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May 11, 2013

The Downloadable Gun

The distributors of 3D gun technology got a predictable surprise this week when the U.S. Dept. of Defense demanded they cease distributing the templates.  With 100,000 downloads to date, it feels like the genie is out of the bottle. But, if history is any guide, the technology of 3D printing will probably change so much that, should those who downloaded the current template actually buy an expensive 3D printer, the machine — and the design — will be outdated and useless in approximately two weeks (see the cellphone).

On the other hand, technological evolution being what it is, this might just be a preview.

Still, if you look at the top picture, it looks like a disassembled staple gun. Benign. Until you look at the videos (available through this NPR report). The Liberator.  Download today (because the attack is coming….but good luck shooting down WWII era bombers with your plastic toy). The template maker’s video even uses ominous music to underscore their point. Of course, the photo below feels a little more deadly.

(Photo Credits: WikiWep DevBlog.)

  • bks3bks

    Plus ca change.

    “With a pipe for a barrel and a nail for a firing pin, the homemade
    firearm known as a zip gun fires only a single bullet at a time, with
    limited accuracy.
    Nonetheless, such crude weapons once reliably shot their way into police reports and newspaper tales of youth violence in 1950s New York. …”


  • GeorgeMokray

    Since the US is rapidly degenerating into a friendly fascist police state (the Boston lock-down, the recent 60 Minutes story on counter-insurgency as community policing strategies, the militarization of our police forces with many first responders having already served multiple tours as Reserves and National Guards in war zones…), this development reminds me of the ingenuity of prison weapons and tools:

    • BooksAlive

      And combined with small towns receiving unwanted DoD vehicles and helos, local police can transport their members in ex-military vehicles, too.

  • psychohistorian

    I read the best review of the “weapon” on a techie site I frequent and the link is:

    It speaks volumes about our evolving hype versus reality world.

  • tim gueguen

    I wonder how long it will take someone to build one of these with his 3D printer, have it blow up in their hands when they fire it, and sue the inventor.

    • aSouthernMan

      No kidding – was thinking the same thing! In general, I believe the main
      concern would be the ability for someone to sneak this through a security
      scanner undetected. Hopefully the newer ones TSA uses would allow the operator to visaully see the image, and stop it there.

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