Monday, 6 May 2013

Engineering just too a backward step...

A self-styled Crypto-anarchist (what the hell is that? In English, please?) has just proved that he can produce and successfully fire a handgun, through the medium of 3D printing.

Click for article on the BBC.
Click for article on

Yes, it's a huge advance for 3D printing and the uses it can be put to, but for pities sake, why the hell did this person of questionable common sense have to print a sodding gun? And then make the 3-D template plans for it freely available online?!

Granted, you need the use of what is currently an expensive 3D printer, and ammunition that is more (I damn well hope) conventionally produced, but for a one-shot weapon, that you can then replace the barrel (3D printed) and shoot again, this is quite honestly a bloody bad move. Think about the funds that your average drug dealer has at their disposal in places where firearms controls actually seem to work reasonably well (such our fair shores), and then think of what they could do with those funds (over and above what they already do, that is). Frankly, the possibilities are quite horrifying.

There are those who scream "plastic gun" at the top of their lungs. Fine, it is, indeed, a plastic gun. But it's still detectable by conventional airport X-Ray machines - and if those can see a plastic childs toy gun (made of considerably thinner plastic, I might add), then they can see this thing, obviously.

However, such x-ray machinery cannot be used to scan people (it's unsafe through excessive x-ray dosage, remember); so, I guess we can look forward to a reintroduction of those pervert-view Airport body scanner machines again, thanks to this apparently socially short-sighted and quite probably self-centred (I want to use stronger language, but don't want to get sued, obviously) person.

Now, it's all well and good you saying that he wouldn't have been the only one to try to make a gun using a 3D printer. I quite easily agree the point. But not only is he is the one who designed one, and then printed it, he's the only one who then stated that he'd make the template available to anyone who wanted it through the mechanism of the internet. In my view, that's irresponsible at best, and quite probably criminally reckless at worst.

It's highly probable therefore, that until firmware systems can be put in place to prevent a 3D printer for making a firearm or its parts (a bloody unlikely prospect, given the Artificial Intelligence in computing that would be needed in such a stand-alone system), that it's only a matter of time before 3D printers are added to the list of export control restricted items (can you say "End User Certificate"), thus putting the kybosh on the legitimate world-wide uses that 3D printers were originally intended for, such as allowing small firms to make out-of-production spare parts for such things as home domestic machinery, such as old washing machines etcetera, or even small-run production of items such as bicycles, cars and their 'pattern parts', and so on.

At the very least, Mr Cody Wilson has a hell of a lot to answer for. To say that he's set a lot of peoples' tempers on a setting of 'Fusion Reaction' (mine included), is likely as not the understatement of the damn century: he's quite probably buggered up a huge advance in small-scale engineering manufacturing.

He's done the world a massive disservice, and no amount of excuses or fringe political clap-trap can forgive his colossal misjudgement.

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