back to article 'Liberator': Proof that you can't make a working gun in a 3D printer

People are missing one important point about the "Liberator" 3D-printed "plastic gun": it isn't any more a gun than any other very short piece of plastic pipe is a "gun". Parts for the Liberator 3D printed pistol1 You can take my Liberator ... and shove it Seriously. That's all a Liberator is: a particularly crappy pipe, …

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  1. EddieD

    All very true, but..

    It's a first go, and it's a proof of concept.

    You could easily design most of the parts for a 3D printer, and use a metal pipe for the barrel.

    In the future, the materials used by a 3D printer will be developed, and there are plastics and composites that would be able to be used for a short lived firearm.

    Nonetheless though, everything you say is bang on - Harlan Ellison style zip guns and numerous other improvised firearms already exist, and are better than this, but nothing, particularly not the truth, will stop the hysteria that can be drummed up by the media for this sort of thing.

    Best to just chuckle gently, and wait for the reports of folks losing bits of their anatomy

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: All very true, but..

      You couldn't just use a metal pipe, it has to be of very close tolerance surely? And using a metal pipe to ensure a proper fit would DRASTICALLY increase the pressure in the chamber which would promptly explode.

      For now anyway - doubtless we'll be able to 3D-print in diamond soon or something.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: All very true, but..

        The printer that is used for the test versions of this gun was an industrial type printer that used HARD plastic, which negates most of the points raised in the article as to why it won't work.

        The printer in question cost £3,000 from eBay. However, it is likely that you could just order the parts created via a print to order service if you didn't want to buy the printer....

      2. SDoradus

        No. Tolerances are not so important

        Pre WW1 revolvers often did not have gas-tight seals yet worked well. Gas tightness is useful to prevent powder burns and to provide some boost to muzzle velocity, but is not vital to a working weapon.

    2. Annihilator

      Re: All very true, but..

      "It's a first go, and it's a proof of concept."

      But it's not really, you could make the same product by injection moulding and we don't have a plethora of plastic guns being sneaked onto planes etc. Guns are necessarily made out of metal to have any sort of impact.

      "You could easily design most of the parts for a 3D printer, and use a metal pipe for the barrel."

      You could, but as the article points out you could do all that without the 3D printer.

      1. danR2

        Re: All very true, but..

        I'm wondering how Harlan Ellison became the authority on more than cooking up specious lawsuits against rival s-f writers and movie producers. Having got that off my chest, you just have to google images "zip gun", and see the amazing range of options for making crude but workable (smooth-bore, short range) hand'guns'.

        My favorite is the paper mache gun, although one of its claims (burns itself up on firing, self-destroying the evidence) should be taken with a grain of salt. You'd probably want to wrap any thin-walled tube round with several layers of fiberglass tape, just to be on the safe side. Or better, not make a zip-gun at all.

      2. SDoradus

        The point is rapid development

        The importance of 3D printing is twofold.

        First, few people have access to injection molding equipment, but a 3D printer is potentially within reach of anyone. (Expect a licensing regime for them within months except in places which view them as vital for economic development).

        Second, what has been downloadable is the 3D model which means the design is out there and cannot reasonably be banned. Injection moulders can be enjoined by a court: millions of Brazilian gangsters cannot.

        Third, this successful model will be rapidly tweaked to become even more effective. As an engineer I would "improve" it in one of two ways, with a view to keeping it undetectable:

        - either make the barrel from crack-free tensioned and wound nylon fishing line, a method dating back to wire-wound flash boilers; or,

        - locate a common steel ballpoint pen with a case that fits the desired cartridge, cut it to fit, sleeve the pen back together and take pen and gun parts in your shirt pocket through customs.

      3. gromm
        Boffin

        Re: All very true, but..

        Oh, but the 3D printer makes the whole thing look nice and vaguely well-made.

    3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: All very true, but..

      "You could easily design most of the parts for a 3D printer, and use a metal pipe for the barrel"

      That is true but that pretty much removes the panty twisting aspect of 'OMG, it's undetectable by HomeBoy Security! Oh the huge manatee!'; doesn't it?

      1. Fibbles

        Re: All very true, but..

        "That is true but that pretty much removes the panty twisting aspect of 'OMG, it's undetectable by HomeBoy Security! Oh the huge manatee!'; doesn't it?"

        I have to admit being confused by the hysteria of people making such comments. If we assumed for a moment that the Liberator was actually a well functioning plastic gun and could be brought onto an aeroplane without detection, what use would it be without ammunition? I've yet to see reports of 3D printed bullets and casings.

        1. t.est

          Re: All very true, but..

          A bullet or a few are easily smuggled in and easily hidden into some other metal object. Custom made battery for a laptop, preferably an old Apple Ti Powerbook. The Ti part is very good for the x-ray scan.

          Custom batteries are not so hard to get, just pay a small amount. Give it 25% of the original power, so the computer works, and fill rest with ammunition.

          All that is needed is the will and a little knowledge combined with some imagination. After 9/11 the Powerbook Ti was prohibited from some air lines due to the Ti casing, and x-ray images where just black.

    4. Vector
      FAIL

      Re: All very true, but..

      First off, it is a gun. It may not be particularly effective but, per the dictionary definition ("a device that throws a projectile" - Merriam-Webster), it's a gun. I'm no expert (far, far from it), but I'd guess it's almost as effective as the early blunderbuss pistols.

      The author seems to miss the point. Sure, it's crap, but then, so were the printouts from early dot-matrix printers. This just proves that it can be done and it's up- or downhill from here depending on your point of view. Some really smart (and possibly twisted) people will figure out how to improve on this start and people will be able to "print" guns. It may take 5 or ten years, but the genie is out of the bottle.

      At the same time, the government seizure of the plans is laughable. Those plans are not physical, they're information and that information has been set loose into the world. You can try to legislate this out of existence but to paraphrase an old saying: if 3D gun plans are outlawed, only outlaws will have 3D gun plans. And you probably won't know they have them until they've printed their gun and used it.

      Personally, I'm not real thrilled about this eventuality, but sticking your head in the sand by saying "it's not a real gun" does nothing to address the issue.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: All very true, but..

        It wasn't so much a seizure. The Department of State* simply requested politely that the plans be pulled from distribution while they were attempting to decide if any laws had been violated. It wasn't even a legally binding request, just some strong advice. It just got exaggerated soon after by lots of paranoids screaming 'The Gubmint is comin' for our guns!'

        *I have no idea why they were interested, rather than the ATF or even DHS.

        1. SoaG

          State not ATF/DHS/FBI

          Nothing illegal disseminating weapon manufacturing information to his fellow yanks.

          Making it available internationally however is apparently an issue that they can go after him on. Haven't verified this part myself, but I gather that even then it's not so much a violation of law within the US, but of US adhering to international treaties and him not having the requisite permit(s).

          Either way, it's just an excuse to make an example out of him. If he'd got the permits and blocked IP ranges of embargoed countries, they'd have found something else. With millions of laws and regulations on the books and 100's of thousands more being added every year, everyone's probably in violation of something or other. Just most of us don't deliberately draw a great deal of public attention for the purpose of thumbing our noses.

          I'm sure that's why, after all the build up, he complied with the take down order so quickly. He didn't do it because he believes the Predator is useful or necessary as a device. He did it to get the US 2nd amendment reaffirmed (or not) by their supreme court 5 or 6 years from now.

        2. matt g

          Re: All very true, but..

          It was the State Department as they're responsible for licensing exports of military goods as per the ITAR requirements. Contrary to a lot of shrieking, the designer has not been stopped from making or disseminating plans except where there may be an infringement of the US export controls. And that is an emphasis on may - remember old' Phil Zimmerman and PGP.

        3. Tom 13

          Re: simply requested politely

          There was no 'polite' about it. He was ordered to take them down. It came from State under the auspices of some unratified international gun treaty.

          Yes, the guy was a putz and a fool for putting them up in the first place, and as such probably didn't deserve polite treatment.

      2. Matthew 25
        Headmaster

        Re: All very true, but..

        'per the dictionary definition ("a device that throws a projectile" - Merriam-Webster)'

        Does that make a crossbow a gun? How about a longbow, or a catapult. All devices that throw a projectile which aren't guns. I'm sure there are many more. Then again how about a hot glue gun? What's the projectile there?

      3. Steve Evans

        Re: All very true, but..

        "a device that throws a projectile" - Merriam-Webster

        Like a catapult.

        Or my arm?

      4. tomban
        Joke

        Re: government seizure of the plans is laughable

        Darth Vader called, he would like his plans back.

    5. Charles Manning

      It is not proof of concept, it is a diversion

      The www is full of sesigns for zip guns which are far more effective and easy enough to make with $20 of DIY hand tools.

      A 3D printed gun is not "proof of concept" because the materials just don't exist for making an effective 3D printed gun.

      It's like duct taping some cardboard wings to a car and saying you have "proof of concept" for a flying car.

      This was an exercise in hysteria... and it worked.

      1. fajensen Silver badge

        Re: It is not proof of concept, it is a diversion

        Precisely! Disney et. al. would dearly love to have some DMCA-like laws to control what can be printed, by whom, and how strong materials should be available to the <o>plebs</o> "consumers", maybe some inspection of data traffic on top?

        "The kids will print undetectable guns and blow up airplanes so they crash on schools"- will sell this legislation, maybe this is precisely why this "gun" was printed. If the objective is an effective DIY-gun, then there is the old STEN ... real, military weapons that can (and was) be built in a basic machine shop in their thousands.

        These days we have more to fear from lobbyist and governments overreaction/overreach than we have from actual criminals, rogue states and terrorists!!

    6. SDoradus

      Ten firings before breaking counts as a success

      The Liberator was designed to shoot cartridges of variable sizes (swapping plastic barrels). Given its likely customers want it as a holdout weapon (one which passes metal detectors), the fact that the barrel survived ten firings from the smallest calibre cartridge makes it a success.

    7. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: All very true, but..

      ..It's a first go, and it's a proof of concept....

      Indeed. A similar piece back in 1905 would be claiming that the Wrights had just shown that air travel was pointless. I mean, all that time and effort to glide a few hundred yards at 6 ft high...?

      1. PsychicMonkey
        FAIL

        Re: All very true, but..

        Doesn't really work though does it, if the right brothers had been able to buy an already functioning plane them maybe your argument would hold up...

    8. Jim 59

      Re: All very true, but..

      Has anybody actually tested it ? Presumably it can kill/injure st short range, despite the lack of rifling and overall power. The main worry seems to be invisibility to X rays & customs, unlike metal zip guns etc.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: All very true, but..

        Presumably it can kill/injure st short range

        As can knives, arrows, spears, and a tremendous variety of blunt instruments (including ones that collapse

        or are otherwise concealable).

        The main worry seems to be invisibility to X rays & customs

        And those can also be made of plastic or ceramic, to bypass metal detectors and (modulo density of material and sensitivity of detection systems) x-ray machines. (I'm really not sure what "invisibility to ... customs" might mean. The last time I traveled internationally, the customs officials seemed to have normal eyesight.)

        I'm having trouble conceiving of any situation where a Liberator would be the best choice, or even a particularly good one. I can legally bring materials for making much better weapons, and in some cases the weapons themselves, onto a plane; I could illegally smuggle many others on board with little chance of detection. Ditto for most other "secure" locations where a DIY plastic gun might conceivably be taken.

  2. ElectricFox
    Mushroom

    "So what we have here is not, as everyone is saying, proof that 3D printers can be used to make guns. It's proof that they can't, and that 3D printing at the moment is basically pretty useless."

    I don't think you should write off 3D printing as useless, just because it can't meet the material requirements to manufacture a firearm. Perhaps in a few decades time, when prices come down, and material technology applications improve then some more lethal weapons could be produced. All of this is for nothing if you can't get hold of a bullet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuX-nFmL0II

    Most of the other things you've said; I agree with, however.

    1. Miek
      Linux

      3D Printer + Metalworking Lathe + CNC Milling Machine = Fully Working Gun less Ammunition;

      1. brain_flakes

        Why not just simplify that to "Metalworking Lathe + CNC Milling Machine = Fully Working Gun"? What part of a gun can you make with a 3D printer and not a CNC Milling Machine?

        1. Suricou Raven

          Not much, really - but a 3d printer is potentially much cheaper and smaller. If 3D printing can make some of the more fiddly bits, then at least it could make underground gun manufacturing cheaper and easier to hide.

          Not that there's any need for underground gun manufacturing in the US - the factory-made guns are quite cheap and readily-available.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Yes but now Americans can extend their 'right to bear arms' to aircraft, secure locations, etc where previously metal detectors would have prevented them from doing so.

            I'm all in favour - let the Darwin Awards continue.....

            http://blogs.kqed.org/lowdown/files/2012/12/firearm-OECD-UN-data3_washpost.jpg

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge

          @brain_flakes

          What part of a gun can you make with a 3D printer and not a CNC Milling Machine?

          I'd think the grip would be easier to do on a printer, but even easier would be to take a lump of Polymorph and shape it.

        3. zaax

          It's actually bench drill + file = fully working gun

        4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
          Facepalm

          ...Why not just simplify that to "Metalworking Lathe + CNC Milling Machine = Fully Working Gun"? What part of a gun can you make with a 3D printer and not a CNC Milling Machine?...

          Actually, the full equation would read:

          "Metalworking Lathe + CNC Milling Machine+ considerable skill+fully equipped workshop+lots of money = Fully Working Gun" - as against:

          "3D printer+ bedroom +bored teenager with internet access=Fully Working Gun"

      2. Psyx
        Thumb Up

        Which - if anything - is an argument for controls on ammunition, rather than controls on 3D printers.

        1. MrXavia
          Facepalm

          I never understood why this was such a big deal?

          there are plenty of ways to make a gun with basic tools, and bullets are not hard to make...

          And there are plenty of ways to propel the bullet that doesn't use gunpowder, just look at air-rifles, sure in the UK their fairly low power, but that is by law, not because they can't be made at FAC power levels...

          1. TheOtherHobbes

            It's a big deal

            because it fondles a couple of USian hero-fantasy neuroses - i.e. guns and 3D printing and fluffs them up with a large side order of techno-evangelism.

            The fact that it's bollocks in any practical sense doesn't make any difference, because fake hero-bollocks from some imaginary bleeding edge is pretty much the definition of neurotic techno-evangelism.

            If you want to bring down the gubmint and kill a good few people, you're not going to do it with a toy pellet shooter made out of [cheap plastic and/or starch].

            You could certainly do it with other kinds of technology, but competence always loses to rhetoric with these topics. (Which is a good thing considering the damage a political movement could do if it had a clue about real science and was populated by people smart enough to use it.)

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. mickey mouse the fith

            "just look at air-rifles, sure in the UK their fairly low power, but that is by law, not because they can't be made at FAC power levels..."

            And you can put a .22 bullet in the silencer and fire a pellet into it. I did this with my trusty webley airpistol back when I was a teen. No idea how accurate it was, but it made one hell of a bang and the barrel/silencer didnt explode.

            A lot of the precharged air rifles can be modded easily into something quite deadly. Adding a gas-ram to a common and garden spring powered air rifle can take it way over the legal limit as well.

            This 3d gun thing is just a proof of concept, noone in their right mind would go to all the expense and effort to make one for nefarious purposes when there are many easier and cheaper ways of making a gun.

            Gun powder can be made by anyone with access to a few common household/gardening products, a basic firearm and makeshift ammunition are easily made at home (see zip gun). Il wager that most people on this forum could fashion a firearm at least as effective as this with just basic tools and materials.

        2. SDoradus

          Casings would be plastic

          You would then find 3D models for plastic casings to replace brass being downloaded.

          It's sometimes forgotten that various armies have experimented with caseless ammunition. The stuff worked fairly well but didn't quite meet standards for automatic weapons, back in the late sixties. A quick lookup of "Caseless Ammunition" on Wikipedia shows how far they have come.

          All that remains is to replace the lead pellet with a plastic one. Possibly with a hole drilled in the centre to accommodate a nail. Discarding sabot, anyone?

        3. apjanes
          Thumb Up

          Which - if anything...

          Which - if anything - is a queue for Chris Rock's bullet control: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZrFVtmRXrw

          1. Tom 13

            Re: Which - if anything...

            Pat Paulsen beat him to that line by at least 40 years.

      3. John Bailey

        Fully Working Gun less Ammunition = ornament.

    2. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Shocking lack of perspective

      This is something like the 2nd attempt at this EVER. It's new technology. This is real life, as opposed to a Star Trek episode. Stuff like this isn't instantaneous. Other types of firearms represent centuries of technological development. The author probably wouldn't like some of the original firearms either. He probably wouldn't like any of the first several generations.

      Version 0.02 isn't "magical"? Imagine that.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Shocking lack of perspective

        To some extent, I think it was purposely made to be something that didn't have a long shelf life. Not a gunsmith myself, or even a tinkerer in that area, but I'd imagine a competent one COULD put together something more, shall we say, serviceable. Rigid plastics have been a huge improvement in the area of handguns with traditional manufacturers. But to some extent, they've kept the metal concentrations high specifically because of concerns that were raised back in the 1980s about plastic guns being able to circumvent then current security processes.

  3. Martin 37
    Thumb Down

    Idiot

    I did see a quote from the muppet who made the thing saying "there are states all over the world where you are not allowed to have guns".

    No, they actually countries and there is more than one of them.

    1. TheRealLifeboy
      FAIL

      Re: Idiot

      Uh, who'es the idiot? States are Countries all over the world. Just in the US, they're provinces...

      Oh no, wait, they're countries too. It's just that the US central federal government has usurped power over them.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Uh, who'es the idiot?

        The one who cant spell "who's"?

        1. You need to log in to use this part of the site
          Facepalm

          Re: Uh, who'es the idiot?

          <i>"...Re: Uh, who'es the idiot?

          The one who cant spell "who's"?..."</i>

          ...or "can't"

          1. Bush_rat
            Facepalm

            Re: Uh, who'es the idiot?

            ""...Re: Uh, who'es the idiot?

            The one who cant spell "who's"?..."

            ...or "can't""

            ... or read "plain text only, no HTML"

      2. Matthew 25
        FAIL

        Re: Idiot

        Erm? Name me a State of the US which was a country before joining the US. Most of them were colonies of other countries, Great Britain, France, Spain, Netherlands etc...

        1. Jonathan Richards 1

          Re: Idiot

          Hawaii?

        2. ZPO

          Re: Idiot

          "Erm? Name me a State of the US which was a country before joining the US. Most of them were colonies of other countries, Great Britain, France, Spain, Netherlands etc..."

          Texas

        3. SDoradus

          All the first thirteen

          Following the declaration of independence, and before the first articles of confederation (which promoted a "perfect and indissoluble union"), all the colonies represented by the alternating red and white stripes on the original US flag. Thirteen of them, as I recall. That would include the original Virginia, Rhode Island, et cetera.

        4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Idiot

          ...Erm? Name me a State of the US which was a country before joining the US. Most of them were colonies of other countries, Great Britain, France, Spain, Netherlands etc...

          Not that difficult. Texas.

        5. Tom 13

          Re: Name me a State of the US which was a country before joining the US.

          Texas.

        6. gromm
          Stop

          Re: Idiot

          Texas.

        7. Agarax
          FAIL

          Re: Idiot

          "Erm? Name me a State of the US which was a country before joining the US. Most of them were colonies of other countries, Great Britain, France, Spain, Netherlands etc..."

          Texas

        8. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Idiot

          "Erm? Name me a State of the US which was a country before joining the US. Most of them were colonies of other countries, Great Britain, France, Spain, Netherlands etc..."

          ---

          England.

          Oh, wait that's not official yet is it.....

    2. brain_flakes

      Re: Idiot

      "State" can mean country, government or nation as well as a sub-entity as in "US State"

  4. Aldous
    Meh

    FUD and Back Pats

    Anti gun lobby will froth at the mouth and get this banned/pulled as a small win on the way to a wider ban

    Pro gun lobby will let this get banned/pulled as a way to throw anti gun a bone. After all 3d printed guns mean no more sales for Bushmaster!

    In the meantime the debate around gun control suffers another wound as both sides crank up the hype and FUD. For example there has been hype around this in the UK yet getting ammunition is not easy (without suitable licenses) and even the powder is controlled. Now in the USA where you can buy ammo at walmart or any other large store it might be a slight issue.

    This thing is pathetic as the article mentions. Zip guns are deadlier, even the ones Tom Sachs (an artist) made purely to turn in and get $300 would be more dangerous. As a proof of concept it works but if you applied the FUD to this its equivalent to saying a kit aircraft is a homemade b52 because you can fly it around and drop rocks on people

  5. Anonymous Blowhard
    Stop

    "3D printing at the moment is basically pretty useless."

    No it isn't; I've seen some great work done with 3D printers for producing prototype parts, test jigs (to make sure that supplier parts are the correct shape), and for use in mould making.

    The airheads who see 3D printing as a manufacturing technique are probably going to be disappointed, but for real engineers 3D printing is another valuable tool for the design process.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge
      Gimp

      Ten years ago, the phrase was 'Rapid Prototyping' (not 'additive manufacturing'), of which 3D printing was only one method. Other techniques include Stereolithography, Laminated Object Modelling (using a laser cutter to cut cross-sections out of paper which are then stacked and glued) and Selective Laser Sintering - though the latter is used more for end-use parts in aerospace, and could happily make a gun... just as any reasonably well-equipped machine shop could.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    But...but....

    An FN P90 looks plasticy too, so we are already HALF THERE!!

    PRESS THE PANIC BUTTON!

    "meep"

    1. harmjschoonhoven
      Black Helicopters

      Re: But...but....

      From the Dutch law on firearms (Wet wapens en munitie, translated):

      "Category I 7° other objects that can form a serious personal threat as indicated by Our Minister or that look like a weapon appropriate for threat or extortion."

      So no need for a Liberator here, just print your Walther P5 in soap and paint it black.

      BTW the Liberator seems as good as the gun that exploded and killed James II of Scotland at the siege of Roxburgh in 1460.

  7. SirDigalot
    Coat

    Saturday night specials..

    already fall under the category "junk guns" in many state rules, a lot of them are even shunned by gun people and are limited to observational relics only and not really to be used.

    at least they were metal..

    however I think it is a cool enough experiment, you never know unless you try, if we all discredited things like this without even trying we would get no where.

    <<<<<<<< the one with the higgs-boson detector

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Saturday night specials..

      >however I think it is a cool enough experiment, you never know unless you try

      It reminds me of Mythbusters making a cannon from laminated leather, since stories tell of the Irish using them. It didn't fare well.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Saturday night specials..

        I don't think I've seen that show, but I do remember their tree-trunk cannon. IIRC, it did get one shot off with impressive velocity - but there wasn't much cannon left afterwards.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Saturday night specials..

          The duck tape one worked well too, and more than one shot.

          youtube.com/watch?v=9FDd3n10tjA

      2. SDoradus

        Scaling rules apply

        The reason an ant can survive falling from a height a thousand times greater than its length - equivalent to a fall from a mile up for a human - is that strength scales as the cross-section of the limbs and body, so as the square of length; but the weight it has to support scales as the cube of length.

        And similarly for Irish cannon vs Liberator. The smaller you make the tube, the stronger it will be, for a given material. Even leather.;.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just waiting for some kid to lose some fingers or eyes when their DIY gun explodes in their face.

    Seriously, there are reasons why some things are controlled and censored. Just like there are reasons why bleach has a childproof cap and the driving age is 17.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      And this why you can't find The Anarchists' Cookbook on the Internet!

      It's all for the good of all of us.

      1. Dave Harris 1

        The Anarchists' Cookbook is freely available - it's regularly posted on Usenet which, contrary to rumours, is still very much alive & kicking. People actually update it from time to time.

      2. John Bailey

        "And this why you can't find The Anarchists' Cookbook on the Internet!"

        Yes I can,and in fact, just did. Amazon sell this fount of disruptive knowledge, or 1001 ways to do yourself a serious michief.

        Want a link?

        1. Brenda McViking
          FAIL

          *whooooooosh.*

          Your sarcasm filter needs recalibrating.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A quick search shows that you can find it:

        http://pirateproxy.net/torrent/7909403/The_Anarchists_CookBook_-_2010kaiser

    2. sisk Silver badge

      Actually kids have been making DIY guns for a long time. I'll bet if you live in America and ask around most of us know someone who shoved a bullet into a metal pipe (or, in my dad's case, a hollowed out ball-point pen) and whacked the primer with a nail. It's not one of those things that all boys do growing up, but its not at all unheard of either.

      Also, in the US you don't need any special license to make a gun provided you intend to keep it for yourself. You need the license to sell or give away said homemade gun, but not to build it. Just a relative little factoid.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        All John Steed needed was a wooden fence, a nail, and a rock.

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          oh - plus a bullet!

  9. BillG Silver badge
    Happy

    it's turned out to be politically impossible to institute any serious controls on real guns there [in the USA]

    It's not that - it's that it's a practical impossibility to ban the illegal importation of guns in the USA.

    Great Britain and Australia can successfully ban guns because they are island nations. Airplanes and dock ports can be easily monitored. Whereas the USA has the longest unprotected borders in the world. Geez, you have people coming over from Mexico carrying entire dining room sets. How easy is it going to be to have Mexican drug runners start selling guns?

    And in an amusing twist of irony, the same politicians in the USA that want to repeal the 2nd Amendment and ban all guns, are the same politicians that want to keep these long unprotected borders unmonitored and unprotected.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      What are you talking about?

      > How easy is it going to be to have Mexican drug runners start selling guns?

      Pretty hard as gun control is in effect down there to keep the campesinos down.

      The last I heard was the US was EXPORTING guns to Mexico. If need be, with the authorities' approval.

      1. NomNomNom

        No the longest unprotected US border is with the pacific ocean. The Deep Ones can strike right into the heart of the USA uncontested.

      2. conel

        Exactly, the gun trade is in the opposite direction, from the USA to Mexico. It's the drugs that go the other way.

        1. sisk Silver badge

          On that note, Mexico is one of the best examples of "Gun control doesn't work" in the world. Right up there with Chicago.

          1. Mephistro Silver badge
            Flame

            " Mexico is one of the best examples of "Gun control doesn't work" in the world" (@ sisk

            If this was the only factor that differentiated Mexico from the USA, you would probably be right. But that's not the case.

            It could be that Mexico is an example of a poor country that suddenly found itself receiving lots of cash for selling drugs to the USA, and that said cash ended in the hands of drug lords, that in turn used it to raise the corruption levels in the -already quite corrupt - country straight into the stratosphere. As their business model was found to be so successful, everybody and their brother in the area either wanted to be a member of a gang or were pressed into becoming one.

            I don't know about "gun control", but the "war against drugs" surely is not going exceptionally well.

            1. sisk Silver badge

              Re: " Mexico is one of the best examples of "Gun control doesn't work" in the world" (@ sisk

              @Mephistro: Regardless of the other factors, if gun control worked Mexico would have a very low incidence of gun crimes. Guns are almost completely illegal there, yet people are shot in the streets every day. Ditto for Chicago.

              And to the AC who made the long, intelligent sounding post about how gun control helps: the statistics are clear on the matter. Violent crime increases when strict gun control is implemented. If you stop focusing on gun crimes (which, of course, are reduced when there are fewer guns around) and focus on all violent crimes that becomes clear. A .05% murder rate with very few gun related deaths is far worse than a .02% murder rate wherein most of the murders are committed with guns.

    2. Steve Knox Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      RE: longest unprotected borders in the world

      Mexico!? The longest unprotected US border is with Canada. Those are the guys we need to worry about!

      1. Rukario

        Re: RE: longest unprotected borders in the world

        Yeah and the border guards (on both sides) have enough trouble stopping illegal guns entering Canada.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How easy is it going to be to have Mexican drug runners start selling guns?"

      Real easy. Especially when the AFT sells them weapons.

      Good job! Mission accomplished!

      Fast And Furious!

      YEAH!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @BillG

      sorry, but that's just foolish - what stops someone from landing a dingy full of handguns on the coast of scotland or western australia? are gun smugglers afraid of water? did the water help keep firearms out of ireland during the troubles?

      1. Naughtyhorse
        Holmes

        Re: ireland during the troubles?

        Thing is with your basic irish troubles situation is that the terrorists there had a huge shitload of (boston irish) american money to get the guns and bombs in.

        Though something tells me that (boston irish) american money has somewhat moderated it's view on terrorism just lately.

        Doesn't it say in that there book of yours that as you sow so shall ye reap?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re @AC (was Re: @BillG)

        "did the water help keep firearms out of ireland during the troubles?"

        Erm, sort of yes. During the troubles most had to be smuggled in to the North across the land border with the Republic of Ireland.

        Or did you mean something else?

        1. Alfred

          Re: Re @AC (was @BillG)

          "did the water help keep firearms out of ireland during the troubles?"

          Erm, sort of yes. During the troubles most had to be smuggled in to the North across the land border with the Republic of Ireland."

          Also across the water itself; I did some time on one of the converted Hunt class vessels the RN had pootling about in the area, hoppin' onto passing vessels and pulling doughnuts outside Belfast and that sort of thing. I didn't get anyone myself but I know people who did (including one particular case where someone had too many passports, which was just brilliantly suspicious). At the very least the bootnecks had fun zipping about in RIBs looking all steely and running around and that sort of thing.

    5. MrXavia
      WTF?

      Bullshit on banning guns, gun crime went up in the UK after hand guns were banned,

      Banning guns does not stop violent crime...

      Banning guns does not even stop gun crime, it only punishes the legal gun owners!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ MrXavia

        "Bullshit on banning guns, gun crime went up in the UK after hand guns were banned,"

        I agree, that is bullshit touted by people with a certain agenda to push and regurgitated by the hard of thinking.

        The closest thing to the truth in that statement is when possession of a class of firearms was made illegal more people were arrested for possession than before it was illegal.

        Would you expect anything else?

        There was no corresponding spike in the incidence of gun-involved violent crime in the UK and, since the most recent ban, firearms use in crime has gone down.

        "Banning guns does not stop violent crime..."

        Correct. With or without guns, dicks will be dicks. The difference is that less dicks can go on a killing spree with a knife (although it is still possible).

        "Banning guns does not even stop gun crime, it only punishes the legal gun owners!"

        Not really correct. It could be argued that banning guns doesnt eliminate gun crime but it does have an impact on it. It also allows police to do pre-emptive arrests of criminals *before* they shoot someone, but, hey, 1 out of 3 aint bad.

        Interestingly, in the US a significant percentage (if not most) gun crime is indeed carried out by people illegally possessing firearms (as few convicted felons can carry a weapon legally), the big difference is the number of accidental deaths & injuries which prevalent gun use leads to.

        Banning guns does not reduce the presence of guns in the hands of career criminals and gang members. It does, however, reduce the number of people who can go off the rails and shoot someone when they are drunk, angry, lovespurn, whatever.

        These deaths might be an acceptable price for to pay for people to be able to walk round thinking a gun keeps them safe, when it doesnt.

      2. FutureShock999
        Mushroom

        A UK gun owner responds...

        I call BULLSHIT on your post. Why? Because gun control is more than just about gun crime. In factual analysis, MOST gun killings are accidents and suicides, not from gun crime. And THAT has been drastically, drastically reduced by the current UK gun laws. Because now you need a license, and training, and they will try to bar you if you are depressive or mentally unwell. So the accident rate has gone way down, because imbeciles cannot pass the NRA training and get a license, and suicides are down, because most seriously mentally ill people cannot buy a gun either. So, overall, gun DEATHS are the merest fraction of what they were. Here in the UK, we don't have 2 year olds blowing off their own heads, or 5 year olds killing their sisters (both of which happened in the past two weeks in the US). THAT is a result of UK gun control, and mandatory training and licensing.

        I've owned guns in both the US and the UK, and frankly while I think the UK system is a bit too restrictive, it sure beats allowing people to purchase semi-auto AR-15s with less training and testing than it takes to drive a car....

      3. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Not true. Banning guns does reduce violent crime. Hence why the USA has by far the highest rate of gun homicide in the world.

        And people who carry guns are far likelier to get shot – and killed – than those who are unarmed - http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17922-carrying-a-gun-increases-risk-of-getting-shot-and-killed.html

        Some other US Pro Gun bullshit is shot down here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/pro-gun-myths-fact-check

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @TheVogon

          "Not true. Banning guns does reduce violent crime. Hence why the USA has by far the highest rate of gun homicide in the world."

          I wish people would stop with the failed logic. The US has the highest rate of gun homicide because it has so many guns. That has bugger all to do with the level of violent crime. A violent person will be violent anyway and can use whatever as a weapon. There is no proven link (as far as I have yet seen) between reducing guns and reducing violent crime. There is an observed relation between banning guns and increased violent crime but it never seems to be followed up scientifically because it would require putting people in harms way to prove.

          "And people who carry guns are far likelier to get shot – and killed – than those who are unarmed - http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17922-carrying-a-gun-increases-risk-of-getting-shot-and-killed.html"

          Your link says one thing and that is they do not know much about the relationship of guns and violence.

          "Some other US Pro Gun bullshit is shot down here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/pro-gun-myths-fact-check"

          Oh the pain.

          Myth1: Attempting to ban and outlaw which obama is still rabbiting on about.

          Myth2: Some of the most restrictive states have the highest gun crimes. The statement ownership means nothing as it could be legal or illegal.

          Myth3: And yet some states with personal defence carry laws have the lowest violent crime rates.

          Myth4: A fake figure. No mass shooting has been achieved once said criminal has been stopped.

          Myth5: Accidents happen and adding suicides (personal choice) is desperate. We cant ban accidents and if you want to we can look to banning everything that might hurt. Or we can live and have accidents.

          Myth6: Funny and subjective nonsense.

          Myth7: A comment on home abuse and homicide but doesnt say how its gun related except one it there.

          Myth8: So selective it is funny and irrelevant on its own.

          Myth9: As proven by the effect of killings. The first reaction from the interviewed is to go buy a gun because they thought they would never be a victim of anything, but now the horse has bolted...

          Myth10: Subjective tripe which is meaningless.

          Its easy to be selective which that site seems to do very well. There are actual arguments for and against various restrictions on guns but sites like that wont help any more than the NRA

    6. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down

      Great Britain and Australia can successfully ban guns because they are island nations.

      really?

      How did the IRA get theirs then? How do a few thousand people and industrial quantities of heroin get in every year?

  10. SpaMster
    Facepalm

    I take it The Reg haven't seen the automatic model they've built that's already been taken off their site then...

    Really are missing the point here with all these articles, the reason it's been taken down is because anybody with the money to buy a 3D printer and toner can produce a working gun that can kill somebody. Saying 'oh the accuracy is terrible' is beside the point, these things can still kill people and could be very easily concealed. Grow up a bit please

    1. Irongut

      Pens should be banned

      You can kill people with them and everyone can afford a pen.

      Also scissors, cutlery, stones, bats / rackets / clubs of all kinds. In fact ban everything because you can figure out a way to kill someone with almost anything.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pens should be banned

        Pens [scissors/cutlery,/bats] are designed to kill people?

        And who designs stones?

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Pens should be banned

          "And who designs stones?"

          Stonemasons. A venerable and ancient craft still going strong in the modern world.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: Pens should be banned

            Tools don't kill people.

            PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE!

            Oh God what done? Intelligent Design is EVIL!

            1. Naughtyhorse

              Re: Pens should be banned

              Ramen!

        2. CADmonkey
          Trollface

          Couldn't resist...

          Stones, sir?

          - Naah. They've got a lot there, lying around on the ground.

          - Oh, not like these, sir. Look at this. Feel the quality of that. That's craftsmanship, sir.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Pens should be banned

        Don't forget rabid badgers.

        It's because of the lobbying efforts of the NRBA (National Rabid Badger Association) that there are no laws restricting carrying a concealed rabid badger

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      If I had a "bit of money" I would get a proper FN-FAL.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Dropping the 3d printer on them

      Is more likely to kill someone than this gun, so perhaps they should be banned.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. IglooDude

      "I take it The Reg haven't seen the automatic model they've built that's already been taken off their site then..."

      "Automatic" model? With apologies to William Goldman, I don't think that word means what you think it means.

      1. Tom 13

        Oh, it means what he thinks it means.

        I've been off on forums that aren't filled with hoplophobes, and they are pretty much unanimous that it is easier to build a fully automatic than a semi.

        Interestingly they particularly note the usefulness of 3D printers in making the lower for an AR-15, which I think we can all agree is a real weapon.

    6. brain_flakes

      Without a commercial grade 3D printer the only people they're likely to injure is themselves, from bits of flying plastic.

  11. Donald Miller
    Boffin

    Doesn't anybody watch '50s movies?

    It's called a zip gun; plumbing pipe or copper tube, small diameter, nail and a rubber band to fire it, on a piece of wood. Popular in prison, playground, and bleacher fights involving duck-bill haircuts. Am I the only pensioner to read El Reg?

    1. sam bo
      Happy

      Re: Doesn't anybody watch '50s movies?

      "duck-bill haircuts. Am I the only pensioner to read El Reg?"

      No...this pensioner does remember duck-TAIL haircuts ;-)

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Doesn't anybody watch '50s movies?

        and theres me thinking it was a ducks arse!

  12. LordHighFixer
    Thumb Up

    Sure, with a cheap home printer...

    But has anyone tried this with one of the fancy liquid bath laser cured epoxy type printers??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sure, with a cheap home printer...

      Even softer results AFAIK. Only good if you want them to laugh themselves to pieces when your piece breaks to pieces.

    2. brain_flakes

      Re: Sure, with a cheap home printer...

      Actually the team that made and successfully test-fired the gun used a large (2nd hand) commercial 3D printer. I haven't seen any successful firings made from a cheap home 3D printer yet.

  13. cirby

    Actually...

    It's proof that 3D printers, using only plastic components, can't make a good firearm.

    The obvious next step is to design a hybrid weapon - one with the majority of the frame and other components made from ABS plastic, but with certain bits made from standard metal components. For example, a 10mm pistol that uses a short 10mm inner diameter steel tube with an ABS frame around it. Use a solid block of steel as the rear of the chamber and drill a small hole for the firing pin - or fire it electrically.

    Yes, it will still be smoothbore - but at very short range, that really doesn't matter too much.

    For that matter, just make a shotgun. A 16 gauge shotgun round would work pretty well in a 17mm tube, and if you stick with a light load, the pressures and stresses should be manageable - at least for a short time.

    You could even go out on a limb and revive the old Gyrojet round...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actually...

      "a short 10mm inner diameter steel tube" is not a gun barrel!

      Seriously, check out the wall thickness of a gun barrel.

      I'm glad I don't live next door to you; I'd either be running for cover or driving you to the hospital.

      1. cirby

        Re: Actually...

        So - you assumed that someone who would use a 10mm steel tube would just - what? use a very thin-walled tube, without bothering to get one thick enough?

        I'm glad you don't live next to me, either - I'd have to spend all of my time explaining basic engineering to you.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    http://chadperson.com/recess/images/pipe_gun.jpeg

  15. Anonymous Coward 101
    Headmaster

    "The bullet is crammed with terrific force into the too-narrow rifled section, and accelerates extremely fast - acquiring a massive spin from the rifling - as it travels along the barrel with the expanding gas brutally pistoning it along the whole way to the muzzle. "

    There's enough Freudian imagery here to keep a crack team of psychoanalysts busy for years.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Welcome to El Reg

      I take it you are new here...

    2. philbo
      Joke

      :-)

      A "crack team of psychoanalysts"?

      ..I know Freud was a bit of a cokehead, but I didn't think they went as far as crack teams

      1. sam bo
        Happy

        Re: :-)

        "..I know Freud was a bit of a cokehead, but I didn't think they went as far as crack teams"

        Funny, how different people see this Freudian stuff, the crack I immediately pictured had nothing to do with drugs or fractured plaster . I was amused by the Freudian slip in the comment about psychoanalysts.

  16. jason 7

    Well its a proof of concept.

    Now I can imagine we'll see many revised versions over the coming months that refine the basic design using easily sourced metal parts and before you know it you have a reasonably accurate and quite lethal 80% 3D printed weapon.

    Perfectly good for a cheap and easy hit or liquor store hold-up. Plus so cheap no one would be too worried about disposing of it properly to screw up forensics/evidence.

    Folk's don't tend to like trashing Glocks/Colts etc. after the deed.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Well its a proof of concept.

      Not so cheap... $2 worth of ABS costs $1000 in printerland...

      1. jason 7

        Re: Well its a proof of concept.

        Burnable CDs cost £20 a go at one time.

      2. jason 7

        Re: Well its a proof of concept.

        Plus do you think the folks using these for crime will have actually paid for that printer and plastic?

      3. Old Handle

        Re: Well its a proof of concept.

        I don't know how much the gun actually weighs. But a 1kg spool of ABS typically goes for about $32. In an interesting coincidence, this is apparently the same price as original Liberator, adjusted for inflation.

  17. David Kelly 2

    How dare you!

    How dare you distract 3D printer fans with facts and analysis!

    Next thing you know the internet will be useful for work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How dare you!

      Down votes, as I doubt the "fans" follow the media, they follow the facts. The fanboys though might fall for the tricks.

  18. DrStrangeLug

    Not the original liberator.

    "Nobody serious has used single-shot firearms in combat for well over a century."

    The French Resistance used them. the (AFAIK) first Liberator Gun. It was a cheap one shot metal pistol designed to be small and easily manufactured in bulk, so it could be dropped to resistance members in occupied countries.

    It wasn't even designed to be easily re-loadable, the idea being you would use this easily concealed pistol to kill a German and take their better gun.

    1. Steve Knox Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Not the original liberator.

      "Nobody serious has used single-shot firearms in combat for well over a century."

      The French Resistance used them.

      I see no contradiction here.

      1. Naughtyhorse
        Coat

        Re: Not the original liberator.

        for sale:

        french assault rifle, never fired, only been dropped twice

        Mines the one with the 'nigel farage book of after dinner wit' in the pocket

        1. DanceMan
          Alert

          Re: french assault rifle, never fired, only been dropped twice

          Completely unfair to those French who have shown no hesitation to jump in and fight, but upvoted nevertheless because of Vichy.

          1. Naughtyhorse

            Re: french assault rifle, never fired, only been dropped twice

            Fair Point,

            hence the farage dig - emphasis for the xenophobic, racist, foaming-at-the-mouth 'never let the facts get in the way of a good story' aspect :-D

            (upvoted)

    2. Dave Harris 1

      Re: Not the original liberator.

      However, it was apparently never actually fired in any kind of combat - mostly 'cos it was never dropped in the places they had planned to.

  19. Pypes
    Paris Hilton

    Remember when regular old 2D printers were just shitty tractor fed automated typewriters, and laser printers were horrendously expensive mutilated photocopiers, certainly only useful for a few niche low quality bulk record keeping tasks......

    Today I was looking at a 64'' 6 ink wideformat inkjet capable of knocking out a dozen square meters of photo quality print an hour, for pennies a meter, and cutting it all out for me. How times have changed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Pointless argument

    Come back when you can print a bullet cartridge, or in some way put the propellant behind the bullet.

    Any gun without a supply of ammunition is nothing more than a glorified paper weight.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Pointless argument

      I'll be back in 20 years.

      These 3D printers are going to advance with more materials being able to be put into the design. Not only that but they'll eventually support composite materials generated by chemical reaction of supplied input substances. They'll basically be like giant programmable chemistry sets.

      Basically it will be fun.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Pointless argument

        By then you will see people dying in the street because a kid downloaded a file for some virus from 4chan into his dad's nanoassembler and hit the "assemble" button.

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: Pointless argument

          or once the 3D printers have legs and find the blueprints to build 3D printers

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Pointless argument

      When it's being waved in your face how do you know it's not loaded? A gun is ALWAYS loaded, whether it is or not.

      1. RPF

        Re: Pointless argument

        Absolutely correct. And if it's painted in gun-metal or black, how would the targets even know it's plastic anyway?

        Maybe it's not much more dangerous than a replica, but not many people will think it's anything other than a proper pistol.

  21. TheRealLifeboy

    It doesn't print guns (yet), but it's not useless.

    "It's proof that they can't, and that 3D printing at the moment is basically pretty useless."

    Here's a good example as proof that it's not useless. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=WT3772yhr0o

    Also, the Liberator is a proof of concept, but it time, as the resolution of 3D printers increase, it could get there, especially when one prints with metal and can then polish the barrel.

  22. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    IT Angle

    £D printers?

    Whether it's possible to make a gun that actually does the job instead of being worse than an ol-time Western pistol or not, there will be a rush for the printers now.

    Anyway, as suggested in the article (and by an old mate who used to teach various martial arts, half a brick at ten paces usually wins - especially if it's followed up with a kick in the nuts.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...using easily sourced metal parts..."

    You're missing the effect of all this, it is the parts that are hard to obtain that are potentially being printed, not the metal ones. This particular article mentions someone who tried to create a complete synthetic weapon, which is useless because as you seem to understand, metal parts are much cheaper and durable.

    Until someone prints a frag grenade out of Liquid Metal, I think we all can rest easy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > You're missing the effect of all this, it is the parts that are hard to obtain that are potentially being printed, not the metal ones

      Which bits are those then? The rubber band, the nail, or the metal pipe?

      Guns are not exactly difficult - bang the spiky bit into the cap and it goes bang. Have enough strength in the system that that it doesn't remove your face by mistake.

      The only vaguely "functional" part of the printed design is the "spring" coil; the barrel would be better turned on a lathe (even if you wanted one made out of plastic), the nail and ammo you have to provide yourself anyway. The rest is mostly aesthetic.

      The automatic version is more interesting from a technical perspective - but risk of user injury or heat jamming the whole thing still would seem to imply that there are better ways to do this.

  24. Michael Hawkes
    FAIL

    Anecdotal evidence

    I work with a bunch of eye doctors and they give talks every week about interesting cases. One year one of them spent a few months helping out in a hospital in Alaska. He presented a case where a patient tried to commit suicide by holding a cartridge to his forehead with a pair of pliers and tried to set it off by holding a lighter to it. The cartridge went off, but instead of penetrating the skull, the bullet ended up between the globe and orbit, doing some damage to the eye (mainly burns). The doctor had pics, so it probably happened. The patient was held for a psych eval.

    Fail, because the patient missed out on a Darwin award.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anecdotal evidence

      Shirley the darwin Awards are given for removing self from gene pool through stupidity.

      The only stupidity here was not finding a more traditional way of doing the job.

      1. Alfred

        Re: Anecdotal evidence

        "Shirley the darwin Awards are given for removing self from gene pool through stupidity."

        That'd be why "the patient missed out on a Darwin award".

      2. sisk Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Anecdotal evidence

        Surely Shirley isn't a Darwin Award. Shirley is surely the new office girl that all the surly, assuredly single guys have been bothering, unaware that she surely wants to date none of them. Surely Shirley would resent the comparison to the Darwin Awards.

        I'm sure after that I should surely just go.

      3. Suricou Raven

        Re: Anecdotal evidence

        More precisely, to qualify for a Darwin award a person must meet two criteria:

        1. Through an action of stupidity they must remove themselves from the gene pool, either via death or (more rarely) injury that renders them incapable of breeding.

        2. The action by which this is achieved may not also remove any other person from the gene pool.

        Eg: If a person tied a hangglider to the roof of their car and drove it off a cliff expecting it to fly, only to land in a burning wreck and die, they would qualify. If their car happened to land on the busy beach below and squish someone who just wanted to go sunbathing, they would not qualify.

        In the case of the bullet suicide, he doesn't even come close: Even if he'd succeeded, intentional suicide doesn't count.

  25. Jemma Silver badge

    Way to miss the point...

    Yes its probably got all the accuracy of a brown bess thats been at the bottom of a lake for 40 years, and might manage 5 rounds before bursting the barrel and taking half your face off, but thats not the point.

    Snipers use a standard rifle, eg moisin-nagant, and use a single shot. One shot, one kill. But from a distance that needs training and natural aptitude. I know I probably wouldnt be able to do it.

    This is a gamechanger for two reasons. Should I want to put a bullet in David Cameron, dont tempt me, with this I can make it myself, disguise it if I want to, and all I need to do is find the guy (probably when he's daughter hunting again), walk past, jam in in his gut and pull the trigger. Untraceable gun, unmatchable bullet (no marks or striations) and provided you do it right you walk away while sham-cam is wondering where that painful hole came from.

    But wait, it gets better. Its true if you make this thing from plastic its hardly going to empty a slipper clip before exploding. But guess what, you can use other materials in 3D printers. Materials that are way stronger than standard plastic feedstocks. Or you can make the barrel assembly out of sintered or machined metal.

    Say I want to off someone in a crowd.. I could use cute muslim girls in explosive undies (and yes its been done) or I could give them a batch of these modded with a magazine & welrod style silencer. A quiet bye bye to that annoyingly liberal muslim politician or that pesky schoolgirl (the cheek of her, thinking she needs to learn).. And no-one knows anything about it till its all over. 5 pounds of explosive panty gusset is somewhat obvious after all, not to mention messy!

    1. Alfred
      WTF?

      Re: Way to miss the point...

      "and all I need to do is find the guy (probably when he's daughter hunting again), walk past, jam in in his gut"

      You already can do this, far more effectively, with a knife. Why is doing it with this shoddy lump of plastic a game-changer?

    2. IglooDude

      Re: Way to miss the point...

      "Should I want to put a bullet in David Cameron, dont tempt me, with this I can make it myself, disguise it if I want to, and all I need to do is find the guy (probably when he's daughter hunting again), walk past, jam in in his gut and pull the trigger."

      I'm right up with you up until I wonder why a knife wouldn't be at least as effective. You could print it from your 3D printer, if that's what suits you. Actually evade the metal detectors that way, too. Oh, and no loud bang, to boot.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Meh

        Somebody has been watching too much Clint Eastwood again.

        Use a crossbow, ffs.

      2. Alfred
        Thumb Up

        Re: Way to miss the point...

        @iglooDude's "Actually evade the metal detectors that way, too."

        Get one of those ceramic knives. They're way cool, although a smidge brittle.

        Or, if we're going really low-tech, a small length of wood, sharpened at one end.

        1. Ramiro
          Gimp

          Re: Way to miss the point...

          Or a glass knife that you make yourself, if you are of an Inuit persuasion (thanks Neal Stephenson).

          Are we all going to be interviewed by the british secret service?

          1. Suricou Raven

            Re: Way to miss the point...

            Obsidian. It'll take an edge so sharp it's smooth even on nano-scale. Puts metal blades to shame. Tricky to work, but it'll cut someone with much less effort than a metal blade. Put a bit of mass behind it and you could probably lop someone's head off without too much effort.

            Very hard to make, but if you're planning a stealthy assassination in an secure facility I think you can afford to pay for the best tools.

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: Way to miss the point...

              Obsidian. It'll take an edge so sharp it's smooth even on nano-scale. Puts metal blades to shame. Tricky to work, but it'll cut someone with much less effort than a metal blade. Put a bit of mass behind it and you could probably lop someone's head off without too much effort.

              Plus it will work on White Walkers.

          2. Tom 13

            Re: Are we all going to be interviewed by the british secret service?

            Doubtful. They don't want us freaking out the mundanes who work for them.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Way to miss the point...

          "Or, if we're going really low-tech, a small length of wood, sharpened at one end."

          Bamboo is favoured in countries where it grows easily.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Way to miss the point...

            Panda warriors!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Way to miss the point...

              I guess these comments are mostly from the UK? I find it interesting that gun owners are assumed to be nutters wanting to kill people etc. Yet there is a fair list of people discussing the best ways of killing someone they dont like in various ways with stealth in mind.

              I find it interesting because surely the people wanting guns for self defence are reading the comments discussing homicide and wanting some hope of self defence instead of the police (eventually) arriving to photograph their bodies.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Way to miss the point...

                All amateurs. You're in melee range somehow, so just brain him with a big lump of ice! Give it 2 hours and all evidence is gone!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Way to miss the point...

        "I'm right up with you up until I wonder why a knife wouldn't be at least as effective. You could print it from your 3D printer, if that's what suits you. Actually evade the metal detectors that way, too."

        It would need to be a hard plastic. Our ancestors favoured natural obsidian - basically glass. Ceramic can be pretty sharp too.

    3. jrd

      Re: Way to miss the point...

      [Quote] This is a gamechanger for two reasons. Should I want to put a bullet in David Cameron, dont tempt me, with this I can make it myself, disguise it if I want to, and all I need to do is find the guy (probably when he's daughter hunting again), walk past, jam in in his gut and pull the trigger. [End]

      Bullets are not freely available in the UK. And, if you're sourcing the bullets illegally, why not buy a gun the same way? Or, why not just stab him with a knife? It will be just as lethal as a small, low-velocity bullet.

      Doesn't seem like a game-changer to me.

    4. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Way to miss the point...

      Should You want to put a bullet in David Cameron (not me guv, he's a diamond geezer salt of the earth)

      getting hold of a gun is the easy part.

  26. sisk Silver badge

    I agree with most of what you say. I wouldn't want to be within 100 yards of someone shooting a Liberator but.....

    The only thing that will slow them down at all is their desire to avoid killing or hurting you in the process

    No, not quite. 1000 assorted shotguns, sport rifles, hunting rifles, and pistols make up a hell of a lot more firepower than 100 proper assault weapons ('proper' assault weapons being the sorts of guns that a real soldier would carry onto the battlefield, not AR-15s, which are sport rifles). That's about the odds that the authorities would be looking at if they ever decided to try to disarm the American population. Even that assumes that the whole of the armed forces followed their orders instead of choosing to keep to their oath to defend the Constitution, which is extremely unlikely. Make no mistake about it. There would be a lot of blood shed on both sides, but in the end the feds wouldn't be able to win that one. They would be simply be too outnumbered. They realize this, which is why I'm not worried about anyone coming for my guns.

    1. NomNomNom

      That isn't how it would happen. The government wouldn't suddenly come for your guns, they would instead train the population off them. They would use the threat of the law to scare people into abandoning their guns voluntarily. Eg a series of gun amnesties alongside a law that says firearm possession carries eg 10 years in jail and firearm selling carries 20.

      Now the only guns out there can land the owners in jail for a long time. With the gun industry collapsed and no gun publicity in the media, the gun culture in the US would go down the pan. Kids growing up not even remembering when guns could be paraded around in public. Within 30 years gun possession would be viewed upon as much like drug possession.

      If any people did decide to fight back violently they would just help reinforce the government's desired image of gun owners as criminals.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Except such a law would never get past the southern and western states who still adhere to their folklore about mountain men, rugged survivalism, and the Wild West. To them (many of whom seceded from the union once already), Washington is the real enemy, not the terrorists. To them, the phrase "from my cold, dead fingers" has real meaning.

        1. Major Variola

          >>Washington is the real enemy, not the terrorists. <<

          Not only is this true, but its DC which makes the Wahabist/Caliphaters try to affect US foreign policy via asymmetric warfare. Read the fatwas.

          In a democracy, the citizens are responsible for the actions of their leaders?

          Feh, ball bearing workers were bombed in WWII by you

      2. sisk Silver badge

        Eg a series of gun amnesties alongside a law that says firearm possession carries eg 10 years in jail and firearm selling carries 20.

        Such a law would immediately trigger the kind of armed rebellion I was talking about in my original post. Or even if it didn't, it would get repealed after the following Congressional election cycle during which, if history is any indication, all the Congressmen who voted for it would be shown the door. It's happened every time a major gun control legislation has been passed.

      3. FutureShock999

        Spot on...

        You don't need to seize guns, simply have sufficient penalty for getting caught with one in your possession that is not licensed. Make the terms of getting a license semi-reasonable (training, gun club membership, pass NRA exam, pay a fee, etc.) and you will soon have a core of people serious about owning guns (hunters, target shooters, ex-military, etc.) that will get licensed, with few casual, dangerous people owning guns. Crims will still have guns, but aware that even being caught HOLDING one means that they will not be parading around with them, as even a stop and search will get them 10 years for holding it.

      4. Naughtyhorse

        Considering...

        What congress is doing to america _NOW_ and has been doing for the last 20 years. Don't you guys get it? Guns is the 'shiny thing' keeping 300 million morons distracted while EVERYTHING ELSE is being taken away.

        America can't really afford to be so stupid these days. you aint that big of a deal anymore.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      And BTW, what kind of political leader would even THINK of carpet-bombing, to say nothing of nuking, their own population? My answer is one that would soon be swamped in his own capital, making the bombing option useless unless that leader's not too concerned about his/her future.

      1. Rukario
        Mushroom

        > And BTW, what kind of political leader would even THINK of carpet-bombing, to say nothing of nuking, their own population? My answer is one that would soon be swamped in his own capital, making the bombing option useless unless that leader's not too concerned about his/her future.

        And my answer is that he'll then complain about being so ronery and sadry arone.

    3. Don Jefe

      In all fairness, military issued rifles are pretty awful. A nice civilian sporting rifle is more reliable and more accurate. We do more than a little failure analysis and repetitve stress testing for firearms manufacturers and if I had to pick I would prefer a civilian sport rifle any day. They have considerably higher quality components and tend to wear better and be more accurate than military rifles which are cheap to manufacture and designed to be rebuilt/tossed out after a surprisingly short lifetime.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tinfoil hat time

    maybe that's why the design was put on the internet to see who downloaded it?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: tinfoil hat time

      "You! Come out with your hands up! You are too dumb to provide meaningful resistance against this here jackbooted SWAT team. We checked your Internet history!"

  28. a cynic writes...

    If memory serves...

    Shotgun gun barrels were proofed to ~4 ton per square inch whilst rifle barrels were done up to ~18 ton per square inch. From a quick google, 1 tsi is about 130 atmopheres.

    Bugger plastic...

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: If memory serves...

      Yes, they were also overpressured by something like 4x. If they passed they were marked, if they failed they were dug out of the ceiling every friday. The idea being that even the most gormless idiot/texan is not going to fill his rifle barrel to the brim, put a bullet in and fire it...but in case he does, the barrel might survive it the once.

  29. Stratman
    Mushroom

    Let them print their guns

    Hopefully they'll fire them as well.

    Evolution in action. It's amazing how many Darwin Awards involve Americans, guns and alcohol.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't someone think of

    Won't someone think of organised militias?

    Isn't that the bit that's forgotten when ranting on about Second Amendment 'rights'?

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Won't someone think of

      Actually there's a Supreme Court ruling from the 1800s dealing with that. They ruled, specifically, that the right to keep and bear arms was a right of individuals, not just militias. Said ruling is still in effect.

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Won't someone think of

        Does it say anything in the constitution about ammunition?

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          Re: Won't someone think of (@Frankee)

          It probably doesn't say anything but the American Constitution recognises rights rather than granting them, so that really just means that it doesn't take an explicit position. Probably the argument that it'd be a bit ridiculous if the right to bear arms were recognised but not the right to make them usable is the more persuasive.

      2. Rukario
        Joke

        Re: Won't someone think of

        The right to keep bear arms?

        Won't someone think of the bears?

      3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Won't someone think of

        Actually there's a Supreme Court ruling from the 1800s dealing with that.

        Ahhhh. Quaint Americans clinging onto laws hundreds of years old as if they are relevant today.

        No wonder so many of you guys still believe in the bible

      4. zooooooom

        Re: Won't someone think of

        You made that sound like an undisputed fact, that the intent of the original was clear, and that the supreme court hadn't contradicted itself several times, and wasn't refined as recently as 3 years ago. Well done!

        1. sisk Silver badge

          Re: Won't someone think of

          Um....it IS an undisputed fact, the only contradictions in the Supreme Court's rulings have been whether or not states have the ability to regulate firearms (the have consistently ruled that the federal government doesn't in all pertinent cases throughout history), and the most recent ruling on the subject (McDonald v Chicago) holds that no government at any level in the US can deny US citizens the right to own a gun without due process. At no point in history has the Supreme Court ever ruled that individuals do not have the right to bear arms.

          As for the notion that this is a quaint law no longer relevant, I happen to believe that a well armed populace is just as necessary today as it was 200 years ago, and for pretty much the same reasons as it was back then.

  31. Charles 9 Silver badge

    The whole balleyhoo isn't that the gun can be printed at home but that the gun is made of a minimal amount of metal. Guns on airplanes have always been the stuff of nightmares; it's the image that NOWHERE is safe. Sure, everyone points to the nail and the bullets, but then the question becomes, "What if they used black powder, a ceramic bullet, a carbon fiber casing, and a diamond firing pin?" Suddenly, you have a completely nonmetallic firearm. How's the airport going to be able to check that when it's on someone's person?

  32. Idocrase

    Yeah, I was skeptical of the 'printed gun' thing.

    In the UK it's not really a threat cos where the crap do you get bullets from in any case?

    The November mass-sale of explosives makes it pretty easy to make rudimentary pipe-bombs though. I'd much rather see a ban on fireworks than a ban on a 3d printed item you can only make if you have £1500 to spend on a 3d printer, and if you have THAT kind of spending money, you can easily afford to get yourself a real gun. With bullets.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      "In the UK it's not really a threat cos where the crap do you get bullets from in any case?"

      Just take a trip to the US and buy some in Walmart?

  33. xyz

    Call that a gun!

    This is a gun....http://www.chiappafirearms.com/product/729

    DROOL!

    1. Ramiro
      Thumb Up

      Re: Call that a gun!

      That looks like something Hellboy would be proud of.

  34. gnufrontier
    Linux

    It's always about control

    Disclaimer: I admit this post is a bit pedantic and broad -- so shoot me.

    Your article contrasting the workings of the liberator with a real gun were informative since I am ignorant about firearms. Once one leaves the domain of the mechanics however the facts recede "like a distant ship smoke on the horizon". The struggle for control doesn't rely on facts and that is what gun debates and all societal debates are about.

    Anti-authoritarian temperaments are as necessary as authoritarian ones. Societies are not static systems.

    There is not a nation in the world that doesn't owe its existence to violence. We are a violent species. Periods of peace are the product of a surplus of resources for a group and the use of those resources to create a force to insure that those resources keep coming. That is what creates civilization. Civilization requires excess resources so that there can be culture. All civilizations have funded themselves by military expansion and domestic suppression of those opposed to such expansion and the populations of those civilizations enjoy the fruits of that conquest which keeps them happy.

    When the powers that be however turn on their own citizens to maintain the status quo of their power, things get dicey. Anti-authoritarian temperaments do not trust power. They know that they as individuals are irrelevant to the power structure and feeling threatened seek some minimal form of defense to alleviate their anxiety.

    One might wish for a world holding hands and singing Kumbaya but that is not who we are and never have been.

    Of course a society can't exist either without a large portion of the population being compliant and agreeable to their leaders. Majority rule in effect has always been the case. We forget that the notion of "rights" are not there to protect the majority. They are there to protect the minority and they were instituted by a minority that knew how hard it was to overthrow the majority. Of course the "new boss" becomes the "same as the old boss". That is what power does. And so the cycle begins again.

    I am one of the majority but I am not under the illusion that the world I live in is somehow sacrosanct and inevitable. It is the product of a long series of accidents and violent encounters and no one knows what the future will reveal but one thing is for sure, the battle for control and resistance to control never end.

    I ask myself, if the population of Germany during Hitler's or Mussolini's rise to power had been armed to the teeth, would they have been able to enforce the control over their societies that they did? Would Assad in Syria been able to enforce his rule ? We laud the revolutionaries who fight dictators but it's just talk unless we provide them with the means to fight. How are the rebels in Syria getting weapons?

    Of course the argument by anti-gun people is we don't live in that world. Which may be true now but what population living in relative comfort hasn't believed that. Democracy is not about voting, it's about distributed power. That is it's driving force. Voting is a mechanism. and we know from the news that there are places in the world where people vote but power remains centralized.

    I don't own a gun but I do understand the mentality of people who desire to have them for a variety of reasons. And yes, there will be bad people with guns just like there are bad drivers in cars. Everything has a cost. More often than not, we don't know what the cost is until we are presented with the bill.

    And if our leaders are so smart, how come we continually have to find new leaders to get us out of problems the old leaders put us in. They are just people too with their own view of the world, biases and emotional and psychological scars that effect them. And we see what happens when they have power.

    We are still very primitive - we still operate under "them and us" divisions usually without any knowledge about the them. The simplistic models of the world in our heads are just that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's always about control

      As I stand upon Southampton Dock (in my summer frock no less)

      The furore is not about guns

      It is about why you think it is acceptable to allow someone you have never met to tell you what to think and how to act.

      If I were to gift you a 3d printer, the consumables and the plans, would you make a gun and kill someone ?

      Or would you discard the plans and create something that benefits yourself and those around you ?

      You make your own decisions.

      You are responsible for your own actions.

      You abdicate responsibility (and any benefits that may accrue) when You allow Others to make Your rules for You.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's always about control

      "When the powers that be however turn on their own citizens to maintain the status quo of their power, things get dicey."

      My observation of life is that when the oppressed get power then usually they turn out to be just as oppressive as those they overthrew. Animal Farm anyone?

      There is a film with Richard Attenborough as the airforce man who organises an idealistic revolution against an oppressive dictator. Then there is the tank brigade commander (Peter O'Toole) without whose late assistance the revolution would fail.

      The penultimate scene is Peter O'Toole sitting in the presidential office issuing oppressive decrees.

      The final scene is the ex-president facing a firing squad - along with the idealistic airforce man.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's always about control

      "I ask myself, if the population of Germany during Hitler's or Mussolini's rise to power had been armed to the teeth, would they have been able to enforce the control over their societies that they did?"

      Prior to the Third Reich Germany was full of arms from WW1. The left and right wing parties had gunfights in the street. Hitler was convicted of attempting an armed putsch. Hyperinflation raged as the Government printed money in the face of a world recession.

      The general population wanted stability - and the old politicians and businessmen thought they could use Hitler's popularity. It all backfired - as Hitler's first use of power was to invoke the previous Government's emergency powers law to rule by decree. He quickly eliminated anyone likely to organise serious opposition.

      Once you hold the levers of power you can leave the heavy lifting to people "just doing their job" to earn their living and live their own lives.

      Both Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin once in power established overall compliance through the use of favours, fear, and brutal force. Those that opposed them in even the slightest way were branded as unpatriotic "communists" or "fascists" as appropriate. Awkward high ranking public servants who stuck to their principles were quietly told to retire - unless they wanted something nasty to happen to their loved ones.

      The Gestapo machine worked by the propaganda that they were all-seeing and all-knowing. One officer had responsibility for an impossibly large area of population. However - people willingly informed on neighbours - either out of patriotism, malice, or fear that they would be punished for not saying something.

      A organised body of armed people opposing their democratic Government are rarely likely to be a benign solution - no matter what initial good intentions. The founding fathers of the USA quickly discovered that letting anyone vote directly on legislation was not what they wanted. The votes were overwhelmingly for redistribution of wealth away from the founding fathers.

  35. Herby Silver badge

    One thing you forget here!

    While this "concept" won't actually be a viable weapon, there is one thing you forget. As far as regulators are concerned, the "receiver" IS the gun. Barrels aren't considered as a "gun", and need not have serial numbers attached to them (they have other characteristics that are unique though). It is the receiver that is 3D printed and as far as regulators (ATF people) are concerned that is the heart of the gun.

    Anyone (with money) can obtain a barrel quite easily. This has ALWAYS been the case. Couple this with a 3-D printed "rest of the gun" and you have a very workable device. Oh, by the way, VERY untraceable as well. The sales of gun barrels are not recorded, nor are they restricted in any way, so the net result is a nice multishot device that anyone can make.

    This is like back in prohibition times when a kit of yeast, and condensed fruit juice was sold with a big warning "if you put these together and let it sit for a while, you could make an illegal substance". They sold lots of said kits. No alcohol, but easily made!

  36. spegru
    Gimp

    I got all excited for a moment

    Liberator gun I thought? Surely it has to be one of these!

    http://www.c0428998.myzen.co.uk/B7/B71.jpg

    Avon would have been proud......

  37. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Friends of the NRA

    I think the Liberator is something thought up as a distraction. To turn the talk away from assault rifles, and large magazines. Things that are easy to buy and have been used to kill lots of people already.

  38. William Boyle
    Thumb Down

    Ever hear of a zip gun?

    A zip gun is a very effective short-range weapon, consisting of a length of tubing (copper, plastic, whatever), some duct or electrical tape, a strong rubber band, and a short nail - plus the cartridge naturally (usually .22 caliber), plus a possible bit of wood for a handle. Bingo, you have a weapon that can kill at short range. Accuracy sucks, but at a few feet, it is quite deadly!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Ever hear of a zip gun?

      Now try making it completely nonmetallic yet still lethal. Then metal detectors become useless.

  39. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    One-time usage

    The article reminds me of a story from World War 2. The atomic bomb used against Hiroshima was based on a gun that fired one piece of uranium-235 into another to achieve critical mass.

    Initial designs for the gun seemed absurdly heavy and expensive to the leading scientisits. Then they realised they had not made it clear that this gun would be fired only once.

    I am sure Lewis Page and others are right that if you want to use a gun seriously and repeatedly it has to be a proper metal job. But for occasional use, perhaps the plastic will do -- especially if it could be melted down and reprinted 3D-wise.

  40. Daniel B.
    Happy

    So basically...

    This gun not only fails to be a proper gun, but would probably even fail to turn its owner into a Darwin Award winner?

  41. Canidae

    Deliberate name reference?

    Well, they got the name right on it at least, since the other Liberator pistol I remember reading about was widely considered to be a useless pile of crud too - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FP-45_Liberator

    I wonder if that's a deliberate callback on the name, knowing that it's going to be all but worthless as a weapon?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fargin Bastages

    You can prove anything with FACTS.

  43. Javapapa

    A few points of order

    Minor point: In the US, states have sovereign rights, ie, they can put you to death as long as they follow due process.

    First Major point: this is at heart a First Amendment case relating to information distribution. Imagine if gun blueprints were the issue, printable on a "2D" printer.

    Second Major point: British subjects have no right to lecture American citizens on gun issues. We whipped your butt once when you tried to take away our guns in 1775. Look it up on Wikipedia.

    Cheers!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A few points of order

      'British subjects have no right to lecture American citizens on gun issues'

      yes, after all you've got a shitload more gun issues than we do.

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: A few points of order

      Straw man begets straw man:

      Yes, silly us in the rest of the world. We forgot that the death penalty and free access to guns are inalienable requirements for democracy. That's why there aren't any democracies in Europe — we're all just oppressed socialists because we have things like universal healthcare.

    3. matt g

      Re: A few points of order

      In 1775 America didn't exist, so Americans can't have whipped anyone's butt then. No, some folks, all of them, erm, British, enamoured of the Enlightenment fought for rights unknown to other British people for decades, if not more than a century after 1775. In fact the war of independence was against George III, not even the British, if you read the historical documents.

      1. Maty

        Re: A few points of order

        'America did not exist'. Um yes it did, it was - and is - that big rocky thing you sail into on the way to the Orient. The United States of America did not exist, but that's not the same thing.

    4. RPF
      Thumb Down

      Re: A few points of order

      ...and then the Brits whipped your butts when you tried to take Canada a few years later.

  44. RonPaulFan
    Unhappy

    I couldn't build it on my Cupcake. Platform was too small and my quality isn't good enough http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/unhappy_32.png

  45. Danny 14 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Guns arent rifled though. Rifles are rifled. (ex gpmg lugger so im no stranger to guns....)

    1. RPF

      Very true. All the way up to siege mortars and Main Battle-tank guns.

      Plastic MBT design next? Would be great fun!

  46. ecofeco Silver badge

    Hysteria is right

    *EOM*

  47. Da Andersson

    I beg to differ

    As many tells you - it's a proof of concept

    It's tempered plastic, much stronger than the usual 3D printed stuff

    The barrel is a one off, and with bajonette fitting. You can carry 10 pre loaded barrels in a banderoliere around your waist and reload within seconds.

    Using a .38 with no mantle, the rifling works once or twice

    A gun is normally used at 1 to 10 metres, this gun is accurate enough, if in doubt,

    load with snake shots

    Easy to conceal

    Easy to get rid of, burn it, melt it, dissolve it in thinner or similar

    It's simply a gun on demand

    They used a .38 but a .22 is more dangerous when there are headshots. A .22 requires less material in the barrel and bullet is softer on the rifling.

    This is just the first weapon in a long line coming out from this kind of technology.

    Now we just wait for plastic ammunition!!!!

    1. zooooooom

      Re: I beg to differ

      "Easy to get rid of, burn it, melt it, dissolve it in thinner or similar"

      does it recycle?

  48. ZenCoder

    Your better off printing a sling shot.

    Wake me when someone figures out a way to print the working parts of a gun in plastic and manage to produce something more dangerous than pelting someone with the bullet sing a sling shot, or an advanced rubber band gun.

    Ingenuity simply can't escape the laws of physics. If a cheap printer can melt it ... your not gong to be able to make a gun out of it.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Your better off printing a sling shot.

      Wake me up when a 3D printer can duplicate itself.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Your better off printing a sling shot.

        I think El Reg mentioned a research project into exactly that, so you may be surprised.

      2. Maran1234

        Re: Your better off printing a sling shot.

        google RepRap

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You could make a whole mythbusters episode on 'things guns can't be made of'

    And they probably will...

  50. shovelDriver

    Not Really A Gun?

    Not a gun, yes? Like a zipgun is not a gun? Like the original WW2 Liberator wasn't a gun, didn't work, and failed to aid the Resistance?

    One might almost suspect you are writing this at the behest of some government who wishes to dissuade the people from downloading the files. Yes, the U.S. Government unlawfully used prior restraint to extort a web publisher into taking the files off-line, but they've already been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, and are now available at PirateBay and other places. Google, this time, is your friend. So far, anyway, until they too receive visits from the "Men and Women and Others of Undeterminate Status In Black".

  51. JaitcH
    Happy

    Never Heard of Proof of Concept?

    This first edition does have attributes:

    1. It actually shoots a bullet;

    2. It is an ideal murder weapon since looking for striations on the bullets (CSI fans) is pointless;

    2. As a murder weapon, it can be easily disposed of and leaves minimal traces.

    The first combustion engines were jokes when compared to the present day wonders, likewise with 3D printing, don't be in too greater haste to write it off, it is being used by weapon systems manufacturers - now.

  52. cheveron

    Over 100 posts and no-one has asked...

    when are they going to do a 3D-printed light saber?

    "This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon for a more civilized age."--Kenobi

  53. OrsonX

    "acquiring a massive spin from the rifling"

    I suspect (but don't actually know) that "massive" in this instance is incorrect. From recollection, rifling marks inside a gun barrel only introduce perhaps 2 revolutions over the barrel length. So for each barrel length distance travelled the bullet will only do 2 revolutions...., hardly "massive" spin.

    1. Alfred

      Re: "acquiring a massive spin from the rifling"

      It's generally on the order of a couple of hundred thousand rpm. Is that "massive"? Well, it's more than your car, for example.

      1. OrsonX

        Re: "acquiring a massive spin from the rifling"

        I did go away and think about this some more:

        Assuming bullet speed = 660ms

        Barrel length = 20cm

        Rifling = 1 rev every 10cm (10 rev every 1m)

        1s bullet flight = 660m = 6660 revolutions

        1 min = 6660 x 60s = ~400,000 rpm

        Alfred, it would appear that your assertion is correct, and I would agree that that, in units of rpm that is "large". However, in terms of how many times the bullet rotates before leaving the gun, well that's just 2.

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: "acquiring a massive spin from the rifling"

        Well, it's more than your car, for example.

        My car (insofar as it can be called _my_ car) doesn't spin, and I bet yours doesn't either. Certain parts of it do, at best.

  54. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    3D Printers: The Jeffy Boot-Strap Test

    The Jeffy Boot-Strap Test, to deflate the B.S. claims being made about this over-hyped technology

    --

    Under your chair you will find a commercial 3D Printer, an endless supply of all the available 3D Printer feed stocks, and an effectively unlimited power source meeting applicable standards.

    For 40 points: Using the provided commercial 3D Printer (without scavanging any parts from it), make a fully functioning 3D Printer. Demonstrate your newly created 3D Printer by printing something simple (like a plastic cube).

    For 60 points: Using the new 3D Printer that you have just manufactured, make another exact copy of itself. Demonstrate your 2nd generation 3D Printer by printing a fully functional 3rd generation 3D Printer.

    You have up to 24 hours. Passing grade is 50 points.

    --

    Until this test has been passed, the fanbois should tone down their claims.

    Cross File under: Flying Cars, Facial Recognition, Artificial Intelligence

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: 3D Printers: The Jeffy Boot-Strap Test

      As I pointed out in another reply, people are actually researching this aspect. Perhaps once 3D printers can reliably do metal, then they can pass the Jeffy Boot-Strap Test.

      Point is, they really ARE working on it.

      1. JeffyPooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: 3D Printers: The Jeffy Boot-Strap Test

        "...metal... ...they really ARE working on it."

        Don't forget semiconductors. I'll happily toss a laptop under the old exam chair, but the over-excited 3D Printer fanbois need to print everything - from the USB cable on back. That includes a significant amount of electronics within their 2nd and subsequent generation 3D Printers.

        Good luck.

        PS: At this point, were I a billionaire, I'd offer a $10M prize. But I'm not, so I won't.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      Missing the point

      Which is that it can rapidly (FSVO) make one-off parts (or a small series of), obviously with certain limitations regarding shape and size, including, but not limited to, parts needed to build a 3D printer.

      If you think that means they can make all the parts needed to build one, there's a bridge I'd like to sell you.

  55. fortran

    Lost Wax?

    Perhaps even the manufacturer is using the wrong material in the 3D printer? Use PLA in a manner similar to the lost wax method, and cast metal parts. I suspect the design might need to change if the object is changed to allowing someone to cast a metal gun at home via lost wax method, than to produce a plastic gun which is used as is.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure, its a piece of crap

    But if I'm holding up a bank or hijacking an aircraft, I only need it to work once. And a dirt cheap disposable gun (printed or otherwise) might be just the thing to serve the corner convenience store holdup market.

    For a 'shoot and throw away' weapon, the design could be simplified from the current Liberator.

    1. Kevin 6

      Re: Sure, its a piece of crap

      But if I'm holding up a bank or hijacking an aircraft, I only need it to work once. And a dirt cheap disposable gun (printed or otherwise) might be just the thing to serve the corner convenience store holdup market.

      Beg to differ you need it to fire multiple shots. One shot to prove it's not a toy as I've seen nerf guns that look more like a gun. And at least a few more in case people decide to beat the living shit out of you.

  57. Dana W
    FAIL

    When a 3D printer can make a reliable rifled barrel, get back to me. This is nothing new, just a zip gun, and a very poor one.

  58. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Voting?

    Why can't we vote on the articles?

    10 /10 for this one

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Article feedback

      It was dropped in favour of this pathetic 'like it on facebook' bullshit.

  59. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Blunderbuss

    " I'm no expert (far, far from it), but I'd guess it's almost as effective as the early blunderbuss pistols."

    Probably not. Guns like blunderbusses would use wadding, in recognition of the poor tolerances of the gun, to help hold in the pressure. This gun does not. Nevertheless, if this were as effective as a blunderbuss that may be all people are looking for -- if someone wants maximum effectiveness they can just go buy a Tech 9 or an AK-47.

    So, I do have to laugh at anyone getting worked up over this design. As people have said, it's not a particularly effective weapon. I would think the anti-gun types would encourage this type of gun, people who otherwise might buy a fully harmful Saturday Night Special may instead print themselves a nice harmless Liberator instead. 8-)

    Anyway, *shrug* I view it as a proof of concept. In this case, apparently "proof" that more needs to be done to make this effective.

  60. FlingoBingo

    It might be a primitive design but I bet one kid can kill another kid with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @FlingoBingo

      "It might be a primitive design but I bet one kid can kill another kid with it."

      Doubt it. I doubt the kids could afford it.

  61. Maran1234

    Well..

    First off, you can't prove a negative. Just because this one guy tried to make a 3D-printed that blew up doesn't mean 3D printed guns can't work.

    Yes guns are made with metal because it's easier. Just like 3D printers are CURRENTLY making stuff with plastic, it's easier. 3D printers are still in it's infancy. They will become cheaper and work with more materials.

    And you are right. You could probably make your own plastic gun without a 3D printer. But 3D printed guns are way easier to make, go down to a shop and ask them to print it for you. Or buy a 3D printer and print 10.

    And as people have mentioned here, a gun only has to work 1 time to be dangerous.

  62. The H'wood Reporter

    Plastic Smastic - folded metal rules

    Any half way motivated individual can build a weapon using folded scrap sheet metal and a piece of pipe in less than 24 hours. Automobile axles make excellent barrels, and guess where the sheet metal comes from...

    Google the Khyber weapons makers on Youtube to see foot driven barrel turning and rifling. Pull you heads out of your anal cavities folks. Weapons construction doesn't require high tech.

    Note that the US Gov has supplied over 25,000 weapons to the ever reliable Mexican Army and police forces. Certainly none of them have been stolen and used in the commission of crimes, RIIIIGHT!

    When AKs are so easy to build that 13 year olds in Afghanistan/Pakistan are building them, why would the Cartels need to slowly build up their arsenals using strawman purchases in the US? Other than Fast and Furious, it doesn't seem like huge quantities of weapons are finding their way into Mexico. Note that full auto weapons are available in the US, but you need a tax stamp, and you need to buy them from a Class 3 dealer, who's going to go all proctologist on you. If they show full auto AKs in arms captures, you can bet they didn't come from the US. If they show full auto ARs in arms captures, you can bet they did come from the US, the US Government - but hey, that never happens, right?

    1. RPF
      Thumb Down

      Re: Plastic Smastic - folded metal rules

      Metal. Detectors.

      That's what this is all about.

      Surprises you, clearly.

    2. SYNTAX__ERROR

      Re: "go down to a shop and ask them to print it for you"

      Some people might not just blindly oblige!

  63. thurstjo

    Dear Liberator, Wake up!!!

    I guess in your mind, maybe the first PC should have looked like the MacBook Air?!? If you use your brain a bit, you'll realise that a few generations down the line, the guns produced by 3D printing technology will be far more sophisticated. I would have thought that someone who writes about technology would know that!

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it's a bit better than holding up a cartridge in a pair of pliers and banging the cap with a centrepunch or similar, but not much. (If you do that, by the way, the bullet or more likely bits of the cartridge might on an unlucky day have someone's eye out, probably yours - but that's about the only way it could really hurt anyone. Don't for goodness' sake confine the cartridge inside your hand, or you will lose it. The bullet will travel a few yards, at best.)"

    That's a youtube vid I'd like to see

  65. Tom 7 Silver badge

    NRA backlash

    I mean if you cant make a profit as people can make their own (limited but I wouldn't get in the way) personal defence items then who's going to pay for the massive lobby to misinterpret the 2nd amendment?

  66. Zmodem

    someone took gun to seriously

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-edy4sR0V3Qc/ThqRQxpx8HI/AAAAAAAAAgo/5fpPiNjLHY4/s1600/megatron_gun.jpg

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Seriously"

      Where is that? I haven't been there.

      Is the weather nice this time of year?

      1. Zmodem

        Re: "Seriously"

        tell me of a country it looks like and i`ll let you know

  67. Siraf72

    I favour the Chris Rock approach to gun control. Make every bullet cost 100USD and watch gun crime drop through the floor.

    1. Major Variola

      You boost self-loading is all

      At $100 per you start reloading your brass.

      Economics vs DIY. Classic.

      And oh yeah, a black market might develop....

      1. Tom 13

        Re: You boost self-loading is all

        The DHS has already given a huge boost to self-loading. Sporting goods stores have been rationing ammo for about 6 months now just to make sure more of their customers get some.

  68. Arachnoid

    I didnt read all response but I dont see a mention of a much loved SciFi machine the replicator.After all thats what the aim of the 3D printer is to make any parts anywhere i.e. on the International Space Station just think how handy it would be to not require the stockpile of many spare parts and just make them on demand.

    And yes the hype is pure bunkum and full of press hype.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Arachnoid

      Still haven't worked out how to use a full stop, I see.

      Come on, even Dyslexics have moved up to advanced things like commas and hyphens by now.

  69. Major Variola

    Its a start,

    Might be useful for assasinations if you can't get better.

    Also, the yanks kinda kicked your brit asses with clunkier muzzleloaders.

    1. Charles Manning

      Re: Its a start,

      "if you can't get better." A zip gun (Google will find you plenty plans) is way better. Even a knife is way better.

      "brit asses with clunkier muzzleloaders." Nope muzzle loaders are far less clunky. They typically used "Kentucky rifles" which are real rifles - with rifling and use patched balled as projectiles. These are highly effective weapons because the patch provides both a good gas seal and a good grip on the rifling.

      This plastic crap has no rifling and would not take the pressure caused by a good gas seal. It would explode.

    2. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: Its a start,

      Both sides had clunky muzzle loaders - but you yankees had to rely on help from the French, at least we had more pride

  70. attoman

    idiotic you bet, as are the first two comments to the 3D pistol print non-threat

    I agree completely. After 30 YEARS of development no one has even come close to using a printer type technology to make high strength, high temperature materials sufficient to sustain even a poor ball bearing or a gun barrel.

    Never say never, but do say WHY. Why with perfectly good systems for machining high grade materials like steel, scandium-aluminum, titanium, ceramics and other materials all capable of making high performance weapons would any but the brain dead waste a lifetime trying to make a rabbit into bear.

    So we are left with the likelihood that these little minds are afraid of real and suitable material.

    Now for the first two comments:

    EddieD says they just started WRONG! Apparently he just heard about it. Over 30 year history this isn't the first try to make a high force bearing, close tolerance object. They are a long ways away from achieving that goal.

    Next up is JDX who thinks that a machine like the 3D printer with an accuracy and resolution of (at best) .003 inch can match a simple lathe bored and threaded (which is what rifling is) steel tube easily accurate to better then .001 (such accuracy has been available everywhere in the world for centuries).

    And in a final act of ignorance this fellow JDX states that a 3D printer will be building up the ultimate high strength material diamond! Perhaps he means diamond in a thermoplastic matrix- essentially worthless for this purpose or he means a contiguous diamond structure. Diamond can be grown to conform to any shape at 900 C the temperature of molten lava. JDX please hold your breath until these miracles arrive.

    I'll leave the other idiot comments to rational and knowledgeable folk.

    Finally like many English and Aussies with little regard for the USA's Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights, the basic desire to obtain and hold weapons for all freemen seems unreasonable. The author of this piece tells us that weapons will be easily confiscated. He fails to understand that when doing improper acts the police and military are subject to the justice of the people and are as likely to revolt against tyranny as obey their leaders.

    As long as we see visual and aural proof on CNN (in Boston recently) that squads of police armed with machine guns can freely move through a major city and begin firing in peaceful neighborhoods with out regard to public safety even though no fire of any kind was directed to them. The police chief lied about the action for days.

    We saw for ourselves that over reaction and improper acts by government are very possible in our society.

  71. Emilio Desalvo
    Black Helicopters

    Funny fact...

    The number of people killed by guns in the US has been falling since the '90s...

    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/05/why-do-so-many-people-think-gun-violence-getting-worse/5516/

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quality

    I was reading this article and half-way through I thought, "this article has got to be the work of Lewis Page" because it was succinct, well-written and made logical sense, with good facts and just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek humour.

    Thank you Lewis. Your words are a breath of fresh air and often cheer my day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quality

      Seems strange that people would disapprove of a compliment...

      Saying nice things is not trendy any more, is that it?

      1. Steven Roper
        Joke

        Re: Quality

        You praised Lewis Page. He has a certain notoriety in this community, usually involving his daring to question anthropogenic climate change, so you most likely got downvoted by our resident treehugging climate-change zealots who didn't appreciate you complimenting their oil-company-bought-and-paid-for nemesis.

  73. zooooooom

    circles?

    As anything digital is pixelated, surely a square barrel and bullets would be more sensible?

    This is interesting to highlight the future direction of the world, and the lack of control governments and companies will have over peoples ability to share and make things. the gun may be crap, but in 10 years I would imagine there will be fairly lethal designs and materials available.

    I'm fully expecting my next surface to air missile to be licensed under GPLv5

  74. squigbobble
    FAIL

    I'm waiting...

    ...for the first person to lose a bodypart when the barrel bursts on one of these 'cos they tried reducing the bore of the design for 'moar powwarrrrrrrrrrr!' This thing'll be like the Jolly Roger's Cookbook of firearms- most dangerous to the person possessing it.

    1. squigbobble
      Facepalm

      Re: I'm waiting...

      Hah, just thought of 'enthusiasts' creating 'overclocked' versions of the design. Made myself giggle.

  75. Imsimil Berati-Lahn
    Coat

    If we can print and ACTUAL Liberator, then I'm interested.

    You know, the groovy alien space ship from Blake's 7.

    I want mine with fully functioning Zen computer and teleport bracelets too, if you please.

    Mine's the one with the perspex rod 'blaster' in the gunbelt.

    "Down and safe."

  76. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge
    Linux

    It is a gun

    Ok the ZX81 was a computer. People did amazing things with it. Now people are doing amazing things with the Raspberry PI. People will do amazing things with 3D printers but I expect they will also buy lathes and milling machines. A whole cottage or garage industry will spring up where people are doing big things in a small way. The Internet is like this too. Everything the Internet is made of you can do on a small scale yourself. The government is losing it's ability to tell people what to do.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_multiple_barrel_firearms

    Multiple shots, here you go.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The British Intelligence Core Museum at Chicksands is a very interesting visit, doubly so if you go on an open day the camp has every so often, inside you will find all sorts of bits and pieces from years gone by, but I was always fascinated by the old ‘pipe’ guns taken from the IRA from between the wars, they consisted little more than a bit of copper pipe with a firing pin attached to one end, some didn’t even have handles, I wont go into details of how they made them but the beauty of them is not only were they easy to make, but they could be loaded like old muskets, you fire off a shot, tip the gun up put another round down the tube and fire again, the ‘rounds’ would be anything from ball baring’s to long bits of wood used like arrows. They were not exactly accurate or dangerous over more than 50 yards, but they were not supposed to be used in anything but close quarters, it just goes to so that you can make a working gun out of practically anything, if a 3D printer gun can fire a single bullet, regardless of how accurate or fast it goes, it has done what it is designed to do.

    Anyone who has seen the film ‘In the Line of Fire’ where John Malkovich is able to make a plastic gun and is able to get past airport security with the bullets hidden as in his keys understands why the idea of a plastic gun is an issue.

    However as pointed out it is easier and cheaper to get hold of a ‘real’ gun in the US then it is to get hold of a 3D printer, it could be argued the American government are only worried because this could take money away from the gun manufactures.

    1. rh587

      " it just goes to so that you can make a working gun out of practically anything, "

      Well indeed. A gun is literally just a pipe, closed at one end, that directs the gas from an explosion in one direction, and puts a projectile between that gas and the outside world.

      It's 10th century technology!

      Yeah sure, we've developed rifling, better sights, magazines and quick-loaders, improved tolerances on the machining, but it shouldn't surprise anyone that you can make a crude gun with a few hand tools (which will almost certainly last longer than a plastic printed thing and at less risk to your fingers/hand/face!). "Modern" tools like a simple lathe or bench drill enables quite a high level of sophistication, people have been bodging them together for a millennium.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why bother

    see, heres the thing. if your objective is to make a gun without the gubmint knowing about it.... thats been possible for decades. its not difficult - a bit of pipe will be a better barrel than you could print, and assembling a mechanism to fire a single shot is not difficult.

    there is one main reason people dont bother:

    its altogether too much effort and too risky.

    it opens you up to prosecution for manufacture of firearms (far more severe than merely possessing them), and it gives you a gun thats worse than you could have more cheaply obtained by other means.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: why bother

      But most of those zip guns are made of metal pipes and whatnot. The big row is this advances the idea of making a NONMETALLIC zip gun. It's not there YET, but having something like this spurs the imagination. There's really very little metal in it; what's to say someone can't put this together with a strong enough nonmetallic firing pin and perhaps a ceramic bullet in perhaps a carbon fiber casing or the like. Suddenly you have a ZERO-metal firearm; improve the design a little more or use a printer that can use stronger plastics and you'll have yourself a nonmetallic derringer good at a short but practical range (say a few meters--too far for a knife). And since many places including many airports are still limited to metal detectors...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: why bother

        true, most homemade zip guns are made of metal parts.

        thats because metal parts are... better.

        you can get plastic pipes too. someone could probably build a firing mechanism out of technic lego. the reason its not done isnt because its staggeringly difficult, but because making a plastic gun is pretty much pointless.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: why bother

          I'd hardly call making a small, concealable weapon capable of killing at a distance that can't be picked up by metal detectors pointless. Most airports still just use metal detectors, not to mention all the other places like courthouses guarded just by metal detectors.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What next...

    Before long we will have plastic knives.

    Oh, Hang on....

  81. Whiznot

    One early development failure doesn't prove that a functioning gun can't be 3D printed just like one idiotic article doesn't prove the writer is a moron. However, endless idiotic articles...

  82. Trustme
    FAIL

    Yay Mr linkbait with his usual drivel.

    Because of course Lewis, no one will possibly improve on this design and no one will improve on 3D printers! Just in the same way that the first commercial computers couldn't run HALO but could run a really crappy little game with numbers that didn't have the full, immersive experience of HALO proves that computers are useless and will never be able to run a decent game.

    How are you still allowed to publish articles for the Reg? Or is it just because so many people queue up to give you negative feedback in the comments section that they consider it good for the advertising numbers?

    1. Tom 13

      I disagree with Lewis about this,

      but he still has a well written article that makes his point.

      And he's generated a lot of good discussion. A lot of bad discussion too, but that's entirely unavoidable.

  83. John X Public
    Holmes

    All fun and games until someone pulls the trigger

    Surely a home made gun

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-05/tradie-charged-over-homemade-guns-for-gang/4111600

    can never exceed the quality of a manufactured one?

    http://www.deactivated-guns.co.uk/images/uploads/sten_mk2/sten_mk2_ff_8.jpg

    Well, obviously it can, but 3D printers are a way off from being the method used to DIY a gun. Maybe not forever, but not currently viable.

  84. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
    Go

    the application i see for this

    Given its single shot capacity and arms length range, is hitman style executions..

    This is predominately a pastime of the criminal fraternity and I wouldnt want to interfere with their cultural traditions and rituals. Also it beats the hell out of drive-by shootings.

    Smooth barrel eliminates ballistic tracing, and the entire 'disposable plastic' concept makes it even more attractive.

    So the police forensics departments will probably have a whinge about the gun, but I would imagine the bullet, rattling down the 2 cm barrel, will scrape and collect some of the barrel material which could be analysed by said forensics boffins. A chemical 'fingerprint' -such as is used with industrial explosives- could be included in the plastic 'ink' which would allow police to trace the purchasers of that batch.

    Not going to be easy, but all stuff which is achievable.

    Airplane hijacking just doesnt seem feasible, not enough ammunition to be a credible threat, and probably not enough power to even shoot through the hull (probably the most effective threat you could make with it)

    - on the other hand, airport security and credibility went their separate ways a long time ago -

    As far as using it as a murder weapon, thats what pistols are meant for. If you want to kill things effectively use a long gun.

  85. 3wsparky

    Missing the point?

    Missing the point?

    It's a weapon, pointed at your head and asked to handover your wallet even after reading your notes on it's lack of efficiency I would still be saying here take my wallet phone and car keys no worries !

    and that surely is the point, some 12 year old can build them self something that is harmful.

    adults can build something that can be used in arguements or per-meditated which has not traceable marks, nor detectable at an airport!

    in the UK if you own a firearm you are recorded on a police database, it seems any Joe can now be high risk!

    end of the day for all it's faults it's a device that WILL be used for all the wrong reasons and very few right ones despite its in-efficiency.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Missing the point?

      @3wsparky

      "It's a weapon, pointed at your head and asked to handover your wallet even after reading your notes on it's lack of efficiency I would still be saying here take my wallet phone and car keys no worries !"

      Not a very good one. With a reasonable likelyhood that it would blow up in the users hand. With the cost of one of these things (and the printer to make one) it is cheaper, more reliable and likely easier to get a real one.

      "and that surely is the point, some 12 year old can build them self something that is harmful"

      Not at that price. I will say your head is in the sand as kids have access to far more dangerous and more reliable destructive capabilities. And if they join a gang they can probably buy a real gun (illegally) which as I said before is much better suited.

      "adults can build something that can be used in arguements or per-meditated which has not traceable marks, nor detectable at an airport!"

      Or they could use one of the many items already available. Look around you now. How many items can you be stabbed, strangled or beaten to death with? And they would be more useful and reliable than this 'gun' to do it.

      "in the UK if you own a firearm you are recorded on a police database, it seems any Joe can now be high risk!"

      Have you seen how many illegal guns are taken every month! Its nuts. Air rifles are also not recorded but aint too harmful. But I guarantee my air pistol looks the real deal.

      "end of the day for all it's faults it's a device that WILL be used for all the wrong reasons and very few right ones despite its in-efficiency."

      Lol. Only on americas dumbest criminals. For the few that can afford the printer and then the plastic they will likely have better things to do than build something less effective than any standard kitchen knife.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    great stuff

    I've just printed me a plastic gun. Awesome.

    Unfortunately it seems it needs bullets, and this magic 3d printer doesn't seem to be able to produce those.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not a problem

    "The only thing that will slow them down at all is their desire to avoid killing or hurting you in the process: your firepower is not a problem for them, and it really won't be a problem if all you have is a Liberator or similar."

    Then why must they ban guns before taking them away? Well, it's because it is a problem for them. You probably would not understand though, as you probably stayed on the island.

  88. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Crap

    Sorry, but the article is crap.

    Guns come in several varieties. One variety is rifled - a rifle! Some pistols and even large field guns and British army tank guns are also rifled. Rifling is used to spin the projectile, this spin stabilizes the projectile meaning that it flies in a straight line and you can aim it.

    Other guns are 'smooth bore' - most notably most American tank and field guns, old naval cannon of the type used at Trafalgar and original blunderbuss and shotguns. Here the projectile (or projectiles) are not spin stabilized. In the case of modern tank and field guns the projectile has fins - in the barrel of the gun these are surrounded by cabots which fall away as the projectile exits the barrel - these fins stabilize the projectile. In the case of things like old ships cannon and shotguns - theres no stabilization and its a trifle hit and miss whether you it or miss a target - especially at more than a few yards.

    While it certainly would be possible to print a rifled barrel it is difficult to see how the plastic used could be made hard enough to survive more than one shot. But then, a British tank gun isn't designed to survive very many and it is made of metal (the life expectancy of a tank on a battle field is depressingly low).

    The chance of the gun working once are pretty high, chances of twice, probably quite low. But then you could potentially print a bullet or two as well... even plastic going fast enough can do some reasonable amount of damage - especially if you put some poison in the tip.

    I don't know whether this was basically responsible for the panic in the USA when the gun was demonstrated, but removing the blueprints has no real effect - the ideas are out there now and now the technology has rendered the airport scanners obsolete.

  89. Romaingjay
    Thumb Up

    What about Additive Machining (AM)

    The designs could be put into an SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) machine and rapid prototyped from almost any metal, with almost perfect results. Making a gun like that is entirely real... but of course that has it's own problems:

    1) negates the "can get through airport security" issue as now it's metal just like any other gun.

    2) SLS machines are FAR from cheap... but then so were 3D printers back in the day.

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