Oh, man. I was so excited for 3D printing. The idea that manufacturing can become something small and personalized, the way the flow of information was disrupted and redistributed during the rise of the internet, seemed like it would create a huge societal shift. Unfortunately, I didn't think this whole thing through. Wired reports:
A group of 3-D printing gunsmiths have taken another step toward making a gun you can download off the internet. This weekend, the desktop weaponeers took a partially printed rifle out to test how long its plastic parts survived spewing bullets. The result? Six rounds until it snapped apart.
But that was also the point, the group’s founder tells Danger Room. “We knew it would break, probably,” says Cody Wilson, who heads the Wiki Weapon project. “But I don’t think we thought it’d break within six [rounds]. We thought it’d break within 20.”
Here's video of the test:
There's not going to be any way to stop this. Sure, we can pass laws and I'm sure the FBI could probably create some Constitutionally icky software that can detect when you download a gun pattern from the internet, but it's like music piracy, or WikiLeaks. Once someone figures out how to perfect this process, the information will be out there, legal or not. Gun-control laws are essentially meaningless when you can make a gun in your house.