back to article Judge bars distribution of 3D gun files... er, five years after they were slapped onto the web

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction barring the online distribution of CAD files for 3D printed guns, upholding a temporary injunction issued in late July. "We just won a preliminary injunction in federal court, continuing to block the Trump admin from allowing the distribution of 3D-printed gun files," said …

  1. MadonnaC

    Autoresponder?

    > "they can be emailed, mailed, securely transmitted, or otherwise published within the United States."

    I remember a time when you could call a number, give it a code, and get fax instructions back...

    It's evolved to email (We are happily ignoring your problem, and will read it up when it's convenient for us...), so a quick autoresponder, and you've got your plans.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Autoresponder?

      You mean something like Ye Olde BBS or FIDONET system?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Autoresponder?

        No, an autoresponder.

        Email To: CADplans@example.com

        From: youremail@example.net

        Subject: Send plans to blow my fingers off, please. (file 666.txz)

        Body text: I promise not to use the plans for evil.

        The server responds with an email to youremail with the plans attached.

        1. Chez

          Re: Autoresponder?

          They're also allowed to sell them. I'm predicting that sometime tomorrow, you'll be able to purchase the entire bundle for a single penny on their website.

          1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            Re: Autoresponder?

            They're also allowed to sell them. I'm predicting that sometime tomorrow, you'll be able to purchase the entire bundle for a single penny on their website.

            It won't take that long and it's "name your price" where $0 seems to be a perfectly valid price.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Autoresponder?

          autoresponder outside of the USA to which you send your PGP key. works for me. Make sure you mention "kittens" in the message body.

          either that, or just post it to a binary newsgroup. works for pretty much everything ELSE

          yeah a court order - that'll stop it! Considering that most of the people who want plastic firearms would either be hackers or outlaws, good luck with that.

          icon, because, facepalm

  2. Martin-73 Silver badge

    I see the result as less 'farcical' than 'NY thumbing its nose at trump' Which is always a good thing

    As for guns... yeesh, 3D printing isn't the only way. They're gonna ban machine tools next? (or if you don't mind the risk of it exploding... any tools)

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Coat

      @Martin-73

      Look, if you want to thumb your nose at Trump, go ahead, nobody cares.

      Here, you have an issue of a matter of law which the judge seems to be ignoring, along with some technical facts.

      1) Plastic printed guns are a gimmick. You can only fire a couple of .22lr rounds before the gun blows up in your face.

      2) There are still ferrous parts in the gun which are detectable while the non-ferrous parts can still be spotted in an x-ray machine.

      3) there are other options.

      A) a non ferrous barrel, chamber and firing pin with other parts made out of plastic. The non-ferrous barrel could be wrapped in carbon fiber for the needed rigidity to take the pressure from a round being fired.

      B) Google zip gun.

      C) other ideas out there.

      4) Its not illegal for you to manufacture your own guns, you just can't sell them.

      So when you consider this... the printing of the plans to create a 3D printed gun is really an exercise of free speech. Which is why its so wrong to stop the sharing of the plans which BTW are out there and you can probably download them off a non US based web / FTP server.

      But that's just me... ;-)

      Mine's the jacket with the kevlar lining and the side zipper so I can easily get to my legally owned CCW permitted gun.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: @Martin-73

        Good points. I can download plans to make black powder rifles and pistols (I have made one of each).. I assume there's probably plans for semi-autos out there.

        As for 3D printed guns, no thanks. Just too much risk to the thing blowing up in your face and even if it doesn't the barrel will probably be deformed by the heat of the burning powder and passage of the slug so it will be inaccurate.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: @Martin-73

          "I assume there's probably plans for semi-autos out there."

          I made a Model 1894 replica in .357 Herrett. Good shooter, my favorite short range varminter and saddle carbine. I still have the drawings, I guess I could make 'em public domain. Good luck building one without a CNC and a good working knowledge of steel, though.

        2. The First Dave

          Re: @Martin-73

          No, I don't think these _are_ good points.

          That these plans aren't very good isn't the point, it is the _intent_ of them - you can't turn around in a year or two, when 3D printers that can produce metal prints are a reality, and say that readily available plans have suddenly become illegal - the horse will have left the stable by then.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: @Martin-73

            "in a year or two, when 3D printers that can produce metal prints are a reality"

            If you don't mind spending five figures, you can buy such a printer right now (they've been around for many years). Consumer-level metal printers, though, are much further out than a year or two. Even resin printers are only just now becoming available to ordinary consumers.

            1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

              Re: @Martin-73

              Current cheap 3D plastic printers are also quite capable of producing reasonable forms for casting metal parts so it wouldn't take much to produce a functional firearm. No they probably won't outlast or outshoot modern firearms but they'll likely do far better than plastic.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: @Martin-73

                The concept of amateurs combining castings and explosives in a hand-held device gives me hives. But again, let 'em! Stupidity SHOULD hurt!

        3. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: @Martin-73

          "I can download plans to make black powder rifles and pistols (I have made one of each).. I assume there's probably plans for semi-autos out there."

          guns were invented about 1000 years or so ago in China, about the same time as gunpowder.

          The Kentucky Long Rifle, one of the most accurate weapons in the mid 18th century, was hand-built by craftsmen without modern milling equipment. (wikipedia quotes someone as describing them being built with 'crude tools').

          I think modern educated/trained engineers, machinists, and craftsmen are even smarter now [they won't have to go through as much trial/error to get some kind of success]. I see no obstacles to success here.

          And you could simply hire a machinist to build certain parts for you, and make the rest of out plastic or wood or whatever in whatever design you like. "I want a hollow metal tube with a fracture toughness of XXX or more, capable of withstanding temperatures up to XXX, with several small grooves cut into the inside that slowly rotate their orientation from one end to the other." <-- rifled barrel

          (and a firing pin isn't that big of a deal, really - yeah has to be strong so it doesn't bend, but still...)

          Then you do experiments in a bunker-like enclosure to test the limits of your new rifle design, just like gun manufacturers would do. when you get a good one, mass produce!

          So yeah who needs to rely on "illegally distributed" intarweb plans, when you can MAKE! YOUR! OWN! [with a little time in a regular old library studying up beforehand]

          (pirate icon, because, obvious)

      2. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        Re: @Martin-73

        If you want to SUPER-TECHNICAL you can 3D print out of plastic the form for a 300 to 500 metres-per-second rail gun that can fire 5 cm long and 4 mm thick ceramic coated ferrous metal darts and would be the size of some 4 inch diameter (10cm) by one meter long ABS plastic plumbing tubes. You only need a backpack array of simple video camera camera batteries (you can get as high at 375 watts for the Anton Bauers which can be carried in a backpack to power the gun for 10 to 20 shots or more.

        I can get ... relatively cheap ... fast pulse discharge capacitors attached to a high current millisecond-or-less current gate (i suggest IGBT) and as of 2018 there DEFIINITELY ARE means to get the 1000 amps or so I need in a relatively small space to pulse the induction coils to make the dart go as fast as 500+ metres per second.

        My current estimates are about $15,000 for the parts needed to fit a 50 pound (20 kg) backpack to power the coil gun! It's the high cost of high current, fast discharge capacitors that eats all your money BUT another option is a small 10 lite size 100,000 RPM counter-rotating flywheel made out of titanium or carbon composite carried in the same 50 lbs (20 kg) backpack. The all you just need, is a fast switching gate such as Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) or a mini-Krytron to pulse the coils. That would probably last for at least 100 rounds+ before charging up the backpack flywheel is needed.

    2. User McUser

      Machine tools

      As for guns... yeesh, 3D printing isn't the only way. They're gonna ban machine tools next?

      The difference being that making a gun out of metal (and other materials) using machine tools requires actual skill.

      In theory, any idiot can plug in a 3D printer, load some plastic into the hopper (or whatever) and click "Print" to start churning out shitty finger removers plastic guns.

  3. Thunderbird 2

    Remember PGP

    Remember PGP and Zimmerman, and having to publish via another country. America needs to learn that once the technogenie is out of the bottle it aint going back in.

    1. 404 Silver badge

      Re: Remember PGP

      Politicians need to learn - citizens pretty much got it down.

      Anyone want some CAD files?

      ;)

      1. td97402

        Re: Remember PGP

        I downloaded the CAD files a little while back just on principle. But thanks for the offer.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Remember PGP

      Not quite, PGP was banned from being exported - being a weapon.

      But the 1st amendment rights still won, so he was able to export a printed book of the source code

      It is one of the advantages of a written constitution and an independant judiciary - things don't just get banned on the whim of a home secretary or a BBC DJ

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Remember PGP

        It was banned from being exported, true. But I wore the T-shirt into and out of the country on maybe a dozen flights from '91 to '93 without anybody even blinking at me funny. Security theater is worth the paper it is printed on, but not much more.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Remember PGP

      "America needs to learn that once the technogenie is out of the bottle it aint going back in.

      no, just our politicians (well, MOST of them, anyway)

  4. DCFusor Silver badge

    Bad Logic

    Real guns aren't hard to get in the US, generally. Much easier than putting together 3D printing and so on, as well as cheaper, and easily made just as untraceable with a little grinding. Most crime guns long ago lost trace-ability - many are simply stolen themselves, anyway. At least if you believe the FBI, difficult as that is becoming. Or surveys of criminals in prison for violence.

    Would you rather have some wacko using a plastic gun as likely to blow his own hand off with the first shot, sending a bullet weakly in some direction almost but not as intended, or a real gun that can accomplish a mass shooting?

    I want all my attackers to have a plastic gun useful for somewhat less than a single shot. I'm in a lot more trouble if they use a good one, no?

    And you can tell the agenda - an administration simply does nothing to violate the constitution - no constructive action of any kind - but somehow this thing is their fault!

    Try stuffing crypto back in the box. OK that didn't work, lets have a war on poverty. Um no good, lets try war on drugs - that'll make them unavailable, and no one will shoot anyone over drug turf, since they have so many other means of making a living /s. See the pattern?

    A decently working shotgun takes a piece of pipe, a cap, and a nail, if you want to get fancy, you can add the rubber band, and the only secret is the diameter of the pipe...and lots of people know that, or chemistry of explosives or whatever other nasty - if you have the will, you can find a way to do bad things - the will is what needs addressing.

    This is ignorant virtue signalling that will have - if it works - a negative effect on the problem, lucky it won't work.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Bad Logic

      Hope you aren't in the UK DCFusor. Collecting or distributing "information … likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" gets you 20 years

      And for all el'reg regular readers, repeated viewing of the above information gets you 15years

      1. h4rm0ny
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Bad Logic

        What about people who can work out for themselves that a pipe, a projectile and a small quantity at one end makes a firearm? Has the UK outlawed thinking as well?

        Actually, don't answer that - the answer is probably 'yes'.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Bad Logic

        selling drugs probably gets you jail time too. yet I bet it's easy to buy them, depending on where you go... (UK, USA, or anywhere for that matter)

        [this is the classic libertarian 'making it illegal does not stop it' argument, yeah]

        Don't forget the USA's experiment with prohibition. Not only did alcohol consumption continue, it became 'bad alcohol' consumption [home-made hooch with methanol and other poisons in it], and a great empowering of organized crime.

  5. JohnFen Silver badge

    Day late, Dollar Short, Doesn't Matter

    These (and others like them) have been available on the net for quite a long time already. There's nothing that a judge can rule that will change that.

    But it isn't as bad as all that, really. Given the state of the art for 3D printing, any gun made this way is inherently dangerous to use (there's a serious risk that it will explode), and each such gun can only be fired once. It's still literally cheaper, easier, and safer to make an old-school zip gun instead.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Day late, Dollar Short, Doesn't Matter

      Indeed. In fact, why ban it? Let the perps print 'em out ... you KNOW they'll want to test-fire it a couple times before using it "for real". Stupidity SHOULD hurt!

  6. Androgynous Cow Herd

    Where is the NRA?

    You would expect the NRA to be screaming bloody murder, but they remain silent...because protecting "gun rights" only matter if the guns come from the manufacturers who pay for the NRAs continued existence.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Where is the NRA?

      Having plans to make a gun still require one to have some rather expensive equipment. Plus one would need to obtain the proper alloys and furnaces to heat treat parts, etc. Or as others have pointed out the gun would be a single use weapon that is possibly more dangerous to the shooter than the target. The NRA is not concerned with this because any sensible person who wants a gun will buy a well made one from a competent manufacturer.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Where is the NRA?

        Sure that's true today. Someday it'll be cheaper to make a gun (and a lot of other stuff) from CAD files than to buy a mass manufactured product. What will happen to the NRA's generous corporate contributions from Big Gun when people quit buying from them?

        The NRA won't be able to use FUD and alarm their members every time a democrat gets into the White House into buying additional guns because gun sales are going to be banned by the evil godless libtard if millions of people have the means of making as many guns as they want at home.

        Whether someday is in 2025 or 2055, that we don't know. But 3D printing has advanced a lot in the past decade, so I wouldn't bet against it a decade from now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Where is the NRA?

          "What will happen to the NRA's generous corporate contributions"? I don't think Russia really cares. They back the NRA because it destabilises the USA.

        2. h4rm0ny

          Re: Where is the NRA?

          >>

          What will happen to the NRA's generous corporate contributions from Big Gun when people quit buying from them?

          The NRA has over 6 million dues paying members. This may shock you but guns are actually quite popular in the USA. The biggest share of its funding is from ordinary members. There's around another 10% from advertising (which is probably your "big gun") and then a chunk of private contributions above and beyond dues. As lobbyists, they rank far, far, far behind big players like Google and Health Insurance industry.

        3. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Where is the NRA?

          "Someday it'll be cheaper to make a gun (and a lot of other stuff) from CAD files than to buy a mass manufactured product."

          I don't see that happening within the next hundred years, if ever. It's VERY hard to reduce the cost of producing onesies to be comparable to the cost reduction that mass production gets you.

          The value of 3D printers is not related to the cost of production. The value is the ability to easily create unique or customized items.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Where is the NRA?

        "Having plans to make a gun still require one to have some rather expensive equipment"

        Not necessarily. I'm not into guns, but I remember several people in my youth who built zip guns in grade school shop class, using basic and readily available tools and materials.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Where is the NRA?

          Not necessarily. I'm not into guns, but I remember several people in my youth who built zip guns in grade school shop class, using basic and readily available tools and materials.

          I read the post as meaning "real" guns. Not dangerous but highly inaccurate one-shot devices. But they are guns, I suppose. So it depends what is meant. In any case, it takes a lot of bulky and expensive equipment to make a modern firearm, that is for sure.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Where is the NRA?

            "I read the post as meaning "real" guns."

            Zip guns are absolutely real guns. They're very poor quality guns, certainly, but that makes them even more relevant to the topic at hand, as we're talking about 3D printed guns, which are even lower quality than zip guns.

    2. dew3

      Re: Where is the NRA?

      "You would expect the NRA to be screaming bloody murder, but they remain silent..."

      Approximately 5 seconds of google-fu shows the NRA issued a public statement almost a week ago... probably took less time to find it than it took to type your rant asking where it was.

      “Many anti-gun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3-D printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms. Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years. Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA’s support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm.”

      Not a great response (IMO) but hardly silence.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        dew3 Re: Where is the NRA?

        The plastic gun isn't really undetectable.

        The key would be to make a gun, a real gun, where when broken down doesn't look like a gun so that you can pass thru security and then build it when needed.

        This is not a really hot 2A topic, but more of a 1st A topic.

        Building your own gun is legal. (Except if its built to be undetectable. )

    3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Where is the NRA?

      The NRA is silent because its a non issue. (There is a statement out, but not really a hot topic)

      The legal issue is the issue of the 1st amendment and not the 2nd.

      Its like bump stocks. A buddy of mine bought one for 'shits and giggles'. He put it on one of his ARs and played with it. He then took it off and put it in one of his many gun safes along with the ATF ruling making it legal. (He lives in one of the 43 states that allows the legal ownership of machine guns by civilians, and owns at least one that I know of. )

      The issue isn't your ability to manufacture your own guns. You can legally do that but you can't sell it or even give it away. (God help you if it gets stolen...)

      The issue is the absurd fear that someone with a consumer grade 3D printer can print up a gun and then go on a shooting spree. (You can't. ) Or that the gun would be undetectable. There are metal pieces and again, its a .22lr only and will last at most a couple of rounds before it goes boom. Anything large and it will go boom in your face.

      So why waste time on this when you have real issues to deal with.

    4. s2bu

      Re: Where is the NRA?

      The NSSF is the group that represents manufacturers, not the NRA.

    5. Regnad Kcin

      Re: Where is the NRA?

      1. Want to explain why 6 million people each need to pay $35 per year in membership dues to the NRA if the gun "manufacturers pay for the NRA's continued existence"?

      2. The gun control industry is squawking about plastic guns because they fear competition to the illegal gun sales by gun control advocates. Google for leland yee philippines if you want one example. Oh, here's a result now:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/02/25/ex-calif-state-sen-leeland-yee-gun-control-champion-heading-to-prison-for-weapons-trafficking/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b8c91daed6b2

      3. Drug related shootings cause more people to vote for politicians who support gun control, including Hillary Clinton. While Hillary was Secretary of State, the Obama Administration's "Project Fast and Furious" supplied thousands of guns to trigger-happy drug dealers. That was shortly before Hillary ran for president. And gun control supporters said not a word about it, until after criticism from the NRA forced Obama to end his "gun murders for Hillary" program.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Where is the NRA?

        1. Want to explain why 6 million people each need to pay $35 per year in membership dues to the NRA if the gun "manufacturers pay for the NRA's continued existence"?

        I want to , but I cant. Can someone explain why the 6m people do this?

        Is there an annual picnic or something?

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Where is the NRA?

        The NRA is a gun industry lobbying group, nothing more.

        "Want to explain why 6 million people each need to pay $35 per year in membership dues to the NRA if the gun "manufacturers pay for the NRA's continued existence"?"

        Sure -- a lobbying group that can claim they have millions of dues-paying supporters is a lobbying group with more political power.

    6. h4rm0ny

      Re: Where is the NRA?

      Did you bother to look before you declared the NRA remain silent. NRA have commented on 3D guns previously. Most recent statement on it seems to be from just last month:

      “Many anti-gun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3-D printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms. Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years. Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA’s support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm.”

      Seems an accurate statement to me. I'm unclear on what exactly you expect their position to be.

    7. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Where is the NRA?

      "You would expect the NRA to be screaming bloody murder, but they remain silent"

      I think you misunderstand the NRA's position. It's mostly about the right to DEFEND YOURSELF using firearms. Plastic guns are more like 'skoff-law' weapons. The NRA wants you to be able to purchase, carry, and use a weapon that you legally purchase [one that is safe and won't explode when you try to use it].

      It really has nothing to do with gun manufacturers, though it's likely that the gun manufacturers are members. But then again, in a capitalist society, someone will make money from selling things people want. I don't have a problem with that. Burdening the citizens' cost of ownership with excessive taxes, regulations, and 'ban-laws', I have a LOT of problems with THAT.

      And yeah, it's reasonable to make it illegal [for a time, at least] for convicted felons to own/use firearms. Simply "being accused" should NEVER deprive you of your legally owned firearms, however.

      (icon because an armed citizenry is difficult to manipulate and control - big brother is behind the bans)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Where is the NRA?

        "an armed citizenry is difficult to manipulate and control"

        Oh, I dunno.

        Exhibit A: The current occupant of the Oval Office.

        Exhibit B: Radio & TV "preachers".

        Exhibit C: Mass media conspiracy theorists.

        Need I go on?

  7. Grikath Silver badge
    Mushroom

    you must be...

    Utterly bonkers or desperate to even consider combining 3D-printing and explosives....

    Icon for end result.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      @Grikath Re: you must be...

      Uhm... who said anything about plastic?

      Yeah. That's the thing. You could use a 3D metal printer to print the components to make a gun.

      There is one company that manufactures these printers did just that. They printed a .45 ACP 1911 and then put it out on to a test range.

      It worked flawlessly. The goal was to show that its possible to use their printer to manufacture specialized parts that can withstand the high pressures of a gun and thus be useful in engine or other machine parts.

      The company didn't release the cost of the gun, but said you could easily buy a lot of 1911s for the price so that its not realistic to make a 3D gun when you could easily buy one.

      In terms of plastic guns... the barrel will explode after one or more shots from the pressure of a .22lr.

      Anything larger would be dangerous on the first shot.

      Now if you did a mix of non ferrous metal, carbon fiber and resin filled plastic... you could build an undetectable gun if you wanted. Oh and it wouldn't be cheap either.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: @Grikath you must be...

        " The goal was to show that its possible to use their printer to manufacture specialized parts that can withstand the high pressures of a gun and thus be useful in engine or other machine parts."

        Why didnt they make an engine then? A simple 2 stroke maybe .

        1. JimC Silver badge

          Re: Why didnt they make an engine then?

          Company manufactures 2 Stroke engine as demonstration piece

          - Press coverage one paragraph on the bottom of page 15 of a trade magazine

          Company manufactures gun as demonstration piece

          - Press coverage worldwide front pages.

          Can we look forward to them making some kind of sex toy next as a technology demonstration?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Why didnt they make an engine then?

            Point of order: I'm fairly certain that both 2-stroke engines and handguns have been used as sex toys.

        2. onefang Silver badge

          Re: @Grikath you must be...

          "Why didnt they make an engine then? A simple 2 stroke maybe."

          Coz 3D printing half a weapon gets you way more free publicity than 3D printing half a lawn mower.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Grikath you must be...

          Why didnt they make an engine then? A simple 2 stroke maybe .

          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          And how much publicity/advertising, comparatively, would that have generated?

          The mindless hysteria about guns guarantees massive coverage.

        4. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: @Grikath you must be...

          Actually, printed engines have been made and test-fired, although not so much of "simple 2 stroke" but rather of the "rocket" kind.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: @Grikath you must be...

        uh, the point of using plastic is to keep metal detectors from detecting it. [then again projectiles and casings are or have metal in them already, so it's just 'less detectable" with less metal in it]

        so a metal printer would make "a firearm" and not "an undetectable firearm".

        Since I can't think of an element or material that's both heavy AND solid enough to be a projectile, other than metals like lead or uranium, a plastic weapon that's totally undetectable is most likely going to be ineffective. You'd do better with a ceramic knife.

        (pointing out that non-ferrous metal can be detected too, not just ferrous metal - put brass or other metal near a coil and its inductance changes, for example - eddy currents)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: @Grikath you must be...

          "Since I can't think of an element or material that's both heavy AND solid enough to be a projectile"

          Fine grained basalt, rhyolite or basanite might work with deformable wadding to mitigate shock on firing.

          Pitch/plant resin with fiber reinforcement (amber's probably too brittle).

          One caramel[0] formula or another might work for low velocity stuff.

          Oobleck in a thin Polyoxymethylene casing? Come to think of it, any of the above in a thin Polyoxymethylene casing ...

          Sheeple brains are fairly dense. Sadly, harvesting them is illegal. Gawd/ess knows why, they will never be used by their owners. Waste of raw material, that.

          [0] Yes, the one made of sugar & fat. Like sheeple brains, come to think of it ...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: you must be...

      >Utterly bonkers or desperate to even consider combining 3D-printing and explosives

      There are some potentially interesting applications of 3d printing the explosives themselves.

      Better than casting and potentially safer than machining them

      Anon for this .... just because

  8. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

    delusional

    It just shows how much out of sync the judges are with technology.

    a 3d printed "gun" is only as much as a gun as a block to hold a bullet in while you hit it with a hammer and nail.

    you just cannot make a chamber airtight enough that will hold enough pressure to launch a bullet with any more power than you can with a good catapult or slingshot.

    there are technologies that you could use to make something that could make a bullet head off in a direction of your choosing that wont blow your own hand to bits and could be lethal to who you aim it at, but the cost of materials and machines would be so high that if you needed a cheap un traceable gun, you could get one at a fraction of the price.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: delusional

      Not with a $200 makerbot but you can 3d print turbine blades with the right kit - a shotgun wouldn't be too challenging

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: delusional

        a guns basically a tube? why not just buy a tube?

  9. GrumpyKiwi Silver badge
    FAIL

    Pointless

    Next up - Court issues order supporting King Cnut's "tides may not come in" ruling.

    Stupid pointless cnuts.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      I think they already ruled that rising sea levels didn't apply to them

  10. Updraft102 Silver badge

    "We will not allow the federal government to endanger New Yorkers."

    "That's our job!"

  11. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Why bother

    The latest estimates say that there are more firearms than people in the US (and FAR more than the number of sane adults). Stopping the manufacture of a few crap guns when the full CAD files for guns such as the AK47 are readily available does not make any sense except as a bit of poor theatre.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Why bother

      I for one would love to see you go to a range with your plastic AK-47 and try to fire off a couple of rounds.

      The gun would explode on the first shot.

      If you're going to make that argument, then you have to consider the sale of an 80% ready Glock or AR-15 where you can easily complete if you follow directions and have a couple of shop tools available. Nothing fancy.

      And that is next on their agenda. They fear that gangs are going to buy the legal kits and then make guns.

      While its a real threat, its not realistic because most of the gang shootings are done with recycled guns where after a shooting the gang sells the gun to another person/gang so that you can get the gun, the guy with the gun, but he won't be the shooter in the crime.

      Living in Chicago, talking to the right people, you learn things...

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Why bother

        He didn't say anything about plastic. He said "Cad drawings". Full working drawings to make an AK47 exist, are available for download, and have been for a long time. I made an AK with a set of those plans several years ago. The result was just as crap as a real AK, so I guess I was successful. I destroyed my replica when I sold off my real ones ... No need to keep it about, as I'd never use it again. I have no real use for "make lots of noise spraying lead downrange & hope you scare what you're shooting because there is no hope to actually hit what you are aiming at" weapon. The only reason I purchased the real ones was to tweak my local politicians.

  12. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Before we had guns ...

    I wonder if I'll get into trouble for posting a 3D kit for a Trebuchet on the Internet?

    1. 404 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Before we had guns ...

      Really? That would be cool af.

      Post them.

      1. Diogenes

        Re: Before we had guns ...

        Kit Kat is ahead of you this has been shown in the antipodes ....

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZxnJ9VXlhg

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Before we had guns ...

          https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-an-Awesome-Trebuchet/

  13. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    3D Printed Gun...

    Functionally identical to an old-school home brew 'zip gun', but requires many additional hours * to produce and leaves slightly more evidence of its probable origin. In other words, a 3D Printed Gun is slightly worse in every conceivable way than a 'zip gun'.

    (* You start your tediously-ponderous 3D Printer, I'll drive to the hardware store ** and buy some pipe and an elastic band, plus I'll stop off somewhere for leisurely lunch. 3, 2, 1, Go.)

    (** Not really. In terms of non-violence, it's possible that I'm Gandhi reincarnated.)

  14. GrumpyKiwi Silver badge

    "Luggage? That punk pulled a Glock 7 on me. You know what that is? It's a porcelain gun made in Germany. It doesn't show up on your airport X-ray machines here and it costs more than what you make in a month!"

    From the original Plastic-Gun panic of the 1980's. (also contains no less than 5 incorrect statements).

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith

      It's half the premise of the best sequel to A Christmas movie ever made though, not a trump documentary. In that movie world, those statements are true.

  15. Florida1920 Silver badge

    "We will not allow the federal government to endanger New Yorkers."

    Ms Underwood clearly hasn't been reading the Times lately.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you go to the guys web site it's not 3d printed guns that are the issue . He is selling blanks for 1911a that has to be milled and blanks for a glock that has to be milled. He is also selling mini cnc machines that will do the milling . Once you do the milling you then buy an actual metal barrel . Barrels in the US are not regulated, it's the frame .

    1. Chez

      That's been legal for decades. He just sells a CNC machine so you can do it without needing a drill press and jigs.

  17. onefang Silver badge
    WTF?

    'He points out that while the gun CAD files cannot be uploaded to the internet, "they can be emailed, mailed, securely transmitted, or otherwise published within the United States."'

    I give up on the world+dog actually understanding things like "upload" and "download". Emailing is just using some other Internet protocol for "uploading" the files. I was on a local TV stations catch up site the other day, looking to watch a particular episode of a particular show. For some odd reason, that particular episode wasn't available for streaming, though the episodes on either side where available. It was available for "download" though. So I "downloaded" it, then watched it. The only difference was it took up more space on my HD before I had to delete it. I could still watch it, still pause, rewind, etc. No DRM was involved. shrugs

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get it....

    I fail to understand the panic around constitutional rights to bear arms... which seems to be the motivating force behind Defence Distributed's legal fight.

    If it wasn't a gun, but instead was 3D CAD files for the construction of a anti-personnel device, or a 'dirty' nuclear weapon would the reaction be different?

    1. onefang Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: I don't get it....

      "If it wasn't a gun, but instead was 3D CAD files for the construction of a anti-personnel device, or a 'dirty' nuclear weapon would the reaction be different?"

      I recall decades ago a popular Australian electronics magazine, would always publish instructions for building various electronic devices, and the local electronics shops would produce kits to match. One month they published a "How to build an atomic bomb" article, though no kits where produced. My take away from that article was that A) if you are not careful you'll die, B) the hard part was getting suitable nuclear material. No doubt many of the components for a dirty nuclear weapon could be 3D printed, but it you still wont be able to get 3D printing plastic filament to be suitably nuclear.

      Anti-personnel devices are easy, 3D print something incriminating, leave it under the desk of the staff member you don't like, send email to HR telling them where to find it.

    2. scrubber

      Re: I don't get it....

      There are already functional specs for making a nuclear bombs, the scientists who first developed it in the US released it so the Russians would have it and stop a nuclear annihilation. Has worked fairly well so far.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it obvious?

    Does the court not understand that it's impossible to prevent people from disseminating information online however they chose?

  20. andrew.bond

    Is everyone stupid?

    Available on Github continuously since 2015: https://github.com/maduce/fosscad-repo

  21. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Coat

    how many commentards does it take .....

    A plastic gun would explode on the first shot.

    I just thought i'd mention that , in case some of you are only skimming the comments and didnt see it the first 500 times it was posted.

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith

      Re: how many commentards does it take .....

      Haven't you heard? Some explode on the second shot now, things improved over the last ten years!

  22. EastFinchleyite

    Lateral Thinking

    Clearly the idea that a court ruling can prevent determined people from making dodgy 3D guns is not working. What we need to do is persuade those people not to do it.

    In the US the law and social norms lean towards making gun ownership easier rather than harder. We need a different approach.

    Wouldn't it be a lot easier just to hack the CAD files on the web to make the gun fire backwards. ?

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Lateral Thinking

      So basically you want to kill people.

      1. EastFinchleyite

        Re: Lateral Thinking

        "So basically you want to kill people."

        No, I'd prefer that no-one built and used the damn things. But if someone is going to make one, smuggle it onto a plane or suchlike where security would bar a "normal" gun and then use it to take someone's life then I would prefer it be the perpetrator that suffers rather than the innocent victim.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Lateral Thinking

          No, I'd prefer that no-one built and used the damn things. But if someone is going to make one, smuggle it onto a plane or suchlike where security would bar a "normal" gun and then use it to take someone's life then I would prefer it be the perpetrator that suffers rather than the innocent victim.

          These still have metal parts in them, still show up in X-rays, still use gunpowder (and thus detectable by the same chemical techniques). You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. The few people making these things are hobbyists, not criminals.

  23. Michael Strorm

    That reminds me...

    Whatever happened to the "3D printers are going to change the world and everyone is going to have one!!!111" hype?

    Even before I spotted references to the initial dates (2012-13) my initial reaction was "hmm... 3D guns, wasn't all that fuss a few years ago now?" followed by "come to think of it, you don't hear nearly as much about 3D printers these days, do you?"

    Perhaps someone realised that a machine that can make a few plastic cogs very slowly *wasn't* going to let Jo Average 3D-print a new car engine from the comfort of her own home after all?

    The most stupid example of 3D printer hype I read- in a "reputable" news site IIRC- was that we wouldn't have to bother with the environmentally-unfriendly manufacture, transport and packaging of food products like apple pies, because you'd be able to do it at home with the appropriate ingredient packets.

    Aside from being a tedious PITA doing it that way, where the #### did they think the ingredients (which will have to be already mostly pre-manufactured) were going to come from?!!!

  24. scrubber

    Dear Judge,

    Please read up on the Streisand Effect

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

    Yours,

    Newly in Possession of 3D Gun Files

  25. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Another Dumb Judge Who Knows Little About Geography or the InterNet

    American jurisdiction is geographically limited - not world world wide. Ask the Chinese or the Russians. The judge must suffer from the same delusions as King Canute.

    Already some of the advanced designs of printed guns have been found of the streets of Thailand, Cambodia and VietNam. There are substantial 'printing' installations in Thailand and VietNam - less substantial in Cambodia (Kampuchea) and Laos.

    You can almost guarantee the Chinese are busy - improving the designs as they go.

    Given there are land borders between all the countries, and that automobile parts smuggling is rife from Thailand to Cambodia (Kampuchea) and VietNam, the flow of small plastic parts are unlikely to be stopped. Smuggling between Laos and China are massive hardwood logs.

    The US activity is more political than practical.

  26. MericanMan

    80% lowers, anyone?

    I was extremely surprised to only see one person (Ian Michael Gumby) mention 80% lowers, and even then it was something like 70 comments in.

    Worrying about plans to use a plastic 3D printer to make a gun is pretty laughable. As many have already said, with current materials available for most 3D printers, the guns produced are absolutely terrible, unlikely to fire more than a few times, and have horrible accuracy, tolerances, etc.

    What makes it even more ridiculous though, as Ian touched on, is that you can make a metal, production-quality firearm using a so-called "80% lower" along with off-the-shelf parts for the rest of the gun. For those who might not be aware, federal laws related to firearms in the US are tied to the one key piece of any gun--the lower receiver. That is actually the piece that is regulated, must have a serial number, etc. The rest of the gun (barrel, stock/housing, trigger assembly and all the other miscellaneous pieces required to complete the weapon) are NOT regulated, and can be easily purchased from any number of vendors. So, the only thing stopping someone from building their own, unregistered weapon is the need to build that lower receiver. That would normally be a bit of a complex undertaking, which is why even rabid gun control activists have never really focused any attention on the fact that it's perfectly legal for anyone to build one themselves. It was complicated enough that few would have the knowledge, tools and desire to bother.

    However, someone can sell you a partially-completed block of metal, which has certain milling to turn it into a lower receiver already completed, but with key portions that are still solid metal, thereby making it far enough from a functional receiver that it's only considered raw materials, and does not fall under the regulations as it is not legally a receiver (yet). These are called 80% lowers, meaning that approximately 80% of the milling required to turn that block of metal into a receiver has been done, but that you will have to do the rest to get it there. Typically the vendors of these get a letter from the ATF confirming that what they're selling does not meet the definition of a receiver, which gives them certainty that they're not violating any regulations.

    More recently, companies have started selling (relatively) low-cost CNC milling machines specifically designed for completing the milling on these lower receivers (just Google "Ghost Gunner"). They generally also sell specialty jig sets for particular models of firearm lower, along with detailed instructions, to make completing the lower as simple as possible. So for something like $2,000 you can have a machine that does most of the hard work for you, and simply requires you to re-position the lower a few times during the process. And from that one machine, you could crank out as many lowers as you'd like, for a wide range of handguns and rifles. Then you combine that lower with the other parts like the barrel you can order, which are all high-quality components produced by firearms manufacturers, and you end up with a weapon that is functionally identical to something you'd buy in the store, with none of the disadvantages of plastic 3D-printed weapons.

    For those not willing to spend the money on the specialty CNC machine, some companies sell 80% lowers along with jigs that are designed to allow hand tools (files, etc) to complete them, where the jig acts as a guide ("file the metal down until you reach the jig", etc), which takes a LOT more effort, but is far cheaper. And, of course, there's nothing stopping someone from carefully measuring and drilling/filing an 80% lower without any special jigs or machines if they really wanted to take the time and effort to do so.

    Really the debate about all of this is a bit silly, since most criminals that make use of firearms in this country are never going to use a 3D printer OR a specialty CNC machine. They're going to buy a gun from a gang contact/friend, which was almost certainly stolen from an original law-abiding owner, or they'll steal one themselves, or get a friend to make a straw purchase for them. I suppose I could see an entrepreneurial criminal setting up shop and cranking out weapons built from 80% lowers to everyone else, but given that it's been possible to do so for quite a few years now, and I haven't heard of anyone actually doing so, it probably means it's just simpler for them to steal them, or smuggle them in from other countries that have lax regulations.

    But to return to the actual fight at hand, this isn't about whether someone can, will or should be able to print a gun on a 3D printer. This is about whether a company or person can publish the instructions for doing so. As others have mentioned in these comments, this was pretty well decided after the whole PGP debacle. That while a "thing" or "tool" that actually does the illegal activity can be banned, the instructions on how to build that thing constitute protected speech and cannot be.

    That's not to say that the government won't decide to give you a hard time about it though, or that courts won't issue injunctions that would take you years and many dollars worth of resources to get overturned. There was a case of a guy running a company that trained people how to beat polygraph exams. That in itself isn't illegal, but of course the government wasn't happy about it. They sent undercover cops to him for the training, who made a point of mentioning they wanted the training to, say, hide the fact that they had a criminal record when applying for a job with a government agency, or wanted to hide the fact that they'd helped smuggle drugs through the airport they work at. Since he gave them the training anyway, he was charged with obstruction of justice, plus I think mail fraud.

    So even though a company might be able to do this sort of thing, and I expect Defense Distributed to (eventually) prevail in the courts here, they'd better be careful that they don't do anything even marginally legally questionable (as a company or as the individuals that run it) as they'll have a target on their back.

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