Posted By RichC on August 1, 2012
Could a gun be made at home?
An engineer claims to have taken the first steps toward doing so using a 3D printer.
Michael Guslick said last week in an online forum that he “printed” and fired the world’s first home-made, 3D-impressed gun more than 200 times. Guslick granted an exclusive interview to the Daily News, revealing just how easy it is to create a firearm at home at a time when gun control is back on the minds of millions of Americans following last month’s shootings in Colorado.
A 3D printer uses layers of plastic or other malleable materials to create items that range from jewelry to industrial parts — but, according to Guslick, no one has ever before used the home version to build a gun.
Under his online alias, “HaveBlue,” Guslick posted on the firearms forum AR15.com that he had 3D-printed the lower receiver of an AR-15, a semiautomatic rifle.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the world’s first 3D printed firearm to actually be tested,” he wrote last week.
Guslick said creating the rifle on his own “wasn’t that difficult.”
For $1,000, the engineer said he picked up a 3D printer that looks something like a mini-fridge. Guslick says the printers work like “computer controlled plastic dispensers.”
After slightly modifying gun blueprints that he said “have been floating around the Internet for quite some time,” the man began to print.
Thirty hours later, his home-crafted gun base was ready.
Guslick added some “furniture” – insider talk for the additional parts of a weapon that make it look more like a gun – to the firearm and fired off about 200 rounds.
“It was extremely large and ungainly, but it worked,” he said, adding that the “barrier to entry is certainly being lowered,” since anyone with some technological knowledge could probably do what Guslick did.
But easy as Guslick says it would be to replicate the process, he says we’re still far from a Star Trek “replicator” that can make anything in the universe on request.
Besides, he doesn’t think regular criminals would be willing to put in all that much effort.
“Criminals are not going to give this a second thought,” he said. “They will continue to look to the black market, rather than saying ‘Oh gee, we need to buy a 3D printer.’”
The gun enthusiast says he believes the media blew his story out of proportion.
“I guess this is a testament to how fearful people are of hearing that someone can 3D-print a gun without understanding that this wasn’t all that complex, it’s only in a legal sense that I have printed a firearm,” he said.
Simple or not, the development led commentators like Mark Gibbs to write in Forbes that “the old NRA bumper sticker ‘If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns’ will have to be changed to ‘If guns are outlawed, outlaws will have 3D printers.’”