3D Printing

Improving 3D Printing Technology Raises New Questions About Gun Control Viability

Printing metal and ceramic objects is about to get much cheaper


GRAND RAPIDS, MI — When Neal Brace was 8 years old, he saw a plastic replica of the starship Enterprise being created on a three-dimensional printer at the Johnson Controls plant where his father worked.

Today, he's relying on a similar process to develop Sintercore, a business gaining notice in weapons manufacturing circles for its debut product—a tiny gun accessory that represents a big leap for a controversial technology that experts think may revolutionize the way goods are made and delivered.

"People can't believe it's not plastic," said Brace, a 26-year-old Grand Valley State University business management graduate and former U.S. Marine, holding a small metal muzzle brake that was not machined or cast, but was printed. …

Pearce said the cost of printing in ceramics and metals is poised to drop significantly, especially when open-source designers working collaboratively on the Internet start tinkering with blueprints for printers that make objects using the highly-accurate Selective Laser Sintering method, the patent for which expires next year.