3D Printed Guns Misfire 2946

Posted by admin 23/01/2013 at 07h06

by Chris Fox The question of gun control has long been a hotly debated issue. In the light of recent shootings, discussion of tighter control on firearms has escalated. All of the hot-button issues that coincide with guns and the second amendment have multiplied and created a partisan stoppage of dialogue about the issue. With all the buzz words and political rhetoric flying around, a new loophole has emerged. Even with a caricatured and ever-growing outspoken community, those who are 3D printing guns have been slipping under the collective radar. The first attempts at printing firearms have shown only minor success, but the organization, Defense Distributed, has taken it upon themselves to do more than just attempt 3D printing guns. They are finding any and all firearms laws that they can circumvent by utilizing 3D printing. For instance, high-capacity magazines are illegal to sell under a proposed law (ie. magazines holding 30, 50, 100 rounds, or more), but Defense Distributed and an associated project, WikiWeapons, have already printed a magazine and distributed the CAD files online. All safety concerns over using a firearm with a plastic component aside, this is a very gray area in the engineering industry. With many designs being developed on open-source platforms, 3D printers becoming increasingly popular, and file sharing (both illegal and legitimate) running rampant, where does a 3D printed firearm (or design of such) fall? My concern isn’t gun control. In fact, I agree with some of the rhetoric that the NRA and its constituency uses. No amount of ‘gun control’ will ever stop a true psycho or criminal from committing a crime. If they really want to act violently, it will happen, whether or not guns are controlled. (Ready? Here comes the libertarian twist) I also feel that anybody should be allowed to own any sort of weapon they choose, so long as they can prove that they are properly trained to use it and said weapon is registered. In the same breath, I think that we should be allowed to own tanks, fighter jets, and bombs, but again, the training and registry must coincide with said weapon. The idea is that, in order to possess a weapon, whether it’s a tank or an assault rifle, you have to know the ins and outs and the repercussions. Due to the difficulty and general obnoxiousness of obtaining said verification and permit, the field of owners would likely be small and filled with those who are both well trained and educated about their dangerous toys. The issue with a freely available design for a firearm is that it is available to anybody, without any registration obligations. Those obligations, that would surely lead to subtly engrained ethics, are lost when a gun (or a larger magazine) is a click away. As a proponent of free speech, I think that these guys should be allowed to distribute their weapon and accessory designs online, but I find myself at a crossroads. And, I am unusually without an opinionated answer. Gun control does little to stop psychopaths, but at the same time, making guns easily and readily available without any sense of authority is somewhat nerve-racking. In a perfect world, anybody could own a gun because nobody would ever think of using it violently. Yet, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t need guns to defend ourselves from attackers. There really is no easy answer. But, rest assured, that no matter what law is passed or filibustered, there will be somebody trying to circumvent the law – regardless of their intent.

Latest Technological Panic? Fake 3D Printed Guns by John Biggs 5059

Posted by admin 23/01/2013 at 06h57

by John Biggs Politics of gun ownership aside, I thought it would be interesting to address a fascinating (and sometimes frightening) discussion about 3D printing. 3D printers are some of the coolest technology I've seen in a long time. They essentially "print" objects using plastic and allow you to quickly and easily make toys, tools, and spare parts. With a little skill, you could feasibly print almost anything. To be clear, these parts aren't amazingly durable, but they're great for building little projects at home. We have a 3D printer at our house and my son enjoys watching gadgets appear on the build plate. The problem arises when designers attempt to build "dangerous" stuff. One group called Defense Distributed is trying to build a completely 3D-printed gun. The group hasn't gone very far with their project, but recent videos suggest that we're not very far off from a completely 3D-printed gun. 3D printing is expensive, hard, and fraught with problems. The materials aren't very strong, the process is very complex, and without the right hardware, you're probably not going to be able print much of anything except toys and smaller parts. But, with a little effort, the folks at Defense Distributed have managed to produce a few parts for the popular AR-51 rifle. Yes, that AR-51 rifle. While I don't want to come down on either side of the gun debate here, I did want to clear up some misconceptions about 3D printers. In short, modern 3D printers that you and I can buy (and afford) cannot print guns. The Makerbot, for example, could be used to build models of parts for a weapon, but the technology is still so nascent that it's almost impossible to see where it will go in the future. We're going to hear more and more about the dangers of 3D printed weapons. It's still far easier to go out and buy your own gun and many suggest that the political outcry is more about the gun companies protecting their designs and business than tinkerers mucking about with little plastic doodads. The debate should hit the airwaves soon and it's best to understand the limitations -- and dangers -- of this technology. Tinkering with 3D printers and other gadgetry is fun, educational, and will only get cooler as the technology improves. However, like any technology, we are not facing a backlash motivated by the things we just don't know. Will we be able to print a gun at home someday? Sure. You can build a gun now with the right tools and you don't even need a printer. The real question, then, is when is it too easy to build a weapon? When it becomes a one-button process? When we can Google the plans for a rifle in the morning and build one by lunch? 3D printing is a wonderful new world. We all have to stay informed about the changes afoot and marvel at what a wild and unique tool our kids will control in the next few years. Do you think this is potentially dangerous?

Technology How Are Advancing Tech, the ‘Singularity’ and Gov’t Regulation All Connected? Buckle Up and Let Glenn Beck Explain 1860

Posted by admin 19/01/2013 at 22h08

Glenn Beck has recently talked about the idea of “the Singularity” (a technology-evolutionary jump) with futurist Ray Kurzweil. Beck has also shown off his new 3D printer and spoken briefly about the implications of such technology. And TheBlaze has written at length about the Wiki-Weapons project by the non-profit Defense Distributed, which seeks to create a functional 3D printable gun design for anyone on the Internet to download.

Pull all these topics together with the idea that technology will soon outpace government regulation, will raise ethical questions unlike those humanity has ever faced, and the question “just what everyone is to do about it?” and you have Thursday’s night’s show on TheBlaze TV.

Beck and Kurzweil, who leads artificial intelligence engineering at Google, discussed the notion of the Singularity only a few weeks ago. It’s the concept that technology and humanity will reach a point where they’re indistinguishable from each other.

Picture 35 years from now. Beck said on the show, it’s a place where people’s brains will connect directly to the Internet and download information, not only increasing their knowledge but improving physical factors like their hearing or eyesight. It’s a place where technology will be so synced with the mind that humans could replace or repair their limbs simply by picturing them.

If you think this sounds crazy, as Beck mentioned you might, consider how far technology has come by just comparing a 1993 Macintosh computer with today’s smartphone that fits in the palm of your hand. Consider where artificial intelligence has come in the last few decades, where machines are beginning to learn, not just being programmed for a specific function by humans.

The next step will be when humans are no longer the only designers. The next step is when artificial intelligence begins designing things itself, Beck said. Now, a 3D printer, for example, is programmed by humans to build something. Someday, Beck said the machine itself will be the designer and creator. At this point, Beck said machines will surpass humans in intelligence — and that is the Singularity.

Those who believe the world is heading toward the Singularity believe it is doing so at an exponential rate, called the Law of Accelerating Returns. Some might find this scary and wonder if the rate at which technology is improving can be stopped. As Beck said on the show, experts think it’s impossible to stop. If that’s the case then how can the government regulate the technology?

“The answer is not, should not and cannot be regulation,” Beck said. “The answer is not anti-technology. …The answer is to know your ‘why’.”

Beck said technology will advance so quickly, the government will not be able to keep up with its regulation. By the time any governance is passed, the tech would be outdated.

“A new digital frontier is coming and we have to be aware of it — and the only way to survive is to tame ourselves … self governance,” Beck said.

Beck explained that advancing technology is not bad or evil, but people must be prepared to use it responsibly and be aware of the potential dangers new technology will pose. It’s like fire, according to Beck. When people know how to use it and can master it, it can drastically improve their lives. But if people lose control of it, fire can be dangerous.

The current regulations being imposed and proposed for firearms is another good example. Beck hosted Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson on his show. Wilson’s project to create a fully functional 3D printed gun recently showcased its development of a plastic, high-capacity magazine. Although there have been propositions to ban so-called high-capacity magazines, the design Defense Distributed posted on its website for such a 3D printable magazine has been downloaded more than 50,000 times within the last week, according to Wilson. With 3D printing technology, these are items that Wilson said essentially cannot be banned.

Beck acknowledged that while the use of 3D printers has its benefits in ensuring Second Amendment rights, in the wrong hands they could lead to nefarious activities as well.

And the printers themselves, although considered too expensive by many now are predicted to be like the desktop, ink-jet printer not too far in the future. Not only that but they already print beyond just plastic items.

Beck hosted Hod Lipson, a computer science professor at Cornell University and the founder Fab@Home, who has begun a project to make the printers smaller and intended for household use. Lipson pointed out commercial 3D printers can already print useful metal objects. The technology is already being used to print objects for medical purposes as well, but Beck said experts predict it will someday print pharmaceutical drugs and even food items like meat.


Are 3D printers the end of gun control? While it is illegal to print an entire gun, parts can be printed and guns assembled with relative ease 1144

Posted by admin 19/01/2013 at 21h54


() “America, is this guy a hero or a villain?”

That was one of the questions asked by Glenn Beck during a fascinating and potentially frightening interview with Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed, The WikiWeapons Project. If you are not familiar with them, Wilson’s group claims to be “A non-profit collaborative project to create freely available plans for printable 3D guns.”

In a segment during Beck’s TV program about The Singularity, a technology-evolutionary jump, Wilson was talking about his success in using 3D printers to actually make plastic guns. (Cody Wilson has actually fired these printed components — see video below.) Beck also showed a functional, high-capacity magazine that was made by the WikiWeapons project using a 3D printer.

While it is illegal to print an entire gun, parts can be printed and guns assembled with relative ease. Cody Wilson explained to Beck that the file for the high-capacity magazine has been downloaded more that 150,000 times since President Obama’s announcement of his Executive Orders on limiting guns.

The cost of creating weapons in your own home is coming down very rapidly. Just as with any technology, as it becomes more popular, the price to own it drops exponentially. Both host and guest agree that 3D printers will soon be as cheap to own and operate as ink-jet printers are today.

Is the 3D printer a “game changer” in the gun control debate? Would access to this technology create more bad than good?

Watch the fascinating back and forth between Beck and Wilson on the possibilities (both good and bad) created by the use of 3D printers to make real guns: