Once the DoD requested the 3d printed gun files be removed from the internet, a couple things happened.
- The Streisand Effect went into full force. The file was shared all over and can still be found easily.
- I suddenly realized that I was going to be printing a 3d printed gun and doing another article on it even though I had just written an opinion piece about how I don’t care.
I’m not above admitting that it is childish of me. I was told I couldn’t have this thing and suddenly I knew I had to make it. I see it with my kids all the time. Toys can sit in a corner collecting dust for ages, but the second it is in threat of being removed, they have renewed interest, at least for a few minutes.
I figured, if I’m going to be childish about it and print a gun that a) won’t work because I don’t have the right printer, and b) I won’t use anyway because I don’t generally play with guns, I might as well make a fun timelapse video of the more recognizable parts being made.
It initially seemed like it was going to be quick and easy. However, I quickly found that just printing this thing was going to be a time consuming and frustrating task.
1. the scale on the individual files was way off.
I suspect this has something to do with the printer it was designed for. It seemed very close to being 1 inch = 1 mm. Not a completely uncommon problem. Manually resizing got some files to look right, but I found many simply wouldn’t resize.
2. Almost every single item had errors.
If you’ve done 3d printing, you’ve found that a model can have all kinds of issues that will stop it from printing correctly. I found every single item for the gun had errors. I actually learned a lot about how to repair non-manifold items from this exercise, so it was good in the end.
Some items, like the hammer and the hammer springs simply would not print. I ran them through systems to repair them and fix errors. It would say that everything was fixed, but when I tried to “slice” them for printing, the software would crash. This means that my gun is incomplete. It has no hammer. Not really that big of a deal to me.
Do I care now?
Nope. I climbed to the top of the fridge and got my cookies. I’m a happy child. The reality is that a zip gun is still cheaper, easier, safer, and more reliable. Here’s an example.