While we’re all for robotic mechanisms that build things to make our tummies happy (love u/miss u BurritoBot), we’re justifiably wary about a 3D printer that can apparently print weaponry. A gunsmith over at the gun forum AR15 claims that he has assembled and successfully tested the first fire arm printed with a 3D printer.
The thread, spotted by WebProNews, was started a few days ago by a user named “HaveBlue,” who wrote:
I have an old Stratasys 3D printer (mid-to-late 90s machine, but works fine) and early last summer I printed a modified version of the lower from cncguns.com (I beefed up the front takedown lugs, bolt hold lugs, and added an integral trigger guard).
In the end, HaveBlue claims he used the printed parts to assemble a .22 pistol, which he fired 200 rounds with and it still “runs great.” (Clarified one Beteabeat commenter: “he only printed the lower receiver, which is what the ATF considers to be the ‘firearm.'”) HaveBlue notes that he believes this to be the first 3D printed fire arm to be tested, but that he’s not positive. Forum users seem to agree that he’s the first, with a slew of members chiming in to congratulate him.
Of course, the ability to easily and cheaply print fire arms using a 3D printer elicits a slew of rather terrifying implications, particularly following friction over gun control laws cued by the Aurora theater shooting. How do we encourage innovation with hardware and 3D printers without also stoking the possibility that these exact materials could be used to illegaly develop weaponry? It’s a tough question, made tougher by volatile partisan politics. Webpronews points out that gun blueprints are already readily available on 3D printing websites.
“This is the future,” wrote one user on HaveBlue’s thread. “If we can spread this core technology to every kitchen tabletop, there will no longer be a meaningful way to restrict and infringe on the private civilian ownership of modern firearms.”