Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Affordable 3D Metal Printer Developed Based on RepRap

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the reprap-to-take-over-world dept.

Printer 199

hypnosec writes "Researchers have developed and open-sourced a low-cost 3D metal printer capable of printing metal tools and objects that can be build for under £1,000. A team of researchers led by Associate Professor Joshua Pearce at the Michigan Technological University developed the firmware and the plans for the printer and have made it available freely. The open source 3D printer is definitely a huge leap forward as the starting price of commercial counterparts is around £300,000. Pearce claimed that their technology will not only allow smaller companies and start-ups to build inexpensive prototypes, but it will allow other scientists and researchers to build tools and objects required for their research without having to shell out thousands, and could be used to print parts for machines such as windmills." It's a modified RepRap; looks like we're getting closer to the RepRap being able to print all of its parts.

cancel ×

199 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Piracy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45648351)

You wouldn't download a car........?

Re:Piracy (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#45648693)

but you would print one yourself!

Re:Piracy (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 8 months ago | (#45649007)

You wouldn't download a car........?

You wouldn't steal a baby.

Re:Piracy (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#45649575)

+1 Crafty. There will be a 'tell' when this technology is truly viable. It will probably begin in a Congressional Committee for Oversight...

Re:Piracy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649143)

The real question is, would you drive in a car that you downloaded, printed and assembled yourself? I sure as hell wouldn't with the current generation of this tech, and probably not the next few either.

Yes, yes, I know this is still early days proof of concept blah blah no need to lecture me on the value of experimentation in the nascent phases of technological developments.

Re:Piracy (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 8 months ago | (#45649747)

Fuck yes I would!

And next year I will be uploading some car parts. Stay tuned for my 4AGE 16v ITB adapter and crank ladder bars.

Re:Piracy (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#45650093)

Has anybody said "guns" yet?

Side Show and a Game Changer (4, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about 8 months ago | (#45650277)

With this technology, guns will be a side show. Yes, people will make them and there will be much bloviation about that, but the real impact will be on local economies.

Open any phone book or Google for any city, "machine shop"; there will be hundreds. They are the foundation of any kind of manufacturing economy. My company deals with at least 20 different shops, parceling out work to meet shipping deadlines and lower costs. When this technology matures to the point where it is as ubiquitous as a CNC mill or lathe, you will see turn around times crash and labor shift from skilled machinists to skilled CAD engineers (good or bad...you decide). It's conceivable that the actual making of a part becomes almost a lights out operation.

Hang on to your hats, this will be a game changer in the world economy.

Maki box @ US$300 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45648359)

http://makibox.com/

I've yet not tried it but not heard any major disasters.

Re:Maki box @ US$300 (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#45648421)

printrbot simple is 300 bucks too.

but really, it doesn't print metal. metal depositing printer by some means that works is a big deal even if you can get a crappy cnc that does metal somewhat for 1000-3000 bucks.

Re:Maki box @ US$300 (1)

gazita123 (589586) | about 8 months ago | (#45648911)

printrbot simple is 300 bucks too.

The MakiBox LT is $200 and is the same basic specs to the Simple. The $300 MakiBox HT does ABS and has a heated print bed.

Re:Maki box @ US$300 (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#45648533)

http://makibox.com/
I've yet not tried it but not heard any major disasters.

Based on your very thorough review of this product, I'm seriously considering ordering one.

Re:Maki box @ US$300 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649055)

Bad website. The home page must tell visitors what it's about. Are you selling something? Are you a company or just a few hobbyists? Are you a hardware company or a software company? Are you modding something or is it original work? What the fuck is it that you do?

WHAT IS THE POINT ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45648379)

If you make a lower receiver out of metal does that not make this all rather pointless !! What is needed is STRONGER plastic !!

Re:WHAT IS THE POINT ?? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45648487)

Buy all the other parts off the record. No registration. Untraceable. Full auto. Deadly. All set? Go shoot a bear. Remove arms from bear. You have a right to those, just like your founding fathers sought.

Re:WHAT IS THE POINT ?? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#45648699)

Now what the hell am I supposed to do with these bear arms?

I'm thinking maybe I should have just put on the wife-beater shirt instead...education wasn't so good back then, maybe they misspelled a word...

Re:WHAT IS THE POINT ?? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 8 months ago | (#45649625)

Now what the hell am I supposed to do with these bear arms?

I'm thinking maybe I should have just put on the wife-beater shirt instead...education wasn't so good back then, maybe they misspelled a word...

This! It's so obvious that the founding fathers were enshrining the right to wear short sleeved shirts: the right to bare arms.

Guns...Lots Of Guns (-1, Flamebait)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 8 months ago | (#45648459)

Either the US government rapidly steps in to quash or severely-restrict this technology in the US or their plans to disarm the US population will die stillborn.

I love the smell of dying government tyranny in the morning.

I wonder if the firmware/plans they're offering for free will see a Defense Distributed-style clamp down?

Strat

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (5, Insightful)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 8 months ago | (#45648499)

More like the wingnuts who attempt to print their own guns will end up disarming, or at least dishanding themselves.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (2, Informative)

MrNaz (730548) | about 8 months ago | (#45649159)

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649613)

He's talking about the people who use a $300 printrbot to try to print a zip gun, which then proceeds to blow up in their hand like a cheap firework.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 8 months ago | (#45649765)

He's talking about the people who use a $300 printrbot to try to print a zip gun, which then proceeds to blow up in their hand like a cheap firework.

These are the same geniuses that kill/injure/maim themselves and others and destroy homes and property every single day doing things like putting a frozen turkey into a gas burner heated deep-fryer full of hot cooking oil, and uncountable numbers of other equally idiotic and extremely dangerous actions and worse.

You can't fix stupid by trying to idiot-proof the world. It's not possible, it cannot work, and it unfairly curtails everyone else's choices and freedoms.

Darwin gots' to get paid, yo.

Strat

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

Kielistic (1273232) | about 8 months ago | (#45650315)

A million dollar machine shop can build a gun. No one has ever had any doubt about that.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 8 months ago | (#45650389)

I'm guessing most tinfoil hat types don't have tens of thousands of dollars and an team of engineers at their disposal. I imagine consumer grade models will use something like pot metal rather than stainless steel. And even this .45 is surely not as strong as the forged barrels of production weapons. I wonder what would happen if they tried to print a functional .30-06 M1 Garand?

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0)

csumpi (2258986) | about 8 months ago | (#45649219)

More like the wingnuts who attempt to print their own guns will end up disarming, or at least dishanding themselves.

In the end you should be happy, because it guarantees pussies like yourself the freedom of speach, even if you have no idea what you are talking about, or how things work.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649537)

Guns have never protected freedom of speech. If you start to assemble a group of people with guns to revolt against the government you will be taken out without problem. There won't even be a public outcry about it because you would fit every definition of a domestic terrorist organization and the military will have a widespread support when they take you out.

It is the other way around, the freedom of speech makes it possible for you to voice your opinion and gather the tens of thousands necessary to stand against the government. If you are armed or not is irrelevant if you have the strength in numbers.
If gun ownership is legal or not is irrelevant since it is illegal to use them against your government regardless. If you intend to revolt then you might as well break the gun ownership law.

Also, you shouldn't call others pussies. Your freedom of speech was taken away form you with the "free speech zones" and you never lifted your guns to protect that right. You are just a hypocrite that uses arguments you don't believe in as an excuse to keep your toys.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 8 months ago | (#45649851)

Guns have never protected freedom of speech.

Warning! History lesson ahead.

Please exercise caution, as facts are known to the State of California to cause extreme mental anguish in those suffering from politically/ideologically-driven voluntary ignorance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946) [wikipedia.org]

Strat

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649935)

From the wiki:

"The new government encountered challenges including at least eleven resignations of county administrators.[citation needed] On January 4, 1947, four of the five leaders of the GI Non-Partisan League declared in an open letter: "We abolished one machine only to replace it with another and more powerful one in the making."[11] The League failed to establish itself permanently and traditional political parties soon returned to power.[7]"

You were saying?

Cause and effect reversed. (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 months ago | (#45649545)

You got cause and effect reversed. There are thousands of places in the world where anyone can buy/own any kind of weapon one wants. Most of them have crappy standard of living. Just look how many times guns were used against tyranny that produced enduring democracies instead of next set of tyrants? How many times freedom of expression against oppressors liberated people and created enduring democracies? Guns are the tools are up-and-coming tyrants against existing tyrants.

The freedom of expression, used by people willing to suffer the consequences of standing up to tyrants, their ability to inspire millions of ordinary people to rise up against tyranny is what creates a thriving democracy with great standard of living. That is when warrior wannabes like you strut around claiming to be the cause. You are the effect, not the cause, of the first amendment.

Trying your "second amendment solutions" against a lawfully elected government of the USA is rebellion, and it is constitutional for the government to put such insurrection using any means necessary. If the government is restrained it is because of the first amendment rights of people who would speak up against heavy handed tactics by the government. Definitely not because of your puny little glocks, brownings or bushmasters. Our army had been battling AK-47s and IEDs for ages now buddy, you don't stand a chance against our army. You are able to trash talk, only because we restrain our government against taking overt and open actions against US Citizens.

Just look around you. People who used guns to overthrow tyrants became tyrants themselves. People who spoke out and inspired ordinary people to rise up against tyranny created enduring democracies. Only in such democracies crazy wingnuts are able to run around waving their guns thinking they somehow are the protection against tyranny.

Re:Cause and effect reversed. (4, Insightful)

csumpi (2258986) | about 8 months ago | (#45650125)

You got cause and effect reversed.

You got the whole point missed. Right to bear is not medicine. It's vaccine.

Re:Cause and effect reversed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45650217)

Exactly. If you use it after you're sick, you're dead. And when you're immune system is compromised (ie the very people who should be the most vigilant about government over reach being coopted by our corporate masters into believing their faith based Mammon lies) then it is utterly useless.

As are conservatives at this point.

Re:Cause and effect reversed. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 months ago | (#45650267)

You got the whole point missed. Right to bear is not medicine. It's vaccine.

Very funny, probably true too. Vaccines are just viruses rendered impotent. Glad you agree you guys are just armed thugs rendered impotent.

You are free to dwell in your realms of fantasy. Right to bear arms is constitutional in USA, and if it provides you some solace and some way to compensate for your feelings of inadequacy, go ahead, buy all the guns you can afford and even pretend you are somehow a liberator.

And we will protect your rights too.

Cue (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 8 months ago | (#45648517)

Cue Trinity in a long leather coat sitting behind a desk starting a printer.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#45648561)

Either the US government rapidly steps in to quash or severely-restrict this technology in the US or their plans to disarm the US population will die stillborn.

If you knew anything about guns, you'd know it only takes a few basic tools and materials to make a functional gun that goes bang without killing its user. You don't need a 3D printer. There's no way to disarm anybody in any circumstances.

I love the smell of dying government tyranny in the morning.

Wishful thinking... It's not the lack of guns that keeps your tyrannical government in place, it's the lack of courage in a population that has turned bovine, uneducated, and more interested in shopping and watching reality shows on TV than in fighting for liberty and moral principles.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45648633)

Either the US government rapidly steps in to quash or severely-restrict this technology in the US or their plans to disarm the US population will die stillborn.

If you knew anything about guns, you'd know it only takes a few basic tools and materials to make a functional gun that goes bang without killing its user. You don't need a 3D printer. There's no way to disarm anybody in any circumstances.

I love the smell of dying government tyranny in the morning.

Wishful thinking... It's not the lack of guns that keeps your tyrannical government in place, it's the lack of courage in a population that has turned bovine, uneducated, and more interested in shopping and watching reality shows on TV than in fighting for liberty and moral principles.

It's kind of funny that Americans with all their guns seems to have a more tyrannical government than countries with fewer guns but a lot more political engagement from the population.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#45648677)

It's kind of funny that Americans with all their guns seems to have a more tyrannical government than countries with fewer guns but a lot more political engagement from the population.

That's because most Americans have added two boxes to the four boxes of liberty [wikipedia.org] : the ice box and the idiot box. And they seem to have stopped using the four others.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (4, Interesting)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#45649163)

It's kind of funny that Americans with all their guns seems to have a more tyrannical government than countries with fewer guns but a lot more political engagement from the population.

There are times when I think the whole 2nd Amendment thing may be doing us more harm than good. We don't take political action when we should because if things get too bad we can just haul out our guns.

Except that by the time guns are the best or only solution, we've already lost pretty much everything anyhow. And who (aside from fantasists) really want a life that's basically nothing but guerilla warfare against tanks and drones?

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0, Flamebait)

csumpi (2258986) | about 8 months ago | (#45649237)

It's kind of funny that Americans with all their guns seems to have a more tyrannical government than countries with fewer guns but a lot more political engagement from the population.

The US government is more powerful than any other. Now just imagine if there were no guns in the hands of the little people. Thankfully, whoever wrote the constitution, understood this completely.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#45649293)

I can't remember one event in the history of the U.S. where guns in the hand of little people made the U.S. government rethink their policies and withdraw some legislation, measures or orders. Care to elaborate?

(But I can cite several events where voting ballots in the hands of little people made the U.S. government to either change policies or itself.)

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (3, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 8 months ago | (#45649395)

It worked precisely once - when the US government was the British government.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 8 months ago | (#45649461)

I can't remember one event in the history of the U.S. where guns in the hand of little people made the U.S. government rethink their policies and withdraw some legislation, measures or orders.

You are onto something. Just read exactly what you wrote a couple of times, and it might just click.

But if it doesn't, I give you a hint by setting the bold on a couple words.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 8 months ago | (#45650061)

So, he admits he can't remember any event, and instead of supplying him with a list of events, or even one single event, you just reiterate his admission. How about you stop being the armchair quarterback, put your shoulder to the wheel, and cite something.

... or is it that you can't remember one event either?

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 8 months ago | (#45650203)

Haha, you should reread what you wrote a couple of times, too. You even used bold to give yourself a hint ; )

You are asking why you need to have a polio shot when there was not even one single case of polio in the US since 1979 [cdc.gov] . I mean you are right, it's hard to explain if it's not obvious.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 8 months ago | (#45650443)

Ah! I see now. What you're saying is that it has never happened. Well, why didn't you say so plainly, instead of being coy about it?

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (3, Funny)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 8 months ago | (#45649627)

I can't remember one event in the history of the U.S. where guns in the hand of little people made the U.S. government rethink their policies and withdraw some legislation, measures or orders. Care to elaborate?

Here you go.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946) [wikipedia.org]

"The Battle of Athens (sometimes called the McMinn County War) was a rebellion led by citizens in Athens and Etowah, Tennessee, United States, against the local government in August 1946. The citizens, including some World War II veterans, accused the local officials of political corruption and voter intimidation."

You're welcome.

Strat

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649987)

The new government encountered challenges including at least eleven resignations of county administrators.[citation needed] On January 4, 1947, four of the five leaders of the GI Non-Partisan League declared in an open letter: "We abolished one machine only to replace it with another and more powerful one in the making."[11] The League failed to establish itself permanently and traditional political parties soon returned to power.[7]

You were saying?

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (4, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 8 months ago | (#45648941)

If you knew anything about guns, you'd know it only takes a few basic tools and materials to make a functional gun that goes bang without killing its user. You don't need a 3D printer. There's no way to disarm anybody in any circumstances.

I do know something about guns and about metal machining and fabrication work. Making a Sten is dead-simple. Heck, I've got the plans.

You're correct that between the staggering number of guns that already exist in the US (and the majority of rifles & shotguns never having been registered) combined with the ease with which a gun that's at least good enough to get an enemy's gun is to make conventionally, it seems pretty impractical in the short term.

However, there's "simple" for some people and then there's "simple" for everybody else. It's dead-simple *IF* you have a lathe, drill press, sheet metal brake, and maybe a mill depending, along with multiple other ancillary tools and pieces of equipment like an arbor press.

*AND* you *also* have the requisite training, skills, & experience to operate that fabricating equipment well enough to produce more than a modern-art piece or a way to assure that you never need worry if you lose one of your mittens and/or your sunglasses. It's not a trivial skill set in the least.

The difference here is that you basically only need the printer instead of a pole-barn full of expensive machine tools, plus you don't need any advanced machining & metal fabrication skills or training to fabricate high-quality components.

The printer/software and the plan file supplies the majority of the training, experience, and skills otherwise necessary, while replacing multiple expensive pieces of metal working & fabrication equipment while also requiring less space. More like residential garage/shed/basement-size instead of pole-barn size.

A metal printer would also be a much more practical solution in the city. The printer is also far more portable than a bunch of machine shop equipment. It can be relatively quickly moved between locations and concealed compared to normal tooling.

Wishful thinking... It's not the lack of guns that keeps your tyrannical government in place, it's the lack of courage in a population that has turned bovine, uneducated, and more interested in shopping and watching reality shows on TV than in fighting for liberty and moral principles.

I agree. However, I'm hopeful that people are beginning to wake the hell up. I haven't seen the current levels and breadth of dissatisfaction and anger with government since the '60s/'70s, nor anywhere near the current numbers of people who seriously think the government needs to spend less and have fewer powers, and are actively getting involved and doing something about it.

When was the last time you remember *this* happening?

http://conventionofstates.com/ [conventionofstates.com]

There may yet still be hope. Especially if you consider it was only about 10% of the colonists at the time who were actively for the US Revolutionary War and independence from England.

Can we scrape up 10% with a brain and a spine these days? Who knows. We'll find out, I guess.

Maybe the concept of free men governing themselves by common agreement dies here forever, technology guaranteeing the jackboot continues forever grinding the human face underfoot.

Maybe humans need another few 10, 20, or 100s of thousands...maybe even millions...of years of evolutionary advancement before mankind is ready to leave kings, dictators, tyranny, and authoritarianism behind us.

Strat

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649049)

I want to marry a little girl. Can I do that in the next free america?
The federal and state governments say I cannot marry a little girl. The federal government says if I go to another country and marry a sweet adorable little girl they will imprison me. I do not like obeying the american religion.

They enforce their religion all over the world and force every country in the world to adopt it. No child brides, Only marrying women or men or men+men or woman+woman, never marrying a girl. They bulldoze over the oldtestament (fine with child brides (read deuteronomy 22 28-29 in hebrew, about rpe of young girl (from infancy till adolecence), you keep her and pay her father, so obviously marrying young girls is fine), the muslim religion, the vedic religion, everything.

They say 5 to 10 years for any disobediance to them, and life imprison for any real defiance of their fucking religion. I hate them.
I have hated them since I was three.

They burn people alive who try to make or have a different religion then them (waco), and say it's justified because they married young women (let alone girls). I want them who burn people alive to be crucified as revenge, but they always get away. Now they drone bomb little girls and their families in places where men still marry female children.

Why was this modded down? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649331)

Why was this modded down? You're feminist scum is that why? Good boys who obey?

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (2)

necro81 (917438) | about 8 months ago | (#45649077)

However, there's "simple" for some people and then there's "simple" for everybody else. It's dead-simple *IF* you have a lathe, drill press, sheet metal brake, and maybe a mill depending, along with multiple other ancillary tools and pieces of equipment like an arbor press.

*AND* you *also* have the requisite training, skills, & experience to operate that fabricating equipment well enough to produce more than a modern-art piece or a way to assure that you never need worry if you lose one of your mittens and/or your sunglasses. It's not a trivial skill set in the least.

The difference here is that you basically only need the printer instead of a pole-barn full of expensive machine tools, plus you don't need any advanced machining & metal fabrication skills or training to fabricate high-quality components.

This machine they are touting is a MIG welder on a 3-axis stage. Whatever it makes will be a large pile of weld bead. Just how good of a gun do you think you could make with that? (Or most any part, for that matter.) The number of finish operations required will be long and arduous - and require most of the machine tools and skills you've just mentioned. You may as well start with billet.

Maybe a low-cost metal 3D printer will come along that makes it "simple for everybody else," but this one sure ain't that.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | about 8 months ago | (#45649417)

Not to mention that there are quite a few ABS plastic parts that will be exposed to UV for quite a long time during operation.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

cmaxb (1362161) | about 8 months ago | (#45649107)

authoritarianism starts in the family . . government merely perpetuates the upbringing we are most comfortable with . .

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649425)

pwhaaa haaa haaaa, that was funny!

Shed size? (1)

Quila (201335) | about 8 months ago | (#45649719)

If these things come down to smaller CNC size, anyone could stick it in the back of a box truck with a generator on top and make guns anywhere.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 8 months ago | (#45648969)

If you knew anything about guns, you'd know it only takes a few basic tools and materials to make a functional gun that goes bang without killing its user. You don't need a 3D printer.

The scary/interesting part about 3d printed guns is that you don't have to know anything about guns or metalworking to produce one. Download a good design, print, assemble, charge, and fire.

Of course there's still a few issues, such as: accurate printing in metal still isn't widely available for consumers, operating a 3d printer requires some skill, parts still need finishing, need for ammo, printed guns are prone to failing and/or blowing up when fired, etc. But all of these are problems that can (and probably will) be solved.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649147)

Wishful thinking... It's not the lack of guns that keeps your tyrannical government in place, it's the lack of courage in a population that has turned bovine, uneducated, and more interested in shopping and watching reality shows on TV than in fighting for liberty and moral principles.

Oh please.

An educated person would know that it's foolhardy to put your life and the lives of your kids in jeopardy by "fighting back" at an institution which is completely and utterly insulated from whatever you try to do against them. They have the money, the power, and will fucking RUIN you to get rid of any troublemakers. An educated person knows when to fight, and when to accept reality.

There's a lot at stake in putting your life (or just your livelihood) by going against a Government. You might argue that it's the only way real change can be made, and you'd probably be right. But you need everyone to do the same thing, and honestly, for all the shit people have to deal with in modern life it's still a lot better than it could be. No-one really wants to rock the boat and risk losing that.

David and Goliath is a story. An educated person knows that in the real world, not every story has a happy ending. There's too much at personal stake to stick your head out sometimes. I absolutely guarantee you're all talk and no action yourself. But hey, it sounds nice and makes you look all big and educated for saying what's pretty fucking obvious to EVERYONE. We KNOW fighting the Government is the only way things will change. But it's not bad enough and there's not enough despair in enough people to push towards anything happening. It's only when people en mass have nothing left to lose that they'll do this... and people have everything to lose.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649555)

David and Goliath is a story. An educated person knows that in the real world, not every story has a happy ending.

Of course! That's what makes it a good story material - alleged testimony of unlikely event that once brought a relief during hard times. Stories are just lubricants for your minds and your will, they encourage you to commit to do what you would want to do anyway, if you weren't afraid of consequences of failure.

Having said that, I completely concur with your views. After all, David and Goliath is a story from an "nothing to lose / will lose everything even doing nothing" situation.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649387)

> If you knew anything about guns, you'd know it only takes a few basic tools and materials to make a functional gun that goes bang without killing its user. You don't need a 3D printer. There's no way to disarm anybody in any circumstances.

Yeah, but that is a theoretical point. Still, you need theoretical and practical skills to build one, as well as time and money for experiments. This limits the practical availability. A 3D printer would allow you to print virtually everything without any skills, just by downloading a blueprint and buying a printer. This increases the practical availability by orders of magnitude.

It's the same as saying "Bugs in Linux are no problem. It's open source, so just fix them". Not everybody is a programmer, and not every programmer has the time to track down and fix bugs.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649487)

I'm sure your zip gun backup plan has the US military quaking in its boots.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 8 months ago | (#45650461)

When this thing can print hellfire missles and reaper drones to carry them, then maybe the government will get worried.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#45648643)

dying government tyranny? did it die when full auto weapons were legal to buy in USA? no?

you really think it's just a matter of weapons? fuck no it isn't. not at all. most people just don't want to revolt, stopping government tyranny is first and foremost a political problem of mobilizing people to your cause, arming them is easy.

you think they're going to ban bicycle shops and hotrod shops full of 5 axis cnc's and cnc lathes? ban vocational colleges? ban drills and metal stock? but why the fuck would you bother even with those when you could go visit your neighborhood gang to buy the guns. does having guns help them from government interference? not really, no..

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 8 months ago | (#45648651)

Making guns is easy. Getting hold of the ammo is a lot more difficult and you can't print bullets yet.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

Confusador (1783468) | about 8 months ago | (#45648947)

It's not like loading ammo is hard [fleetfarm.com] , and bullets are probably the easiest things for these machines to print.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (2)

NormalVisual (565491) | about 8 months ago | (#45649459)

Why would you print bullets when lead casting is so cheap and easy? The real sticking point is the availability of primers. You can make your own, but it's labor-intensive and there are some substantial safety issues involved.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649649)

Sure, go ahead and use a home-built fabrication machine to produce weapon parts. That's at least two levels of production without quality control.

The thought of thousands of gun nuts accidentally blowing their faces off does make me smile a bit though. Natural selection.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 8 months ago | (#45649951)

This device is slated to cost about £1000 (roughly $1650). For the same price, you can already buy a half-decent CNC machine, and that machine will be able to make a far better firearm than the 3D printer can.

I don't understand why gun nuts have this obsession with 3D printing. Making a weapon by fusing tiny bits of plastic or metal together will always generate an inferior product compared to milling the parts from solid blocks. Probably even inferior to stamping them from sheet metal.

People have made jury-rigged "zip guns" from regular hardware-store materials for decades. I don't see how making an inferior version of the same thing using a $1000+ device is a step forward technologically.

Re:Guns...Lots Of Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45650207)

They haven't done anything to quash CNC milling machines, which small table-top milling machines plus a conversion kit have been available for a long time. Cheap, full sized milling machines are approaching the $1-2k price range now due to cheap Chinese built ones. Price comes down to mostly how accurate you need it, and if you are going to have time to screw around with getting a 3d printer still in development working, you have more than enough time to use traditional equipment to build gun parts.

3D printed guns. (2)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | about 8 months ago | (#45648509)

This will be the next thing demonised in the media, even though the technology has many positive benefits in terms of manufacturing. But after printing the object do you still need to trim it and sand it down? Maybe you print it slightly oversize and then trim it down to smooth it out. What is the exact finishing process with this tech?

Re:3D printed guns. (5, Informative)

felrom (2923513) | about 8 months ago | (#45649281)

The demonization has been going on for a while. Here's an article from almost a year ago: http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/01/18/meet-steve-israel-the-congressman-who-wants-to-ban-3d-printable-guns-qa/ [forbes.com]

Steve Israel wants to ban your access to 3d printers, and he's using guns as a way to get the camel's nose under the tent. Here are some particularly telling quotes from the interview in the story linked above:

What we’re trying to do is make it clear that if you choose to construct a weapon or weapon component using a 3D printer, and it’s homemade, you’ll be subject to penalties.

Catch that? If you're a business, doing it for commercial gain, then he thinks it's okay. If you're the little guy, doing it as a hobby, then simply doing it even if no one ever gets hurt will get you sent to jail.

Steve Israel: But if you’re going to download a blueprint for a plastic weapon that can be brought onto an airplane, there’s a penalty to be paid.

Interviewer: Just for downloading it?

Steve Israel: No, no, for actually manufacturing it. And we’re not even going after manufacturers, either, but lone wolves, individuals.

Again there, if you're a business he's fine. If you're an individual, it's banned. He even slips and admits he want to criminalize the sharing of the information.

So we’re talking to stakeholders, and working to create a distinction between that lone wolf and legitimate manufacturers of plastic clips.

Make no mistake: the forces working to ban private ownership of 3d printers are already moving against you. The bogey man of undetectable guns is simply a convenient way to get people on board with the first step of restriction. Once that's in place another big-business congressman will come back and say, "Poor GM is losing money because it can't sell overpriced factory parts because people are just printing them. Ban all private 3d printer ownership!"

The only thing in question is how many people will be fooled and take up the torch and pitchfork against 3d printed guns, not realizing that they're working against their own desire to have privately owned 3d printing technology. As is commonly the case, the fight for gun rights is only a microcosm in the larger fight for natural and civil rights. You want 3d printers? You're going to have to fight to protect 3d printed guns. You want marijuana legalized? You're going to have to fight for private ownership of machine guns. You want to continue to be free from poll taxes? You're going to have to support repealing the NFA.

Issues of law and politics don't each exist in separate vacuums.

Does it actually print, or does it cut? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 8 months ago | (#45648515)

It's not really clear what it's doing. The photos show square bits of metal, and no signs of any kind of additive manufacturing. This looks more like a computer controlled metal cutter. Which is nice and all, but not really a 3D printer.

When I heard "metal printer" I thought it was a laser sintering machine or something of that kind.

Re:Does it actually print, or does it cut? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45648557)

Its a MIG welder with a moving base plate. This means the resolution will be quite poor (like 4-5mm wide draw path) and you will need to print onto a metal plate/base and then cut it off after if required. Despite its limitations it is an interesting concept.

Re:Does it actually print, or does it cut? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#45648853)

But is the resolution actually that bad? Because that would be quite useless. You'd have to machine the final product in practically every case.

I guess we'll never know, because the linked article was hosted on a cracker jack box. Techienews indeed.

Re:Does it actually print, or does it cut? (1)

tgd (2822) | about 8 months ago | (#45649481)

But is the resolution actually that bad? Because that would be quite useless. You'd have to machine the final product in practically every case.

I guess we'll never know, because the linked article was hosted on a cracker jack box. Techienews indeed.

Yes, it would be that bad. I can't imagine there's really any use for a "printer" like that ... you'd end up with a messy blob of metal with little strength that would need more machining to make useful than it would take to just CNC... or use a real sintering printer.

Its sort of a cool hack, but ... I mean, if you want a non-plastic printer, make one that prints out cookie dough. At least you'd get something tasty out of it.

Re:Does it actually print, or does it cut? (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 8 months ago | (#45649915)

This thing is a proof-of-concept, mostly designed to let other people get started and improve it. I don't see anything about the technique itself that couldn't be miniaturised.

This can't come about fast enough (5, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#45648527)

I first tried laser sintering 5 years ago - I got a few steel gun parts custom-made by a "printing" company, then mounted the parts in a real gun and got the proofhouse to shoot it until it died. I was working for a certain very well known luxury gunmaker at the time, and we were investigating new ways of producing parts in very small volume.

The laser sintered parts were as good as, or better than the original parts! And the prices are great too: we paid per cm3 of material "printed", which worked at at just under $900 for a receiver, as opposed to $7500 for the equivalent part machined with conventional tools.

I've known since then that this is the future of metalworking. As a result, I've been holding off upgrading the lathe and the milling machine in my workshop, because I've been waiting for a metal-building machine that doesn't cost a quarter million bucks.

This $1000 thing probably won't be it, but the next generation machines, or the generations after them, will. At last!

Re:This can't come about fast enough (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45648567)

This isn't laser sintering. Its using a MIG welder like a plastic 3D printer uses filament.

Re:This can't come about fast enough (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#45648845)

The laser sintered parts were as good as, or better than the original parts!

But does that mean that the sintered parts were good, or that the originals are shit? You haven't given us enough information (make, model, caliber, and year of firearm to start with, not to mention the actual parts) to make this determination ourselves.

I'm only skeptical because "powder metal" (large-volume sintering) is shit. A PM conn rod for a 7.3 powerstroke is twice as likely to fail and has 1/10 as desirable a failure mode as the forged part; it's ten times more likely to break rather than simply bending.

This $1000 thing probably won't be it, but the next generation machines, or the generations after them, will. At last!

This certainly isn't it, because it's using a MIG welder. This is a traditional metal deposition process, using a 3d printer for positioning.

Re:This can't come about fast enough (4, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#45648903)

But does that mean that the sintered parts were good, or that the originals are shit? You haven't given us enough information (make, model, caliber, and year of firearm to start with, not to mention the actual parts) to make this determination ourselves.

Well, I can't give you any specifics (make/model) or I'd reveal whom I worked for, and I'm under a non-disclosure agreement.

But here's an example of what I experienced with the sintered metal:

I took a test side-by-side 12 cal which had silver-brazed demi block barrels made of high-quality Bohler steel. I had a lock printed. All we did to the lock was polish it a bit to achieve perfect fit in the receiver, when we shot the gun repeatedly in double-shot with proofhouse loads (+30% powder). At some point, a rather massive 2-mm disjunction occured at the breech. We figured the lock's metal had given way. In fact it was the barrel's lugs that had flattened themselves onto the lock, and the lock itself was just fine. We were really amazed!

Re:This can't come about fast enough (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#45648983)

Interesting, but still not clear why the failure occurred.

A very quick browse of available literature (VERY) suggests that laser sintering produces a very fine crystal structure, which suggests that the laser-sintered metal will have the same problem as other types of sintered metal. That fine crystal structure is inferior to a large grain structure. Parts will snap instead of bending when they do finally fail if sintered as compared to forged, or machined from forged billet.

Still cool for prototyping, and lots of parts. I'd rather have laser-sintered parts in my gun than traditional powder metal. I'd rather have parts made from forged billet than either.

Re:This can't come about fast enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649733)

Well, I can't give you any specifics (make/model) or I'd reveal whom I worked for, and I'm under a non-disclosure agreement.

Come on we all know you work for Boss Hog.

Captcha for this post distills

Sigh. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 8 months ago | (#45648717)

Wake me up when we can print silicon.

Any developments in this direction? It surely would be possible to print a 1950's type of transistor at home, right?

Re:Sigh. (3, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#45648777)

I'll be more impressed when it's capable of printing a vaccuum tube...

Re:Sigh. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#45649201)

I'll be more impressed when it's capable of printing a vaccuum tube...

Printing a metal-shelled tube shouldn't be that hard.

Printing the vacuum, on the other hand.

Re:Sigh. (3, Funny)

JanneM (7445) | about 8 months ago | (#45649243)

I'll be more impressed when it's capable of printing a vaccuum tube...

Printing a metal-shelled tube shouldn't be that hard.

Printing the vacuum, on the other hand.

Attach a small fan to it as an air-printing attachment, then turn the power plug 180 degrees so it runs backwards. Do I really have to think of everything around here?

Re:Sigh. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#45649189)

Wake me up when we can print silicon.

Any developments in this direction? It surely would be possible to print a 1950's type of transistor at home, right?

We already print silicon. That's how Intel and AMD make their chips. Print masks and deposit materials through the masks.

Ohhhh. You wanted a home printer for silicon!

Seriously, take a look at the photo of the original transistor. Not exactly a work of beauty there. But the hard part about making more sophisticated chips is in refining and doping the silicon. Granted, you probably don't have ion-deposition equipment in an old closet either, but you can't just build micro-electronics from the kids sandbox.

Re:Sigh. (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 8 months ago | (#45650505)

Wake me up when we can print silicon.

Any developments in this direction? It surely would be possible to print a 1950's type of transistor at home, right?

We already print silicon. That's how Intel and AMD make their chips. Print masks and deposit materials through the masks.

Ohhhh. You wanted a home printer for silicon!

Seriously, take a look at the photo of the original transistor. Not exactly a work of beauty there. But the hard part about making more sophisticated chips is in refining and doping the silicon. Granted, you probably don't have ion-deposition equipment in an old closet either, but you can't just build micro-electronics from the kids sandbox.

Actually we print on thin slivers of silicon. You wouldn't accuse a Xerox of printing paper would you?

Re: Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649233)

You can, it's called epitaxy via CVD or PVD.

Recursive self printers near at hand? (1)

ignavus (213578) | about 8 months ago | (#45648989)

Right now I am imagining a bug that causes a self-printing printer to go out of control, so that the printers keeps printing printers that keep printing printers that keep ...

Re:Recursive self printers near at hand? (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#45649197)

Right now I am imagining a bug that causes a self-printing printer to go out of control, so that the printers keeps printing printers that keep printing printers that keep ...

Cue up Paul Dukas. Bomp-de-bomp-de-bomp-de-bompitty...

Re:Recursive self printers near at hand? (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 8 months ago | (#45650513)

That's just Mickey Mouse :)

Re:Recursive self printers near at hand? (1)

OmniGeek (72743) | about 8 months ago | (#45650179)

In 1955, Philip K. Dick wrote a short story, "Autofac [wikipedia.org] ", about self-replicating machinery. Still a good read, IMO.

Re:Recursive self printers near at hand? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 8 months ago | (#45650331)

Right now I am imagining a bug that causes a self-printing printer to go out of control, so that the printers keeps printing printers that keep printing printers that keep ...

It's called the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

One step closer... (1)

Jamlad (3436419) | about 8 months ago | (#45648997)

to the grey RepRap plague. When will this madness ever end?!

undoing mod points (1)

Prehensile Interacti (742615) | about 8 months ago | (#45649245)

Gah - clicky error

bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649379)

Builded, you moron.

508 resource limit reached (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45649523)

Resource Limit Is Reached
The website is temporarily unable to service your request as it exceeded resource limit. Please try again later.

Fundamental problem (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 8 months ago | (#45649751)

"...looks like we're getting closer to the RepRap being able to print all of its parts."

Sure, assuming it can print an Millermatic 140 arc welder and an Arduino.

Look, nature has already solved this problem, so we know something about the complexity and difficulty involved. We have cows that print milk and copies of themselves, chickens than print eggs and copies of themselves, grass that prints grain and copies of itself, etc. These things consists of millions of cells, each about as intelligent as an Arduino. Good luck creating something like that with a few hundred parts!

I long for the day when stories about 3D printers (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 8 months ago | (#45649759)

do generate more comments about guns than anything else. But I guess other uses are not "newsworthy". We are all idiots and we deserve the government and laws we refuse to do anything about. 30k dead per year is nothing compared to the value of our freedom to kill 30k per year. Yay! We win!

Re:I long for the day when stories about 3D printe (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 8 months ago | (#45650557)

But I guess other uses are not "newsworthy".

Prints a "Michael Jackson Pacifier!"

Umm, just get a welder. (1)

nbritton (823086) | about 8 months ago | (#45650383)

Isn't an affordable 3D metal printer simply a welder attached to an x, y, z axis table? With a welder you can control the bead size by simply adjusting the feed rate and current. What is the issue here? Just get a mig welder, disassemble and attach it to a robot, then enclose the whole thing in a box filled with inert gas.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>