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Thread: 3D printing and making real guns?

  1. #1
    Regular Member
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    Jul 2011
    Gobles, MI

    3D printing and making real guns?

    -- SNIP --

    All of this might sound exciting, alarming, or nonsensical, depending on your personal beliefs and familiarity with guns and gunsmithing. Setting aside any moral leanings, the fact is that the idea will need to overcome significant material and legislative hurdles before you can crank out a working, legal, 3D-printed gun in the United States. On the physical side, the ABS printing plastic might not be strong enough to make a stable enough weapon. And law-abiding, gunsmithing Americans must first face numerous federal, state, and local gun regulations and bureaucratic procedures that may not take kindly to people printing their own firearms.

    None of that means printing a gun is impossible.

  2. #2
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    New Hampshire
    I work on these printers for a living and on the higher end systems, the Fortus 400 and 900, you could easily print a gun which would fire one or two shots before failure using Ultem 9085 or PPSF. Think of something along the lines of a Liberator from WWII, use it to get a real gun, then toss it. It would be bulky because to withstand the firing pressure the barrel walls would have to be very thick, but as noted in the article several viable defense rounds have lower SAAMI pressures than even a .22LR. Admittedly, those systems start right around $100K, now, but in the not too distant future I can see something in the high 4 figure range that can handle the stronger plastics. They currently have a small printer, 5' cube max size, that sells for under $10K, the Mojo that is mentioned in the article.

  3. #3
    Regular Member's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Port Orchard, Washington, United States
    I'm wondering what hurdles one would have to jump over when printing their own guns.
    (A6) Does the GCA prohibit anyone
    from making a handgun, shotgun
    or rifle?
    With certain exceptions a firearm
    may be made by a nonlicensee provided it is not for sale and the maker
    is not prohibited from possessing
    firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a nonsporting
    semi-automatic rifle or nonsporting
    shotgun from imported parts. In addition, the making of an NFA firearm
    requires a tax payment and approval
    by ATF. An application to make a
    machinegun will not be approved
    unless documentation is submitted
    showing that the firearm is being
    made for a Federal or State agency.
    [18 U.S.C. 922(o) and (r), 26 U.S.C.
    5822, 27 CFR 478.39, 479.62 and
    Seems to me that unless you're going for a NFA firearm, you're pretty much in the clear... =]
    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Psalms 23:4

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  4. #4
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Orono, ME

    Re: 3D printing and making real guns?

    ^^ Federal law basically says you can produce any gun for personal with it a serial. You just can't sell it. Technically you could stock pile 500 of your own ARs and be legal. Just don't sell any.

    The selling thing is a gray area. Some say you can if you chose to down the road. However, you can't intend to sell it though while building. Much like an C&R license, you can sell to cull the herd but can't buy(manufacture in this case) intending to sell. Hope I didn't confuse anyone

    ETA: NFA items are fine, just make sure you file a Form 1
    Last edited by SPOProds; 09-16-2012 at 01:43 PM.

  5. #5
    Regular Member TrailRunner's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Winston Salem
    Scare tactics and tech baiting. With a lick of sense and some schematics a good hand in a machine shop could make a crude firearm pretty easily. If the concern is cheap home-made weapons being made and carried around, then that particular cat got out of the bag decades ago.
    "There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace." ~ Aldo Leopold

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