The hobby is best known for creating colorful toys and trinkets, but some enthusiasts are working on design files that would allow anyone to print a working gun. These don’t exist yet, but some believe it’s only a matter of time.
Why would a 3D-printed gun be appealing? For one, it could potentially be cheap. You can buy a preassembled 3D printer for about $500. A spool of ABS plastic to print with goes for $50. Depending on where you shop, you can buy .38 Special ammunition for 30 cents a round. The plans will undoubted be distributed free like so many MP3s.
Building an AR receiver isn’t exactly rocket science. And since there’s virtually no stresses in the lower, you can make it out of almost any rigid material. I saw some post somewhere where a guy built one out of that white plastic they use for cutting boards.
This is an interesting article but it tells us nothing we dont already know – yeah, it’s perfectly legal to make a gun for your own use as long as it’s not a Title II full auto or similar.
The folks that are going to get their panties in a twist about this are the same folks who probably don’t realize that any yahoo with a credit card and a quick trip to Home Depot can buy enough materials and tools to fab up receivers all day long. Let’s face it – some gun designs just ain’t much of a challenge. Heck, some gun designs were developed specifically to be suitable for ‘cottage production’… Stens and that sorta thing.
The sinister thing here is that this could be used to argue that more parts of a firearm should be regulated. If you have an AR lower you can buy uppers all day long with no regulation, right? And since the AR lower is easy to fab up, it’s the barreled upper that would be the real bottleneck. In some countries, thats actually how it plays out…go look at your Glock sometime…notice the frame, barrel and slide are serial numbered…thats because in some countries those individual parts are the ‘controlled parts’. In the US, the controlled part is the receiver…in some European countries, its the barrel….in others, the slide.
3D printing definitely opens up some interesting avenues, I gotta admit. I’m just not sure it’s going to revolutionize gun manufacturing although I can see it revolutionizing gun designing.