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Thread: You can now 3D-print a DIY pistol in New Zealand for just a few hundred dollars - sho

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Land of the Long White Cloud

    You can now 3D-print a DIY pistol in New Zealand for just a few hundred dollars - sho

    You can now 3D-print a DIY pistol in New Zealand for just a few hundred dollars - should we be worried?

    Photos in the link.


    3D-printed firearms are back in the spotlight after a US company re-published blueprints allowing anyone to create a DIY pistol in the privacy of their own home - so should Kiwis be worried about these "ghost guns"? LUKE APPLEBY investigates.

    Five years ago in 2013, Texas company Defence Distributed, headed by Cody Wilson, designed, built and fired the first 3D-printed gun - the Liberator - before releasing the blueprints online free to anyone who wanted them.

    Two days later, they were ordered to take the plans down by the US Department of State, saying they had a duty to oversee the export of technical data related to firearms.

    Several US politicians have vehemently opposed the weapons, arguing that giving out untraceable gun blueprints could enable terrorism or increase gun violence.

    Last month on July 19, Defence Distributed reached a settlement with the Department of Justice which barred them from giving away their plans - but technically did not stop them being sold for a price from August 1 onwards.

    A day before they could start selling the plans, which they planned to do on a "name your price" basis, a federal judge stopped the release of the blueprints once again, citing safety concerns.

    US President Donald Trump tweeted on August 1 that he was "looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public", adding that he "already spoke to the NRA," and that 3D printing a firearm "doesn't seem to make much sense".

    Last week on Wednesday, NZT, Defence Distributed began selling the blueprints anyway, saying they think they are within their rights to do so.

    The blueprints have also been widely shared and re-hosted, and are currently available on numerous websites for free.


    The short answer no - there are no specific laws in New Zealand against downloading a 3D gun blueprint - but it is definitely illegal to manufacture and possess a firearm without a licence.

    It also remains very difficult for someone to procure the .380 bullets needed for a Liberator, as those are controlled under the Arms Act in the same way that firearms are, with numerous checks and safeguards in place.

    A police spokesperson told 1 NEWS they believe the current Arms Act restrictions on importing pistol parts without a permit could apply to 3D-printed firearm blueprints - but only if interpreted in a very specific way.

    "If downloading is considered as importing and the parts of a 3D firearm are downloaded, the moment a part for a pistol or restricted weapon is downloaded an offence has been committed," a police spokesperson said.

    Police's rationale rests heavily on the downloading of a file being considered, legally, as the importation of a good, and on the judge considering digital plans for a firearm being a tangible "part" of the weapon itself.

    Police also referred the issue to the New Zealand Customs Service, who told 1 NEWS that "under the current provisions of the Customs & Excise Act, a 'data file' containing a digital model to print out an object using a 3D printer is not a "good".

    "The 3D printing data file can be compared to a JPEG file to view and print out a picture."

    Firearms lawyer Nicholas Taylor, who has 20 years' experience litigating cases involving guns, said he was confident charges brought against someone for downloading the blueprints under the Arms Act rationale would never be upheld in court.

    Mr Taylor said it was "too far removed" to consider the plans for a firearm as an integral "part" of a firearm itself.

    "It's ridiculous to say that their possession will constitute possession of a restricted weapon part ... it's ludicrous," Mr Taylor said.

    "A 'part' is obviously an objective test, but everyone knows what a part is of something - it's something tangible instead of the intangible."

    In response to the rise in availability of computer fabrication and 3D printing technology, New South Wales passed a law in 2015 making it a specific offence to be in possession of digital weapon blueprints, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison - in line with the penalty for being caught with an actual firearm.

    An NZ Police spokesperson said they are "aware of the commentary around 3D firearms and is monitoring developments in this area.

    "Firearms technology has changed and Police will continue to administer, and as required, enforce the Arms Act," they said.

    "Anyone in New Zealand having possession of a firearm must have a firearms licence or endorsement, or be under the immediate supervision of a licence holder."


    The original Liberator was printed on an expensive Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer, costing about NZ$50,000 in 2013, but the same machine now costs anywhere between NZ$8000-NZ$10,000 for a used unit - an 80 per cent reduction in price.

    However, amateur 3D printers technically capable of printing a Liberator out of ABS plastic are now available for less than $300.

    Zubbin Navroji of 3Dprintingservices.co.nz, who is also an avid target shooter himself, said while people could print a Liberator on a $300 machine, the quality would be lower than on a more expensive machine.

    Mr Navroji said the inherent weakness of a 3D-printed object made on a home machine comes from the "layer by layer" construction method - a weakness which has not been considerably resolved since 2013.

    Firing a round puts immense - and dangerous - strain on a 3D-printed gun's parts, Mr Navroji said, and plastics technology in the past five years has still not quite overcome that strength barrier reliably, despite the big drop in average price.

    "Plastic as a material is not suitable [for gun-making] and 3D-printed plastic and polymers in particular are not designed to handle such pressure," he said.

    "You will basically blow yourself up or hurt others around you."

    The technology is still advancing rapidly, he said, with affordable home printers capable of using media like resin likely to be the next step - those would allow a much higher quality finish and better strength.

    Metal 3D printing does exist, and is also a rapidly developing field - Texas company Solid Concepts this year built an entirely metal 3D-printed pistol and it has fired more than 600 rounds without issue.

    The lowest-priced 3D metal printer currently available is very large, costs upwards of $180,000, requires a three-phase power supply and uses multiple industrial gases.


    Apart from the projectile coming out the end, firing a plastic firearm comes with risks to the user.

    Videos of 3D-printed Liberator pistols being fired show they can fracture easily and unexpectedly, sending shards of plastic flying in all directions.

    Many of the Liberators which have been printed and test-fired with a .380 round have fractured after just one shot, while others have survived numerous rounds being fired through them.
    The pressure exerted on the barrel of a gun while firing a .380 peaks at about 21,500psi according to the US Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute.

    ABS plastic has a typical tensile strength of about 5800psi - and that doesn't account for the extra weakness introduced by 3D printing's layer-by-layer construction.

    Last year, hobbyists tested a process called "annealing" on 3D printed objects - this involves heating the object in a home oven to "glass point" then letting it cool very slowly as one uniform piece.

    Annealing can reportedly help relieve the internal stresses, weaknesses and fracturing caused by the uneven cooling of the plastic during the printing process, and proponents say it improves the strength of objects considerably.

    In 2014, Pennsylvania machinist Michael Crumling designed and built bullets specifically designed for the Liberator, which he called ".314 Atlas" rounds.

    Atlas rounds have a much thicker casing than usual, as well as a lead projectile inserted deep inside the casing, somewhat like a cannon, rather than sitting on the tip of the casing.

    The design mitigated all of the pressure of the explosion, channelling it out of the barrel - Crumling successfully fired 19 rounds of the custom ammo through a Liberator he had printed at home.


    1 NEWS spoke with six Kiwi commercial 3D-printing companies about the issue, and all said they are well aware of what 3D firearm blueprints look like.

    None of the companies have printing processes which are independent of human oversight at all stages.

    "There is an extremely low chance of someone getting us to print something that we don't want to be a part of,' Mr Navroji said.

    "We would never do it."

    None of the companies had been asked to 3D print a weapon by a customer, and all said they would refuse to do so on legal or even moral grounds, if asked.

  2. #2
    OPCz Rushy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Nor West of Auckland on the true right of the Kaipara River
    I got about half way through reading this and thought what the fuck am I doing, I don't give a shit about this.
    It takes 43 muscle's to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger pull.
    What more do we need? If we are above ground and breathing the rest is up to us!
    Rule 1: Treat every firearm as loaded
    Rule 2: Always point firearms in a safe direction
    Rule 3: Load a firearm only when ready to fire
    Rule 4: Identify your target beyond all doubt
    Rule 5: Check your firing zone
    Rule 6: Store firearms and ammunition safely
    Rule 7: Avoid alcohol and drugs when handling firearms

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Mid Canterbury
    Quote Originally Posted by Rushy View Post
    I got about half way through reading this and thought what the fuck am I doing, I don't give a shit about this.
    Count me in that number. Boring as, and the media just just feeding the minds of hand wringing, scared conservatives who feel gun owning hordes are going to wreak havoc in the streets.

    Now, what was I reading? Ah, yes.......about hunting.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    You live in a dark place .... if you in fact live at all !

  5. #5
    Member Creeper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Your back door
    Quote Originally Posted by Rushy View Post
    I got about half way through reading this and thought what the fuck am I doing, I don't give a shit about this.
    I think that reading most of the crap you post.

    Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
    BRADS and Steve123 like this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Mid Canterbury
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
    I think you mean Liberals.
    Generally conservatives are pro-gun, and the anti-gunners are gender fluid Liberals.
    I agree, that is the case in the States where their two parties are, or appear to be divided along Conservative and Liberal identification, but is that the case here? Would the conservatives NOT want change and NOT want to see more freedom of firearms? Who are the conservatives here in NZ? I have never personally seen any of our parties staunchly one or the other, or am I more politically ignorant than I thought; not that I am trying to start a discussion on politics here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    spreydon christcurch.
    self defeating article stating if ya build one and try to use it theres good odds you may end up with own goal -bravo!saves society having to pay .apart from that my sentiments are in line with others!
    timattalon likes this.

  8. #8
    Member Brian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Upper Hutt
    Be handy to print a new plastic stock though.
    rewa likes this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Amazing all the fuss about printing a gun out of plastic, in the far north of Pakistan they have been making guns out of old bits of scrap at the side of the road for years, without the need for any so called technology, in a country which is awash with guns, who the hell would bother to buy a printer just to make a gun.
    gadgetman, mikee, Cyclops and 3 others like this.

  10. #10
    Member Beavis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    The Cape
    If this scares them, don't let them know what you can do with bits of steel and tools that have been around for decades.
    timattalon, Cordite and rewa like this.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Christchuch New Zealand
    I have a number of thoughts on this.

    While it is impractical, unsafe and a dumb ass move to print a gun and try to fire it, I do think the topic needs to be looked into. Technology is not yet there to be able to print a proper firearm otherwise some of our larger stores would have bought the gear already and be manufacturers rather than importers.....

    While the tech is not there yet we have a chance as a country, to figure out what we need to do, what is acceptable to society and what is not in regards to printing firearms. On one hand it is simply another evolving manufacturing process, but on the other, even if they are not safe to fire, will a dairy owner or service station worker feel any better about it when one is pointed at them?

    Personally I do think some sort of control over the technology is needed so that these imitation firearms are not used in a manner such as these. ( And as unsafe working replicas , I think imitation is a fair description) The easiest solution I can think of would be addressing the use of such items. If you are caught committing a crime with a real OR imitation firearm you get time added to any penalty for the use of a firearm. Flip side of that is I dont want to see an encouragement for using a real one as the punishment is the same...so there is an issue that needs to be addressed. I simply dont have all the answers, nor do most of us. We all have opinions and this is how society tries to function.

    Like all technology, something that can be used for good can also be used for evil and in my own personal view, it is the person using it that is responsible for the commission of any crime. They mention in the article that there are metal printing versions. Great you can now print your own car parts for those out of production parts for your restoration project, or tools for a specific task, or taylor a custom buit item that cannot be purchased, but, oh wait you can print a gun too?

    You could use bio tech to create a biological agent that will control and reduce possum numbers effectively and another to stop kauri die back disease, but wait with a wee tweak you could now wipe out an entire country of people that dont agree with your political views too.....or their food supply if you have not got the cahones to commit mass murder. It all comes down to the application. And in that end nothing has changed. It is possible to join timber with nails using a hammer or it can be just as easily used to kill someone. You can cut your vegetables up with a sharp knife, but clearly it is also possible to commit crimes with these as well. It all comes down to what we CHOOSE to use things for....
    dannyb likes this.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Christchuch New Zealand
    Quote Originally Posted by Beavis View Post
    If this scares them, don't let them know what you can do with bits of steel and tools that have been around for decades.
    Try centuries rather than decades.....It is possible to make pretty decent firearms using tools circa 1800s....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Must be plastic -stock downloads out there... ?..oops..thats a gun-part...wonder what that makes my firewood ? I worry more about Orwellian-police-state rules, than some twat with a plastic gun.. Most self-respecting Dairy-owners would probably piss themselves laughing at one..."Bro !...you need to save-up, and come back with a real one"..."And you should know Smoking is bad for you anyway". Not to say that technology wont soon make plastic a viable problem
    Steve123 likes this.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    You don't need a 3D printer to make a plastic gun, there have been pistols made of plastic for quite a few years just need better quality polymers
    that can take the pressure better, the polymers available now can be machined just like metal all that is required is a CNC machine and the skill
    to operate it,
    3D printing guns just sounds cool, To be undetectable to metal detecters the ammunition needs to be polymer as well don't think plastic projectiles
    will be much good, also X-ray machines at airports will still pickup plastic guns if they are in regular gun configuration,
    It is all scare tactics by politicians aided by their media lackeys, problem is that the average citizen will believe that there will be 3D printed guns
    all over the country.
    40mm likes this.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    At least it's not the usual one-sided anti all firearms article we usually see.
    Largely objective input from people who actually know something about what they are talking about, and basically says yeah it can be done, but it's illegal, expensive and risky, rather than one person or group screaming we need more laws to control law-abiding FAL holders or we are all doomed.
    gadgetman likes this.



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