Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Making homemade guns on a 3-D printer becomes real, so engineering expert suggests stronger laws on gunpowder

Date:
February 11, 2013
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Making homemade guns on a 3-D printer becomes real, so engineering expert suggests stronger laws on gunpowder.

With controversy swirling over gun-sale background checks, limiting the size of weapon magazines and retaining Second Amendment rights, the problem of making homemade guns with 3-D printers has become a matter of public concern.

Related Articles


Laws mean little if a determined criminal or a hobbyist teen wants to make plastic guns or extra-high capacity magazines, says Hod Lipson, Cornell University professor of engineering and a pioneer in 3-D printing.

"With a homemade 3-D printer, you can print a gun using ABS plastic, the same material that LEGOS are made out of. You can even use nylon, and that's pretty tough," he says. "You won't be able to make a sniper rifle with a 3-D printer and it won't shoot 10 rounds a second, but the gun you can make could be dangerous. And a high-capacity magazine is nothing more than a strong plastic box with a spring. It's trivial to print."

Lipson and co-author Melba Kurman just published a new book, "Fabricated: The promise and peril of a machine that can make (almost) anything." (Wiley, 2013.) The book includes a chapter on "3-D printing and the law," which addresses the legal and ethical challenges raised by 3-D printed firearms. The book also explores 3-D printing's impact on consumer safety, intellectual property, and ethics.

As Lipson and Kurman detail, three-dimensional printers are intended to do the world good. In industry, 3-D printers can make hard-to-find spare parts and complex new devices. Researchers are developing techniques to 3-D print tailored and personalized body parts like heart valves. 3-D printers can even make food.

Lipson explains that on the Internet, there are blueprints and designs available to 3-D print guns. As an engineer, he's seen dubious rogue designs online. "Some designs are not safe," he says. "More than criminals, I am worried about innocent kids making guns and injuring themselves. What happens if the design is faulty or if the plastic was printed at the wrong temperature, rendering the gun weak? When fired, it could blow up in its user's face. All kinds of parameters go into making 3-D objects and when you introduce an explosive such as gunpowder, that's when things can go wrong," Lipson says. The small footprint of new personal-scale manufacturing systems also makes it easier to fabricate firearms more discreetly than before.

Lipson agrees that a more effective gun control solution worth exploring might impose legal limitations on gunpowder rather than gun parts and accessories such as magazines.

Says Lipson: "If I were talking to lawmakers, I would encourage them to address the most basic part of a firearm -- the energy source. You must have gunpowder to fire a weapon. The law could regulate the explosives. To fire a bullet, you need high-energy propellant like gunpowder. After all, 3-D printed and arbitrarily shaped plastic firearms are going to be increasingly hard to detect using traditional screening techniques. A high-capacity magazine might look like something else. It may be more effective to control the gunpowder."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Making homemade guns on a 3-D printer becomes real, so engineering expert suggests stronger laws on gunpowder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211162114.htm>.
Cornell University. (2013, February 11). Making homemade guns on a 3-D printer becomes real, so engineering expert suggests stronger laws on gunpowder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211162114.htm
Cornell University. "Making homemade guns on a 3-D printer becomes real, so engineering expert suggests stronger laws on gunpowder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211162114.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Elon Musk's Hyperloop Moves Forward

Elon Musk's Hyperloop Moves Forward

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) Zipping around at 800-miles an hour is coming closer to reality in California. An entire town is being built around Elon Musk&apos;s Hyperloop concept and it wants you to stop in for a ride when it&apos;s ready. Brett Larson is on board. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 26, 2015) Dutch scientists have developed a smart bicycle that uses sensors, wireless technology and video to warn riders of traffic dangers. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Robot dogs are the perfect pet for some in Japan who go to repairmen-turned-vets when their pooch breaks down - while a full Buddhist funeral ceremony awaits those who don&apos;t make it. Duration: 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Forensic science, which has fascinated generations with its unravelling of gruesome crime mysteries, is being put under the microscope in an exhibition of real criminal investigations in London. Duration: 00:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins