back to article 'Catastrophic failure' of 3D-printed gun in Oz Police test

The New South Wales Police Force, guardians of Australia's most-populous state, have gotten themselves into a panic over the Liberator, the 3D-printable pistol. The Force's Commissioner Andrew Schipione today appeared at a press conference to denounce the Liberator and urge residents of the State not to download plans for the …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Liberator - a bargain

    Kill one, seriously injure another. and all with a single round

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Liberator - a bargain

      It might, or might not work but in the confines of an aircraft where there maybe 6 of seven on them in the hands of the wrong people?

      It won't be long before someone designed a modular firearm half the size of the original?

      1. M Gale

        Re: The Liberator - a bargain

        If you can sneak a plastic gun onto an aircraft, you can sneak a proper one on that won't blow up in your hands.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: The Liberator - a bargain

          > sneak a proper one on

          Just improvise a slingshot, with a suitable hard projectile they can be lethal. Ask Goliath :)

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: The Liberator - a bargain

            I'd be more worried about a tanked up glaswegian than one of these one shot wonders.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The Liberator - a bargain

              speaking as a former Glasgow resident, you should be if you make a lot of comments like that.

          2. Ru
            Facepalm

            Re: The Liberator - a bargain

            Just improvise a slingshot,

            They're bloody hard to use. I have a few of various lengths and materials at home, and whilst I'm pretty certain I could hit the broad side of a barn or a crowd of people, I'd be pretty pleased if I managed to hit a human-sized target standing still 10 metres away.

            Little crossbows and catapults are vastly simpler to use without huge amounts of practise, or atlatls if you'd prefer to keep it neolithic style. Slings? not so much.

          3. Benchops
            Boffin

            Re: The Liberator - a bargain

            >> sneak a proper one on

            >

            > Just improvise a slingshot

            Which is why Ryanair is the safest way to fly. No room to swing anything let alone a swingshot (or dead cat).

            1. Code Monkey

              Re: The Liberator - a bargain

              Expecially if you've not paid the £50 dead cat surcharge.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The Liberator - a bargain - Ask Goliath

            You can't, you'd need to ask David.

        2. P. Lee Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: The Liberator - a bargain

          You miss the point - its a downloadable gun.

          You just wait until you're on the aircraft and then use your iphone to get it!

      2. sfarkhan

        Re: The Liberator - a bargain

        What you're not taking into account is sneaking bullets. The x-ray machines are designed to point out ammunition. The people watching are also trained to see it, finally, they sniff for gunpowder.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: The Liberator - a bargain

          --What you're not taking into account is sneaking bullets. The x-ray machines are designed to point out ammunition. The people watching are also trained to see it, finally, they sniff for gunpowder.--

          Somebody even slightly clever will add a bit of metal so ammunition looks like something else. I don't believe that any TSA person in the USA is trained for anything and the training wouldn't take anyway. It's not difficult to get around the sniffer.

          A single shot weapon that is also likely to be a one shot weapon is not the best tool for hijacking a plane.

          The so-called terrorists are not our biggest problem these days, it's government. Most of them are out of control and looking for any means to implement laws and policies to curtail all of this freedom that has been infecting the world for some years now.

      3. Naughtyhorse

        Re: The Liberator - a bargain

        Given that this one is already prone to exploding in the hand, one with 1/2 as much material in it.....

        yeah thats altogether possible!

        lol

      4. Charles Manning

        Fudgery?

        I suspect some fudgery here. The "gun" that the police fired only managed to penentrate that far because it developed enough pressure to explode the barrel.

        If they had printed a gun that was loose enough to not explode then the penentration would have been pathetic.

        The .380 only gets to 1000fps in a proper steel barrel of approx 4 inches. In a POS plastic unpressureised barrel it can surely not get much over 150-200 fps. A good slingshot could do better.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: The Liberator - a bargain

      That's out of date. There are better designs that don't have these issues:

      http://www.thedailysheeple.com/the-lulz-liberator-25-gun-produced-on-a-cheap-desktop-3d-printer-fires-nine-shots_052013

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Liberator - a bargain

      The Register, armchair commentary:

      "'Liberator': Proof that you CAN'T make a working gun in a 3D printer"

      Forbes:

      "When high tech gunsmith group Defense Distributed test-fired the world’s first fully 3D-printed firearm earlier this month, some critics dismissed the demonstration as expensive and impractical, arguing it could only be done with a high-end industrial 3D printer and that the plastic weapon wouldn’t last more than a single shot. Now a couple of hobbyists have proven them wrong on both counts."

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/05/20/25-gun-created-with-cheap-3d-printer-fires-nine-shots-video/

    4. Ken 16 Silver badge

      Re: The Liberator - a bargain

      Duct tape - the handyman's friend.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Liberator - a bargain

      I read this recently....

      'You will soon be able to download and print your own gun from the Internet.'

      If you have to consider for even a second if that statement makes any sense at all you have failed as a human being, please kill yourself before you end up killing others.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: The Liberator - a bargain

        Is it me or am I missing something..oh I know.. where do people get the plastic firing cap designs from?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Liberator - a bargain

      Hmm, they MUST find a way to detect it, otherwise there will be no point in installing a 3D printer in duty free (let's call it the principle of the water bottle). Duty free is a good source for weaponry anyway - combustable stuff and hand weapons (the shards of a broken thick glass whiskey bottle are IMHO going to be more lethal than a gun that needs a hammer to eject a spent cartridge).

      Not worried - you don't find problems by detecting weapons, you find it by watching people.

  2. mIRCat
    Coat

    In other news...

    Fox News reports the US Department of Homeland Security has issued a bulletin to other law enforcement agencies declaring the Liberator “impossible” to stop and a source of “public safety risks”.

    THE SKY IS FALLING!

    I'll just grab my coat and be off.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: In other news...

      > THE SKY IS FALLING!

      It's only the printed one which is.

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: (Streisland Effect && Do NOT press ME!) {GOTO FAIL;}

      Exactly my thoughts. I would bet that more than one was spurred to download the plans by just this announcement.

      …Could it be that the police estimated that having exploding and imprecise guns in the hands of the populace would diminish the number of proper guns bought illegally?

      1. Dave the Cat
        Childcatcher

        Re: (Streisland Effect && Do NOT press ME!) {GOTO FAIL;}

        "…Could it be that the police estimated that having exploding and imprecise guns in the hands of the populace would diminish the number of proper guns bought illegally?"

        Alternatively the could be operating a form of darwinism; if you're stupid enough to print and attempt to fire one of these, maybe your genes aren't worthy of addition to the pool?

        1. Code Monkey
          Joke

          Re: (Streisland Effect && Do NOT press ME!) {GOTO FAIL;}

          Sort of a self-service version of Saudi justice: crims blow their own hands off.

      2. Wombling_Free
        FAIL

        Re: (Streisland Effect && Do NOT press ME!) {GOTO FAIL;}

        Yeah, NSW finest are worried they're going to be undercut by skriptkiddies.

        Did I imply that NSW P'lce Farce might be slightly inundated with criminals already, and be possibly a source of many of the actual real guns on our streets? I may have....

        Also, BAN SUPERMARKETS and HARDWARE! You can kill people with stuff from them!

        AUSTFAILIA - YOU'RE STANDING IT IN.

    2. Old Handle
      WTF?

      Do Not Do This Cool Thing

      I wonder if it was a good idea to make it look like so much fun.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

      has less to fear from the revolting exploding peasants

      There, fixed that for you (where's the duct_tape_and_zipties icon?)

    2. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

      I doubt many will share your concerns. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one revolting peasant around here.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Eadon Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

      "The ruling classes do not want the plebians to be armed...." As one of the many quite well-armed peasants in the UK, I would suggest it is more of a matter of keeping guns out of the hands of idiots, and you strike me as exactly the type of idiot that would try printing a Liberator just because you think it is "subversive" or "radical". I have (peasant) friends in Oz that also shoot regularly, they own weapons that cost a lot less than a 3D printer and are a lot more effective. Only the moronic will bother with the Liberator.

      1. Qwelak
        Facepalm

        Re: Eadon A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

        Are you aware how many morons there are in the world?

        1. thesykes

          Re: Eadon A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

          "Are you aware how many morons there are in the world?"

          A lot more than there will be if they all print themselves a fancy new shootin' iron?

    4. David Hicks
      Stop

      Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

      I'm not part of the ruling classes.

      I don't want the plebians to be armed with guns because I've seen what they do in South London when given access to fireworks for a few weeks a year.

      1. despairing citizen
        Big Brother

        Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

        "I don't want the plebians to be armed with guns because I've seen what they do in South London when given access to fireworks for a few weeks a year."

        Don't worry, those guys wont buy a 3D printer and kit,..

        .... they'll just go down the pub and get six 9mm handguns that will cost less than the printer.

        1. David Hicks
          Thumb Down

          Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

          @despairing citizen

          >> .... they'll just go down the pub and get six 9mm handguns that will cost less than the printer.

          Which is why I don't want the laws changed to make it any *easier* or *cheaper* for them to do that, thanks.

          1. FutureShock999

            Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

            The "laws" have nothing to do with it. For the record, a great many of the 9mms on the black market are from squaddies returning from Iraq/Afghan, who took them as "war prizes", and supposedly had them deactivated. Turns out the standard "deactivation" wasn't really much of a job, and it was very simple to re-activate them again in a machine shop. They've improved the process, but from what I've gathered it just was too little, too late.

            In point of fact, when your nation is continuously "at war" for a decade, it will always be easy to buy illegal guns.

            However, LEGAL guns (in the UK) are difficult, expensive, and painful to get. I know, I have the licenses and the hardware. So experience has shown me that "the laws" are not the problem, it is the people avoiding any laws at all. I am not anti-gun control, but I can say that further tightening is rather pointless....

    5. Don Jefe
      Meh

      Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

      The ruling class could give a flying fuck about the plebeians being armed. I bought a shotgun at Wal-Mart last week to teach my wife to shoot trap: Total transaction time less than 10mins and just $550. It took less effort than checking into a hotel.

      1. Gio Ciampa

        @Don Jefe Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

        Out of interest - what checks did you have to go though to be able to make said purchase in so short a time?

        1. Don Jefe
          Happy

          Re: @Don Jefe A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

          For rifles or shotguns you show your ID, fill out the form with your SSN and they run an automated check to make sure you don't have any outstanding warrants or are a convicted felon. For pistols the checks are the same but there is a waiting period of a few days.

          1. PJI

            Re: @Don Jefe A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

            I thought USA did not have identity cards; although I half recall an American telling me there is a non-compulsory ID card. How do they check its veracity?

            1. Don Jefe

              Re: @Don Jefe A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

              You use your State issued drivers license or State issued photo ID (for those who don't have a drivers license). For most things a drivers license serves as a valid proof of identity and age.

          2. garbo
            Unhappy

            Re: @Don Jefe A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

            Yes, but why? Spending all that money just to destroy a clay pigeon? Still, destruction does seem to be a favorite American pastime.

        2. Tom 13

          Re: @Don Jefe A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

          Probably the instant background check with the NCIC.

          Contrary to hoplophobic rhetoric, the NRA isn't against keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and this is a means that has been endorsed by them. The key components are that the feds don't get to keep the record and they aren't legally allowed to convert it to an electronic database.

    6. Imsimil Berati-Lahn
      WTF?

      Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

      Perhaps I am being naíve to the point of stupidity, but why is it that everybody seems to gang up on Eadon?

      1. Grikath

        Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change) @imsimil

        His general Angry-Young-Man-Upon-The-Barricades-of-Life Forumwarrior attitude towards all things Microsoft/non-Linux may have something to do with that.

        His physical age may be a tad higher, but mentally he never made it past the puberal ranting stage, which has ...soured... his reception amongst us Commentards a bit over the past months.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

        Experience

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

      So looking at the votes on this,

      that is 8 Washington for president supporters, versus 19 supporters of Adolf Hitler and clones, because his police will make streets safe for everyone, and the trains run on time!

      PS

      the original quote is;

      When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”

      ― Thomas Jefferson

      1. Tom 13

        @AC 24 May 13 14:28 GMT

        Yeah, but since it showed up under Eadon's name it will get a lot of down votes as a result of Pavlovian down votes from low information reg readers.

      2. rchop

        Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

        When the government is by the people, for the people and the people fear the government,

        then they fear themselves.

        -- Bob Hoppin

    8. sisk Silver badge

      Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

      For once Eadon is making sense. It's a well established statistical fact that gun control is counter productive as a crime reduction measure. Check out the statistics the FBI and UN have collected on the matter and the correlation between tight gun control and higher violent crime rates is pretty clear. I'm not suggesting a causual relationship, just demonstrating that gun control doesn't serve to deter crime. Our leaders have access to these statistics. Some of them -- Obama comes to mind -- I believe to be too intelligent to have ignored or misunderstood the statistics (though, to be fair, some of them are just idiots, like the one who tried to say high cap magazines were one time use). That, to me, makes me wonder about their motives when they suggest gun control.

      1. Alan Johnson

        Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

        OK I will bite.

        The opposite is true and the fact that the overall crime rate in the US is slightly lower than the UK but the murder rate is much much higher is just one of many statistics which show the complete opposite. It would be interesting what explanation other than bizzare US attitude and laws about guns is suggested to explain this.

        1. sisk Silver badge

          Re: A Controvertial Topic (for a change)

          The opposite is true and the fact that the overall crime rate in the US is slightly lower than the UK but the murder rate is much much higher

          Apples and oranges man. For a true comparison, take one area before and after strict gun control is implemented so as to eliminate other factors (such as cultural aspects and economic factors). That's when you see the facts telling it like it is: implement gun control and the crime rate goes up.

      2. Charles Manning

        Sorry, Eadon isn't right

        sisk: Gun control does not seem effective at stopping crime, but it is going too far to suggest that Obama et al are doing this motivated by some evil plan to take away guns from the populace.

        Politicians do what the public want them to do to keep elected. They have to make the right noises and even act in certain ways because that is what the voters expect. They have to be seen to be doing something... anything... about guns.

        In reality gun control does little, but they can't admit that. Imagine how annoyed the voters would get if the response to Sandy Hook was "Well the government really can't do anything to stop these events from happening. We are powerless. It is up to the public. Shit happens.".

        For the same reason we get stupid laws about driving with cellphones. They are knee-jerk legislation driven by public opinion. Not well thought out laws that are driven by data.

        1. Tim Bates

          Re: Sorry, Eadon isn't right

          "For the same reason we get stupid laws about driving with cellphones"

          So you've never observed the retarded behavior of drivers talking on phones while driving? I've nearly died because of such behavior... It'd want to be a fucking good phone call if you're willing to risk people's lives for it.

        2. sisk Silver badge

          Re: Sorry, Eadon isn't right

          @Charles Manning:

          In reality gun control does little, but they can't admit that.

          That, in my opinion, would make Obama et al spineless simps. Which, for a head of state, is as bad as being evil. Instead of telling people to tackle the real causes of the problem (the insane way we approach mental health here) they're perpetuating the myth that guns are to blame.

          Besides, Americans DO NOT want gun control. Historically few American politicians who push for it have won their next reelection bid, and currently the only way to make gun control sound popular is to take a survey with an extremely small sampling in a localized area (the one touted by the media right now was a survey of just 2000 people, all in upstate New York, but it supposedly represents all Americans to hear them talk).

    9. Charles Manning

      The benevolence of the Modern State

      The main reason for keeping 3D "guns" out of numbskull hands is to avoid injury.

      As far as effective weaponry goes, a cricket bad (or a pool cue) is a more deadly weapon. This "gun" can probably not even fire a bullet at more than about 200fps (estimate since a .380 out of a real barrel only gets to about 1000fps), so a good slingshot is more effective as a weapon. Therefore taking this "gun" away from the masses does not limit their ability to arm themselves. It just limits the worst ability to hurt themselves.

      Remember Oz is a nanny state and thick fucks that injure themselves get all their treatment (and ongoing life support) paid for by tax payers. Any right minded taxpayer does not want these morons to hurt themselves for pure financial reasons - if not humanitarian reasons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The benevolence of the Modern State

        Remember Oz is a nanny state and thick fucks that injure themselves get all their treatment (and ongoing life support) paid for by tax payers.

        We hear the "pooor taxpayers (sniffle)"-line entirely too often from the country who invented corporate well-fare, made it into a scalable business plan and exported it to the rest of the world.

        Go play with petrol instead. It's a riot!

  5. jake Silver badge

    Why would I bother printing a handgun?

    I can purchase one on the black market, along with ammo to match, in every nation I've been in for the last forty years. Including "Great" Britain & former commonwealth countries.

    For FAR less than the cost of the 3D printer & supplies, I might add.

    Swatting at shadows is counterproductive ... IMO, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward 15

      Re: Why would I bother printing a handgun?

      For the lulz?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would I bother printing a handgun?

      It's Great as I'm Big Britain as opposed to Brittany (Little Britain) in France so keep your snide ignorance to yourself.

    3. Charles Manning

      In many counties it is the ammo that is harder to get

      In post-apartheid South Africa, it is really easy to guy an AK47.

      When you buy one (for around $20 - probably a bit more now). It came with 10 rounds of ammo. When the ammo's finished you buy another AK47.

      Or, to put it another way, 10 rounds of AK47 ammo cost $20. The gun is thrown in for free.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. jake Silver badge

      "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

      I can do that with a length of PVC & an end-cap, a potato, and propellant that I won't mention here but is probably available in yer mum's powder-room.

      Being afraid of things you don't understand is counter-productive.

      1. SuccessCase

        Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

        @Jake

        FYI, I resubmitted below, having edited to remove references to publishing the pieces as irresponsible because the way I worded it was bad and would have meant my meaning was misinterpreted.

        But in relation to your remark. Ad-hominem arguments are are a sign if weakness. You evidently don't know my background or expertise. It's also easy to make a tube bomb. I can make a lethal ballistic weapon with precision machine drilled tube, a plug and a vacuum cleaner put in reverse. So what? Would you like to take a bet on how quickly these, or guns like them, start to be used? That's the point. And yes much of it does come down to image and ease of production but I'm hardly responsible for the fact criminals have always tended to be pretty dumb lazy and lack the conviction to back up the ease with which it has always been possible to improvise a ballistic weapon. They can now get one by pressing a button. And guess what. They will.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

          "Ad-hominem arguments are are a sign if weakness."

          Agree (if you meant "of"). Where, exactly, did I go ad-hom?

          "They can now get one by pressing a button."

          Really? Without going into technical details, such as setting up such a "plastic gun" printing facility? How do you figure? Personally, I only know of a couple places where this is an option ... and nobody connected to the hardware is daft enough to even try building a device that will probably destroy fingers when used "as intended".

          Faster & cheaper to purchase a "saturday night special" & 5/6 rounds. Might not even lose a finger or two, it you're lucky.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. SuccessCase

            Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

            Er, there is this thing see, called the 3D printing revolution, and while they aren't cheap now, the Apple II wasn't cheap either. So IMO it only requires a small rational step to see that these guns will become to your average Gangsta like a knife+. As I have posted below, knives kill 130,000 a year in the UK as compared with about 51 for guns.

            How long before we hear "I was standing arguing with this guy. There were these other guys in his gang who turn up, next thing I hear a shot and it takes me a while to register I've been hit. I don't even know who fired."

            Few gun incidents involve running firefights in the street where you need an accurate piece. Must are cowardly acts of gang thuggery.

            Personally I think the threat is obvious and that The Register are WAY off the mark with this one. Time will tell who is right, though this is one bet I would be glad to lose.

            1. Magister

              Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

              "knives kill 130,000 a year in the UK"

              not even close.

              http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDUQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.parliament.uk%2Fbriefing-papers%2Fsn04304.pdf&ei=Dh6fUZfjAeOl0AXbqoHYCA&usg=AFQjCNEqiKnJejeqKANW3sNyaGPXSTX7Jw&sig2=Xg2P4UMYyMkMLw1x0HUaTA

              The official figures realeasd for 2011 / 2012 show that over 12 months there were 29,513 offences involving knives, 4,490 people admitted to hospital due to assault by a "sharp object" and 200 homicides using a "sharp instrument".

              You are still far more at risk of being killed in a motor vehicle accident; no matter what age, gender or ethnic origin.

              1. SuccessCase

                Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

                @Magister, you are quite correct. I did some embarrassingly shoddy copy and past of a Google search data. Though still the fundamental point remains it is an order of magnitude higher than gun crime.

                1. Magister
                  Pint

                  Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

                  Interestingly, (if you're into that sort of thing) the number of alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2011 was 8,748, over 4 times the vehicle accident level for that year. (This could of course include a number of things, just as some of the stats for road deaths might also overlap.)

                  It's possible to make lots of arguments based upon statistics; people generally underestimate the probability of the more common events and over estimate the probability of the less likely events. That's why so many people spend money on the lottery and are not so keen on investing in their pensions.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: risk from violence

                " and 200 homicides using a "sharp instrument"." that's a little lower than what I seen previously.

                in the old days (90's) police work on murder cases was easy.

                arrest the surviving spouse, and collect the kitchen knife for evidence, and you had just solved 2/3rd of all murder cases.

            2. jake Silver badge

              @SuccessCase (was: Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

              "Personally I think the threat is obvious"

              What, exactly, is the threat? And to whom? For extra points, please explain why the exact same threat doesn't exist today, and hasn't existed since (roughly) 1750.

              1. SuccessCase

                Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                @Jake.

                "What, exactly, is the threat?"

                So Jake, engage the visualisation part of your brain for me here. Visualise two identical worlds save for one factor. In these both these world's you are a resident on or near a high crime estate. On this estate there is one of those Internet cafe's you go to to get either drugs, check out kiddie porn or make international Skype calls. In one of these almost identical world's, the 3D printing revolution has matured and the Internet Cafe has a pay cash per use 3D printer. In the other the 3D printing revolution hasn't happened at all. Put that together with the fact crime statistics show most criminals can't even be arsed to even get on a bus to rob rich houses instead of the houses of their poor neighbours and then what the police have know for years is crystal clear. Crime is related not to what is possible now, but to what is possible and within a few yards of the sofa.

                Consider also a translation of your logic to another context, someone 30 years ago saying "meth isn't a problem, tell me why the exact same threat from other drugs doesn't exist today, and hasn't existed since (roughly) 1750."

                Is there a chance you would get stabbed on the other parallel universe estate? Of course. Did ready availability of low cost model T make a difference to the amount of travel conducted by ordinary people. Of course. Will readily available one shot throw away guns make a difference to gun crime by ordinary gang members?

                For me the answer to that question is "of course."

                So do I really have to spell this out? The threat is there is a greater likelihood of getting shot by some lazy arsed crim on the estate with the 3D printer service.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                  @SuccessCase:

                  Do you honestly fear being shot with a 'gun' that is likely to blow itself up, is very inaccurate, is very expensive and single shot (probably damaged too much to fire another)? It really is easier and cheaper to get a real one.

                  Comparing the useless lump of plastic you fear vs a much more accurate, cheaper and better potential weapon- the knife. I would even go so far to say a rock would be more use than this thing and certainly less likely to harm the user.

                  "So do I really have to spell this out? The threat is there is a greater likelihood of getting shot by some lazy arsed crim on the estate with the 3D printer service."

                  The funny part of this comment is the ignorance. What is worse about maybe being shot if the gun worked and the many variables actually work in the favour of the shooter? Compared with shot by a real gun, stabbed, beaten or any number of actual and effective threats?

                  People kill each other. Its one of the few things we are really good at. Using whatever is to hand, including said hands.

                  1. SuccessCase

                    Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                    "The funny part of this comment is the ignorance."

                    Your knowledge is based on what? I've actually produced goods on 3D printers (an skateboard project, seeking to prototype a skateboard which could move sideways like a snowboard - I approached the engineering dept at Southampton University who allowed use of their 3D printing equipment, but I digress).

                    The tests in Australia were conducted by the cheapest 3D printers. There is a HUGE difference in quality between the cheapest and the more expensive. Plus everyone is overlooking the fact there are also titanium/stainless steel 3D printers. Cost is greater, but these are also on the way. So the funny part of your comment is the ignorance.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                      @SuccessCase:

                      "So the funny part of your comment is the ignorance."

                      Your ignorance is somehow thinking this is some great weapon. Or that its capable. Even if it is well made. It is a paperweight, that might explode if used.

                      As I said compare it against other potential weapons. Look around the room you are in and tell me how many items in there are more effective than this gun to harm someone (I say harm to give this 'liberator' a chance). How many items can you be beaten with? We could compare range. What is the effective range of this gun accounting for accuracy and penetration? How far can you throw the pointy things around you? Even the non-pointy projectiles.

                      So your ignorance is thinking that this gun makes a difference. Even if it was cheap. There are still pens on your desk that are more accurate!

                      1. SuccessCase

                        Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                        @AC 10:03

                        "Your ignorance is somehow thinking this is some great weapon."

                        It isn't. It's a set of 3D plans that can be printed on any 3D printer to produce a weapon with any material supported by the 3D printer. It is the demonstration of the concept a gun can be printed in 3D and can be effective when fired. My original post was against a Register article with the headline "Liberator': Proof that you CAN'T make a working gun in a 3D printer"

                        That is pretty damned conclusive, considering many people on this forum have no idea of the range versatility and materials that can be printed in 3D or the huge differences between the current crop of 3D printers. I bet you've made the statements you have without even being able to tell me the varieties and strength of the plastics and metals that can be printed in 3D, or what is predicted from the industry over the next 5 years? You probably aren't even aware there are 3D printers which will produce a version of the gun that is reliable for at least the first shot, yet you think it is justified to call me ignorant...

                        Here is one that lasted for nine shots from one of the cheapest printers but using better plastic (thus proving my point).

                        http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/05/20/25-gun-created-with-cheap-3d-printer-fires-nine-shots-video/

                        1. SuccessCase

                          Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                          Quote from above link, where real testing (as distinct from The Register style armchair speculation) has been done.

                          "People think this takes an $8,000 machine and that it blows up on the first shot. I want to dispel that,” says Joe. “This does work, and I want that to be known.”

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                            This does work, and I want that to be known.”

                            Well of course he does, like any member of the Neurotic Rifle Assholes would.

                          2. Stevie Silver badge

                            Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                            I can buy a real gun for less than the cost of a RepRap. It will fire thousands of shots and never explode in my hand.

                            In point of fact, having tried to source a RepRap recently I can also state that I can get the real gun at a fraction of the time and effort it will take me to get the RepRap too, and I live in a state with rather heavy gun control laws.

                            The printagun is stupid again.

                    2. Chromatix

                      Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                      The same sort of test was done in Finland - a journalist downloaded the Liberator blueprint, took it to a university which had a *high quality* 3D printer (much better than the ones the Australians used), then took the resulting parts to a professional gunsmith who assembled them and organised a safe test.

                      The results were much the same as well - the gun disintegrated while firing the very first shot. There is a video linked here, with subtitles:

                      http://yle.fi/uutiset/liberator_3d-printed_handgun_fails_after_single_shot_in_finnish_test/6643536

                    3. FutureShock999

                      Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                      Dude, if you have access to a metal printer, then you probably also can get access to a CNC machine and/or lathe. The latter two have been used to produce QUALITY gun parts for decades, and do it via subtractive means that leaves the material in a more solid condition than additive printing - no cracks, no leaks. In short, they will ALWAYS produce a better gun.

                      I mean I can assemble a gun from parts at B&Q or Homebase that will cost me under £20 and be a lot more solid and reliable than any printed plastic gun. Only desperate crims USE zip guns, because of the inherent risk of firing a weapon that has not been proof tested and is held together by duct tape or worse. Until you can hydraulically proof test your homebuilt gun, they will be as risky to fire as a first-timer's homemade aeroplane is to fly..

                  2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                    Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                    "Do you honestly fear being shot with a 'gun' that is likely to blow itself up, is very inaccurate, is very expensive and single shot (probably damaged too much to fire another)? It really is easier and cheaper to get a real one."

                    When people are waving short-barrelled weapons around the safest place to be is usually directly in front of them. It's hard to hit the broad side of a barn with even a modern pistol unless you're at near point blank range - in which case a knife is much quieter.

                2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Re: @SuccessCase (was: "The point is it has now been shown these things ::are useless::")

                  > The threat is there is a greater likelihood of getting shot by some lazy arsed crim on the estate with the 3D printer service.

                  I doubt it. Odds are the printer service will be well known to the law enforcement agencies who will just love to have an easy central pont to perform surveillance. The chances are that the raw materials for this service will be black market sourced, and just like drugs the quality will be dubious. After a few of the local crims have ended up in A&E getting their fingers stitched back on before their trial the novelty will wear off.

            3. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

              I get the impression people are too taken by the 'just Ctrl-P to print a gun', when it isn't the most suitable process for the job. This goes for quite a few other '3D printing' applications, too.

              Just watching the way this printed 'gun' disintegrates in the video illustrates the inherent weakness in having a round hole in a series of strata... that much at least will be familiar to anyone who has worked with wood, which is also has a 'grain'.

              There are some ways of achieving a concentric 'grain' structure around the chamber and barrel (I'm thinking more of stopping someone from losing their fingers, rather than helping them shoot somebody) of this 'gun' without any special tools... it's just that deposition-based additive manufacturing isn't the way to do it.

        2. Don Jefe
          Meh

          Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

          Calling people out for making ad-hominem statements is a sign of insecurity.

        3. sisk Silver badge

          Re: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. "

          I'm hardly responsible for the fact criminals have always tended to be pretty dumb lazy and lack the conviction to back up the ease with which it has always been possible to improvise a ballistic weapon.

          Having seen guns made in prison, I have to say your point is not valid. Criminals are, and have been for a long, long time, quite capable of improvising projectile weapons. Frankly a prison-made 12 gauge is both deadlier and more reliable than the Liberator. Judging from the examples I saw and being somewhat familiar with 3D printing they probably take a lot less time to make to.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: Being afraid of things you don't understand is counter-productive.

        Shush!

        Having stuck their heads in the sand, the rubes were feeling much better until you posted that.

  7. SuccessCase

    So the Australian Police release a video which contradicts The Register's previous story and you are trying spin this as confirmation you were right.

    The Register wrote "Liberator: Proof that you CAN'T make a working gun in a 3D printer"

    And

    "The Liberator's bullet emerges going very slowly and wobbling or tumbling due to lack of spin. It might go almost anywhere, though not very far, and is unlikely to do much damage to anything it manages to hit."

    You arrogantly said these things based on zero real world testing and out of a science or engineering grad assessment which though not without a degree of scientific understanding, nevertheless, evidently, drew the wrong conclusion. The US and Australian police instead of spouting off, actually do the tests, and conclude, even when produced by the cheapest available 3D printer that the gun is extremely dangerous, "both to the person it is being used against and to the user."

    1. despite your twisted logic trying to support what was essentially an assertion the gun won't work, but even when produced using the cheapest printer does deliver a bullet with evident lethal force.

    2. The gun designer never hid the fact the gun could catastrophically fail. It is a proof of concept, a proof of a changed world, and he never claimed it to be a quality controlled product or to pass quality standards. There are far better printers out there which produce parts with far higher structural integrity, than the lower cost printers do.

    3. You seriously try to distract from the failed conclusion of your last article, by claiming the police are spinning the results because they have a gun control problem and want to hype the danger and the seriousness of the problem. But even if that has a modicum of logic, it is clear to anyone with even half a brain-cell, the police will be doing their level best to hype the danger to the user and focus on gun failures. But the fact that while doing that they confirm the Register was flat out wrong and confirm the damage these guns can do seems to be entirely lost on you, or perhaps you were hoping we wouldn't notice. The result is hardly the comic description of a bullet limply tumbling out the barrel given by The Register.

    The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed. The fact they are structurally dangerous and use once then throw away items is nothing when producing a gun costs 35 dollars and the users are likely to view using one as a demonstration of having balls. Using a gun is a uniquely cowardly act but using one of these is going to play right into the "gangsta" mentality where using one is spun as a uniquely brave thing to do.

    The Register yet again proves it has the worst kind of cynics belligerence and simply won't admit when it get's it wrong; which it is doing with increasing regularity.

    1. Jason Togneri
      Stop

      @ SuccessCase

      El Reg: "The Liberator's bullet emerges going very slowly and wobbling or tumbling due to lack of spin. It might go almost anywhere, though not very far, and is unlikely to do much damage to anything it manages to hit."

      You: "The point is it has now been shown these things deliver a bullet with lethal speed."

      Did you notice the range from gun to target? Trying to take out a running or hiding person, from a distance probably in meters if not tens of meters, will be significantly harder. Yes, there are a lot of things that can kill at point-blank range, including this gun. I don't think its power or its accuracy would stand up to testing at a typical gun range.

      1. 123465789
        Pint

        Re: @ SuccessCase

        Exactly my idea. At the range shown in this video, a knife or even a sharp pencil would be lethal as well. Yes, you can kill someone, if you can get close enough and your first shot hits at the right place and you are lucky enough that your gun doesn't explode. In a public place it's probably also the last thing that you'll do, because you won't have the time to reload this single-shot gun.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: a distance probably in meters if not tens of meters, will be significantly harder.

        If you are met firearms officer, surrounding one taxi, with one armed suspect, then the accuracy at a few feet results in you shooting one of your colleagues.

        So if you live in london, the chance of being accidentally shot by the police is probably a lot higher than being hit by somebody deliberately aiming at you with this weapon.

        PS

        Yes accuracy does drop off when stressed in a rapidly evolving environment., but the idea is to train to compensate that.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      Not a hivemind

      The "You can't 3D-print a gun" was written by Lewis Page, someone who's been dealing with things that go boom for quite a few years, and is able to tell about it. This one's written by Simon Sharwood, right at the other end of the globe, and essentially relates to a test by the Aus police force and their publicity. Which, from this admittedly small sample has shown that the chances of such a gun not working as intended is one in two, which not at all contradicts Lewis' assertions.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Not a hivemind

        >from this admittedly small sample has shown that the chances of such a gun not working as intended is one in two,

        Hopefully that at least might deter some would-be killers from trying to use one... until someone releases 3D printing blueprints for a really good prosthetic hand!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not a hivemind

          The one realistic scenario where I see this used is for defending a territory (your lawn, or a maffia meeting place) against intruders. If you have a printer and the plan, you can print one - but also one hundred guns. Mount them all somewhere hidden, with a remote control - now you have the firepower to deter the bravest of intruders, and, even if the gun blows up, you're not harmed.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not a hivemind

            Actually that's a good idea. Except that printing something that looks a little more like and anti-personel mine that shoots an intruder in the foot, or sprays plastic splinters when activated by a trip wire, would be even more effective. I wonder how long a live round would remain live if left in the ground in one? Presumably, in a dry climate, quite a long time. Given the level of crime paranoia in South Africa I can see a ready market.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not a hivemind

              @AC 10:05:

              Wasnt it Vietnam when they would push a bullet into the ground (face up) with something pointy behind it for that purpose?

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Unsuccessful SuccessCase

      The US and Australian police instead of spouting off, actually do the tests, and conclude, even when produced by the cheapest available 3D printer that the gun is extremely dangerous, "both to the person it is being used against and to the user."

      They also found out it was made of plastic.

      Using a gun is a uniquely cowardly act but using one of these is going to play right into the "gangsta" mentality where using one is spun as a uniquely brave thing to do.

      Not only do we have ganstas with gangsta mentality with real guns, but now we have to worry about them having plastic gun initiations, too? Shock horror.

    4. Charles Manning
      FAIL

      The real questions....

      Does this gun really put the public (ie potential victims) at increased risk? Is this really a tool of liberation that allows the oppressed masses to arm themselves against an oppressive regime?

      Or, in other words, is this really the game changing weapon that the press has made out?

      In all cases, Lewis' analysis is correct. The answer is No.

      While the gun can shoot, it is hardly an effective weapon. A knife, a pool cue, a cricket bat would all be more effective and dangerous. If someone was to attack me with murderous intent, then I would hope they choose this printed gun.

      A .380 through a proper barrel only gets to around 1000fps. Through a printed barrel it would be unlikely to get much over 200fps because the plastic cannot stand the pressure. That means a powerful slingshot is more dangerous.

      In the gun realm, it is really easy to make a zip gun that is far more lethal using just $20 of DIY tools.

      I do think it likely that the Oz police were being slightly disingenuous. If they had widened the barrel slightly, so that it would not have exploded, the bullet would have emerged far slower.

      This is not a "changed world". There are much more effective weapons that are readily available.

      What it is is a hysteria maker that all players seem to be milking for their political agendas.

  8. SuccessCase

    Agreed it is unlikely to have impressive range. Agreed the lack of effective rifling will compromise accuracy. But neither of those things is going to stop these from being used. To be able to hit someone with a bullet from ten feet will hold a mighty appeal to the cowardly Gangsta who wants to stay out of the range of a knife. That's how these will be used. They will be a knife+

    1. SuccessCase

      There were 51 gun related deaths last year in the UK as compared with 130,000 knife deaths. I think the concept of a knife+ as this 3D printed gun represents is worrying indeed. The Register has blinkers on.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        130,000 deaths last year?

        To quote from the government's knife crime statistics for 2011/2012...

        "During the year to June 2012 there were approximately 29,513 recorded offences involving knives or other sharp instruments, accounting for 7% of selected offences, a similar proportion to previous years. The number of knife offences recorded was 9% lower than in the preceding year.

        With the exception of homicide the recorded crime statistics had not previously separately identify crimes involving knives. There were 200 homicides using a sharp instrument in 2011/12, accounting for 39% of all homicides."

        Source: http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn04304.pdf

      2. hen3ry

        There really really weren't 130,000 knife deaths. For 2011/2012, there were ~200 knife deaths (House of Commons Standard Note SN/SG/4304). You are a factor of 650 out, which is quite impressive. There were 130,000 knife crimes, according to that noted devote of accurate statistics, the Daily Mail. To conflate crimes and deaths seems a bit much. All in all, your attempts to spread FUD on this are ill-advised, and, due to heightened stress, breaking down of community support structures etc, possibly more likely to lead to a greater number of premature deaths than the knives themselves, it could be argued.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @SuccessCase

        Sorry dude but no. Just no.

        The printer would be put to better use in building a knife. At least then it will work, have an accurate lethal range and be multi use. This pistol is not a viable threat. Who wants a gun that will likely blow up in your hand, have a very low accuracy and cost an excessive price?

        Guess what! I would be much more lethal just with a kitchen knife. And how easy, cheap, reliable and accurate are they?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @SuccessCase

          Why would you bother printing a knife when you can walk into a shop and buy one? most people have knives in their kitchen.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: @SuccessCase

          Can it kill at ten feet while getting past a metal detector (think a courthouse hit)? I'll work on making this plastic gun stronger and still nonmetallic (replace the firing pin and bullet).

          1. Charles Manning

            Re: @SuccessCase

            "Can it kill at ten feet while getting past a metal detector (think a courthouse hit)? I'll work on making this plastic gun stronger and still nonmetallic (replace the firing pin and bullet)."

            Why not just take a slingshot to do that courthouse hit? It is as deadly, easier to conceal, much quieter and easier to get.

      4. Pete Smith 2
        Stop

        Sure of your facts and figures there?

        51 gun deaths seems high, but may include homicide and suicide. 2010 seemed to have 27 gun homicides listed[1]

        130,000 *deaths* using knives is way too high. Approx 1900 are killed on the roads, and we have hand-wringing groups saying we drive too fast (even though the act of breaking the *posted* speed limit was only a factor in ~5% of accidents[0])

        I can't believe for a second that there are ~70x as many people killed with knives than in all road accidents.

        According to the government stats for 2011-2012, there were ~30k offences and 200 homicides.[2]

        [0] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/9273/rrcgb2011-00.pdf

        [1] http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-kingdom

        [2] http://www.parliament.uk/Templates/BriefingPapers/Pages/BPPdfDownload.aspx?bp-id=Sn04304

        1. Andy Fletcher

          Couldn't agree more

          Whether we like it or not, society makes a choice with those 5% of road deaths where speed is a contribtor. We could eliminate them completely if the speed limit was zero. We don't do it because the economic consequences would be so dire we'd kill more people (because we'd be poor). A lot more people.

          We can remove the threat of a killing with a printed gun if we like. That's not an answer for me - we'll miss out on the economic benefits of the technology.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Knives have a legitimate use. Try cutting vegetables, meat, rope, fabric, wood and other things without them.

        Guns have a single use, putting holes into people to kill or maim them. Unless you believe Hollywood and think they're also good for lock removal.

        1. Don Jefe

          Guns have many purposes beyond putting holes in people. I own an impressive array of firearms and none of them are designed for shooting people. I have two for hunting but the rest are target and trap guns. Could they be used to harm a person yes! Are they all designed for that purpose, absolutely not!

          Your irrational fear of something you do not understand speaks volumes about the state of today's extremely polarized media.

      6. Charles Manning

        Gun deaths in 2013

        "There were 51 gun related deaths last year in the UK"

        I am betting that whatever this number does in 2013, none of the deaths will be caused by a printed "gun".

        People come up with all sorts of theoretically possible bullshit, but in the real world things are not going to change.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aaaand in other news

    People call for the Constitution to be amended from "right to bear arms" to "right to bear arms, lasers and death rays" because some eejit posted how to make a pocket sized ADS unit using parts from old LCD televisions and plans off 'teh internetz, lol"...

    AC/DC

  10. Pete 2

    Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun

    All these stories about downloading the plans for a plastic gun make the (basic, and if we know anything about the internet: wrong) assumption that the plans were drawn up by someone who's intention was to create a working gun.

    We know from the internet's experience of viruses, and malware that not everyone's intentions are honourable. Sooner or later, someone is going to produce plans for a printable gun that is designed to kill or maim the user, not the intended victim. Whether that will be as stupid as shooting the bullet backwards, or something more subtle (purposely weakened parts?) is something only time will tell.

    The key point is that we should not trust stuff we download from the internet. Especially when it has the potential not just to delete some files off a PC, but to do actual, serious, physical harm to a person.

    1. SuccessCase

      Re: Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun

      The same as we shouldn't trust open source software?

      1. Pete 2

        Re: Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun

        > The same as we shouldn't trust open source software?

        You can restore files from your backup ...

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun

        >The same as we shouldn't trust open source software?

        My understanding that, is with sufficient knowledge and time, you can examine open-source software and determine that it does what it is says it will do. (though I remember a commentard once saying malicious code can be hidden - whatever, its a bit beyond me)

        To test whether plans for a physical object will perform as planned is very very hard to do virtually. It would require simulation of the explosion -high pressures and temperatures, fluid dynamics- and FMEA of the printed parts, all at the same time (mechanical properties of the parts change with temperature)... complex doesn't begin to describe it. Ultimately, you would have to 'print' a large batch and test them in the real world.

        All the simulation software I've seen come with the disclaimer - "This software is designed to reduce testing, not replace it" - ie, its aim is to rule out the more unlikely designs, so one can prototype and test the more promising designs in the real world.

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun

          "It would require simulation of the explosion -high pressures and temperatures, fluid dynamics- and FMEA of the printed parts, all at the same time (mechanical properties of the parts change with temperature)... complex doesn't begin to describe it. Ultimately, you would have to 'print' a large batch and test them in the real world."

          Even more complex considering the myriad of 3D printers around, some of which are designed to be assembled by the user without any quality control, the number of different materials used for printing, resolution and 'economy' settings on the machine, shelf life of the material and even the orientation of the model on the 3D printer platen - we're usually printing with hot plastic or liquid polymer or something similar, so the sag will vary depending on the orientation and round holes may end up not being entirely round. Many 3D printers also print a support medium (powder, soluble material or additional webbing) to fill in the gaps in a model which needs cleaning off after printing.

          I have seen the same part created from the same model data printed on two different printers and the end results looked quite different.

          It is very possible that a gun printed on one printer with a specific material, printer settings and cleaning regime and claimed to work may consistently blow your hand off if printed on another printer (or even on the same printer if the conditions are changed).

      3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: SuccessCase

        "The same as we shouldn't trust open source software?"

        More like would you trust warez downloads.

        As for open source, it also depends on the particular source and your ability (and others) to review it and decide if its good/bad/malicious or not.

        1. SuccessCase

          Re: SuccessCase

          so you don't think there is a big enough community of trust amongst the US gun lobby? Obvious jokes aside, clearly there is.

    2. despairing citizen
      Big Brother

      Re: Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun

      "Whether that will be as stupid as shooting the bullet backwards, or something more subtle (purposely weakened parts?) "

      We already have an organisation that arranges that here in the UK, it's called MOD procurement.

      The SA80's have a nasty habit of reversing the round in the breach

      and we had a 7.62 rifle that blew the breach up because they "used the wrong metal"

      and the Warrior can fire it's weapons "un-commanded", due to dodgy electrical switch, which is a bit of a bastard for the poor sod working on the deck when it goes off

      I look forward to them MOD commissioning the new light weight liberator as our next new service pistol!

      1. Don Jefe
        Boffin

        Re: Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun

        Do you have any information on the round reversal issue in the SA-80? Are you certain that's what is happening or are you perhaps mistaken about what is happening? It is practically impossible to 'reverse a round in the breach'. For that to happen there would have to be enough room between the magazine feed flange and the inside top of the receiver, room for the round to flip around. The SA80 does not have 45mm of clearance in that area, even with the bolt open. There are a lot of other reasons that scenario seems highly implausible but not enough physical room is a good indicator something is amiss in your assessment. If it is happening I would be very interested in learning more.

        As for the rest, military weapons are built to very different standards than a civilian/sporting firearm. Military weapons are designed sloppy to deal with abusive/dirty environments and be easy and inexpensive to repair/rebuild/recycle. The general low quality of military firearms (worldwide) and the massive quantities they are manufactured in guarantees regular failures. Sporting firearms are a far higher quality of weapon but the costs would be beyond the budgets of most countries.

        1. despairing citizen
          Big Brother

          Re: Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun

          "Do you have any information on the round reversal issue in the SA-80? "

          As a Range Officer I had "hands on" experience of dealing with this, fortunately for me, none of them fired the round, my colleague had one that put the percussion cap into the breach locking lugs at an angel, resulting in the round firing backwards with the breach open, fortunately it was the far right lane, and there was no safety coach next to that firer. Firer somewhat shaken aprently, but no injury (obviously a good kama day)

          " It is practically impossible to 'reverse a round in the breach'."

          Not if you have a F**Ked up design. The SA80 was originally designed to take a high powered case, not 5.56x45, due to the rush to give RO a contract prior to privatisation, they slapped a 5.56 AR mechanism in, the long breach combined with crap magazine springs gives it the ability to reverse, and account for a goodly proportion of the jams. Answer use good quality mags to reduce this risk.

          (PS it is also good at hiding rounds in there, hence the 7 point check on the unload)

          " Sporting firearms are a far higher quality of weapon but the costs would be beyond the budgets of most countries."

          Unfortunately the SA80 family is both expensive and badly built, civilian competition ammo is also cheaper than the junk they make at Radway Green (which at one point had a natsy habit of turning out rounds that on occasion had only having enougth propellant to get the bullet halfway down the barrel, you recocked and fired, assuming it a jam, and put a full powered round in behind it!)

          Given the quantity of repair work the armourers went through to keep the damn things operationally (sort of), the service life cost was probably even higher than the original unit costs.

          I understand from contacts that the weapon has been practically rebuilt since the 90', so some of this should have been adressed, but I personally didn't like the risks MOD(PE) put me and the people in my command at, this crap should have been fixed before going in service.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Wait for the first "hacked" printable gun

            ".....The SA80 was originally designed to take a high powered case, not 5.56x45....." The SA80 family are based on the Armalite AR-18 mechanism, designed to fire 5.56mm, and the original 4.85x49 was designed around the Yanks' 5.56mm round as used in the M-16A1, the MoD having predicted that the so-called NATO rifle ammo trials would be little more than a rubber stamping exercise for the 5.56mm design. Right from the start the SA80 was designed from the viewpoint that it would be more likely to end up firing 5.56mm M193 rounds.

            "......the junk they make at Radway Green......" Never had a problem with the old ROF 7.62x51, but then maybe changing times mean changing quality. I haven't fired much Radway Green manufactured 5.56mm so I'll have to take your word on its quality. People I know who have fired plenty of it in HK A2s don't seem to have complaints, though, but then the HK A2 upgrade of the SA80s did seem to kill a lot of the old complaints.

  11. tkioz
    FAIL

    It's always interesting to see the law trying to catch up with technology. Sure the current gen printed guns are pretty pathetic, but just give it a while for 3D printing to become more and more mainstream and the technology to mature.

    I'm thinking they'll try and put 'report home' software on them, so the government can be sure you're not 'hurting yourself'.

  12. DrXym Silver badge

    Hardly surprising

    The person most likely to be killed by this things are the idiots firing them. Either because the thing blows up in their hands, or because they put it to their own heads. Next in the literal firing line would be their kids and family. Kids especially will no doubt be itching to try out daddy's new lego gun.

    Way down the list would be people like burglars and rapists who would likely will spare the owner the trouble of fiddling to reload for a second shot after the first missed by stabbing or shooting them with their proper weapon.

  13. splatt

    Australia's largest state?

    By what measurement, exactly? Number of pub glassings? Certainly not by size, as out of 6 states it's the 5th largest...

    Typical bloody self-centric Sydney-side thinking.

    Oh, yeah and to the NSW cops: typical bloody alarmist powergrabbing rubbish.

    1. Alan 6

      Re: Australia's largest state?

      It is largest by Population though...

    2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)
      Meh

      Re: Australia's largest state?

      Fair call. Changed to "most populous".

  14. P Saunders

    by that logic

    so is the combination of a nail, a metal tube and a piece of wood.

  15. M Gale

    OH GOD OH NO WIBBLE WIBBLE PANIC

    Fuxache, I could make something less likely to blow up with a bit of metal pipe and a hammer.

    But hey, this is using them magic computer things, which makes it worse, no?

  16. Ian 49
    Facepalm

    130,000 knife DEATHS in the UK, SuccessCase? Really? Evidence please.

    "NHS data suggests there were 4,490 people admitted to English hospitals in 2011/12 due to assault by a sharp object. The lowest level since 2002/03."

    http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/Sn04304

    In 2003, according to a news article found on the same quick search to check, found 332 knife deaths in that year. As the source was a campaign piece in The Sun, however, that's less than authoritative. In context, however, they are most likely to over-, not under-report the numbers.

    1. Chris Miller

      130,000 is clearly a nonsense number, as a quick arithmetical check will show. Population of the UK: ~70,000,000; UK life expectancy: a bit over 80; so we would expect* no more than a million deaths a year from all causes in the UK. 130,000 implies that 1 in 8 deaths are caused by knives, which is clearly ridiculous. It sound like a huge overstatement even of the global deaths from knives, being about 0.1% of the gross global mortality.

      * Assuming some reasonable age distribution. It's possible to construct extreme examples for which the approximation fails (such as a drastic war that has wiped out half the males between 20-40, or a massive baby boom), but they don't represent the modern UK.

  17. Gordon Pryra

    Why are the Yanks scared about this?

    Is it because the NRA don't get a cut of its sales?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Why are the Yanks scared about this?

      At least Michael Moore will be able to do a movie with spiritually unlifiting background music about this.

  18. ElNumbre
    Holmes

    Bullets

    I'm not too worried until they can also print 3D bullets. Or have I just not found that aisle in Tesco yet?

    As Chris Rock once said, you don't need gun control; you just need bullet control. Make bullets cost £5k each and people will really thing before shooting you!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Bullets

      I didn't know there was a large red button that makes bullets cost £5k each?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @2:02

    I thought the liberator design was for .22 rimshot rounds?

    That casing looks a bigger than a .22 rimshot casing to me.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: @2:02

      Rim fire is the term. Rim shot is for basketball or a sex act.

      At any rate standard .22LR caliber round (the most common) generates more case pressure than large caliber center fire rounds so the integrity of the chamber in the firearm is even more critical.

    2. Charles Manning

      Re: @2:02

      It is designed for a .380.

      That is easier to design for than a .22 rimfire (bigger, therefore less tolerance issues.

      A .380 also carries a lot more clout than a .22 and develops about the same chamber pressure. This is an important consideration because chamber pressure is a major constraint of anything build in 3D plastic.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While it's true that 3D printing is in its infancy and materials science may improve to the point where it is possible to print a gun that doesn't blow up in your hand, I think this is all just so much hot air.

    As has been shown time and again, you don't need guns to kill. And if you do need a gun for some reason, there are so many already available - even in the UK where we have very restrictive gun control - that there's no real reason to make your own.

    The tragic events in both Boston and Woolich show that a determined maniac can and will cause harm even without the use of a gun.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is the point though. A determined nutter can do anything, but their actions will often be detected due to their Internet searches, purchases and their communications generally.

      Buying a 3D printer isn't really going to immediately cause the intelligence people to start a file on you and if a friend hands you the plans to the gun or it is somehow disguised as something else then it makes you less detectable.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Yes, I'm happy to live in a world where the intelligence people check my Internet searches, purchases and my communications generally but where buying a plastic printer falls through the cracks. Whew!

  21. Haku
    Holmes

    Wait a mo, the police are warning the public that devices designed to fire bullets are lethal?

  22. Maharg
    Facepalm

    Fail

    Talking about overpriced ineffective bits of tech being used for a job when much better alternatives are readily available at a cheaper price…

    …at 0.55, is he using an iPhone to film that?

  23. Magnus_Pym

    Thin end of the wedge anyone.

    A lot of people appear to be saying that although this doesn't actually work and is too expensive to produce. It become an unstoppable threat in the future.

    Don't worry, by the time the technology matures* we will probably have been wiped out by one of the million other things that are actual threats rather than perceived ones. Flood, fire plague, famine etc.

    * next week?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A different concern?

    Perhaps the governmental worry has more to do with the guns being made of plastic (and so not as obvious on airport X-rays, metal detectors, etc) than with the technology to make them being available to the unskilled public.

    That being said, if I wanted to kill or maim someone in an area "protected" by technology that makes it hard for me to get a metal weapon in, I could do a more reliable job of it (and more safely for myself) with my bare hands (and some of the "last resort" krav maga combat actions) than with an amateur-produced firearm.

    And if you're not trained in hand-to-hand fighting of any kind, and really want to use a plastic weapon, there's a much simpler device widely available from hardware stores, costing about 30p. (I won't name it here, as I'd feel guilty if I gave someone the idea of using it that way.)

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: A different concern?

      Or maybe pay one of the less-than minimum wage cleaning staff (who have all been so thoroughly vetted - riiiiiight) to stash a real gun somewhere you can get to it once you've passed through the security station.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: A different concern?

        > Perhaps the governmental worry has more to do with the guns being made of plastic...

        Right, anyone old enough to remember the media panic when the "plastic gun" by Glock came out? UNDETECTABLE IN AIRPORTS, ZOMG!!

  25. Tom 11

    OMG everyones printing guns and killing each other!!

    But not one comment on here mentions the availability of ammunition for said weapons. If you have access to black market ammo, then you have access to weaponry as well. As long as ammo is as controlled as weaponry then I cannot see why anyone making of these is any more dangerous than they were before, because if they can get ammo, then they could purchase guns.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would it be liberating for everyone to have nuclear weapons?

    Imagine that, nobody would ever disagree with you again. You would be able to make a threat of ending the world.

    We'd even have to agree with Eadon-g.

    1. Graham Dawson

      The plans for nuclear weapons are available on the internet, the materials are generally easily sourced and you can manufacture a crude but functional nuke for next to nothing.

      ... provided you have access to some uranium.

      Sit and think about it for a moment and you'll realise that freedom of information doesn't automatically translate into threat.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        The major difference, though, is the second you go out and try and buy some uranium you're going to pop up on someone's radar.

        The security services would be incredibly busy if the same were true of ammo. You could also manufacture your own ammo (likely making the liberator even more dangerous - to the shooter)

  27. James Hughes 1

    Seems to me

    that the liberator designer is too stuck in the rut of gun design. Why make a gun look like a gun, why not make something that still uses a bullet* and firing pin, but that is designed to be made, much more solidly, in a 3D printer.

    Whichever, as the tech and the designs improves (and they both will, that's the way of the world), this probably will become a problem, even if it isn't at the moment.

    *Yes, you still need a bullet. But for how long?

    1. Pete 2

      Re: Seems to me

      > Why make a gun look like a gun

      Because the greatest power that a gun has is that people recognise it as dangerous and the owners hope that they will get respect as a consequence. [ Though it's worth noting that gun owners never get respect, they only ever get fear - which they like to kid themselves is the same thing. ]

      If you made a bullet firing device that was accurate, deadly, but looked like something else: a teapot for example, it wouldn't have the same effect, as your intended victims would only laugh at you. To demonstrate what a "man" you were, you'd actually have to shoot someone, which although is the only purpose of a gun, mostly defeats the purpose of carrying - which is to intimidate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems to me

        "which they like to kid themselves is the same thing."

        Upvoted for truth, and not just people who like to wave guns about. Violent arseholes in general.

        There's a few people that used to terrorise me and others as kids growing up. These days? Hah. I think the first time I flew at one of them, he shat a fucking brick. He's strangely friendly with me these days. Arsehole.

        AC because I'm not an Internet Hard Man.

    2. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Seems to me

      Guns look like guns because it is the simplest form that meets all the criteria to be safely and effectively used by a Human. There really isn't anything left to strip away or change in a firearm to improve the overall form. There aren't many things that have been studied with an eye towards improvement more than firearms.

      Essentially a firearm is a barrel with a handle on it. If it was just a tube it would be forced from your hands upon firing, assuming it didn't become too hot to hold. If you look at canon on aircraft it is 'just' a tube but is bolted to the airframe for the same reasons small arms have handles. Firearms are an excellent study in functional minimalism.

  28. haloburn

    Some people are worried that these will be used on planes, when did shell casings become plastic? I’ll be worried when you can print your own bullets to go with the guns. Come to mention it, why not just let people have the guns they want and regulate bullets and their sales.

  29. Tom 7 Silver badge

    If I was making a police video for this

    I would use the sort of shit plastic that consumer items are made of to put off people trying it.

    If I was a lunatic I would use something better - like cascamite or one of those glues that used to work but no longer seem to.

    I might even modify the design so the barrel is thicker - no need for it to be so thin is there?

    1. Stevie Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: If I was making a police video for this

      You *do* know that for home printing there is a grand total of two types of plastic that can be piped through a printers print head, don't you? You don't have infinite choice of what your weedwhacker wire is made from, you must choose from the two (PLA and ABS if I remember correctly and you must use a different print head for each type).

      Neither of these is ideal for anything that will undergo sudden excursions of pressure and temperature in a small printed space.

      Indeed, neither is particularly suitable for anything arduous, which is why people in industry (where they have a much wider range of printing materials) refer to the field of 3d printing as a rapid prototyping technology, good for making models for people to look at and fondle, good for making patterns for other processes, but not typically useful for production items (unless you are making little plastic robots and even then Injection Moulding is faster, cheaper, better).

      This particular gun was *supposed* to work when printed from one of those two materials. It doesn't, as anyone with half a brain could have predicted, and is probably the slowest, most expensive way of improvising a dangerous-to-the-user weapon ever invented. One might use the phrase "F*cktard Design" if one hadn't already done so days before.

      1. FutureShock999

        Re: If I was making a police video for this

        Bravo, well said.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution really...

    In the same way that the media companies salt the piracy networks with bad files, the government firearm agencies need only to salt the on-line repositories of the 3D files with versions of the so-called gun where the bullet is aimed backwards.

    The typical individual that would think that the 3D printing of a so-called firearm in crappy plastic is a good idea is obviously too stupid to notice which way the bullet is aimed.

    The only flaw in this idea is the very low odds of actually hitting their pea-sized brain inside their thick skulls.

  31. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    So once again we focus on this stupidly idiotic zip gun (as in: making a zip gun out of black pipe the traditional way is faster and results in a sturdier yet no-less useless weapon) instead of the real threat looming on the horizon: The GPS guided, googletech cruise missile self-steering car.

    My god what a blindsiding bum steer this f*cking 3d printagun issue is becoming.

    If any indicator as to the absolute uselessness of the so-called weapon and the emasculated nature of the so-called threat it poses were to be taken as definitive, the fact that the politicians are all over the issue should sound earsplitting bullshit sirens loud and clear in everyone's ears.

  32. MJA
    Facepalm

    Oh the potential for laughs.

    I saw comments somewhere about one day being able to 'download the design and print your own gun at home'.

    I then had a funny image of one of those really dumb criminals (the type that colours their face in with a marker pen as a disguise), running into a grocery store holding an A4 sheet of paper with the outline of a gun printed on it, attempting to rob the place.

  33. Alistair Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    3d printer weapon issues..

    Printable GUN :

    perspective 1:

    Anyone can print a gun and go out and shoot people!

    perspective 2:

    Millions will DIE!

    perspective 3:

    Most of them will be the ones firing the damn gun.

    perspective 4:

    Criminals will be able to shoot MORE people.

    Although any or all of these could be correct, given either more life cycle on the 3d printer development front or better materials on the 3d printer front, what catches my eye is that all of them lean to the point that a 3d printable gun is going to CHANGE the statistics on violence in some way.

    Humans are humans. Those that are going to engage in violence are going to engage in violence. I'm not seeing that this is going to change the overall statistics of violence or violently inclined individuals. Equally, stupid people are stupid people. Those that will download and assemble this and blow off their fingers are just as likely to blow off their fingers standing around a car park after a pub crawl firing off a 2" diameter firework whilst holding it in a hand.

    Where it has SOME engagement on the curve of statistics is solely in the scope of detection -- it *could* be conceivable to get a weapon so made past a metal detector. The simple fact of the matter is that the same can be said of an equally 3d printed plastic knife. Or even certain objects I have in my shed in the back garden.

    The only **real** risk is in taking this **currently** nonviable projectile weapon on an aircraft. I would posit that it might not be 100% catastrophically dangerous on an aircraft, but it certainly stands a chance of puncturing some critical surface, either with the projectile or the shattered bits of plastic as it self destructs. In most other applications realistic level of usefulness is so low as to not be a critical issue, and there are far more effective and reliable alternatives easily available already.

    I suppose that those that are so vocally against this object firmly believe that the presence of such a thing will change the nature of the humans that are exposed to its existence. The only other reasons for the vociferous responses would be that the thing is reasonably dangerous to the operator, and the somewhat questionable possibility of getting this pattern into a 3d printer that does either metal or some form of alloy printing.

    Now, getting this into a (a quick glance at a reseller listing for one) $300,000 industrial metal 3d printer might make it *close* to usable, but it voids the metal detector avoidance. And considering the cost of a manufactured gun, the act is effectively pointless. *(basing the "close" to useful on the metallic types that 3d printer can work with)*

    Now. Can we put the lid on the teapot? Perhaps the tempest can die down for the weekend. It is Friday after all.

  34. BornToWin

    Two fold safety risk

    The first possible safety risk is if the gun is actually able to fire. The second risk is if the bullet does fire, then the gun is certain to explode injuring any damn fool dumb enough to try and fire this form of 3D gun.

  35. ecofeco Silver badge
    Trollface

    Well ya see

    It's plastic, innit?

  36. SirDigalot

    It's just a flesh wound!

    nothing that a bit of gaffa tape and or some bailing wire cannot fix! (before firing) though the gaffa tape might be handy to reattach fingers if you get it in the wrong order!

  37. Vector
    Facepalm

    It's not the current design that counts.

    I'm amazed at the absolute shortsightedness in most of these comments. Yes, the Liberator is a piece of crap. Yes, using one is probably as likely to maim or kill the user as the target. The point is not the general utility of this particular design but, rather, that it has any utility at all. It seems most everyone looks at this thing, focuses on the fact that it barely works and comes to the conclusion that there is no danger.

    The danger is not in this design, it's in the proof of concept.

    Let's look for a moment at the parallel in 2D printing. When I first got into the "microcomputer" revolution, we had two choices for printing: dot matrix or daisy wheel. One could type out a letter that looked like a typist had done it but couldn't do any graphics, the other could do primative graphics, but the overall quality was so poor that it was really only good for utilitarian reports. Thirty years on, all our currency has to have multiple security features, because you can print a passable facsimile on a printer that you can buy for less than $100.

    You can look at this and say "what a piece of crap," but you're ignoring the potential in doing so. The fact that it can be done means that it will be done and done better as time goes by.

    1. Charles Manning

      No it is the hysteria that counts

      People can make far more effective weapons using a few $ of DIY supplies or even a slingshot. The maker of this thing knew that. It had to be something that looked a bit like a gun to get the media's collective panties knotted.

      The whole purpose of this printed gun was not to make an effective firearm - or even take steps along that road. It was to create some hysteria and promote a second amendment issue to a first amendment issue (ie from right to carry arms to the right of free speech).

      That seriously fucks with the heads of most of the anti-gun crowd who tend to be very pro freedom of speech.

      To use your printing cash analogy, this is like arguing about the threat of printed money when the ability to make gold from lead (eg. zip guns and other far more effective weapons) is already well known.

      The real danger is that people see this as a step-change in the dangers to society. Regulate 3D printers etc and the streets are fine. Sorry, it just isn't so.

      Politicians love shit like this because non-critical thinkers get wound up and the politicians can heat the air about bollocks like this instead of attend to *real* issues which are just a lot harder to deal with.

      1. Vector

        Re: No it is the hysteria that counts

        "To use your printing cash analogy, this is like arguing about the threat of printed money when the ability to make gold from lead (eg. zip guns and other far more effective weapons) is already well known."

        That's an interesting point, but I'd have to say that I don't know how to turn lead into gold, but I sure know how to use a scanner to scan a dollar bill and a printer to print the scan. To make a better parallel to the point at hand, I can sure download a nicely formatted scan of a dollar bill and print it out.

        You say these things are well-known. I'll give you well-documented but I think well-known is pushing things a bit.

        Is there a bit of hysteria in the media hype? Most certainly. That doesn't diminish the fact that this is a new issue that needs to be examined rather than being ignored because the technology is not mature yet.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plastic is just the start, this is anti-fragile evolution, so fragile statist opposition is futile.

    Thermo-softening Plastic is fine for some items, but silly for use with hot gasses and pressure shock. The problem maybe solved if low cost 3D printers can be retrofitted with extra head(s), so that heat hardened material like thermo-hardening plastics, ceramic slurry or metal slurry could also be printed inside, at the same time, with the Thermo-softening Plastic possibly acting as a sacrificial mold, so that the core material can be heat finished to produce much tougher items (so no shattering); it may even be possible to use a Laser to finish the material in-place, as you go; possible hot laser sources include laser diode write heads from Blu-ray burners and laser assemblies from 2D laser cutters. Probably the printer assembly bed would need to be some kind of ceramic sheet to not be burned by any extra heat from heat finishing.

    I know how very strong ceramics can be, because I researched Zirconia before I decided to get Zirconia crowns (harder than metal core ones!); this is normally milled in a softer form, then heated at a higher temperature; however I wonder if it could be precision 3D sacrificial molded to skip the milling stage, it's then just a matter of finding a hot enough oven.

  39. collinsl
    FAIL

    Plastic guns are all very well, better if they fragment on shooting, but where is the actual threat?

    They can't be used on aeroplanes etc as it would be hard/impossible to smuggle ammunition, and without ammunition they are just lumps of plastic with a nail in.

    And you can buy a proper, multi-round gun on the black market for £50-100 rather than spending £2000 in polymer (or whatever) so why bother at all?

    1. Vector

      " Plastic guns are all very well, better if they fragment on shooting, but where is the actual threat?"

      Well, for a start, how about all those mentally unstable folks who can't get access to a regular firearm?

      This is not just about getting guns on to airplanes (although I think smuggling ammo on to a plane might be easier than we assume).

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Well, for a start, how about all those mentally unstable folks who can't get access to a regular firearm?

        So, you're saying 3D-printed guns are a problem because they enable the set of attackers who are:

        - "mentally unstable"

        - wish to obtain a firearm

        - inclined to use said firearm

        - not inclined to use any of the large number of equally- or more-effective alternative weapons and instruments of general mayhem at their disposal

        - legally prohibited from obtaining a firearm

        - effectively prevented by said prohibitions from legally obtaining a firearm

        - for some reason incapable of obtaining a firearm through any of several illegal means, such as borrowing one, stealing one, purchasing one on the black market, etc

        - have access to a sufficiently-capable 3D printer

        - able to find and use instructions for printing gun parts

        - able to assemble resulting parts into gun

        - capable of obtaining, through legal means or otherwise, ammunition

        Yes, that's a group I'll be on the lookout for, as soon as I complete my werewolf defense measures.

        This is not just about getting guns on to airplanes

        It's not "about getting guns on to [sic] airplanes" at all, for anyone capable of critical thought. There are many more-effective weapons you can legally carry onto airplanes in every country I know of, to say nothing of the illegal ones that are easier to sneak on board. Worrying about how plastic guns affect air safety is approximately as reasonable as worrying about how they affect jousting.

  40. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Boffin

    Why not bake the gun

    You do realize that making a ceramic gun has been around for a long time and would survive more than 10 rounds...

    I guess building a proper kiln is harder...

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Why not bake the gun

      Here's the thought: use the 3D printer to make a MOLD, then CAST the gun parts from it, harden as appropriate (bake ceramic, use chemical hardener for plastics, etc.). Nice part is that you can probably make more than one set of parts from one set of molds.

      As for a nonmetallic bullet, use stone or ceramic (and yes, you can make them hard enough to withstand firing—once upon a time we used stones for cannonballs). And what about carbon fiber for the casing? They use that in place of aluminum in aircraft, so it must be flexible.

      1. Don Jefe
        Stop

        Re: Why not bake the gun

        A bullet is soft because it is larger in diameter than the inside of the barrel. The pressure generated in the case & chamber forces the bullet through the barrel where the rifling in the barrel cuts grooves into the bullet, allowing a seal to be maintained until the bullet exits the chamber. If a bullet is made from a very hard material (like ceramic) you have two options (three really but the third is just stupid):

        Make the internal diameter of the barrel larger than the projectile and use a soft wadding to maintain the pressure seal (this is how old guns work).

        Or use lots of very small projectiles through an oversized barrel followed by a soft wadding to maintain a pressure seal (this is how shotguns work).

        Both options lead to poor projectile speed, due to pressure loss, and in the shotgun example you have to overpower the load to achieve reasonable speed for the multiple small projectiles so the firearm itself has to be overbuilt to withstand the pressure generated by the round. A printed gun would have to be enoumous in order not to explode.

        The third option is to have a soft barrel. This will work for maybe a few rounds but you'll experience rapidly reduced pressure and accuracy as the barrel changes shape from exposure to simultaneous heat and mechanical friction; The terminal cancer of plastics... Before enough rounds can be fired to (statistically) hit anyone the barrel will likely deform to the point the bullet becomes lodged within & the gun explodes.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Why not bake the gun

          Strikes me that option 3 might still give a better chance than the liberator currently appears to.

          1. Don Jefe
            Happy

            Re: Why not bake the gun

            'Option 3' is what the Liberator is fundamentally doing with the exception that it fires a standard bullet which is nice and soft compared to say a ceramic bullet from the example. The soft (and short) barrel is what's responsible for the terrible accuracy & velocity of rounds fired from the Liberator.

            A bullet without a barrel is still dangerous but its potential is severely limited without a place to build speed under pressure. Within reason, the longer a barrel is the higher the velocity obtained by the projectile. In effect, the Liberator is about as close to firing a bullet without a gun as you can get.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Why not bake the gun

              So you make a quick-replace barrel. Variation on the Derringer.

  41. WereWoof
    Black Helicopters

    When did?

    When did things change from government requiring everyone to practice archery, to government being terrified of private arms ownership? Or is it just that in UK government wishes to control (and tax) EVERYTHING? (For once I actually agree with Eadon *Faints*).

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: When did?

      When the enemy within became worse than the enemy without. That's when. America was founded on the premise of enemy within (they just broke away from a government—they didn't trust government). That's why it's government and Constitution are structured the way they are.

    2. Malmesbury

      Re: When did?

      Mind you, back then, when they made archery - with specified military grade arrows and bows - compulsory, they banned football.

      Too dangerous, apparently..... Seriously, football was then a two sided riot for possession of the ball. Deaths were common. No, wait....

      Wonder what happens when the first time someone uses a coil gun for Bad Things?

  42. Richard Scratcher
    Childcatcher

    3D gun?

    From the video:

    "...allowed people to, get access to, CAD material that would allow people to print their own 3D gun."

    Yeah, but imagine if people could print their own 2D gun, now that would be scary. Or a maybe a 4D gun that could shoot at you from another dimension.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: 3D gun?

      Hi, Cave Johnson here. In the next test will have you fire our new 4-D gun. That's right, 4-D! You may have heard about that 3-D plastic gun printing business from the papers. Caused quite a ruckus over last summer's silly season. Well, at Aperture Science we have got one better and increased the dimensionality by a full 33.33%. Now you can fire a gun and the bullet will go back in time and actually hit your own backside. Please don't pay attention to the gore in the waiting hall. There were some testers to whom the aforementioned actually happened.

      1. Old Handle
        Coat

        Re: 3D gun?

        A 4-D gun would be a 3-D gun that persists through time. They're still working on that part.

  43. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    SOMETHING DOES SOMETHING AND WE NEED A LAW AGAINST THAT!

    Cost to taxpayer: ~ a few million bucks while actual problems stay unsolved and the legal system is clogged up.

    Advantage: Securocrats get a free platform, bureaucrats justify paycheck, legal profession justifies paycheck, journos pumping the dross justify paycheck, old ladies sipping earl grey feel securer-er.

    Effects: nil

    Rinse, repeat.

  44. G_O_D

    until they make undetectable bullets, I am not going to worry too much.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      How does a ceramic/stone bullet in a carbon fiber casing sound? No metal in sight.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        FUND IT!

  45. csmac3144

    Fear and loathing in the UK

    I've lived in US states where there is next to no restriction on owning and carrying handguns (Vermont, Kentucky) and I've travelled a fair bit in the UK. The UK is hands-down far more dangerous on average than the vast majority of the US (places like Detroit and Baltimore being obvious, extreme exceptions). In Vermont anyone can pack a .357 Magnum, yet the violent crime rate is vanishingly small.

    You Europeans go from one extreme to the other: from insane bloodbath mass warfare to pansy-ass "ooh, guns are so scary!" in half a century. Even it out, mate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fear and loathing in the UK

      Oh, do come off it. Kentucky is a bit like rural Somerset or Devon, and they are not far more dangerous. Overall crime rates in the US and the UK are similar but there are far more gun deaths in the US, and far more road deaths per vehicle mile. The correlation is obvious to anybody; the American obsession with guns and fast cars results directly in more gun and road deaths.

      You only have to look at the Woolwich murder. The knife carrying criminals were confronted by a young woman and the public stood around photographing them. In the US, they'd have used semi automatic weapons and all of those passersby would have been killed.

  46. JMB

    Just hack the design so there are copies out there with deliberate errors to make it fail like the one illustrated.

    Unfortunately there are nuts out there prepared to take the risk.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Aren't the genuine plans signed with a hash? AFAIK, not even the music companies have had much success poisoning file-sharing networks with files that have hashes matching those of the originals, and poison files with unique signatures can be quickly ratted out (eMule, for example, has a reputation system).

  47. Juan Inamillion
    Alien

    Never mind Eadon...

    ...Whatever happened to manfrommars...?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never mind Eadon...

      He went home, to see that new thing NASA sent there.

  48. Rhiakath Flanders
    Unhappy

    Sometimes, i hate humanity...

    I just don't understand why people are so stupid that instead of creating something useful, that pushes us in the right direction, there are still some freaking dudes that only want to create guns. Honestly. Why? Why on earth, does someone spend their free time creating something that it's only purpose is to hurt one another?

    one could say hunting, for regular weapons. ( although i don't believe it ). But for this??? The only upside to this, is knowing that whoever fires this piece of shit is going to be left without at least a hand. But they ARE going to hurt someone else.

    Am I supposed to feel safe now?

    There are two possibilities.

    Some people feel safer knowing no-one has access to firearms.

    Some people feel safer knowing everybody (mainly themselves) has access to fire-arms.

    I, for one, am amongst the first group. This is not the wild west anymore. You can just see the result for yourselves looking at american paranoia with their firearms. It's legal to have them, yes. Everybody carries them, as if it's nothing, yes. they DO have one of the highest criminal ratings, yes.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Rhiakath Flanders Re: Sometimes, i hate humanity...

      ".....It's legal to have them, yes. Everybody carries them, as if it's nothing, yes. they DO have one of the highest criminal ratings, yes." Firstly, the areas with the highest crime rates in the States are actually the ones with the most restrictive gun laws.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/05/14/disarming-realities-as-gun-sales-soar-gun-crimes-plummet/

      Indeed, just because guns are available in an area does not make it any more likely to be a high gun-crime locale (for example, Beverley Hills has its own famous gun club). More important factors are those hot potatos politicians don't really like talking about, such as lack of employment, number of graduates, number of absentee fathers, local attitude to drug use, etc., etc.

      http://news.yahoo.com/strict-gun-laws-really-stop-gun-crime-030423815.html

      Secondly, banning handguns in the UK did SFA for the crime figures as criminals simply don't follow the laws, so only law-abiding citizens gave up their guns. But thanks for mindlessly dribbling the standard anti-gun mantra.

  49. jezbod

    As mentioned earlier about NZ

    Some one mentioned about the lower rate of gun crime in NZ.

    Wonder if this is partly due to the need to have training and pass a written exam before you can even buy ammo, never mind a gun....

    A relative of mine in NZ is ex-British Army, Territorial Army and Reservist (20+ years in total) and still had to attend the training at a gun club. He now teaches them how to target shoot.

    There will be a black market for guns in NZ (Motorbike gangs for one), but there are just less of them.

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