3D Printing

In Case You Think You Just Couldn't Stop Yourself From 3D Printing a Gun…


An early glimpse into the narrowing of the dream of the open-source, anything-goes world of 3D printing, via Ars Technica:

A Danish company that sells 3D printer component parts and related software to 3D printer manufacturers now says it has come up with a firearm component detection algorithm.

Ars Technica

On Tuesday, Create it Real announced that in the coming months its software would include an option to find and block gun parts. When it detects a file that contains firearm parts, the software will shut down and disallow printing….

"In Europe there are laws around manufacturing firearms—if it becomes too easy to just press print, who is responsible?" Jeremie Pierre Gay, the company's CEO, said to Ars. "That is the concern of the manufacturer. They want to get rid of this responsibility. In general, our software works like an antivirus [program], we have a central database [where] we collect all the files that are firearms."….

Gay declined to explain precisely how his detection algorithms work, other than to say they involve a "combination of geometrical features." For now, this software is only available for Create it Real's hardware—but the executive noted that he would be happy to license it to other software developers.

Of course, any techical possiblility–even a self-limiting one–offered for sale in a market to willing customers is OK by me, in a "I wouldn't wave my hand and make it disappear" way. But it would be sad if this is the beginning (as the market in home 3D printers centralizes more, with Makerbot's purchase by Stratasys) of a norm in these machines that is DRMed and limited like a locked phone or DVD player, where it's only easy to do the limited set of things the sellers of the device want you to do. 

NEXT: Open Source Projects Also Get Special IRS Scrutiny

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  1. who is responsible?

    The person who used the printed gun in the commission of a criminal act.

  2. “In other news, Creat It Real has declared bankruptcy.”

  3. also, this is totally Gay.

  4. “They want to get rid of this responsibility.”

    Responsibility = Liberty, so of course they want to get rid of it.

    1. Beat me to it, Suthenboy.

      They can’t have any of that icky responsibility hanging around to mess up their socialist utopia. Much better when you can just blame someone else for all the ills that befall you.

  5. would be happy to license it to other software developers

    “Hello, Create It Real, Licensing department.”

    “Hi, I’d like to licen…I’d like to license..pfftBWAHAHAHAHAHA *click*”

  6. Stop me before I print again!

  7. Technologically speaking, this is a ridiculous idea for multiple reasons.

    First, it’s software. Software is easily overwritten or removed by someone who wants a computer to do something it’s forbidden from doing. This has been proven time and time again with DRM that was supposedly “unhackable”.

    Second, if there are other options available, people interested in printing guns or gun parts will simply buy a different brand. If it’s mandated by some government that ALL 3D printers have this software, see the first reason.

    1. “we’ve got a database of identified files and an algorithm!”

      “i’ve got a save as button.”

      1. The algorithm may actually look at the shape of the part and attempt to identify it that way, which will cause plenty of problems for printing items that are “legit”. There are also plenty of ways to identify a specific file other than the file name.

        However, let’s use cell phones as a real world example. The cellular providers add all kinds of restrictive features to the phones they carry and won’t, by default, let you disable or uninstall them. This does not sit well with my libertarian sensibilities. So, what’s a freedom of choice minded person to do? Easy, go to any of the numerous ROM sites out there and download the one that best fits your needs/wants or if you’re so inclined, make your own ROM.

        You can do this for pretty much any type of device. Hell, my router isn’t running the software that came installed on it because it was shitty software with limited features. For something like this, finding an non-crippled ROM for your 3D printer won’t be hard. The more companies do to restrict the functionality and choices you have, the faster the denizens of the web come out with a work-around.

        1. WRT54G with linux. I used it as an oversized wireless dongle on my 1st hackintosh (no support for the builtin wireless) until I acquired a belkin dongle.

          1. Heh. I’m doing the same thing with my WRT56GL ATM, except it’s running Tomato.

            I had a wireless dongle, but the damn thing was so old it wouldn’t work with the new router, and I already had the Linksys, so…

            1. *WRT54GL

            2. OpenWRT

      2. Won’t do you any good – most likely the algorithm is helped by a DB of known FA part files – matching your file’s fingerprint against that DB much like anti-virus software

        1. Ok ok. Look, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

          (rescale, rotate/flip, include extra parts, who knows)

          1. But you *can’t* – after all they’ll make a law that says its illegal to modify your printer or its peripherals in any way to circumvent legislation and PRESTO! No more illegal printed guns ever!

    2. First, it’s software. Software is easily overwritten or removed by someone who wants a computer to do something it’s forbidden from doing. This has been proven time and time again with DRM that was supposedly “unhackable”.

      I would probably say “inevitable” rather than “easy”. If they are selling software to be baked into the firmware of 3D printers the manufacturers will likely require firmware images to be signed to be made to run. History has shown that given the motivation, someone will usually find an exploit to bypass signature verification; however this has quite often not been “easy”.

  8. Well, let’s see, recording industry got manufacturers of audio hardware to ‘degrade’ the quality of recordings, Disney got a law passed that disallowed DVD players to skip past previews if the Disc manufacturer wanted to force the user to watch them (if I recall).

    Never underestimate the government’s ability to regulate or ban something through sheer force of will.

    1. It’s not a law IIRC. Rather, the IP holders for the various patents and trademarks relating to DVD will not grant you a license unless you make your player behave in a certain way (and pay them, of course).

      1. Thanks for the info. After I typed it I began wondering if it was a trade agreement or there was a law. I seem to remember congress being involved in DVD players somewhere. Too lazy to google now.

        1. The rule about forcing you to watch previews is almost right.

          What happened is they forced manufacturers to show you the “FBI Warning” track that tells you the evils of copying the software. Enterprising publishers then started filling these tracks with previews.

          Very terrible.

      2. So, it’s not a law; it just carries the weight of legal enforcement…is that about it?

  9. When metal-printing 3D printers become affordable ….well…lets just say that in the end the luddites always lose.

    As is my habit, I am announcing that I acquired a new rifle today for the sole purpose of making everyone jealous. A Ruger mini-14, stainless steel Ranch. Shoots like a dream.

    Now If I could only find .223 ammo for it.

    1. Correct my complete ignorance if necessary, but currently, gun parts are manufactured by casting, yes? Seems like the parts are too thick to stamp, but again, completely ignorant.

      You don’t need a metal printer.

      1. depends. Some are forged. Some are billet. AK47 receivers are sheet metal.

      2. Parts are stamped or machined or cast, then machined.

        No of course you dont need a metal printer, but that sure would make things easier.

        The most difficult part to fabricate on any gun is the barrel. 3D printing barrels would be a dream come true. Particularly for shotguns.

        1. Ok, so you’d be restricted to cast-only part designs. Stamping or forging wouldn’t have any application for an initial plastic copy.

          Though, for stamped parts, maybe you could replace your print head with a cutting laser….

      3. Depends on the gun.

        The M-3 submachinegun (grease gun) was mostly stamped parts.

    2. Man I need one of those. .223 ammo still hard to find? Damn your eyes, Dianne Feinstein!

    3. I have a blued Ranch, 582 series. I can’t get the thing to hold a decent group at 100 yards. I was getting 6 MOA groups. Still not sure if it was the scope or the gun, and the stock sights are too shitty to test using those.

      1. err..581 series.

      2. It’s the rifle.

        Mini-14s are pretty well known for being horribly inconsistent in the accuracy department. Even the supposedly “fixed” 580-series rifles have consistency issues.

  10. Picard: “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot. And and AK-47, loaded.”

    Computer: “Please provide voice authorization code for the AK-47.”

    Picard: “Picard-Epsilon-7-9-3”

    Computer: “Voice authorization code verified. Please provide voice authorization code from second command-level officer.”

    Picard: “Merde.”

    1. Oh, cmon, Riker does anything he wants.

    2. Come on dude, everyone knows that Picard prefers a more classic caliber.

      1. No one in the Star Trek universe needs a drum clip.

      2. Sheesh, it looks like Picard has never shot a gun before.

        How do you lean back like that and expect any sort of control?

        1. He’s English.

  11. Man, has anyone tried Autodesk Inventor? I’ve been playing with it lately and I’m hooked. Putting together an induction heater at the moment. Too bad I can’t print it out when I’m done.

  12. Finally! I’m forever inadvertently making guns around here. I just need to hook myself up to their software.


    1. the hattip printer ran out of resin pellets.

      1. Did you mean raisin pellets?

    2. Jeez and not even any alt-text.

  14. Yeah, the technology to make any kind of firearm is really high tech and expensive. Yeah, right…


    Forward to about 3:44

    1. The most modern firearm action in common use today is the semiauto, which was in production in 1885.

  15. its software would include an option to find and block gun parts.

    And I’m guessing people who want to build gun parts will turn that off, and the manufacturers will make it perfectly easy to do so.

  16. Well, say goodbye to 3d printing tools with pistol grips.

  17. As 3D printers are relatively easy to build on your own, this won’t stop the issue. If someone really wants to print a gun, they will probably be willing to take the time to learn how to create their own printer.

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