3D Printed Guns for Everyone!

Glock (from Thingiverse)

The media is up in arms about Have Blue’s “3D printed gun” (which he brought to the Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup last month, by the way…)

And yeah, I put “3D printed gun” in quotes because it’s just one part of a gun. But you’ll see headlines like Hobbyist builds working assault rifle using 3D printer, Functioning 3D-printed rifle you can make at home, The world’s first 3D-printed gun is a terrifying thing, and A Working Assault Rifle Made With a 3-D Printer.

Those are all great headlines, and if you read the articles, they might explain things a bit more, but the short version is, Have Blue printed a part of a gun. He didn’t print an entire gun, and he didn’t print ammunition. The next headline might be “Guy with tools makes a gun” because the only new thing here is the 3D printed part. People have been making guns at home with machine tools for years, and as I understand it, it’s legal in the United States.

Saying he printed a working gun is akin to saying I printed a house because my RepRap made a coat hook, and I just, you know, assembled all the other parts around it to complete the house.

So before you think I’m some gun-toting lunatic building weapons in my basement, well… I’m not. (I do have a few Art Robots I’m working on, but the headline “Man builds working Art Robot with 3D Printer” is not very exciting.)

Anyway, I figured that everyone needed a gun, so I grabbed this Glock from Thingiverse. I printed it out in 30 seconds. Well, in an hour, but the time lapse below is 30 seconds long.

So here’s a nice photo showing my 3D printed gun. It’s orange because I’m running low on black filament and haven’t got any nice silver filament yet.

3D Printed Gun

I wanted my 3D printed gun to be a little smaller so it would fit in a mint tin. Oh, did I mention it’s not fully functional yet? Yeah, I should have mentioned that…

I’ve been thinking a lot about guns lately, and if you can forgive me this (slightly) humorous post, I’ll expand upon my gun-related thoughts in a future post.

8 replies on “3D Printed Guns for Everyone!”

Awww, so cute! Pew pew pew!

And you’d be able to print one full-size for a lot more cheaply than law enforcement training units:

You’re absolutely right about the news outlets going nuts over something very simple – I only “printed a firearm” due to a specific definition in US law (the specific part I made is considered the firearm). Were I in another country, it could have easily been “man prints gun part” due purely to that area’s legal definition. In fact, by this very quirk of definition, I learned that I am not the first person to actually test a 3D printed firearm! A fellow on one of the firearms forums mentioned that the place where he works (a licensed firearms manufacturer) had printed (via SLA) and tested a silencer some years back. The 1934 Gun Control Act actually defines silencers as being firearms, so really, these “man prints gun; apocalypse is near” stories are old news.

[oops, correction to my previous comment – the relevant 1934 law was the National Firearms Act, not the GCA.]

I was there as well, and he never finished the print AFAIK. I cautioned that it was not exactly a great idea, despite being for airgun use only. I chatted via email about it with another attendee who is also a firearms enthusiast – while airgun silencers that are not intended for use on a firearm do indeed appear to be legal based on a recent court ruling (much to the chagrin of the BATFE, I am sure), I personally would much rather go through the standard procedure and have a proper registered unit.

We just put together a show at Corcoran’s Gallery 31 in Washington DC that really relates to this topic. The exhibit’s titled “Manifest: Armed”, and a lot of the work deals with issues surrounding American gun culture. The artists involved are Sarah Frost, the collective SmithBeatty, and Julian Oliver.

Check it out if you’re interested! It runs August 8-September 2.

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