back to article Upgraded 3D printed rifle shoots 14 times before breaking

Get ready for another wave of debate on weaponised 3D printers, because the Canadian behind a one-shot-and-it's-dead 3D printed rifle has come back with a weapon that doesn't break when used. The Canadian in question is known only as Matthew and posts videos of his creation on a YouTube channel previously dedicated to the …

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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Do ya feel lucky?

    "I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking "did he fire six shots or only five fourteen shots or only thirteen?" Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is an unreliable piece of plastic prototype junk that cost a few dollars to make you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?"

    That spinning sound is Dirty Harry¹ at the prospect of having his "my that's a big one" .44 Magnum replaced by something that you'd expect to get in a box of cereal.

    [1] Yes, I know Clint's not dead, but I doubt the character would have a very long life expectancy, given how he conducted himself

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Unlikely to be used in a mass killing so probably won't have much of an appeal to Americans.

      1. John 98

        My dear chap - it's perfectly adequate for a mass shooting. Carrying three of them, one can potentially kill 42 people and maybe even set a new record (as the NRA hope, so they can lobby for cars to be fitted with aircraft cannon as standard).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Register, never say never:

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

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/10/oh_no_its_the_plastic_3d_gun/

          And why the scepticism?

          "We're also a little suspicious about the lack of any smoke. Some might say glare in the background of the shot explains that, but why not arrange a better background to make the demonstration more effective and remove any doubt?"

          Possibly more to do with the above earlier thoroughly debunked article rather than any real suspicions, after all, the original handgun has been proven to work:

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

    2. JustWondering

      Re: Do ya feel lucky?

      "unreliable piece of plastic prototype junk that cost a few dollars to make "

      I seem to remember that the printers used to create these alleged weapons take rather costly cartridges, making it much more economical to purchase a real weapon from the underground economy. Quite possibly also quicker.

    3. oolor

      Re: Do ya feel lucky?

      If someone pulled a plastic gun on me, well I damn well would likely give a soliloquy to a chair instead of addressing them directly, and then proceed, post-haste - naturally - to beat them with said chair all the whilst screaming "He should have armed himself".

      Wait, that's not right, now you have me mixing and matching Eastwood lines.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Meh

    Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

    But the off screen loading of the barrel is suspect, as are the little cylinders on the bench. Is he using a barrel liner?

    Actually the obvious way to hoax this would be to use under powered re-loads (barely a cap gun) and dub the sound track, ideally with the one full power round you fired before it exploded.

    Highly suspicious of this and a long way from a viable weapon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

      The 'little cylinders' are not barrel liners, they are the brass that holds the powder and the bullet head. This is the part that is ejected from the gun after the round has been fired.

      1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

        I'm thinking he's shooting very underpowered reloads in a small calibre to get that many shots out of it. Almost definitely a pistol calibre - maybe .32?

        1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

          Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

          calibre is .22LR. Article mentions the ammunition and almost anyone who has fired a reasonable quantity of that calibre will instantly recognize the characteristic sound.

        2. Slap

          Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

          Actually he's firing a .22 Long Rifle rimfire round. It has a subsonic muzzle velocity with very little recoil and very little pressure. This type of round basically has a max range of around 130 metres, and is generally used for targets, and hunting rats and squirrels. It's basically an air gun plus round which obviously would help to keep the gun intact. Another reason for choosing this type of round is that the spring firing mechanism would probably lack the force required to detonate a centre fire round. A rimfire round uses a primer around the rim of the rear casing which in turn detonates the main charge.

          If he'd have used a Remington .223 or the NATO equivalent the 5.56, which I shoot quite regularly, and are considered relatively light rounds, then he'd have blown the gun apart on the first shot.

          This whole printed plastic gun malarkey is basically nothing more than a gimmick. Nobody will ever be able to print a fully functional gun entirely from plastic. Too many problems exist in terms of the gun coping with the pressure and force generated, and accuracy because even if you print lands into the barrel they won't be there after the first shot.

          The big fear is that you could print the lower receiver and then use parts that freely available to make a serious gun which is to all intents and purposes untraceable as it's the lower receiver that has the serial number for the gun. But even then those printed so far have failed after 5 or 6 hundred rounds - ok admittedly they lasted long enough to do some serious damage.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

            > If he'd have used a Remington .223 or the NATO equivalent the 5.56

            Yah no.

            Next up: Lapua Magnum.

          2. JDX Gold badge

            Nobody will ever be able to print a fully functional gun entirely from plastic

            Ever is a long time. Machined gun barrels were once upon a time a distant dream...

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Meh

        Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

        "The 'little cylinders' are not barrel liners, they are the brass that holds the powder and the bullet head. This is the part that is ejected from the gun after the round has been fired."

        The technical term for which is a "cartridge" Mr AC.

        I mean the dark metal cylinders sitting on that plastic rack in the shot, not the things he seems to be pushing out the barrel after each firing.

        1. Minophis

          Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

          If you look closely you will see that the 'plastic rack' is actually a bench vice. The dark metal cylinders are the guides used to keep the vice jaws aligned and the screw used for tightening or loosening.

          1. frank ly
            Thumb Up

            @Miniphis Re: Someone who has *no* failed to maintain his weapon.

            Ha! You're obviously a real engineer.

  3. RobHib
    Stop

    We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

    In the previous article about 3D printers a few days ago in El Reg ('Buy a household 3D printer, it'll pay for itself in MONTHS!') posters raised concerns about:

    1. Government regulation because of its ability (or future ability) to manufacture of dangerous things from guns to the assembly of chemicals (explosives), to illegal drugs to the modifying of genetic matter, and;

    2. IP, copyright and patents issues. Like copying software, making things in 3D printers based on or copied from the the designs of others will become a nightmare.

    Outside, 'toy' versions the machines could even be banned.

    As we've seen here, even 3D plastic versions of guns can be dangerous. I've watched 3D metal parts being made and it's clear that a gun made on a metal version of a 3D printer would be a lot more reliable than this plastic one. Even now, any skilled machinist with access to a CNC lathe/milling machine--i.e. an automated machining centre--which are now becoming commonplace--can turn out nasties such as cloned AK47s.

    This is very unfortunate as we stand to have access to this exciting technology restricted by spooked/frightened bureaucrats long before the technology is mature and can do anything truly useful.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

      > and it's clear that a gun made on a metal version of a 3D printer would be a lot more reliable than this plastic one

      Most of the metal ones I have seen are based on powder sintering, which will disintegrate very quickly if you put any type of force through it.

      > This is very unfortunate as we stand to have access to this exciting technology restricted

      If you want to build a "gun" you can assemble a composite crossbow from pretty ordinary materials in any DIY store that will quite happily put a bolt most of the way through a brick, certainly enough damage to be lethal to a human.

      1. Great Bu

        Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

        When it comes right down to it, for considerably less effort than this guy has put into making his printed plastic gun it is perfectly possible to build an equally viable weapon from B&Q stuff - get some reasoneable thickness metal pipe for the barrel, wrap it in more pipe of a slighly larger size (repeat as required for strength), the rest is just woodwork and simple mechanics.

        There's nothing particularly hard, challenging or secret about gun design or manufacture.

        For the price of a 3D printer you can buy a second hand lathe off eBay and make a proper gun......

        Getting hold of the ammunition is the harder part (especially any kind of good propellant in reasoneable quantity).

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

          But consider this:

          A single man is able to produce a firearm from a man-portable machine (so unlike CNC it can be built out of the view of cameras, say inside a vehicle or in the woods) that can fit in a pocket and, at least by itself, can pass a metal detector.

          The only problem right now is the ammunition, but what if he uses a hard-plastic slug contained in a carbon fiber casing? Completely nonmetallic. Now NO ONE is safe.

          About the only other thing I can think of that can work at distance, fit in a pocket, AND get past a metal detector is a ceramic dirk or shuriken, but knife throwing is an art compared to shooting a gun.

          1. YetAnotherLocksmith
            WTF?

            Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

            Er, what?

            No-one's safe at the moment. Plus, the implication of it all being plastic is that it can't be found by metal detectors. I don't have a couple of guards and an arch at my front door, so whatever it was made of, I'd not be 'safe'. No, you are talking about the mega rich and powerful.

            Perhaps they'll be safer if they start being a bit more human and a bit less mega-wealthy.

            Besides which, you don't need a 3D printed gun or anything else so useless. For the price of that printer you could assemble a remote controlled drone, and simply fly it into your target's head. No explosives, no prints, no ballistics, no warning, no need to be anywhere closeby, and you can get reasonable doubt by claiming it was all a terrible accident...

            Or just run them over with a car, because they kill a lot more people than guns or anything else!

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

              Except the REALLY important people know to use radio jamming to block remote assassinations and concrete barriers to block car attacks. The only way to be sure is to get up close, which means getting someone past the cordon.

      2. RobHib
        Facepalm

        Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

        Sintered materials can be very strong. They've been used in bearings for eons!

        Moreover, I can assure you the metal sintered printed products that I have sitting around me--that I'm looking at now--are many times stronger than their plastic counterparts--no matter what plastic substrate is used.

        ...And don't forget this technology is in its infancy.

        I suggest you do a course in material science.

      3. Tom 35

        If you want to build a gun

        See zip gun. I expect I could make something just as (not) effective from the junk I have on hand using basic hand tools in a lot less time then it takes to print that plastic "gun". It would not look much like a gun I expect so it would not be as good for scarring fools.

        "3D printed rifle"

        It's not a rifle as there is no way there is any "rifling" in that thing. More like a musket (even needs a tamping rod).

        This attempt to make 3D printed guns out to be a big thing seems to be one part Shit Disturber and one part forget about AR15s, crap plastic one shot guns (way more useless then the zip guns that have been around for years) are what you need to ban.

        1. frank ly

          Re: If you want to build a gun

          @Tom 35 - It's not actually a tamping rod; more of a barrel clearing device.

          If you want to break the law by owning an unlicensed weapon, you might as well buy one from a reliable criminal armourer, someone who has a reputation to uphold and might even give a limited period guarentee.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

      > from guns to the assembly of chemicals (explosives), to illegal drugs to the modifying of genetic matter

      "assembly" of explosives? 3-D printing of illegal drugs? 3-D printer-mediated modification of "genetic matter" (whatever you think that may mean)? Really? I'd think that cristal meth and DNA helixes are a tad out of specs for these printers...

      1. RobHib
        Flame

        @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - Re: We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

        Shame you're so ignorant of the research that's going on in this arena. 3D printing is much more than just printing plastic curiosities.

        Perhaps you should spend a few minutes doing some research, here's a few starters:

        http://www.ibtimes.com/3d-printing-risks-not-just-plastic-guns-military-parts-drugs-chemical-weapons-1275591

        http://theweek.com/article/index/246091/can-you-3d-print-drugs

        "Really? I'd think that cristal meth and DNA helixes are a tad out of specs for these printers..."

        Sorry, but you're very wrong about this, this technology is a damn side closer than you think. Again, I suggest you check the current state of research on this. (Check the YouTube video in the second link for instance.)

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

          Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

          > Perhaps you should spend a few minutes doing some research, here's a few starters:

          Loads of sensationalist bullshit written by journos with less-than-average understanding of the processes at play. You just can't 3D-print a chemical reaction, that's not how it works. There are "lab-on-a-chip" nanoconstruction tha DO work on that scale but a) they have nothing to do with 3D printing, b) they tend to be more costly than buying the drug from an industrial producers -MUCH more costly and c) the yield is several orders of magnitude lower than what would be needed for a human being.

          As for "bioprinting", the same applies. You can 3D-print a mold but that's about it, it's not anything novel, you can do exctly the same as with a hand-made plaster cast, no more no less. There is also that thing where you cand permeabilize cells using a modified inkjet printer, but it's not 3D printing, nor is it actually printing, you just use the pressure and temperature shock created by the inkjet mechanism to transiently compromise the cell membrane integrity.

          There may be a few overexcited, if not very competent, bloggers writing about things they don't understand but think could be cool. Don't be fooled.

          > I suggest you check the current state of research on this

          He. That's my job... here, have a link, something cool that actually exists and that some call "bioprinting":

          http://www.jove.com/video/3681/creating-transient-cell-membrane-pores-using-a-standard-inkjet-printer

          1. RobHib
            Coat

            Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

            There is no point arguing with closed minds, ignoramuses or bad losers.

            http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v4/n5/full/nchem.1313.html ...

            ...etc., etc., etc.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. RobHib
                Stop

                Re: There is no point arguing with closed minds, ignoramuses or bad losers.

                1. I'm already on the record about debunking the extent of the 3D claims:

                http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/08/02/household_3d_printer_could_pay_for_itself_in_just_four_months/#c_1911582

                2. I did say it would take 50+ years to mature into being practical proposition (as most technologies do--want more examples?)

                3. 50 years aren't long. The issues I'm talking about will be centre-stage well before then as this technology is screaming ahead ==> read 3D printing as an inseparable subset of nano technology (i.e.: all that nanotechnology entails).

                4. Before you lost sight of what I was about, I was referring to bureaucrats being spooked--not me! The fact is bureaucrats are already spooked. You don't have to be Einstein to figure out bureaucrats will be spooked when you mention illegal weapons, terrorists, illegal drugs, copyright and patent violation in one sentence--or one paragraph for that matter. And thus it's clear to me that it won't be long before draconian regs appear.

                5. I never mentioned DNA, you did. But seeing you have:

                http://scitechdaily.com/3d-printing-using-dna-could-make-drugs/

                ...And whilst reading this remember my skepticism and what I said about 50+ years.

                6. I did add ...etc., etc., etc. There are any number of similar references in the scientific press if you are prepared search (as it seems the bureaucrats are so doing and succeeding). You could begin with that rag New Scientist which had an article on the subject a short while ago. There are any number of other articles in more learned rags, Nature and Science for instance (I don't have my copies to hand for the refs as they're at work but I'm sure you'll find them online if you look).

                7. Back to basics - the concern I'm expressing is that the rampant sensationalism 3D-p is causing (such as this video) will thwart the technology--or more precisely that over regulation in response to emotional gut reaction will lock it up in environments where it can be controlled--i.e.: in proprietary labs of large companies away from the hoi polloi.

                8. Keep at it. Clearly you're on course for Gold.

                1. ElReg!comments!Pierre
                  Pint

                  Re: There is no point arguing with closed minds, ignoramuses or bad losers.

                  You know what, I give up. You can keep your "tech" blog fantasies, we scientists will keep to science. Inntarwub sci-fi blabber and real science don't mix particularly well. If you want to think that #d printing will be banned by the guvmint because it allows for illegal drug production and "genetic matter" modification (your words, whatever it is supposed to mean if lalaland), then fine with me. It's not particularly worst than any other fairytale.

            2. Down not across Silver badge

              Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

              Handy, but hardly earth shattering idea. So you have a print head with one or more chambers for reagents and optionally a microscope head for observation. Yes quite useful for research, but far cry from automatic drug factory or "printing DNA".

              Disclaimer: No, I didn't not go through the paywall for the whole article so my view is limited on the available preview.

        2. Richard 81
          Boffin

          Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

          Speaking as a chemist, Cronin may have been pushing his ideas a bit far. Essentially what that paper is about is building tiny reactors with reagents inside, i.e. "lab on a chip" technology. Now that's pretty cool, but it's no where near (or even moving vaguely towards) playing around with DNA or actually printing a drug.

          As for "tailoring drugs to your DNA", we have enough trouble tailoring drugs to particular proteins.

        3. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: @ ElReg!comments!Pierre - We stand to have access restricted to 3D by spooked bureaucrats.

          "Shame you're so ignorant of the research that's going on in this arena. 3D printing is much more than just printing plastic curiosities."

          Shame you're so sanctimonious that you don't stop to think about and fully understand what you are reading.

  4. Mr C

    whats the point?

    I don't get why the author is so rejecting claims of "good" 3D printed guns.

    It may be a hoax or it might not, it is irrelevant at this point.

    What matters is that the cat is out of the bag, if they can't make it work this week they will find a way to make it work next week.

    Instead of wasting energy in rejecting claims made by the creator of the printed gun it would be much wiser to find a way of handling what is going to be a reality, eventually.

    Find the root of the problem and cure that instead of trying to cure the symptoms.

    Restricting guns in a gun-happy country which allows guns to begin with is what i would call 'the root'

    Try and remove people's desires of owning a gun and you might have a good start.

    As long as you can't manage that having printed guns or no will not make any difference in the long run

    Good luck with that.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: whats the point?

      > Find the root of the problem and cure that instead of trying to cure the symptoms.

      The root of the problem is that there are too many afraid americans who think that having a gun will make them safer AND too many saddo's who think that having a gun is a suitable substitute for "character", or could somehow make them into a "man".

    2. auburnman

      Re: whats the point?

      "What matters is that the cat is out of the bag, if they can't make it work this week they will find a way to make it work next week."

      My money is on someone eventually trying to make a horrifically dangerous shoulder mounted recoilless rifle style model.

    3. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: whats the point?

      "Restricting guns in a gun-happy country which allows guns to begin with is what i would call 'the root'"

      I would suggest the root is to educate both sides. The 'gangsta' morons who want it for intimidation and the 'he got a gun e must be bad duhhhh'. In the UK I deal a lot with the second group who automatically think gun = shoot people. How do you teach those with an absence of thought? I used to fire live ammo and now just air gun yet on mentioning I have guns people assume they are for shooting people.

      The other side feed on that irrational fear by wanting a gun because their rapper idol uses one to score hoes and dope. The same sort of muppets use anything as a weapon. When the 'anything' is used there is a murder reported. When they use a gun ITS A GUN, THEY USED A GUN, SHOT EM!!!

      Reality is somewhere in the middle. it is a tool and it is necessary in some places. However it is also a sport and an easy one for city goers or rural. There is no doubt it is too restricted in this country. Athletes cant even practice in this country because of our thoughtless laws. Responsible gun ownership is the way forward. Various other countries manage fine.

    4. YetAnotherLocksmith
      FAIL

      Re: whats the point?

      No, the root cause, if you care to look hard enough, isn't the gun(s) it is the people who want to kill. And they will use everything and anything to do that. Guns are just one of the better tools, right up there with medical degrees and whatever Fred West used...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    See here...

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120907/

    One step closer.

  6. Tom 260

    Ammunition

    Not foolproof, but one way to keep control over 3D-printed guns is to move the gun control onto the ammunition, ensuring that all buyers have the same level of approval required for the guns in that state/country (this is probably already the case in some countries).

    1. Mtech25
      Devil

      Re: Ammunition

      Personally i think we should follow Chris Rock advice on this Gun's should be cheap but bullet's should be hugely expensive "I believe you have my property?"

      1. Maharg
        Thumb Up

        Re: Ammunition

        "Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars, we wouldn't have any innocent bystanders"

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Holmes

          What iz it that makes you afraid of Ökonomie, sire? Please, the couch is there.

          "Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars, entrepreneurs would enter the market in droves and the price would drop to a few bucks."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Mtech

        It's a shame you wasted time and effort stating your position, as no-one is going to give any value to an opinion about guns held by someone who fails to spell the word "guns".

    2. InsaneGeek
      Facepalm

      Re: Ammunition

      I'd suggest you lookup "ammo reloading" on Google and see that option is even less controllable than 3D guns. Many people don't do it because the cost savings aren't that much comparatively, but increase the cost and they will. It's been done for decades by people so it's well understood, and doesn't take specialized electronic equipment like a 3D printer.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Dr_N Silver badge

    Why go to all this trouble...

    ... when you can just pop-down to Wall-Mart and pick up as more firearms and ammunition than you could possible know what to do with...?

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Why go to all this trouble...

      Wallmart's UK division, Asda, certainly doesn't sell firearms or ammunition. In coutries like this where getting hold of firearms is a lot more difficult, people may well be interested in something like this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Wall-mart"

      You cannot pop down to "Wall-Mart" because that is not the name of the shop.

    3. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Why go to all this trouble...

      Now try getting one past a metal detector. 3D printed guns are almost there; they just need a nonmetallic bullet (say ceramic in a carbon fiber casing). Then metal detectors are this side of useless for ground events. Airplanes have their own problems but I can see ways around them, too (Dildo bomb, anyone?).

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Why go to all this trouble...

        Not this metal shit again.

  9. Trygve Henriksen

    Useless.

    I doubt he can get more than ONE somewhat accurate shot out of it, even if it's not a hoax.

    (The fact that he hasn't published his files yet, but are only promising to do so is an indicator that it's a hoax)

    After the first shot, the inside of the barrel will be a melted sludge that solidifies again in a 'less than perfect shape'.

    And that's IF he even got the diameter right for the first shot...

    Aim is 'less than perfect' as the barrel with front sight is removable by hand, and therefore can't be locked too tightly in place. (A metal design can use tighter tolerances so won't lose accuracy when you remove/re-mount the barrel)

    .22 rimfire... honestly, there are probably metal pens that can be adapted to work as a barrel for those. And will hold for more shots...

    Until someone designs one that uses 9mm Parabellum and can reliably hit a full figure target at 50 meters with more than one shot I won't consider it a viable weapon.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby
      Boffin

      Re: Useless.

      First,

      The shells looks like .22 lr rifle cartridges.

      It looks like he has a very thick barrel, and then the receiver is even thicker to handle the barrel pressure.

      This is nothing more than a 3D printed 'zip' gun. Meaning that the barrel has no rifling and that you can only fire one shell at a time.

      With respect to a 9mm Luger round, you would have way too much pressure and would shatter the gun on the first shot. read VERY Dangerous.

      You would have a better zip gun if you created a ceramic pistol.

      1. Trygve Henriksen

        Re: Useless.

        Aren't .22 lr rimfire cartridges?

        (I can't be bothered to remember all the different .22 types out there)

        And yeah, I'd love to see him try that stunt with the 9mm...

        Mostly because I like explosions...

        Picked the 9mm parabellum as it's a very common cartridge, so should be easy to get hold of.

        (I was going to mention 7.62 NATO rounds first, but... decided to not be that mean... )

        Ceramics seems to be completely ignored by the 3D community, unfortunately. A pity as that's where they'll have the best chance of succeeding. (Not pottery clay, of course, but modern high-teck ceramics such as zirconium dioxide. Not an expert. Other mixes may be better... )

  10. Timfy67
    FAIL

    'Merica

    Surely in the USA it is easier (and cheaper) to procure an actual, honest to goodness firearm than it is to get a decent 3D printer, design files and a prosthetic hand for when the barrel says "ENOUGH... BANG"

    1. dan1980

      Re: 'Merica

      Right now? Yes.

      But remember that the only thing worse than having someone come and take your jerb is having someone come and take your guns. Apparently.

      I believe that the idea, so far as it's about, because, or for anything, is to make gun control laws moot by showing the government that whatever they do, people will exercise their 'god given right' to own firearms - even if they have to make them themselves.

      Or at least that seems to be the point.

      Perhaps it's just an exercise undertaken to enable Michelle Bachmann to provide an explanation of what she meant when she suggested Americans would have to resort 'Second Amendment remedies' to combat gun control proposals. Otherwise she pretty much means shooting people who want to take their guns. Like responsible gun owners do.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guns eh, now in Fisher Price colours!

    Hey kids, wanna make a gun?

    Dad got a 3D printer?

    Let's go!...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No to encourage the idiots like this, but why does it have to be a single piece construction ?

    Could he no insert plastic barrel within a metal plumbing tube or something, or wrap the barrel in some fibre like cricket bat handles ?

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      I expect cricket bat handles are harder to obtain than guns in the USA.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because he (they?) want to "print A GUN."

      They won't get as many hits on YouTube if they announce they've printed "a handle and some parts of a simple firing mechanism on something what we're calling A GUN"

  13. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Sir

    Considering a lot of the initial objections about the plastic pistol was that it could be snuck onto an aircraft, I wonder which tack those same people will take this time?

  14. a_mu

    what is the surprise

    Hay

    you can make a cannon out of 'duct tape' ,

    so why are we surprised that one can make a riffle out of hard plastic.

    http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/duct-tape-cannon.htm

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hay

      Hay is for horses.

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: what is the surprise

      I'm interested to know what a riffle is.... ?

      1. Old Handle

        Re: what is the surprise

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

        And now you do.

  15. Mike Richards Silver badge

    This man must be stopped

    Not only because of the 3D-printed rifle - but because of the ukelele. Some things are just unacceptable in a civilised society.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    inevitable

    Fake video or not - 3D printed guns are here and here to stay. And they will only get better with time.

    But while the USA has virtually no effective gun control, why would any American even bother with the cost and aggravation to 3D print a gun when they get a 'real' one so easily and cheaply. 3D printed guns in the USA just provide a new geek angle on the ways they can murder each other.

    As for countries that do have effective gun controls, I worry. It is only a question of time before the news reports the first fatal shooting with a 3D printed gun.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: inevitable

      "But while the USA has virtually no effective gun control, why would any American even bother with the cost and aggravation to 3D print a gun when they get a 'real' one so easily and cheaply. 3D printed guns in the USA just provide a new geek angle on the ways they can murder each other."

      Why do you focus only on murder? What about the legitimate uses of guns? There are far more legitimate gun owners out there. Shooting people is a single use for a gun yet it seems to be as far as some people can consider. It is also a view which ignores the many sensible gun owners in this world. Education is the way forward. Not fear.

      1. Brian Miller 1

        Re: inevitable

        The main concern I have is that with ballistics analyses you can identify and link weapons to crimes. Some guns are even traceable. If someone with nefarious intent can print a one shot weapon, use it to assassinate/murder someone and then dissolve it away in a matter of hours in a solvent, then collecting the evidence needed to convict someone becomes a lot harder.

      2. Amish-Bill
        Unhappy

        Re: inevitable

        When you don't know a lot about something, you tend to focus on the most dramatic talking points that you've heard. When you are more familiar with the topic, you often find those talking points are statistical outliers and not common happenings.

        In my experience, the only guns I have that (might) have been used to take human life are WWII surplus, yet several of mine have been regularly used in organized matches and informal competitions. Sporting uses like those never make splashy headlines, so despite being WAY more common, they are never packaged into juicy news clips.

      3. dan1980

        Re: inevitable

        One question I have had recently is what would all the "legitimate", "responsible", "sensible", "legal" gun owners do if laws were passed to bring the US into line with, say, Australia?

        To be clear, I am not saying that Australia has 'good' or even 'effective' gun control, or that such a change would be desirable. But, to be 'legal' and 'legitimate' gun owners, you have to actually follow the laws that govern such ownership. So, if laws were passed that required gun owners to surrender their weapons, would they do so?

        Obviously, prior to that, there would be a great and concerted lobbying effort against it and that is the way democracy works. There would be legal challenges up and down the circuit and that's fine. BUT, having lost that fight and being now bound by law to surrender your guns, what then?

        I'm sure many people would indeed abide by the new laws. Grudgingly to be certain, but they would do so. There would undeniably, however, be a not-insignificant portion of gun-owners who simply would not.

        This is not a direct attack or even a challenge against anyone - it's more a thought experiment.

        I found myself thinking along these lines recently when talking about marijuana. My stance then, as now, was that I do not approve as it is illegal. Whatever arguments could be made about it being harmless or beneficial or the user being responsible was irrelevant to me; it's illegal. And then I thought: what if alcohol suddenly became illegal...? What would _I_ do?

        I suppose the question distilled from that rambling mess is - if strict gun-control laws were passed in the US, would printed guns become the modern-day bathtub gin?

        1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: inevitable

          Happened in the UK in 1988 and 1997. The police, whose fault it was the Dunblane and Hungerford massacres happened because they failed to spot the warning signs and revoke the perps' legal access to firearms, managed to shift the blame onto the legal gun owners.

          Practical result? Virtually all the legal guns were handed in and hundreds of thousands of people who now won't raise a finger to help the police.

          Meanwhile, gun crime rose for ten years after '97.

          Those with a legit interest in shooting and firearms will abide by the law, no matter how irrational, emotion-driven and unjust it continues to be. Those who already ignore the law will continue to do so and continue illegally importing already-illegal items.

          1. sisk

            Re: inevitable

            Meanwhile, gun crime rose for ten years after '97.

            Which is pretty much what happens every time strict gun control is implemented anywhere. That's why I facepalm every time someone suggests we need more gun control.

    2. sisk

      Re: inevitable

      But while the USA has virtually no effective gun control, why would any American even bother with the cost and aggravation to 3D print a gun when they get a 'real' one so easily and cheaply.

      Cheap is a relative term. A cheap gun costs about the same as a cheap 3D printer, which is still quite an investment to many people. To be honest, speaking as someone who grew up with guns and still spends an occasional day off at the range, most guns in that price range scare me almost as much as 3D printed guns. That may be because I've actually seen a cheap gun explode in its owner's hand (random tidbit - fortunately for her a healthy chunk of our local EMS squad are also members of the local gun club and so were on hand).

      Also there is some VERY effective gun control here in the states. I shoot 450 out of 500 at DCM and my dad shoots 480. That's some very effective gun control.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: inevitable

        > A cheap gun costs about the same as a cheap 3D printer, which is still quite an investment to many people.

        Buy cheap Mosin Nagant for USD 100 or lower.

        Use metal saw to transform it into the Obrez configuration.

        Fire at enemy to make hole into him and put his clothes on fire at the same time.

        1. sisk

          Re: inevitable

          Buy cheap Mosin Nagant for USD 100 or lower.

          I'd love to. Mind telling me where you're shopping? They're running $300-$400 here last time I checked.

          Use metal saw to transform it into the Obrez configuration.

          My wrists never fully recovered from almost being broken a couple years back. Just the thought of firing an Obrez makes them hurt. Besides the Obrez is actually an illegal modification here (which is silly -- you can build one from a virgin receiver, provided you never sell it or give it away, but not modify an existing gun).

    3. Suricou Raven

      Re: inevitable

      Because there is a strong distrust of government in parts of the US, bordering on paranoia. A lot of people worried that the government is going to come to take their guns away Any Day Now. 3D printing is their promise that even if that happens, they can always get a new one.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: inevitable

        Plus there's the fact that these guns, unlike things like the Glock, are ALMOST COMPLETELY nonmetallic, meaning they can pass a metal detector. The only thing stopping an assassin at this point is the lack of nonmetallic ammo, but if someone starts regularly making a .22LR ceramic round in a carbon fiber casing, then even the Secret Service would have to watch their backs for a gun that can work at 20 yards (at least far enough to clear a security gap and still hit—make the round poison-tipped and it needn't be instantly fatal) and can pass a metal detector.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: inevitable

          Please take your impracticable metalless Ninja fantasies elsewhere.

          Speaking of which, why not use poison-tipped ceramic shuriken made from DVD coasters?

        2. YetAnotherLocksmith

          Re: inevitable

          The other guy is right - like the metal bullet case is an issue for anyone you know?

          You need only be paranoid about plastic guns if you have a huge security theatre you want to increase. Because shit like that makes people want to shoot you.*

          *Correlation is not causation.

      2. Zack Mollusc

        Re: inevitable

        The government could alleviate that distrust by being more open. Well, being more open and less corrupt and evil. Well, by being more open and slowing the accelleration into corruption and evil.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm all for it, personally

    I'm perfectly OK with people printing 3D guns. I see it as a Darwinian approach to weed out the stupid, because it takes quite a few conditions to get this right. Thus, the chance of accidentally becoming eligible for a Darwin award is high (anyone with half a brain will have realised there are simpler and more reliable ways to fire a bullet).

    More, please.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: I'm all for it, personally

      anyone with half a brain left will have realised too late that there were simpler and more reliable ways to fire a bullet.

      FTFY

  18. Tom 38 Silver badge

    So boring

    Wake me up when they can print bullets.

  19. Scroticus Canis
    FAIL

    Wow Amazing - NOT

    So 4 miss-fires in 10 rounds; be in the bin damned quick if it were mine.

    Could get a better rate of fire from the single shot .22 pen-guns I have seen. Those didn't require a cleaning rod to knock the spent brass out. Sheesh!

    It was a .22 LR case visable on the few shots where it showed and not surprised about the lack of smoke given the lighting and barrel length. The hand held shots showed smoke but more likely from barrel flakes burning as the barrell started to wear.

    Don't knock the .22 round, strangely good balistics and penetration for such a small and quiet round. It has been used in more professional hits than all the others pistol rounds put together.

    1. sisk

      Re: Wow Amazing - NOT

      Don't knock the .22 round, strangely good balistics and penetration for such a small and quiet round.

      In some ways it's the most dangerous round in existence. It has the power to penetrate into a skull but not back out, so it bounces around inside. However in my opinion it is best used for a cheap day of shooting at targets. $40 and you can shoot all day. Doing the same with the next least expensive caliber would cost you $100 easily.

    2. Suricou Raven

      Re: Wow Amazing - NOT

      Yep. As guns go, it sucks.

      But it sucks less than the last one. There is progress. A few more years of refineing both the gun design and the printing tech, and they may well be producing something competitive with conventionally manufactured guns.

  20. The Jase

    Its a single shot muzzle loader. The fools.

    When 3D printing makes toys with moving parts, then look at printing a firearm.

    1. frank ly

      Looks like a very simple breech loader to me

      See title

  21. sisk

    "We're also a little suspicious about the lack of any smoke.

    Most modern guns produce very little, if any, visible smoke when fired. Smoking guns are fiction and metaphore.

    That said, I'm never going to trust a gun that came out of a consumer grade 3D printer. I get nervous with a gun designed for concealed carry* because it feels like a toy. There's no way I'm going to be taking one to the range that actually IS a toy.

    *No I don't carry. I wanted something light enough to teach my children gun safety, which I consider essential in a society where there's 2 guns per person.

    1. Suricou Raven

      'Smoking guns' is just an expression that outlasted its origin. They used to smoke.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like stamping on the ground to catch worms

    These stories are almost as good as the ones about driving for getting all of the morons out of the woodwork...

    "LISTEN TO MY OPINION, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE DIFFICULTY SPELLING MY OWN NAME!"

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Is it just me?

    Or did he have a hang-fire at around 2:25. Which he then unloaded without taking any precautions at all. That proves he doesn't have a whole lot of sense.

  24. Arachnoid

    Change of approach

    Im surprised there is no harder,better alternative "plastic" tubing that could not be used as a liner for the barrel which the rest produced by the printer could form around.After all the aim should not be to produce the whole gun from the printer but to make the completed item from undetectable material.

  25. ewozza
    Thumb Up

    There is smoke

    There is a tiny puff of smoke, which is visible with some of the shots, consistent with the ammo. Modern ammunition uses "smokeless" powder, so called because it doesn't emit much smoke - nowhere near as much as black powder.

    I think the video is real - the guy certainly didn't try to hide the defects with the gun, such as the dodgy firing mechanism. When I was a kid I build a couple of Saturday Night Specials in my grandpa's machine shop (since destroyed - I just wanted to see if it could be done), my Grandpa was a WW2 munitions machinist, so he showed me some of his skills. The gun design is IMO plausible.

  26. Zack Mollusc
    WTF?

    Pffft!!

    The rifle (or smoothbore, rather) is the easy bit. I am having a heck of a time trying to print the gunpowder.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Pffft!!

      That's not a big concern, as black powder has an historically easy recipe: sulphur, potassium nitrate (aka saltpetre), and charcoal. All easy enough to obtain. Plus, it's easy enough to obtain some gunpowder because it's a common need of hand-loaders.

      You need the printer to get the shape and structure of the firearm. Obtaining the ammunition is a separate matter.

  27. dan1980

    Printing a gun relies on two things - the quality and accuracy of the printer, and the suitability of the materials. Superficially it also relies on the engineering talent of the designer but humanity has shown time and time again that once something is proven possible and engineering is all that stands in the way, we get there in the end.

    Printed guns are already a reality; there is no definition of a gun that these prototypes don't satisfy.

    The question now becomes one of economics and scale. Once good printers and suitable printing stock become cheap enough, the number of hobbyist will increase and the pool of available knowledge and skills will make a lot possible.

    Save the possibility of some private investors getting fleeced, it's largely irrelevant whether this particular demonstration is 100% legit as nothing in it is out of reach.

  28. Keven E.

    This is AI

    Let's look to the future. C'mon we are already up to 14 shots!

    The year is 2200 2100. Everyone has the ability to build anything. Once the need to purchase physical things is removed (for the most part) and reduced us to "equals", and economies will colapse and it'll just be about food and shelter (clothing is a shelter). Why wouldn't they make it so I can "print" a bar of soap? I don't think we'll be so quick to accept the printed "apple slices", but, eh!

    ...so...

    The fact is that your printer is on the "internet" and when I think you need a shower, I'll print you up a bar of soap and throw in some deodorant <hint>. Better yet, the government will know when it's time you had a shower and just keep the doors locked on all the places you like to go to in the "public sector" until you get that stench of cigarettes and booze off of you... because we can't have anyone sueing the government because we are responsible but didn't protect them from the deadly *cancer molecules emminating from your filthy "orra".

    Yet, you no longer have to go to school to learn how that "do-hickey" works or what kind of tollerances are need to make sure the "thing-a-ma-bob" on the end of that "whatcha-ma-call-it" spins freely... but not so free as to self-destruct and pieces fly off withy deadly force. Your job: just make sure the bucket is full of lubricant. You know the lubricant that was administered by the automated drop-delivery system, which of course has a computer monitored never ending supply of pre- packaged, shipped, conveyer-blelted, knozzled buckets ready to be automatically installed behind it in line. If that bucket becomes empty then the automated supply chain has failed and the system only has 15 more days of droplets before those ball-berrings dry up.

    We won't even need to educate somone on how to change the bucket, just find out where along the supply chain something failed. If it was a human who failed, well, we either mark the job for replacement with a (better) machine or replace the human with a better human (we of course shoot that human in the head with the gun we can print). As the amount of steps/processes become more specialized and a lot more of them, and as more humans being replaced by machinery, eventually there will be a time that the *bigger humans in charge (think Matrix) will create systems to eliminate all the humans in between, and of course, turn that job over to the machines.

    There is, however, still hope because it'll always be a human on both ends that has "will(s) to live". Even if we can already see that everything in between is already a form of artificial *intelligence.

    Just having fun.

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