Tech Talk: Homemade 3D-printed rifle fires off real bullets

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by Doug Delony / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 8, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 8 at 2:03 PM

HOUSTON -- A gunmaker in Canada says he has engineered the first working 3D-printed rifle.

YouTube user ‘ThreeD Ukulele’ uploaded the video proof just a few days ago. It’s now making the rounds online and getting praise from some while concerning others.

He calls the rifle Grizzly 2.0, since it’s an improvement over the last one. In short, you might call it a made-at-home plastic gun, but it fires real bullets.

Its maker says he managed to fire off 14 Winchester Dynapoints before the gun cracked. In previous tests with an early model, the gun cracked much sooner, and the shooter didn’t trust it enough to pull the trigger with his own finger (using a string instead).

3D printers use special materials like liquid, powder, or sheet material to make objects that are modeled on a computer. These models are files that can then be shared over the Internet. With the recent uptick of interest in 3D printing, many are concerned about the legal, safety, economic, and copyright issues that will likely arise.

Right now a good 3D printer and the modeling materials will set you back a few thousand dollars, but this cost will continue to drop and will likely make the equipment more common in homes in the coming years.

Grizzly 2.0’s maker says he will soon make the gun’s model available for download on the web.

The legal issues surrounding these made-at-home guns are widely debated. Some local law enforcement agencies across the U.S. have said they’ll require 3D-printed guns to be registered, but earlier this year Homeland Security indicated it may be impossible to stop crooks from manufacturing and using the guns.

What do you think? Should laws specific to 3D-printed weapons be passed? Will the government be able to control it at all? Comment at the bottom of this story or on the KHOU 11 News Facebook page.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out to Doug on Facebook (facebook.com/KHOUDougDelony) or Twitter (@DougDelonyKHOU)

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