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"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

totalitarians hated the printing press too

I was going to include this with my previous post regarding New York’s obscene new laws and Connecticut’s desired idiocy, but I figured it deserved a post of its own:

That, fellow defenders of liberty, is a magazine fabricated on (I think) a stereolithography (SLA) printer out of (I think) an epoxy-based resin; the specifics are not entirely clear, but, frankly, I would rather the folks at DefDist spend their time ironing out their designs rather than walking topically-ignorant folks like me through the details. The fabricators/designers of the magazine felt comfortable saying it would survive at least 100 rounds before the feed lips sufficiently deformed to the point of uselessness; I wonder how long until someone makes a mold that can somehow correct that.

So tell me, oh you idiot legislators from Kalifornistan, New York, Connecticut, and even our nation’s capitol – how, exactly, do you think your arbitrary and capricious limits are going to work out when any halfway competent geek can download a normal-capacity magazine design from the internet and crank it out on his desktop printer? “Gun control” is soon going to join “book burning” in the dustbin of history, with both activities’ supporters being regarded with equal disdain.

I dare say it is time for me to start looking at DefCad files and seeing how this whole 3D printing thing works… It is not like I am going to be purchasing magazines or ammunition at their currently panic-inflated prices, but securing the means to learn about how to produce my own magazines for the foreseeable future? Sounds like a good investment to me.

In fact, I am having a very difficult time currently trying to talk myself out of supporting the Robo 3D Kickstarter, especially after Our Glorious President’s recent bout of idiocy. Yes, I know that fused deposition molding (FDM – what this printer uses) is a less-exact, less-capable technology than the SLA employed by DefDist (think of the former as “dot matrix” and the latter as “laserjet”)… but this little printer costs all of $520 ($619 if you want ABS printing), while DefDist’s Objet printer runs somewhere in the $500,000 range. I can only rationalize one of those numbers.

And it is not like I could not find a thousand and one other things to print with it… in fact, I have already devised a cute little idea that could be used to defray some of the costs, and thanks to TinkerCad (which I wish offered a one-time purchase price), I already designed it.

At this point, the “gun control” movement – and specifically its “assault weapon” ban and “high-capacity” magazine ban wings – is the modern version of a book-burning pogrom, and will meet with about as much success. Oh, to be sure, some people will turn in their guns, and some token examples will be destroyed in farces of news conferences, but home workshops, machinist shops, and 3D printers will all start spooling up. The “firearm” djinn is out of the bottle, folks, and you can’t stop the signal. 

7 comments to totalitarians hated the printing press too

  • I’ve got a friend who has been building his own 3D printers. All you need is a few starter parts (motors, control circuits, and gears) and then you can basically print enough pieces to build another machine. I think he’s on his 3rd, and with each one he can print higher and higher resolutions.

  • Volfram

    I’ve already seen a couple of people on Hack-A-Day calling for the banning of 3D printers now that it’s been found they can print parts of guns.

    My response: “So, are you calling to ban all devices which can be used to fabricate firearm parts? Or weapons in general?”

  • the dude

    @Volfram

    You’d think people like the Hack-a-Dayers would be all for 3d printers and ALL their applications.
    On another note, I do notice that a lot of people like that, and folks who consider themselves ‘futurists’ (aka sci-fi fans who are realistic about sci-fi coming true) tend to be especially anti-weaponry. You’d think people who study technological history to find trends to predict future tech would understand that weapons are an integral part.
    Oh well, blind leading the blind into walls, I guess.

  • MAJMike

    You can see the ultimate result. 3D-printers will be registered just as lower recievers are registered now. I can also see the probability of a massive civil lawsuit if a firearm manufactured via a 3D-printer. Typewriters and copiers were serial-numbered in the old Soviet Union.

    This is all about control (yes, call me “CPT Obvious”). Politician prefer to deal with unarmed peasants.

  • MAJMike

    Whoops. Left out part of my thought.

    Please read, “I can also see the probability of a massive civil lawsuit if a firearm manufactured via a 3D-printer is used in a crime.”

    Sorry about that. Time for a second cup of coffee.

  • Volfram

    @ the dude: To be fair, MOST of the people on Hack-A-Day have their heads screwed on right, and the guy in question received a flood of responses to the effect of “lawl, let’s just ban everything.”

    I think it stems from the moronic belief that humans are inherently good and peaceful, and that people don’t instigate violence, they only respond to it.

    Even in Star Trek(Deep Space 9, specifically) all of the main characters walked around armed, and nobody ever thought anything of it. Until the monster of the week showed up and ate a volley of phaser-fire, anyway.

  • @ bluesun: Ahh, one of those reprap (“replicating rapid prototyper”, for the uninitiated (like me, until yesterday)) guys? While I definitely like the idea of 3D printers being able to print themselves, I know I lack the prerequisite skillset to properly put together and calibrate one. I think I want my first one to work out of the box, and then I will go from there.

    At least with 3D printers, though, there’s no danger of the Grey Goo problem.

    @ Volfram: Unfortunately, you will find idiots everywhere, even on the cutting edge of technology.

    I need to see if there are any open-source / copyright-expired books on improvised weaponry… Granted, any of us could write something on it, but it always has more impact when it comes from “experts”.

    @ the dude: Unfortunately, all too often futurists glom onto the pretty-shiny aspects of the future, and forget the essential underpinnings. Just get a hardcore Trekkie started on the obvious lack of currency in the StarFleet universe, and you will see what I mean…

    @ MAJMike: Heh, registering 3D printers would be high-larious, given that the whole point of them is that they can self-propagate (i.e. one printer can print most of the main parts for another). But I am sure idiot politicians would try…