3D printed guns have had one major drawback- the materials they’re made from don’t hold up well to the stresses created by an exploding bullet. The plastic cracks and the barrel or receiver becomes useless quickly. One developer has found a way around this by machining thick walled shells with the bullet an inch or so inside them, which act as little barrels to contain the explosive force. They have to be machined individually, but the raw material is cheap and they can be reloaded after use.
Or workbench. Maybe that would be more sensible, because there’s going to be swarf everywhere.
The guy who made a big noise with his 3D printed gun parts is back, with a, relatively, cheap home milling machine designed specifically to make lower receivers for home assembled AR-15 assault rifles. The process is made easier by American companies which will sell you an 80% complete lower receiver, so that the machine only has to do the last drilling and cutting. The serial number free result is known as a “Ghost gun”. It’s all some sort of libertarian exercise, the designer claims.
From a technological and DIY point of view, this is fascinating, but what is it with American libertarians and guns? Why not create something that isn’t destructive?
A company called TrackingPoint have a range of targetting scopes which will do most of the calculations needed for long-range shooting, so you don’t have to. They calculate for range and target tracking, but not wind- which, I guess, is something you can’t work out with an optical system- and should greatly improve the accuracy of shooters with little or no training. Something like this is going in a story, I just haven’t decided which one.
Update This documentary suggests that the sights can take wind into account. It also gives some more information on the weapon system and shows it being used to hunt.
3D printed weapons are a scary prospect, and their development from idea to prototype to ever better versions has been typically fast. I was a relatively early advocate of the power of 3D printing, but even I wouldn’t have predicted practical firearms becoming a possibility so quickly.
That is all.
No. Wait, it isn’t.
To go with it, here’s the Internet Movie Cars Database.
Following the YouTube trail from the video on this BoingBoing post about mini pistols I’ve found footage of other small weapons.
.22 belt fed machine gun.
.22 gatling gun.
Mini Colt 1911 (though this one doesn’t appear to fire).
This one does.
Build your own rocket gun.
We don’t have any guns, but we should have a gun cabinet.
Inspired by fears that Obama might enact sensible gun laws, and racism and rhetoric, Americans are buying ridiculous numbers of guns and ammunition.
I can’t sleep.
My parents, and my brother and his family, arrive tomorrow and I’m going to introduce them to my girlfriend, a former lover and the grandson they don’t know about. I should have told them, I know, but communication’s been a bit ropey. I miss my student days, when the most I had to worry about when they visited was hiding my housemates’ joints.
The gun’s keeping me awake as well. I’d forgotten the paranoia that being armed generates in me.
It’s a nice piece, a mongrel constructed from at least three weapons. The actions are all smooth, trigger pressure is about right and there’s been a little bit of machining and weighting to improve the balance. Robinson’s lady friend is an above average gunsmith. There are three magazines- one left empty on a rotating basis to rest the spring- and a box of rounds.
I thought about keeping it a secret from Sally. But there’s no way a piece that well hidden could be any use.
We sat at the small table in the kitchen and I stripped it down whilst we talked about being armed. “Do you really think it will make us safer?”
“No. And yes.”
“You can’t have it both ways.”
I started putting the gun back together again. “It’s sort of two different kinds of safe. When I came off the bike the helmet saved my life. It didn’t prevent the accident, but it made the difference between being alive and functional and being dead or brain damaged. That’s why I wore a helmet in the first place. No matter how careful and vigilant I was I couldn’t change the fact that there were a lot of idiots on the road.” I handed the reassembled, unloaded gun to her. “Fully loaded it’s a bit heavier” She pointed it at the floor and pulled the trigger, jumping when the hammer fell on an empty chamber. “The gun’s a bike helmet. I’ll do everything I can to stay out of trouble, keep us out of trouble, but the gun is there just in case.” I slid the magazine into position, but didn’t chamber a round.
Now the gun’s in the bedside table, where I can get at it easily if I have to. It’ll go somewhere safer if Robert junior ever stays over, but otherwise it stays close to me at all times.
The Lone Star state may enact a “shoot first” law that would make the trigger happy immune from prosecution.