back to article 'First' 3D-printed rifle's barrel splits after single shot

3D-printed weapons are back in the news, after a rifle billed as the first such device designed to be created on 3D printers was put through its paces with mixed results. Someone called “Matthew” who writes an instrument making journal and runs a YouTube Channel in which he shows off 3D-printed ukuleles yesterday added a video …

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  1. taxman
    Headmaster

    One up the spout!

    'Igniting a bullet's' what?

    1. Adam-the-Kiwi

      Re: One up the spout!

      Pendantic grammar nazi fail:

      "igniting a bullet's" is a shortening of "igniting a bullet is".

      1. SiempreTuna

        Re: One up the spout!

        "igniting a bullet's" is a shortening of "igniting a bullet is".

        Err .. so "Adam's mistake" actually mean that Adam is a mistake ..?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. jzlondon
          Boffin

          Re: One up the spout!

          No, that would be "Adam's a mistake". The particle "a" is required.

          "Adam's mistake" is short for "The mistake of Adam." This is a possessive apostrophe.

          "Adam's a mistake" is short for "Adam is a mistake." This is a contraction apostrophe.

          "Igniting a bullet's not the hard part.." is a contraction. The 's is a contraction of "is".

          "Igniting a bullet's charge", which is not in the article, would be a possessive apostrophe.

          I'm assuming you're a non-native speaker?

          1. Badvok

            Re: One up the spout!

            "I'm assuming you're a non-native speaker?"

            Even many native speakers of English do not understand the correct use of the apostrophe. I was actually taught that contractions should always be avoided in written English (except within quote marks) to avoid confusion.

            1. Squander Two

              "Contractions should always be avoided in written English."

              With respect, you were taught by an eejit, then. The idea of a strict separation between the spoken and written versions of a language is not popular in English, where our writers have a long history of trying to capture the way people actually speak (Dickens, Puzo, O'Brian, Pratchett, Austen). We're not like the French, with their bloody past historic.

              1. Lallabalalla

                Re: "Contractions should always be avoided in written English."

                So, that would be in quotes then.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: trying to capture the way people actually speak

                Unt I hait evry won of zem evry time zey pool zat fooking sheite!

                1. Squander Two
                  Devil

                  "Unt I hait evry won of zem evry time zey pool zat fooking sheite!"

                  Who's that your impersonation of? Austen or Dickens?

              3. Potemkine Silver badge
                Mushroom

                Re: "Contractions should always be avoided in written English."

                Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

            2. Muckminded

              Re: One up the spout!

              "Even many native speakers of English do not understand the correct use of..."

              Living in the US, that sentence could have ended with any number of other items the nativists don't understand.

            3. jzlondon

              Re: One up the spout!

              You were taught incorrectly. Contraction is perfectly acceptable in written English. Formality of writing is a sliding scale, but this article was written in a jovial, informal style. The contraction was perfectly placed.

          2. Purlieu

            Re: One up the spout!

            INDEFINITE ARTICLE not PARTICLE

            this gets better

          3. Someone Else Silver badge
            Alert

            C'mon you guys...

            Everybody knows that the apostrophe is the pedantic warning that an 's' is to follow immediately. Forewarned is forearmed, you know...

            (Did you really miss the implicit <sarcasm> tag...?)

            1. Lallabalalla

              Re: C'mon you guys...

              Everybody knows that the apostrophe is the pedantic warning that an 's' is to follow immediately.

              #Unless its your friends' apostrophes

          4. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: One up the spout!

            Perhaps he's a grocer?

            The one with the amusing book about pandas in the pocket.

        3. Adam-the-Kiwi
          Facepalm

          Re: One up the spout!

          > Err .. so "Adam's mistake" actually mean that Adam is a mistake ..?

          Did you RTFA?

          "igniting a bullet's not the hard part" is a shortening of "igniting the bullet is not the hard part" (ignoring the obvious problem that igniting a bullet is actually an extremely difficult undertaking).

          2 grammar nazi fails in one comments section!

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: One up the spout!

            "2 grammar nazi fails in one comments section!"

            Ah, if only they could of agreed on there apostrophe's...

            1. Lallabalalla
              Boffin

              Punctuation nazi!

              Actually punctuation is not grammar.

              Grammar is the set of structural rules that governs the composition of clauses, phrases and words in any given natural language.

              Punctuation marks are symbols that indicate the structure and organization of written language (as well as intonation and pauses to be observed when reading aloud.)

              So there.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Punctuation nazi!

                "the structure and organization of [...] language" - there's a name for that. Isn't it "grammar"?

                1. Lallabalalla
                  Headmaster

                  Re: Punctuation nazi!

                  No:

                  Punctuation marks indicate the structure and organization of written language (as well as intonation and pauses to be observed when reading aloud.)

                  Grammar is the set of structural rules that governs the composition of clauses, phrases and words in any given natural language.

                  Downvote that which you don't understand all you like: it doesn't make you right.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Headmaster

              Re: One up the spout!

              there apostrophe's...

              Their apostrophe's...

              Christ on an AT-AT.......

              Adding fuel to the fire...

              NB If intent was sarcasm accept appypolly loggys...

              1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                Re: One up the spout!

                Gotcha... Their was more, though... ;-)

      2. markw:

        Re: One up the spout!

        Igniting a bullet is impossible. Firing a round is possible but very dangerous no matter where you position yourself relative to the barrel.

        Isn't getting a metal pipe from the hardware shop more effective than printing a plastics (and plastic) barrel?

        Which is more dangerous a disintegrating plastics or metal barrel?

      3. Steve I
        Go

        Re: One up the spout!

        </YODA Mmmm, observant you are... />

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Man with the Golden Gun

      Simple, print out a modular design, ciggie box, lighter, pen.

      Problem solved.

  2. ChrisM

    Two things are going on, thermal and physical shock. Both of which would be difficult to engineer with plastics.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Two things are going on, thermal and physical shock. Both of which would be difficult to engineer with plastics.

      Neither are particularly difficult to engineer with "modern" plastics. However engineering for such with the types of plastics that 3d printers use, now that's entirely different problem...

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        I'm sure a couple of layers of duck tape tightly wrapped around the barrel and the receiver would have kept the gun intact (at least for more than 1 shot)...

  3. Thorne

    Waste of time

    "In related news, Danish 3D printer maker Create It Real has decided to ensure its products can't ever print a gun."

    A gun is made of lots of different pieces. Just print the pieces separately and you'll bypass any stupid restriction they might set.

    1. Thorne

      Re: Waste of time

      Best way to prevent a printer from making a gun is to make the printer so crappy, it'll never fire...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waste of time

      Bang (or rather not bang?) goes my idea for knocking up replica Star Wars blasters.

      But the market in Blake's 7 hand guns remains up for grabs

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Waste of time

        "Bang (or rather not bang?) goes my idea for knocking up replica Star Wars blasters."

        You make the gun parts from aluminum and then print the rest.

        So if you want, you could have someone buy a Ruger 10/22 receiver, after market barrel, and then print the rest using your 3D printer. (industrial model)

        But still, it would even be cheaper to use another tech to create your skins and add ons...

        1. Don Jefe
          Happy

          Re: Waste of time

          The design of a 10/22 will not prevent you from modifying it in such a manner. The receiver design is such that all the firing components are inside the single part receiver assembly. The only parts below the receiver is the trigger assembly which you can modify if you want, but it shouldn't be necessary for what you are proposing.

          As long as you don't modify the receiver you can do anything you want to a 10/22 safely. Make all the 'skins' you want out of anything you want. It will not affect the integrity of the firearm.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waste of time

      "Just print the pieces separately and you'll bypass any stupid restriction they might set."

      Wow, bet they didn't think of that.

      It's that time of year again isn't it.

      1. 123465789
        Holmes

        Re: Waste of time

        Oh, very likely they did think of that. What they probably didn't think of, is the vast category of household, toy or hobbyist items that do share characteristics with some part of a gun - and therefore become unprintable.

      2. BongoJoe

        Re: Waste of time

        One can imagine, many years from now. The first explorers hit the surface of Mars and start to print out their habitats to stake shelter from the oncoming storm which would scour men, machine and materials which weren't safely under cover...

        "Firearm detected. You cannot print out this model"

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          WTF?

          @BongoJoe -- Re: Waste of time

          Really? That would be a government printer, and if the government in question is the US government, it will print gun parts, you can take that to the bank!

    4. NinjasFTW

      Re: Waste of time

      How long before the message will be,

      "Widget detected. Design too similar to patented product. You cannot print this model without buying licence"

      1. streaky Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Waste of time

        @NinjasFTW

        That's the problem when you build the capability, courts are going to expect you to use it.

        Re the thread more generally: Not for nothing but how do you even define a gun? It's just a tube, they gonna not print all tubes? The system obviously isn't AI so don't build something that implicitly looks like a gun. Software neutered successfully.

    5. Natalie Gritpants
      FAIL

      Re: Waste of time

      I guess it will just not print tubes of a certain diameter. Good luck trying to print a bicycle. Good to know what printers to avoid.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Natalie Gritpants

        "I guess it will just not print tubes of a certain diameter."

        That's hundreds of different diameters...

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

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waste of time

      Why don't the government do something about this and get ISPs to stop us downloading anything that looks like a gun.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Waste of time

        Yes I agree. WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!!

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: Waste of time

        Why don't the government do something about this and get ISPs to stop us downloading anything that looks like a gun

        Because it would systematically wipe out the multi-billion dollar industry that promotes firearms and violence - Hollywood.

    7. Nuke
      Holmes

      @Thorne - Re: Waste of time

      Wrote :- "A gun is made of lots of different pieces. Just print the pieces separately and you'll bypass any stupid restriction they might set"

      That is what jumped out at me from TFA. How do they hope always to recognise gun parts? Or they will spread the net so wide that they will stop you making many common things, like any tube about 6" long and 1/4" bore, even if it is for an oil pump. A bit like you cannot type "Essex" on many forums.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    El Reg security credibility?

    Seriously guys? Flash video player? The '00's decade called - they want their zero-day exploits and malicious code back.

    1. pepper

      Re: El Reg security credibility?

      Right, so what do you, beacon of light, suggest what should be used then?

      1. GitMeMyShootinIrons
        Joke

        Re: El Reg security credibility?

        VHS.

        1. pepper

          Re: El Reg security credibility?

          @GitMeMyShootinIrons

          As much as I support VHS I still feel Laserdisc is the better option.

          Or heck, to avoid any safety concerns they should distribute small books in which you flip the pages really fast to get the image. Virus me with that I say..

          But dont put anthrax between the pages, please!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: El Reg security credibility?

      The 00's? How early? Did you tell them about 9/11?

  5. Ben Rose

    Clearly Scaramanga will make one of these in the Daniel Craig remake Bond movie "The Man with the Plastic Gun".

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    Gun detection

    What nonsense. How is 3D printer software supposed to figure the distinction between a thick tube used as some widget and a thick tube which is a gun barrel? It can't.

    It is ridiculous for any 3D printer manufacturer to even make this claim. They've probably hacked in some dumb checksum test against existing 3D guns even though it would be trivial to subvert.

    1. Ru

      Re: Gun detection

      This isn't, ultimately, about identifying gun design motifs or the free and easy production of firearms in some far flung future period when everyone has EBM printers.

      This is about marketing.

      Who'd heard of these guys before today?

    2. Pet Peeve
      Boffin

      Re: Gun detection

      Tolerances for existing ammunition are tight enough that all the software would need to look for are holes of certain specified diameters. So, if the hole is .222 inches, suspect someone is making a .22LR barrel and yell at them?

      I assume all existing printed guns are smoothbores, because there's no way in hell that 3d printed rifling would work. Which is also to say they'd be crappy pistols and even crappier rifles, even if they could get the bullet out the front without letting most of the gas out the sides.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Gun detection

        What about .223, .225 .205 (rare but you see it). There are simply too many non firearm uses for any given hole size. The machine would instantly limit its commercial viability if if couldn't make any size hole within its physical limit.

    3. Gordon861

      Re: Gun detection

      It probably looks for the word 'gun' in the file name.

  7. Steve I

    Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

    ..due to various flaws etc. this was after the '3D printed gun' uproar a few month ago The author seemed to overlook the fact that it was early days yet. Had he been at the Wright brothers inaugural flight, he would no doubt have concluded that powered flight was a fantasy, due to it being limited in range and only capable of carrying 2 people.

    1. 123465789
      Pint

      Re: Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

      Yes, I do remember that article - and until today, he hasn't been proven wrong. I do believe we will see 3D-printed guns - but most likely they'll be 3D-printed parts connected to a standard metal plumbing pipe from your local hardware store.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

        I can envision some governments banning the sale of pipes of internal diameter suitable for holding a bullet without too much leakage.

        I can also envision gun-printers producing plastic pipes of just the right external diameter to fit inside, and just the right internal for a bullet. Then the strong metal outside prevents explosion. That should work, so long as you don't fire too quickly and melt the plastic part of the barrel.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

        Problem with using a pipe from the hardware store is you need to then be able to rifle it for the gun to be able to fire anything worth shit. I imagine precision rifling on a printed barrel would be able to be achieved quite easily, not so easy on a standard metal pipe (though not exactly super hard either).

        1. Nuke
          Headmaster

          @murph - Re: Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

          Wrote : "Problem with using a pipe ..is you need to then be able to rifle it for the gun to be able to fire anything worth shit."

          No, you don't need rifling. Any gun will fire shit out the barrel, rifling or not. Without rifling however, the bullet will not stay aligned with the direction so will lose speed and accuracy more quickly. That will not matter at short range, as in a bank hold-up.

          You are aware that smoothbore guns were used for centuries before rifling was invented (and some are still used)? That's why Trafalgar and Waterloo were fought at such close range.

          1. Don Jefe
            Stop

            Re: @murph - Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

            The primary role of rifling is to provide a gas seal without the use of wadding. A nice side effect of rifling is that it allows you to control the inflight characteristics of the bullet. You are terriblely oversimplifying the reasons for the close ranges of traditional battles.

            You can fire a shaped projectile up to 250 yards effectively using a smooth bore barrel and a round ball about 125 using black powder, much further using modern smokeless powders. The ridiculously huge size of old ammunition, the poor state of black powder, the use of wadding and the lack of knowledge and/or misunderstanding the relationships between the length of the barrel and its impacts on performance. Basically the barrels were too long and the rounds were too heavy for the low amount of pressure created by the black powder and the poor seal provided by wool or cotton wadding.

            We manufactured 4,413 high precision rifle barrels for military and sport applications last year and we have done extensive testing and analysis of historic firearms as part of ongoing projects. People oversimplify firearms, but to make one accurate, safe and reliable is a serious engineering project. We also manufacture parts and test rigs for aerospace use. Engineering a quality firearm is more difficult than making parts for planes and satellites.

            1. Nuke
              Holmes

              @DonJefe - Re: @murph - Remember the article here about how you'd never

              Wrote :- "The primary role of rifling is to provide a gas seal without the use of wadding. A nice side effect of rifling is that it allows you to control the inflight characteristics of the bullet."

              Eh ?? Never heard that claim. Wadding was required in old smooth bores because of the poor fit of the ball in the barrel. Back in those days, someone needing an accurate shot, like for sniping, would go through his ammo the day before and select a few musket balls which happened to be a good fit. They might even file them to a better shape. Wadding would cease to be needed when ammo manufacturing improved (by which time rifles had replaced most smooth bore). The prime reason for rifling is in fact your "side effect" - to keep a longish thinnish cone-tipped bullet pointing forwards gyroscopically by spinning it. Compared with a spherical bullet, this had lower air resistance for its weight, and better target penetration.

              Wrote :- "You are terriblely oversimplifying the reasons for the close ranges of traditional battles."

              Yes, simplifying, but not "terribly". Another reason for close battles was the slowness of re-loading, so they fired a volley and then charged into hand-to-hand fighting rather than be caught by the enemy charging themselves while re-loading. And even the military long musket could not be relied on to hit an enemy at more than about 50 yards, even when perfectly aimed, not because it was not rifled but because of the poorly fitting ammo as mentioned.

              But rifling FORCED the ammo makers to improve the fit - no point in rifle grooves if the bullet did not touch the sides. And once weapons were rifled, warfare took a quantum leap with the far greater ranges of both small arms and artillery.

              1. Don Jefe
                Happy

                Re: @DonJefe - @murph - @Nuke

                The poor fit of the ball was why there was no gas seal. The wadding provided the seal between the barrel and the round. Primitive wadding did not work very well, hence part of the low velocities of old rounds. Accuracy is directly related to velocity so they weren't accurate either. Shotguns still use wadding for the same reasons (albeit plastic wadding in modern shells).

                In a rifled barrel the pressure seal is maintained by the rifling cutting spiraled grooves into the bullet. A modern bullet is larger than the inside diameter of the lands in the rifling: If you try to push a bullet down a rifled barrel by hand you can't do it :) Rifling actually allows the bullet to be manufactured to looser tolerances because the 'fit' is actually cut into the bullet as it travels down the barrel.

                Military and off the shelf sport ammunition have wide (comparatively speaking) variances in their diameter from round to round as they are cast then clad. When we manufacture our custom match barrels we bore & cut them specifically to the ammunition the client uses which is often either investment cast or individually machined. Ultimately this increases velocity (and accuracy) due to better sealing and consistency as the barrel wears in a reasonably predictable pattern as opposed to the random wearing experienced by using inconsistent off the shelf ammunition.

          2. pierce

            Re: @murph - Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

            you might not need rifling, but you need a bore thats a tight fit for your bullet. steel pipes aren't much under 1/2" (0.500) down in the .22 range, you get copper tubing. even a weak .22 round down a copper tube would likely cause swelling or burst. remember, those smoothbore muskets were firing lead balls via black powder, way way less pressure and muzzle velocity than any modern round.

      3. Pet Peeve
        Boffin

        Re: Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

        "standard plumbing pipes" wouldn't provide a tight fit, and any of nearly the right inside diameter would probably burst too. In any event, making a gun out of plumbing parts isn't hard (in fact it's done all the time by criminals and idiots). What's hard is making one that actually can hit something more than a foot away, and not do more damage to the person holding it than what tthe bullet hits.

        Note the lanyard used in the video - it's going to be a long, long time before plastic 3d printed gun is safe enough to fire without hiding behind a barrier and using a string, which makes this whole thing a non-story - it's just another way to make a really bad zip gun.

      4. Steve I
        Facepalm

        Re: Remember the article here about how you'd never 3D print a gun?

        "Yes, I do remember that article - and until today, he hasn't been proven wrong."

        It's been about 3 months, FFS! Give progress(?) a couple of years, at least.

  8. jrd

    Oh for goodness' sake! How many of these "3D printing a gun" stories are you going to run?

    It's a non-issue to anyone except the press or politicians looking for cheap PR.

    1. an it guy

      because people like you and I will read them nonetheless?

      Curiousity....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I disagree, some countries have laws which ban gun ownership, developments such as this, and all the attempts which follow, are about to make those laws meaningless.

      1. Anonymous Blowhard
        FAIL

        "some countries have laws which ban gun ownership, developments such as this, and all the attempts which follow, are about to make those laws meaningless."

        But those countries also tend to have laws about ammunition ownership, so even if 3D printers can overcome the problems of "how to make a plastic tube as strong as a machined steel barrel" you'd still have an unloaded gun.

        Many engineering materials have properties imparted to them by the processes they are put through (work hardening, heat treatment, chemical dips etc.), these aren't just for cosmetics; creating a 3D shape is simple, but the physical properties of the material are also important.

        There are some 3D printing techniques that may be suitable (e.g. direct metal laser sintering) but these are unlikely to be developed for home/office use, and the cost is likely to be similar to a set of dedicated machine tools for making firearms (price of an EOSINT 280 is over 400,000 pounds). Someone commented that 3D printers are at the stage of the Wright brothers first aircraft, I think they're a bit further along than that, but the aircraft analagy is a good one; the capability of aircraft has improved a lot since the Wright Flyer, but the price tag has also gone up a little too. Real 3D manufacturing isn't going to be developed for the home market, it's being developed for industrial scale processing, so the costs are unlikely to be attractive to back-street firearms dealers either.

        And then you still can't buy ammunition.

        You can get a gun in any country if you're willing to pay a lot and deal with criminals, but it's only serious criminals or serious nutters who will go down this route.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Anonymous Blowhard

          banning hand guns in the UK has done little to curb gun crime...

          And in all reality is not hard to design and build an effective short range pistol and even make your own ammo, it just takes some basic engineering & chemistry skills...

      2. Grikath Silver badge
        Facepalm

        meaningless?

        How are those laws going to be rendered meaningless? In any nation with strict gun controls there's always been the underground/criminal scene where you can purchase a gun quite easily. 3D printing one would fall under the same category as posession of an illegal firearm, with the resultant trouble with the local magistrates if you're caught.

        Maybe the plods would add a charge of "malignant attempted suicide", since contemplating to actually use one of those things is suicidal and will recklessly endanger anybody happening to be near...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: meaningless?

          Seriously? You can't see how advances in this technology won't completely change the landscape of gun crime?

          The idea that such gun designs will improve with effort and time couldn't possibly have any relevance, so you don't need to even consider that in your judgement of this subject?

          The idea that being able to print a gun from easily disposed of materials (for say single use) wouldn't in anyway make it harder to prove any case that was actually deducted to have been committed by the accused in the dock, being yet another thought which isn't worthy of any of your time, because you know this fact won't affect gun crime in anyway?

          When guns become printable atifacts that are easily completely disposable, by anyone at anytime, just by downloading the relevant plans (over a VPN of course), printed, assembled, used, melted down, then any laws surrounding preventing them being obtained become meaningless.

          Oh and ammunition? Really? Cause like no one is going to work on designing a printable ammunition design, once printable gun design becomes better? Do you really think that?

          1. Nuke
            FAIL

            @obnoxiousGit - Re: meaningless?

            Wrote :- "When guns become printable atifacts that are easily completely disposable, by anyone at anytime, .. then any laws surrounding preventing them being obtained become meaningless.

            The laws are about owning guns, not obtaining them. No judge or plod is going to say "Oh, you made it not bought it, that's OK then".

            I do not know if you live in the UK, but can assure you that here, the appearance of anyone with a gun (or what appears to be a gun) in public is treated as a top proirity alert by the police, who will drop everything else they are doing, and the person will quickly find themselves surrounded by a small army of cops, many of them with sniper rifles trained on them.

            The fact that guns may be printed will not change that.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @obnoxiousGit - meaningless?

              @ Nuke

              How are they going to prove you owned/had possession of a gun which know one knows you made, no one saw you use, and which has now been melted down?

              I do live in the UK, so I know you're talking rubbish. It only took the armed response unit 20 minutes to get to Lee Rigby as he was being hacked up on the street by at least one bloke who was holding a handgun...

              That fact that guns remain illegal will become meaningless.

              Nice try though.

  9. Steve Todd

    Since the process of 3D printing consists of

    Converting design files to the G Code language that the printer understands to print the object in slices, and since the software on the printer is pretty dumb and incapable of detecting what it is printing (it typically buffers only part of one layer at a time), all you'd need to do is slice the gun model in one of many open source packages (Slic3r being the most common) to bypass this limit completely. The claim is pretty useless and serves only to get press attention (oh look, it worked).

  10. A J Stiles

    Refusal to Print

    Remind me again what stops me from opening the program in a text editor, finding where it does the check to see if what is being printed is a firearm, commenting out those lines (or just inserting something like "is_gun = false" after the tests), and re-running make install?

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Refusal to Print

      Not having the source code?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Refusal to Print

        "the software will not allow the user to view and print the model"

        Not fit for purpose. It's not even a gun.

        "Hello, Mr. Lawyer? Yes, I have a no-win-no-fee case for you. Interested? I'm sure you are..."

      2. A J Stiles
        FAIL

        Re: Refusal to Print

        The sort of person who wants a 3D printer considers the engineering drawings, the model files for any printable parts, the wiring diagrams for the electronics, and the Source Code for the software to form part of the operating instructions. Any of those missing would be a dealbreaker.

        1. Steve I
          Go

          Re: Refusal to Print

          "The sort of person who wants a 3D printer... Any of those missing would be a dealbreaker."

          From this, we can draw 1 of 2 possible conclusions:

          1. No 3D printers have ever been sold.

          2. Your logic is wrong.

          I'm going for.............................................1.

          Therefore any 3D printers people claim to own are an illusion.

          Q.E.D.

    2. paulc
      Mushroom

      Re: Refusal to Print

      the software as usual will be pre-compiled, proprietary rubbish...

      No doubt, they'd like the gub'mint to step in and ban open source drivers etc. for 3-D printers and insist on all owners being registered.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't a rifle

    have to have rifling?

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Doesn't a rifle

      Technically it would be a long gun if the barrel wasn't rifled, but rifle is acceptable term for it.

  12. James 51 Silver badge

    Title too long

    "A canned statement (PDF) saying that if users try to load a file for a 3D gun its “... smart software scans the model and tries to match its characteristics with the characteristics of a firearm. If certain features align, the software will not allow the user to view and print the model.”"

    Phew, GW can breathe a sigh of relief. No one will be able to print their gun toting models any more. But what about the ones with the blow pipes?

  13. Mr C

    obviously no-one would buy a 3D printer for their kid if it could print guns

    Hence the gun-detection-technology.

    Obvious marketing ploy that will not fool many i suspect.

    Without an actual human judging whats printed, and remembering a list of previously printed parts, there is no way to make the software smart enough to keep it from printing anything that can be used as a gun.

    The best they can come up with is a dumb checking algorithm like a blacklist of given file-names/CRC/Meta-data or other such simple checks.

    It will keep illiterates from printing, but anyone who is really determined will find a way regardless.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: obviously no-one would buy a 3D printer for their kid if it could print guns

      So a bit like porn blocking...

  14. cs94njw

    I remember another company taking a high moral stand, against something they thought would gain them support.

    Didn't see many BetaMax VCRs after the great VCR battle.

    Looks like people really DID want porn.

    1. Steve Todd

      That was more to do with the facts that (a) VCRs were expensive and (b) JVC got the rental companies to buy its kit rather than Sony's Betamax. More VHS decks = more tapes available for rent, and hence a death spiral that killed Betamax.

  15. Crisp Silver badge
    Terminator

    Firearm Detected!

    Please put down your weapon.

    You have 20 seconds to comply.

    1. Mr C

      Re: Firearm Detected!

      "It didn't hear it fall"

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It will evolve, but when the hype dies down, people will print off the reciever etc, and use a conventional steel barrel.

    Owning a well equipped machine shop as a alternative hobby to technology, I could whip my own gun out in a few hours anyway, and it would be a lot better than any printed one.

    To the commentator who says they think gov's will legislate against tube of certain diameters to stop this, firstly yes its possible they will do that, they are often clueless how things are done in the real world. However they would also have to legislate against drill's, boring bars, random pieces of metal that could be made into either a spade drill or a boring bar, etc etc. That genie is never going back in the bottle.

    Disclaimer Ive never built my own gun. Although Ive knocked up some cracking alarm mines using blank shotgun cartridges. Make a great boom they do, scallies with filled pants at 20 paces... There's no functional difference between one loaded with shot and one blank firing apart from the desire not to be responsible for the death of someone innocent by accident who may have legitimate cause to trespass without prior permission (fire brigade, other emergency services etc).

    Best post anon :D

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank the all mighty Sky fairy that the world is blessed with talented People who can get 'round this blatant attempt at censorship. Be they hackers looking for teh lolz, or just somebody with a grudge...

  18. Annihilator

    Similar to the episode of Luther the other night, demonstrating that you can fire a bullet quite easily without a gun (bullet wedged in door, nail, #whack#) but that you really need a strong tight shaft (giggiddy) that will preferably put a spin on the resulting projectile by having a metal harder than the bullet to bite into it. Result in Luther? Mildly irritated bad guy who had effectively had a little chunk of metal thrown at him with a loud noise.

    Note to all the people shouting "but it'll improve" and "just buy a metal tube". The "metal tube" (which will be unlikely to be printed in the near future) needs to be a very close (i.e. actually marginally smaller than the bullet) fit and of a material stronger than the bullet. Get one of those, and the "printed" part is irrelevant anyway.

  19. MrXavia
    Mushroom

    Censorship on 3d printers?

    next they will be blocking anything that MIGHT be a copy of something else...

    I am sure the patent trolls will love this....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      If it's in the US, you might as well ban 3D printers since just about everything out there is covered by at least 1 patent (and some things by dozens).

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    By far

    the most interesting and useful part of this story/thread, is the extended commentary regarding correct use of the apostrophe. Well done reg-tards.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: By far

      Yes, t'was most interesting.

      1. Steve I
        Go

        Re: By far

        Surely you mean 'twas?

        1. Don Jefe
          Happy

          Re: By far

          Yes. It seemed funnier to misplace the apostrophe, considering the earlier debate.

          1. Steve I
            Go

            Re: By far

            Like the time when someone mis-placed the apostrophe in "Pedant's Corner", sparking a debate that implied it was a corner belonging to a pedant, rather than a corner for pedantry?

  21. paulc

    |A canned statement (PDF) saying that if users try to load a file for a 3D gun its “... smart software scans the model and tries to match its characteristics with the characteristics of a firearm. If certain features align, the software will not allow the user to view and print the model.”|

    Complete, Utter, Balderdash....

    As people have earlier mentioned, all you have to do is split the print jobs up into individual components. Any software that then baulks at a part is obviously completely untrustworthy and could baulk at any tubular shape that you really require printing.

  22. William Boyle

    Just how long?

    I have to wonder just how long it will take to bypass/hack this software? 10 minutes? 1 hour?

  23. JulianB

    And another parallel with the porn-search-filtering nonsense: even if we accept that one shouldn't view porn or make functioning firearms, there are valid reasons to search on "dodgy" terms, and valid reasons to print something that looks a bit like a gun. Novelty cigarette lighters, umbrella handles, water pistols...

    ISTM that any benefit is outweighed by the inconvenience of false positives.

  24. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Building a gun^H^H^Hweapon

    I'm in the USA but I really don't see the big deal about this - given a modest amount of money you can build a gun from raw stock - OK, so it will not be a very good gun but it will be a gun. What these folks are doing is not "building a gun" - what they are doing is simply meeting a challenge.

    Sure, the first few will blow up but once they figure out that they need a different barrel and receiver structure if you are working in plastic rather than metal, I would expect to see these become ubiquitous.

    When the authorities tell any young person that "IT'S NOT POSSIBLE" then the first thing you want to do is have a go at it - this urge is as old as the hills. Seriously, if all they wanted to do was make a gun then just buy the parts and assemble it, I'd bet that even in the UK it's quite feasible to order the various components via POTS or the Internet and have them delivered over a few months ... here in the USA you don't even have to go through that pretense. It's not an ideal situation certainly but we live with it and it's not going to charge any time soon - so there's no point in playing King Canute - that really would be stupid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Version 1.0Re: Building a gun^H^H^Hweapon

      Wrote :- "I'd bet that even in the UK it's quite feasible to order the various components via POTS or the Internet and have them delivered over a few months"

      Order components ?! I made a gun at about the age of 13 from Meccano and stuff I found in the shed. It was actually like a model anti-aircraft gun with a shielded mount and worm-gear drives for elevation and traverse. It fired 1/4" ball bearings from a brass tube barrel like a simple cannon. For powder I dismantled fireworks, and for priming I used something called "Jetex fuse".

      In the alley behind our house there was an old steel dustbin and I found that shots would go through one side and out of the other. For me it was merely an excercise in model engineering and I never did anything "bad" with it. I still have that brass tube somewhere.

  25. itzman

    Oddly enough, the inly time I approached a 3D printing company was to print a 1/2th scale vickers machine gun for a model WWI fighter.

    Nice to know it wont be possible..any more.

  26. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Warning

    "It looks like you are printing a gun! Sorry, you can't do that. Would you like to print a knife instead?"

  27. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Solving a problem that probably doesn't exist

    I mean seriously, in many countries, particularly the US, you can buy gun parts, or you can make guns from easily available parts. As the article mentions the main problem is surviving the gas pressures. Guess what, there's probably plenty of metal pipes in any hardware store which probably can just do that. Add something to ignite the bullet and you have a gun.

    Trying to add some sort of "DRM" by trying to detect guns certainly does not solve the problem. You can just patch out the check and people will probably do that because of false positive.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Solving a problem that probably doesn't exist

      In the U.S. you can buy any part of a gun, without a permit or license, except for the receiver. The receiver carries the serial number and, even by itself, counts as the entire firearm for purchase, transfer and licensing purposes.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Building our own

    We won't allow HP to tell us what we can print on their model of printer, and we won't allow Dell or Intel to tell us what we can create on their model of computer, so we sure as hell won't allow some 3d printer company tell us what we can or can't create, based on their own idealogy.

    If we can't print them, we will build our own 3d printer and software. it's a great time to do exaclty that, and lots of potential business for those that are in the business of selling such a product.

    Let those who try to stand in the way of progress, get passed by.

    1. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Re: Building our own

      Already done.

      Google "RepRap" and drool. A completely open-source, patent-free, self-replicating 3D printer (all you need to get hold of elsewhere are the electronics) which is proving to be extremely popular and has become the default standard for 3D printing.

      Once you have one, it's trivial to use it to make more for all your friends. It's a self-replicating replicator (or the first step towards one anyway!)

      1. Rukario
        Terminator

        Re: Self-replicating replicator

        Provided it doesn't become self-aware! Else we'll soon be welcoming our robotic overlords; that, or be exterminated by them.

  29. J. Cook Silver badge
    FAIL

    No thank you.

    A couple things to note:

    1. The cartridge used was a .22LR, which is a very low powered cartridge. It still split the barrel and receiver, which makes perfect sense. Even that small a cartridge generates a pretty decent about of pressure (24,000 PSI per SAAMI specs) when it's fired. The receiver, chamber, and barrel must contain that for safety's sake. By way of comparison, the 9x19 spec is 35,000 psi, and the 7.62x39 that the AK47 uses is a whopping 45,000 PSI. The fact that the barrel and receiver failed on the first shot does not surprise me at all.

    1. Don Jefe
      Thumb Up

      Re: No thank you.

      Indeed!

      For the proposes of a DIY firearm you are better off using something like a .45ACP or .45 +P round as they have much lower, and safer, case pressure and more stopping power due to the mass of the bullet. A corollary example is how the super skinny tires of a road bicycle are inflated to 90 PSI and on a mountain bike the tires might be 18-20 PSI.

      Case pressure is a result of the case volume, powder and primer selection and is not indicative of the total energy transferred by the bullet. Case pressure does affect acceleration and trajectory curve, but less or more pressure, by itself, does not translate to a less or more 'powerful' cartridge.

  30. elderlybloke

    3D Gun

    It all sounds like Bullshit to me.

    First make the item out of an appropriate material, even the Afgans manage to do that.

  31. Dan Paul
    Devil

    Lost Wax Casting from Printed Parts? Better ban fingers to be sure..

    Seems people don't think very far past the printed part. Your brain is the most dangerous weapon you can bring to bear...

    If you consider that you can take these 3D printed parts, coat them in mold release, dip them in plaster and make a mold, then bake the polyethylene out of the mold, it is a simple matter to make a durable metal part from the resulting cavity. Bronze would be simple, steel or iron would be a little more difficult but not impossible. All would be quite strong enough depending on thickness. The barrel would need to be pipe or mechanical tubing and can be easily machined to fit whatever ammo you can find.

    However, as a teenager I made zip guns from a block of wood, a spring, nail, a .22 bullet or shotgun shell and suitable piece of tubing. No rifling was needed and they worked multiple times.

    More importantly, we did not even have computers then let alone 3D printers.

    Looks like they will have to ban the use of fingers and brains then just to be sure....

  32. J__M__M

    This gun printing thing is getting embarrassing.

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