Listen up, all you doomsday preppers, when updating your MUST HAVE list; make sure a 3D printer is at the top. 3D printing technology is no longer limited to nerds in the laboratory or high-tech industry. Like most modern technological advances, these machines are coming to the masses! Thanks to President Obama releasing a plan to reduce gun violence, every crazy in the country is now stockpiling weapons. Whether they are stocking up to protect themselves from a possible tyrannical government, natural disaster, God’s wrath, or brain eating zombies, the fact is, the lunatic fringe is heavily armed. If a serious lack of gun control wasn’t bad enough, technology is lending a very helping hand. Now, for little money and little effort, almost anyone can legally produce automatic weapons in the comfort of their own home.
That thought should keep you awake at night.
3D printing technology began in 1984 and has been used mainly in medical, automotive, manufacturing, and aviation sectors. The idea is essentially the same as traditional ink printing. Instead of layers of ink on paper, the 3D printer creates layers of either plastic or resin to build a physical object. The use of 3D printing is revolutionary. Recent discoveries for this technology include advanced prosthetics, robotic aircraft, and believe it or not, the prototype for an inexpensive and environmentally friendly car. In 2009 do-it-yourself 3D printers became available for personal use and a new wave of creativity was born. Unfortunately, as we can expect, technology created to improve such fundamental industries will inevitably fall into the hands of those with less admirable intentions as we are now seeing with its use to help many avoid gun laws and safety regulations.
Making Guns at Home
December 17, 2012, just after the Newtown tragedy, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow discussed the use of 3D printers for the manufacturing of gun parts and recently updated the story showing how much the technology has advanced in just a few months.
For those of us new to automatic weapons, the lower receiver is basically the mechanical portion of the gun; all other parts connect to this piece. Because it is essentially the guts of the weapon, the lower receiver is the part of the gun that contains the serial number; therefore, the ONLY part that is regulated and registered. The lower receiver is also the part of the gun that the 3D printer is able to create. All other connecting parts are legal and readily available to the public; including to those unable to purchase registered firearms legally.
The average $1,500 cost of these printers is low considering it can manufacture thousands of receivers that are, as of now, untraceable, unregulated and unregistered. The software necessary for the receiver design is free and available with a quick search on the internet. The technology is advancing so fast we have to wonder what will come next. A receiver made today by a 3D printer can easily withstand over 1,000 rounds; just four months ago they typically fell apart after six.
Although the homemade lower receivers work with existing guns and gun parts, it is only a matter of time before the technology is created that allows 3D printers to manufacture all parts necessary to create a full and functioning firearm. If that were not scary enough, a gun made solely with a 3D printer will be made of all plastic, therefore undetectable by security scanners.
Like I said…this should keep you awake at night. After all, your Fox News worshipping neighbor could be busy at this very moment printing gun parts in his basement to build up his arsenal for when President Obama’s anti-2nd amendment Muslim army comes for his guns, daughters, and castle.