3D printing is a fascinating technology, but it does have larger implications than you might at first think. For now, those reasons are largely theoretical; most 3D printers are little more than prototyping devices. But there’s already work to make them, potentially, arms factories, as Reason, a 3D printed gun done entirely in metal, proves.
Point And Click
Reason comes from Solid Concepts, who you might remember made waves last year when they announced they’d delivered a 3D-printed Colt 1911. Reason is essentially pushing that concept further and showing what the direct metal laser sintering technology, or DMLS, can do. DMLS essentially melts powdered metal with a laser to form the necessary shapes, which is a gross understatement of how complicated the technology is.
The gun is covered in elaborate detail, ranging from cutouts on the trigger and hammer to a portion of the Declaration of Independence on the handle. And yes, it fires; in fact, its predecessor has been fired 5,000 times without any appreciable damage beyond the typical wear and tear of containing an explosion.
Guns At Will
Is there reason to be concerned about Reason? Not really, despite covering it with the kind of decoration and attitude you usually find in nutjobs hiding in the woods. We’re still decades away from this technology being accessible to consumers, and these guns exist largely as tech demos; Solid Concepts makes its money engineering lab parts, surgical instruments, and other tools. They also have no plans to release the design, and have a federal firearms license.
All that said, though, it does make a good point. Decades will eventually pass, and we’ll have one of these things in every Kinko’s, or even every home, across the country. We should probably decide now how we want that to play out.
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