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WikiWeapon '3D printed' gun
The Above AR-15 is mostly after-market parts, but the regulated component is 3D printed
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Wiki Weapons letter from SSYS
In the world of 3D printing and the surrounding buzz of activity, one project really stands out in it's ability to divide opinion — not the MakerBot goes closed-source shenanigans, nor even the story about '3D printed meat' — I am of course talking about the Defense Distributed "Wiki Weapon" project.
Defense Distributed's aims are to:
- 1) Create the world’s first 100% 3D printable gun
- 2) Adapt the design down to cheaper 3D printers
- 3) Become The Web’s Printable Gun Wiki Redoubt
No doubting what they're up to then. Whether the project is truly feasible in terms of low-cost 3D printers churning out working handguns remains to be seen, but there is no doubt the 'relevat authorities' are taking this very seriously indeed.
None more so that 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys who have revoked the lease of a uPrint SE to Mr. Cody Wilson, one of the Defense Distributed members. In a letter that appears on the Wiki Weapon blog, legal counsel for the Eden Prairie-based 3D printer manufacturer is seen to cancel the lease for one of its smaller 3D printer, the uPrint.
The letter states that Stratasys 'does now knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes.'
The whole project opens up questions about the potential uses of 3D printing that may spring up in the future. I am not qualified to comment on any of these potential moral or legal problems but I will say this: for high-end additive manufacturing the military and defense are seen as huge potential markets where real value could be delivered and while the 3D printer manufacturer in this case acted on a legal imperative, would they have done the same if the problem dealt not in legality, but morality?
Personally, I see this as a storm in a tea cup. There are tools available to nearly everyone that could be used to make leathal weapons, and many of them would likely be far more effective than a 3D printed gun. 3D printing is a non-issue here, simply because the abilities of the cheaper printers are not yet at a level that would cause serious concern. Are they?