It Is Now Possible To Download An AR-15 Assault Rifle Using 3D Printing

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by g0pher, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. It Is Now Possible To Download And 3D Print A Working AR-15 Assault Rifle - Business Insider


    One of the major possibilities in the future of gun control — and manufacturing in general — is the potential of 3D printers to build items from scratch.

    That has led to at least one person designing and printing parts for an AR-15 rifle. He may be the first to test his work.

    This morning Wired's Danger Room had a post about engineer Michael Guslick's effort to print an AR-15 from scratch. Using the schematics for the firearm, Guslick was able to digitally represent parts of the rifle and print them.

    That data file is sent to the printer, which interprets it and "prints" a 3-D real world model of the file. The process is legitimately used in design when developing prototypes and models of engineering designs.

    The gun is made of polymer plastic, but the technology behind 3D printing is progressing at a rate that could make inexpensive metal "ink" a possibility soon. Some companies already have prototype metal 3D printers.

    The part of this story that nobody is covering is how Guslick's work can be spread around the internet. Moreover, it — or an imitator's work — already has.

    An original sculpture, a digital model of the sculpture, a 3D printout of the model.

    There's a very active "Physible" community that spreads designs that contributors wrote up in code. By spreading this around, different people with 3D printers can collaborate and expand on their work. A lot of people use bittorrent sites to spread these around.

    Bittorrent is a downloading system where a group of people who have a file each send a portion of the file to a downloader. This is coordinated by a downloadable .torrent file that links the group together. With standard downloading, the transaction is from one uploader to one downloader. With bittorrent, it's teamwork.

    Quick heads-up: Due to their dubious legality, Torrent download sites may be considered not safe for work. They have racy advertisements too. So use judgement when clicking these links.

    Here, for instance, is a downloadable file for a 3D print of Mark Zuckerburg's head. Innocent enough. Here's a file to print a model aircraft. Here's a videogame necklace.

    Here is the data file to print an AR-15 rifle part. Here's the data file for the receiver and magazine.

    Now, we haven't checked these files to make sure they're the real deal. But if they are, they introduce a whole mess of legal questions.

    When guns can be downloaded and manufactured reliably, that's when gun control as it is currently understood goes completely out the window. It becomes obsolete.

    In order to regulate, the government would have to contend with an assortment of free speech issues; would possession of the code for an illegal gun be a crime? Can writing that code be considered an expression of free speech? Can executing it?

    Right now, the technology has not progressed to the point where an operational firearm can be printed and used. But it's getting there, and the designs are already becoming free to share and download.

    Once the tech catches up, though, prepare for one of the first controversies involving both the first and second amendment.
  2. functional polymer gun barrel?

  3. You missed the part about 3d printers that can print in metal. It was noted that a polymer gun would not work.
  4. Hah, so I did! :eek:

    So did this guy get his hands on one of these experimental printers, or is this rifle non-functioning?
  5. They're in prototype for several companies (metal printers) so I'm guessing it's only a matter of time until I can download and print an RPG :devious:
  6. I'm not sure how kosher this thread is actually - but in any case I wanted to add that yes there are 3D Printers that can print metal and I have read already that an AR-15 receiver has been printed and turned into a working weapon and has fired 200+ rounds.

    So yeah, it can be done.
  7. #7 dom12, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2012
    Found it WildWill, EXCLUSIVE: Man who printed a gun in his own home says it

    Could a gun be made at home?

    An engineer claims to have taken the first steps toward doing so using a 3D printer.

    Michael Guslick said last week in an online forum that he “printed” and fired the world’s first home-made, 3D-impressed gun more than 200 times. Guslick granted an exclusive interview to the Daily News, revealing just how easy it is to create a firearm at home at a time when gun control is back on the minds of millions of Americans following last month’s shootings in Colorado.

    A 3D printer uses layers of plastic or other malleable materials to create items that range from jewelry to industrial parts — but, according to Guslick, no one has ever before used the home version to build a gun.

    Under his online alias, “HaveBlue,” Guslick posted on the firearms forum that he had 3D-printed the lower receiver of an AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle.

    “To the best of my knowledge, this is the world's first 3D printed firearm to actually be tested,” he wrote last week.

    Guslick said creating the rifle on his own “wasn’t that difficult.”

    For $1,000, the engineer said he picked up a 3D printer that looks something like a mini-fridge. Guslick says the printers work like “computer controlled plastic dispensers.”

    After slightly modifying gun blueprints that he said “have been floating around the Internet for quite some time,” the man began to print.

    Thirty hours later, his home-crafted gun base was ready.

    Guslick added some “furniture” - insider talk for the grip and stock - to the firearm and fired off about 200 rounds.

    “It was extremely large and ungainly, but it worked,” he said, adding that the “barrier to entry is certainly being lowered,” since anyone with some technological knowledge could probably do what Guslick did.

    But easy as Guslick says it would be to replicate the process, he says we’re still far from a Star Trek “replicator” that can make anything in the universe on request.

    Besides, he doesn’t think regular criminals would be willing to put in all that much effort.

    “Criminals are not going to give this a second thought,” he said. “They will continue to look to the black market, rather than saying ‘Oh gee, we need to buy a 3D printer.’”

    The gun enthusiast says he believes the media blew his story out of proportion.

    “I guess this is a testament to how fearful people are of hearing that someone can 3D-print a gun without understanding that this wasn’t all that complex, it’s only in a legal sense that I have printed a firearm,” he said.

    Simple or not, the development led commentators like Mark Gibbs to write in Forbes that “the old NRA bumper sticker ‘If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns’ will have to be changed to ‘If guns are outlawed, outlaws will have 3D printers.’”
  8. So in 50 years the term "handcrafted" will be pretty much non-existent.

    Oh well, I'm onboard with 3d printers. I think humanity deserves this.
  9. [quote name='"dom12"']They're in prototype for several companies (metal printers) so I'm guessing it's only a matter of time until I can download and print an RPG :devious:[/quote]

    You can't print the ammunition though. Obtaining explosive ink ilwould be dangerous and expensive and illegal for.home gun printers.

    This will start an underground ammo trade
  10. Start?

  11. I would be interested in seeing how durable and reliable these guns would be.

    There's so many tiny parts that have to be the exact size or it won't work properly. Would it be able to hold up to heavy use? I think this gun would probably jam up a lot with extended use
  12. 3D printers are pretty interesting. Expensive though.
  13. I bet it'll have a lot to do with the metals these metal inks make up. The thing is with computers you can make the exact size and print the exact size every time. So as long as it's made perfect in 3d space, it will be perfect when printed.

    I'd like to learn more about how these metal inks are made imo.
  14. It essentially just lays down layers of the material. Where as machining takes it away (subtractive) 3d printing is an additive way of creating something.

    Its not really an ink, just really thin layers of material positioned correctly on top of each other.

    3D printing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  15. #15 illrolling, Aug 12, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2012
    guns have serial numbers that go to a name so its all still very illegal and even more so if you tried to create a fake id to the gun.
  16. [quote name='"Dissec"']

    It essentially just lays down layers of the material. Where as machining takes it away (subtractive) 3d printing is an additive way of creating something.

    Its not really an ink, just really thin layers of material positioned correctly on top of each other.

    3D printing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/quote]

    I've seen videos on the process and its really cool.

    I just have a hard time believing something durable enough to fire hundreds of rounds can be printed. It's probably just because its so new. I'm sure when bell dropped the telephone on people they were like gtfo with that shit, you can't talk into there and have somebody in another town hear you.
  17. Whoa, you mean with expensive specialized equipment it is possible to make weapons?

    Oh, wait...this is nothing new...

    tons of machinists around the country (and world) already have the tools to make weapons...they can do it legally or they can do it illegally...

  18. Holy shit where do I get one of those printers. We should try printing some guns from halo.

  19. Wrong. If you make a firearm for yourself, you only need a serial number if you plan to sell it.
  20. LOL, probably the biggest moot point I've ever heard.

    In most cases (perhaps damn near all), it's still illegal to own a firearm without a serial number or one that you've machined yourself without the proper Class XX machinist license.

    And this story is glorifying a manufacturing process that is hardly new. Cavalry Arms has been "printing" polymer receivers and selling them since the year 2000.

    The only thing that glorifies this particular story is the fact that someone could in theory manufacture or "print" the serialized lower assembly unit for an AR-15 style assault rifle, and then be able to order the rest of the parts from the internet (or buy an AR-15 kit at a local gun store) and put it together without really registering the firearm, since the only part on an AR-15 rifle that is registered is the serialized lower assembly.

    Again, this threat has been going on since the first day a machinist "reverse-engineered" (i.e. measured the damn thing) an AR-15 lower and machined one themselves. Nothing really new here, and all the same laws still apply, including the laws of physics (for anyone who might have thought you were going to print anything more than a rubber-band gun and get it through an airport undetected).

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