The greatest weapon in the 3D-printed gun debate is FEAR

3D printed gun partsAny time I show my 3D-printed sculptures or jewelry or have a 3D printer running at an event, I inevitably get asked about 3D-printed guns.

It’s exasperating, because the fear of these guns – which is currently unfounded – taints 3D printing.

This topic has come up before, but it’s back in the news as the people who want to put plans for 3D-printed guns online are back at it.

I cannot explain or understand why they think this is a good idea, and I’m someone who has owned and used guns, so I’m not a gun-hater by any means.

There is just a time and a place for everything, and this issue is frustrating on many levels, not the least of which has to do with 3D printing itself.

As I explain to people who ask – so we can get back to discussing all of the wonderful things 3D printing can do – most mere mortals, like me, cannot afford a 3D printer that can print in metal….

Yes, I can print in 80% bronze – 20% PLA, but that isn’t metal, it’s basically specialty PLA resin. The 3D printers that print in metal are owned by huge corporations like Honeywell, which prints aircraft parts in titanium.

3D-printed gun and bulletYes, someday 3D printers that can output 100% metal may be more affordable, but right now they aren’t.

So why can’t someone just print a gun from the downloadable instructions now being fought over?

Well, take a metal bullet and put it into a “plastic” (resin) gun and try to shoot it. It will blow up in your hand. I will leave it up to you to decide whether that’s a good idea.

So while yes, someday 3D-printed weapons might be an issue, right now, their greatest harm is engendering fear. And that I am clearly against.

For a longer and interesting explanation about 3D-printed guns, check out this article from All 3DP.

5 Responses for The greatest weapon in the 3D-printed gun debate is FEAR

  1. Totally agree with your opinion, Kevin.

    If more people take the time to do 3D printing like you or research on the subject, they’ll see that there’s practically nothing to fear with 3D printed guns. It may literally be safer for everyone if the criminals are dumb enough to take up 3D printed guns, LOL.

    The price and quality of 3D printed guns are just not economical at our point in time for any recreational shooters, sport shooters, law enforcement and any criminals.

    Just wanted to update on this matter that on Aug 27 2018 :
    – A Seattle federal judge has decided to continue the ban on distribution of 3D guns blueprint.
    – Defense distributed will take the blueprints down from their website but will do direct sale instead.

    And in my opinion, these fear are also being exploited politically. It’s pretty long winded so if you want to read my 2 cents, go to :

    3D printing is cool. And I’m really fond of your work, Kevin. Keep up the great stuff!

  2. I couldn’t agree more Kevin.
    I get that same question every time I’m discussing or showing someone my printer.

    First thing I always tell then is, it’s plastic. Sure you could print a gun, and I’m guessing you could fire a gun, but it’s going to explode in their face…..because it’s plastic.

    Then I ask if they want me to print them one so they can try it out. Lol

    Great post.

    • Thanks, Dan. While I understand that someday mere mortals will be able to afford 3D printers that print metal, the current frenzy does not seem warranted.

    • Thank you, Dan. I hear it all the time when the issue is in the news, which is what prompted this post. It’s interesting that you hear it, too. I understand the concerns about the future, but let’s discuss it like adults. Check out Kevin Murphy’s article (above) – very interesting take.

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