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posted by LaminatorX on Thursday October 02 2014, @03:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the gun-without-a-bang dept.

When Cody Wilson revealed the world’s first fully 3-D printed gun last year, he showed that the “maker” movement has enabled anyone to create a working, lethal firearm with a click in the privacy of his or her garage. Now he’s moved on to a new form of digital DIY gunsmithing. And this time the results aren’t made of plastic.

Wilson’s latest radically libertarian project is a PC-connected milling machine he calls the Ghost Gunner. Like any computer-numerically-controlled (or CNC) mill, the one-foot-cubed black box uses a drill bit mounted on a head that moves in three dimensions to automatically carve digitally-modeled shapes into polymer, wood or aluminum. But this CNC mill, sold by Wilson’s organization known as Defense Distributed for $1,200, is designed to create one object in particular: the component of an AR-15 rifle known as its lower receiver.

That simple chunk of metal has become the epicenter of a gun control firestorm. A lower receiver is the body of the gun that connects its stock, barrel, magazine and other parts. As such, it’s also the rifle’s most regulated element. Mill your own lower receiver at home, however, and you can order the rest of the parts from online gun shops, creating a semi-automatic weapon with no serial number, obtained with no background check, no waiting period or other regulatory hurdles.
http://www.wired.com/2014/10/cody-wilson-ghost-gunner/

 
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 02 2014, @04:09AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 02 2014, @04:09AM (#100811)

    The problem here is that it is special purpose. Being designed to work around a law will just provoke a new law that narrowly targets devices that are primarily designed to build lower receivers. Its kind of like how google doesn't get shut down for indexing torrent sites but torrent-only sites have been shut down.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by takyon on Thursday October 02 2014, @05:25AM

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday October 02 2014, @05:25AM (#100826) Journal

    It's legal now (supposedly) and it can be done with other CNC mills. This one is just cheaper and faster, and smaller due to the focus on "80% lowers". I wouldn't be surprised if it could create other shapes without significant fiddling with the software.

    Getting a new law to ban this could be impossible in the short term. Republicans are projected to gain more seats in the House and probably the Senate. They don't entertain the notion of gun control legislation anymore.

    So Defense Distributed will continue to operate for years, while the federal government tries to harrass them with obscure or untested legal tactics, like the letter from the State Dept.

    Cody Wilson thrives on confrontation. He billed this as an "October Surprise". He's working on making Bitcoin more anonymous and a decentralized Silk Road possible. I wouldn't bet against him succeeding at whatever he attempts to do.

    As for customers for this $1200 CNC mill, he described it as orders of magnitude cheaper and faster for the intended purpose. The cost won't be a factor for some, and I'm sure militias and such would split the cost on a Ghost Gunner and churn out weapons just for fun/ideology stroking, and maybe profit. Wilson's legal troubles become theirs. Except as the Wired article noted, a bill to ban guns without serial numbers was vetoed by the California governor a day before this was launched. No action on the federal level, no action in what's considered the "nanny state".

    This will not get outlawed. If it did, it would be outlawed too late to prevent Wilson from earning the cash he is seeking to further fund DD. To prevent Wilson's vision from becoming reality, you would have to outlaw all cheap CNC mills, all 3D printers. CNC mills are getting cheaper, and 3D printers are getting more capable.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 02 2014, @05:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 02 2014, @05:45AM (#100830)

      > I wouldn't bet against him succeeding at whatever he attempts to do.

      Because the last one totally went his way. [bbc.co.uk]

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 02 2014, @06:57AM

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday October 02 2014, @06:57AM (#100840) Journal

        That was a trivial setback that delivered a great reward: publicity. He ended up using a Stratasys anyway [forbes.com].

        Unlike the original, steel Liberator, though, Wilson’s weapon is almost entirely plastic: Fifteen of its 16 pieces have been created inside an $8,000 second-hand Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer

        Try again.

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        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 02 2014, @07:10AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 02 2014, @07:10AM (#100842)
          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 02 2014, @08:06AM

            by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday October 02 2014, @08:06AM (#100860) Journal

            US government seizes 3D-printed gun files, but still shared elsewhere [wired.co.uk]

            That design was put online on 7 May, and since then more than 100,000 downloads have taken place.

            Pirate Bay Takes Over Distribution of Censored 3D Printable Gun [torrentfreak.com]
            Browse Other > Physibles [thepiratebay.se]

            September 20, 2013: DEFCAD Launches 'The Pirate Bay' of 3D Printing [torrentfreak.com]

            The worldwide release of the prints did not sit well with the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls who kindly requested that DEFCAD remove the availability of the 3D printable gun documents, citing a possible violation of International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

            The files in question were removed, but at the same time DEFCAD was already working on a new project that would be harder to censor. Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson had started to raise funds for a separate meta-search engine, the first to focus on 3D print models.

            “In March of this year, seeing an opportunity to expand the DEFCAD concept to fight the prevailing ideas about intellectual property in the entire physible space, I split Defense Distributed and DEFCAD and turned the latter into another company,” Wilson tells TorrentFreak.

            “The idea was to move away from direct hosting to employ the first amendment victories won by Google in the courts and become a meta-search engine as a more robust way of spreading and preserving physibles. We hope to build a piece of infrastructure to help stem the next wave of the IP wars in advance, if you will.”

            DEFCAD raised a significant amount of funds and has now quietly rolled out the meta-search engine to the public on DEFCAD.com. While still labeled as an Alpha release the site already indexes more than 74,000 files, all stored on external sites.

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          • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Thursday October 02 2014, @12:59PM

            by cafebabe (894) on Thursday October 02 2014, @12:59PM (#100919) Journal

            There are two responses to weapon CAD files being export violations. The first is Bernstein v. United States [1995] [wikipedia.org] and the second is Arkell v. Pressdram [1971] [wikipedia.org].

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    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bradley13 on Thursday October 02 2014, @07:33AM

      by bradley13 (3053) on Thursday October 02 2014, @07:33AM (#100848) Homepage Journal

      Comments like the parent assume that it is obvious that this product should be banned? Why? It's a milling machine with a program, so what?

      - Laws are supposed to regulate illegal behavior, but creep more and more towards regulating intent. If killing someone is illegal, throw murderers in jail. No, let's outlaw weapons (UK) - throw anyone in jail who has a weapon. Outlaw parts of weapons (lower receivers). Outlaw the ability to manufacturer parts of guns. Etc. etc.

      - The US war on drugs is similar. Outlaw dangerous drugs, then outlaw component chemicals, then outlaw components of the components. Simple iodine is now a harshly regulated chemical, even though it's primary use is as a disinfectant.

      With every step along this path, the laws become less clearly enforceable and criminalize a greater range of perfectly acceptable activities. In the end, we are all criminals, living our lives at the mercy of government bureaucrats who could - any time they wish - find a reason to prosecute us. This is not a healthy society.

      So...why do people like the parent just assume that milling machines like this should be banned?

      --
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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 02 2014, @07:45AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 02 2014, @07:45AM (#100851)

        > Comments like the parent assume that it is obvious that this product should be banned?

        No, my comment assumes that laws are passed with intent and when something comes along that is specifically designed to circumvent that intent then a new law gets passed to close the loophole. I make no judgement whether or not the law SHOULD be written.

        > The US war on drugs is similar.

        Indeed, It is the perfect example [wikipedia.org] of how the law gets updated to deal with loopholes.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mcgrew on Thursday October 02 2014, @02:07PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday October 02 2014, @02:07PM (#100950) Homepage Journal

        So...why do people like the parent just assume that milling machines like this should be banned?

        Because they're "thinking" with their emotions. Emotionalism and logic mix about as well as oil and water.

        --
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        • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by BasilBrush on Thursday October 02 2014, @03:18PM

          by BasilBrush (3994) on Thursday October 02 2014, @03:18PM (#100985)

          You're confusing emotion with morality.

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          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mcgrew on Thursday October 02 2014, @03:50PM

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday October 02 2014, @03:50PM (#101001) Homepage Journal

            I don't think so. People want to ban guns out of fear. What does gun ownership have to do with morality?

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            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 03 2014, @12:35AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 03 2014, @12:35AM (#101206)

              Women and women-like men.

            • (Score: 1) by BasilBrush on Friday October 03 2014, @01:12PM

              by BasilBrush (3994) on Friday October 03 2014, @01:12PM (#101369)

              You demonstrate your confusion well.

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      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by opinionated_science on Thursday October 02 2014, @05:10PM

        by opinionated_science (4031) on Thursday October 02 2014, @05:10PM (#101031)

        the founding fathers anticipated a government using fear excuses to ban weapons and included the 2nd amendment...

        it is a turning point in history that the 1st amendment requires the 2nd to be effective...

        • (Score: 2) by Alfred on Thursday October 02 2014, @05:38PM

          by Alfred (4006) on Thursday October 02 2014, @05:38PM (#101049) Journal

          Amen and amen.
          They lived under something oppressive, replaced it with something better and could not have done so without firearms and mortal force.
          They wanted this option available in the future for when their then better system went the way all governments go.

        • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Friday October 03 2014, @01:31AM

          by JNCF (4317) on Friday October 03 2014, @01:31AM (#101224) Journal

          it is a turning point in history that the 1st amendment requires the 2nd to be effective...

          And the beauty of printable weapon files that they wrap the 2nd amendment in the 1st, so that the 1st amendment protects the 2nd amendment which protects the 1st amendment which... well, you get the idea.

    • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Thursday October 02 2014, @11:56AM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Thursday October 02 2014, @11:56AM (#100901)

      To prevent Wilson's vision from becoming reality, you would have to outlaw all cheap CNC mills, all 3D printers.

      Our you could just establish a stranglehold on mercury fulminate [wikipedia.org] and similar explosives through regulation. That fancy gun replicator can't make ammunition. Just take existing laws and sed 's/firearm/ammunition/g'. (Actually it would be slightly more complicated than that because of handloading; but my point stands that making modern ammunition requires a chemical plant and therefore there is another natural point of regulatory control over production and distribution of ammunition).

      From a practical point of view, I agree, the legislature is too fractious and too slow-moving to outlaw this technology. If Wilson thinks his genie can't theoretically be put back in the bottle, though, I am inclined to disagree.

      --
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      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 02 2014, @01:37PM

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday October 02 2014, @01:37PM (#100936) Journal

        Well if industry can make these things (the chemicals), enthusiasts probably can too (mercury fulminate was discovered in 1800). And from what I can tell, rounds for the AR-15 range from $0.30 [gunbot.net] to $1.50 [gunbot.net].

        Remember the various surges in gun/ammo purchases [forbes.com]? Even rumors [vice.com] trigger a flurry of ammo buying activity. Don't forget state-by-state efforts [latimes.com] to regulate guns in the aftermath of massacres.

        The industry portion of the gun lobby just grows more powerful as guns and ammo fly off the shelves:

        (Forbes) The increased demand has prompted ammunition makers in the U.S. to expand facilities, add new shifts and streamline production. Federal Premium says, “Our facilities operate 24-hours a day. We are continually making process improvements to increase our efficiency and investing in capital and personnel where we have sustained demand. We are bringing additional capacity online again this year.”

        Back to the Newtown massacre. Political will to regulate guns peaked around that time, Obama and other politicians were quite outspoken on the need for new laws. The public opinion shift as measured a year later? A small bump in desire to regulate, and a large bump in anti-gun control sentiment [pewresearch.org].

        The genie can't be put in the bottle fast enough, no matter what gun control regulation is being considered, and assuming the political will exists to pass it among Republicans. Rounds will be stockpiled. CAD files will become CAD torrents. 3D printers will get cheaper and escape attempts to regulate. The ideology will help to foster a cooperative black market. On Wilson's own CNC mill, I read more about it and confirmed that it could create things that aren't lower receivers. In the next couple of decades, if people can create printers that spit out ammunition or drugs, they will do it.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday October 02 2014, @08:14AM

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Thursday October 02 2014, @08:14AM (#100864) Journal

    https://ghostgunner.net/ [ghostgunner.net]

    More than Guns

    Ghost Gunner is capable of manufacturing more than just firearm receivers. With Defense Distributed's open source Physibles Development SDK (pDev), designers can distribute files via our '.dd' file format, which contains all installation and assembly instructions, any required jig files to hold the part in place (that users can print with a 3D printer), and all machine definitions and code to physically manufacture a particular design.

    To a casual user, the .dd file is a one-stop solution to manufacturing any aluminum physible that the public can design to fit into the build envelope. Defense Distributed will be developing in and supporting this format, and we are happy to publish your own innovations and contributions.

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