3-D printers can print working firearms.


Can you imagine one day when every home will have a 3-D printer?  For a couple grand you can buy one off eBay now.  What will people make with it?  A single gear bicycle, a guitar, a xbox, maybe a gun?  As of right now those are all being created.  Many designers are close to developing stronger materials that will allow 3-D printed objects to be more durable and last longer against outside forces such as heat and friction.


The legal implications of this technology have yet to be properly defined.  Regardless of what your feelings are on printed weapons it is happening.  The Wiki Weapons project team has designed a .22 caliber pistol that reportedly shot 200 rounds this past July.  They're working on several parts that are similar to the civilian M-16, the AR-15.  This video shows the project leader, Cody Wilson firing some test rounds with the printed firearm.  Note: the top receiver was purchased from an actual gun parts store.


Aside from guns, 3-D printing will eventually change everything about how we manufacture our electronics.  A group of researchers from the University of Warwick (UK) have developed a new material called "Carbomorph".  Carbomorph is cheap and has traits that make it perfect for 3-D printing such as being very conductive.  With the new material, researchers at the university have created motion sensing gloves as well as touch-sensitive game controllers.  They have even created a coffee mug that can tell how much liquid it's holding.  


I find myself thinking about having the ability to generate my own smart phone or computer by simply loading a design onto my printer and pressing start.  How amazing would that be?


Clay Dillow had this to say about the team, "The next step here, of course, is the printing of more complex electronic structures, things like wires and cables and eventually batteries and circuit boards themselves, so the final product that rolls out of a 3-D printer is actually a final product. That's likely still a ways off, but the fact that the Warwick team has embedded electronic sensing capacity into products printed on consumer machines bodes well for that future."

Below is a link to Mr. Dillow's article on carbomorph


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