let that be a lesson to people who get those 3d printers but dont own them, lease them for a company that does nothing with them, then use them with your real company.

Would have been an interesting project