3D printers are rapidly penetrating in almost every niche of everyday life and are globally praised for all the good things that can be done with their help: from educational prototypes and designer furniture items to new medical investigations on printing human inward parts of the body, tooth implants and special receipt medical pills. But, as always in human history, one technology can be used for good and for bad. According to the police, there have been withdrawn some 3D printed guns of the “Uzi”-style very close to factory quality, a 3D printer able to produce fully automatic machine guns and other tools during the raid to uncover homemade weapons.
On the one hand, it is very possible that one can buy a 3D printer (for example, the EOS EOSINT M 100 which prints using metal, though it’s not cheap), find “powderised” metals (for direct metal laser sintering or selective laser sintering methods of metal 3D printing), find patterns of the gun parts and produce a 3D-printed gun on his backyard.
On the other hand, it’s a well known fact that nowadays’ home or consumer grade 3D printers are not able to produce durable metal objects, because they don’t get the needed temperature for melting or sintering metals (for example, 1,100-1,300? for iron sintering, when the printer can reach only 195-220?); and the fact that powdered metals require safe facilities to use them (some can spontaneously combust causing fires).
So, according to the experts, the process of the producing a gun on a home 3D printer is difficult, dangerous, needs extra skills on the subjects, but not not completely impossible and can become more available with the technology growth.
Photo credit: Queensland police