3D Printing

Banks, PayPal Spurn Defense Distributed, But 3D-Printed Gun Development Continues


Liberator Pepperbox

From Defense Distributed comes word that Chase Bank says it is "unable to retain" DefCad's account, and that PayPal has suspended services for Defense Distributed. Call me a suspicious sort, but I see federal pressure behind this sudden attempt to cut off financial support for Cody Wilson and company's efforts to demonstrate the unenforceabilityof laws restricting the ownership of firearms. Increasingly, governments are turning to behind-the-scenes attacks on their enemies rather than publicly flex muscles and invite debate. Defense Distributed supporters are suggesting alternative financial channels, including Bitcoin. And progress on new 3D-printed guns continues independently, to later be discussed in the DefCad forum.

That intriguing image to the right is a Liberator Pepperbox. It's worth reading through the thread to see the thought processes as the design is refined and critiqued. But repeaters overall are coming along nicely. The Trantor 224 moves beyond the pepperbox idea into an actual double-action revolver which has been written up as a scientific paper, if you're interested.

The big supposed vulnerability of 3D-printed guns is, allegedly, ammunition. Sure, we can make our own guns, say haters of an armed populace, but what are we going to put in them? I usually glance at my reloading press and roll my eyes at that, but it turns out that 3D printing may have a solution, after all.

3D printed .24 cartridge

As of yet untested, though intriguing, is a .24 caliber cartridge using a printed plastic case with a sabot-style bullet that seats a ball bearing as the projectile. It requires gunpowder of course (chemical printing may have an answer for that, soon) and small pistol primers. With a properly designed gun, it seems like an idea that could work. Frankly, ever restriction or proposed restriction on guns and Defense Distributed seems to be spurring workarounds and innovation.

Innovation such as basing the latest Megapack of DefCad designs offshore, available via torrent, for example, to evade U.S. government restrictions.

When the United States pressured PayPal to cut off WikiLeaks, the journalism and transparency operation found other means of receiving donations that not only maintained the organization, but strengthened payment methods that had operated in PayPal's shadow. Most legal marijuana businesses, whether recreational or medicinal, have stuck with cash or disguised accounts. Like these other operations, Defense Distributed will likely weather the financial ostracism it's suddenly suffering.

Repression breeds innovation, in so many ways.

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  1. You can’t stop the signal.

    1. Browncoats!

  2. Why primers? Why not set off the powder electrically?

    1. 9v battery and a bit of 000 steel wool, right?

    2. Reliability. The only reliable means of triggering the powder electrically has actually been a differnt format of primer, but still a primer.

      1. What about compressed gas, like a BB gun, only larger projectiles. It is not like this pepper box gun is going to be accurate so you don’t need huge amounts of energy to send the bullet a short distance.

        1. Pnumatic systems are more of a pain than a hammer and barrel to get working, and the pressure vessel either has to be bought or printed. Neither one is a step up in this circumstance.

          1. I don’t think 3d printed guns are about being a step up from industrial civilian weapons technology, they’re about keeping access to anything at all in the event of government restrictions.

          2. That’s what i was thinking. Compressed air is easier to get than gun powder or primers. Also you could make each “round” a self contained reservoir printed from plastic with a release valve activated by the “trigger”. Just use ball bearings for projectiles. Not better than a firearm but more accessible in a hostile government.

  3. Gee, there’s no side-effects to the government being 35% of the total economy now are there? They couldn’t possibly use that purchasing power to negatively affect their enemies.

  4. Reloading press? You are hardcore, Tuccille. Make sure you keep it stored in your doomsday shelter.

    1. Hardcore? Really? I bought a basic reloading set secondhand decades ago, and a few dies since. Mostly, I reload .357 and .45ACP and make the semi-wadcutter bullets from scrap wheel weights.

  5. and small pistol primers

    I’m not sure how the rest of the world works but here in America it is easier to obtain ammunition than bulk small pistol primers.

    1. I have 10 thousand or so I picked up at a gun show, and about half that many small rifle primers.

  6. 400 years ago on Earth, workers who felt their livelihood threatened by lack of ammunition tossed their sabot styled bullets into…

    1. pig’s blood?

    2. molten silver?

    3. Valeris, is that you?

  7. Call me a suspicious sort, but I see federal pressure behind this sudden attempt to cut off financial support for Cody Wilson

    Look Shirley, you’re just being hysterical. The Justice Department would NEVER threaten to go rooting around in the bowels of electronic funds transfer operations looking for evidence of money laundering, just to put the whammy on a particular customer engaged in a legal business enterprise.

    That’s the sort of thing they do in banana republics.

    1. Reminds of those sticky gas pedals.

  8. PayPal is a lilly-livered piece of shite company. They couldn’t turn over customer records to the Feds fast enough when it became illegal to use money to play poker online.

    1. The problem for PayPal is that they are trying to compete with banks. And those banks have uncle sam in their pockets, and are doing everything they can to keep PayPal out of their market. As a result, PayPal is eternally one Political Haymaker away from the jackboots shutting them down.

      The problem is government coercion, not PayPal per se.

  9. Those fucking crooks at Paypal can go die in a fire.

  10. “Repression breeds innovation, in so many ways.”

    I know this was a throw away comment at the end, but it is untrue. We may think its cool that all these people are trying to circumvent government restrictions, but it should be absolutely fucking enraging that they have to. Repression isn’t breeding innovation. Innovation is constant- it is the direct result of human capital. Repression is just a target of innovation.

    There is a reason that the US became the cradle of innovation while shitholes like the Soviet Block faded into backwards recession. Maybe citizens of the glorious revolution were spectacular innovators, but they were applying their skills to getting toilet paper rather than building a computer. Repression is the imposition of new problems for the market to solve. We can celebrate that the market will solve most problems, but we should never forget there is a cost.

    1. Uh yes, it’s true. It’s less desirable than NOT having repression, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

    2. He didn’t say repression is the only thing that breeds innovation or that it is the best way to encourage innovation. I think what he said is true.

  11. A review of my records indicates that I am unable to retain my account at PayPal.

    1. Same. The same review indicates that I’m also unable to do business with with Chase.

      It’s a shame because I’m very happy with the Hyatt rewards I get from the card with them.

      Plenty of hotel and reward credit cards in the sea though.

  12. It requires gunpowder of course

    Does it? Given that the basic concept of gun is being re-imagined to work with the limitations of 3d printed plastic, maybe the concept of gunpowder and primer should change too? The replacement could be something with less energy (and heat, and pressure) to put less strain on the plastic, even if the result isn’t as lethal. Ideally, if you’re replacing gunpowder wholesale, it would be something produced with chemicals that are easily available to the masses and too common and necessary to feasibly ban or restrict.

    If the power behind the bullet drops too much, the bullet itself might need to change, possibly becoming more of a chemically propelled arrowhead or something. In such a case, if the damage comes from an edge rather than simply the energy carried, the entire “bullet” could be plastic, which would lead to truly undetectable weapons.

    1. I like this line of thinking. Here is the box, you are outside it.

    2. Or you could get a crossbow.

  13. Speaking of ballistics, I need some of you math and science guys persons to check my work. It’s been a long time since high school science class.

    Things We (think we) Know, in no particular order:

    A bullet fired on a flat trajectory will fall to earth at the same time as one released from a stationary hold at the same height.

    The rate of acceleration for this fall is 32feet/sec/sec, meaning the bullet will fall sixteen feet in the first second (Average of beginning velocity and velocity after second one.

    From shoulder height it would take less than half a second for this bullet to hit the ground. Maybe a third of a second.

    A .45acp standard “hardball” round has a muzzle velocity of approximately 850 feet per second.

    So- a round fired on a flat trajectory should only travel 300 feet or less before falling to earth. I am much too lazy to do actual math, and I am rounding up in the interest of a margin of error.

    If I test fire a few rounds from my .45 in my driveway after doing a bit of tuning (rather than spending an hour going to the range and back), the round not only will not come anywhere near any neighboring structure, it will probably not even escape my property, since it is probably 100 yards to the end of the property in that direction.

    Does this make sense, or am I missing something plainly obvious to any reasonably numerate eight year old?

    1. I get 519 feet for a 6ft drop height. However, as I’m sure you’re aware, even a 5 degree up angle on the barrel will significantly change that number. A quick calculation says that will add 74 feet to the max height making the drop time about 2 sec and the flight distance over 1700 feet.

    2. Why don’t you get a pile of sand or something and shoot that?

  14. I get 519 feet for a 6ft drop height.

    Is this because of the lower ultimate velocity in the early stage of acceleration from zero? I figured I was cheating pretty hard on that.

    Still not an appreciable potential threat to buildings more than a quarter of a mile away.

  15. Buildings which are all at a significantly higher elevation. If I was really trying to hit them, I’d have to tip the thing up like a mortar.

  16. Hammer Chase on their Twitter Feed, and remind the companies that they partner with for reward points that they may lose business too.

  17. This is all great and I am all for it. But steel pipes and black powder still seems like a much simpler and more effective way to make improvised firearms.

    1. You can make AKs out of shovels. No kidding, they do it all over the world. But printing takes essentially no skill set. That’s the real point of it.

  18. Why don’t you get a pile of sand or something and shoot that?

    Since it’s mostly a function test, I could do that, or just set my target down low. There’s spot on the other end of the property which is really well backstopped, but the knee high grass makes it tough to retrieve the shell casings.

  19. As of yet untested, though intriguing, is a .24 caliber cartridge using a printed plastic case with a sabot-style bullet that seats a ball bearing as the projectile.

    It’s all ball bearings these days.

    1. Now you prepare that Fetzer valve with some 3-in-1 and some gauze pads. Also, I’m going to need about 10 quarts of antifreeze, preferably Prestone. No, make that Quaker State.

  20. Paypal has made most gun-related transactions into violations of its terms of service (as has Square).

    A cynical man might suggest that by making gun-related transactions into contractual violations, companies are able to do what legislatures are not–ban guns.

    In the future, it will be legal to own whatever gun you want, but impossible to actually buy it.

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