UK Cops Fear Gun; Pointlessly Seize 3D Printer


Above, according to the greater Manchester Police force, is a 3D printed gun. Well, the rozzers say it’s merely a trigger for a gun. In part they’re actually correct; it is a trigger. For a spring-loaded extruder for the Makerbot Replicator.

For the past few days, the media has been abuzz about the first seizure of a 3D printer (a Makerbot Replicator 2) in Manchester, UK during a raid on suspected gang members. Despite numerous complaints and comments by makers across the UK (thanks, guys), Assistant Chief Constable [Steve Heywood] says, “We need to be absolutely clear that at that this stage, we cannot categorically say we have recovered the component parts for a 3D gun.” The seized 3D printer parts are being sent to ballistics experts to determine if a random piece of plastic can be used in the manufacture of handguns.

Alright kiddos, editorial time. We’re quite aware that the UK is a little…. different… than the US when it comes to firearms regulation. Nevertheless, we feel the need to defend anyone with a 3D printer, in a handy Q&A format:

What this has also done is open up a wider debate about the emerging threat these next generation of weapons might pose.

No, it doesn’t. I don’t know what the British equivalent of a Home Depot is, but I could go to that store, buy some stuff, and build a zip gun. Of course I wouldn’t, because that’s not safe. I could also use a mill and lathe to make a proper gun.

But it’s made of plastic and thus undetectable

Bullets aren’t. Also, I could machine some Delrin. You should really watch In the Line of Fire.

But plans for 3D printed guns are available, making it easy for anyone to fabricate their own gun

Yeah, and Hackaday made one. There were a lot of problems with those 3D printer files. The spring wouldn’t slice, the hammer wouldn’t print, every part was out of scale, and you’d need a lot of experience in 3D modeling and design to turn those ‘plans available on the Internet’ into something you can send to a printer.

Your posting this article further sensationalizes the role of 3D printers in gun control.

You’re right. Here’s what you do: every time someone mentions 3D printed guns, say, “You can build an even better gun with a combo mill/lathe that costs the same as a 3D printer. Equal skill is required to operate both machines. Do you intend to ban the sale or use of machine tools?”

But UK gun laws are weird.

Then print a knife.

via reddit

204 thoughts on “UK Cops Fear Gun; Pointlessly Seize 3D Printer

        1. If your goal is to make an assault rifle then all you really need to do is make yourself a lower receiver. Because all of the rest of the parts are relatively easy (but expensive now) to purchase. Sometimes it is not about the making, but the having.

  1. This’ll lead to the thought that banning 3D printers will somehow save lives.

    Just like making schools into gun-free zones has saved lives. (Not)

    Quit letting criminals have light sentences. Identify and help people with mental problems. That’ll do more to save lives.

    As far as 3D printers are concerned: The media loves to cover technology as if it has an evil of its own. It isn’t evil, it is how you use it. Like guns themselves.

    1. “Just like making schools into gun-free zones has saved lives. (Not)”

      Wait, in the US was there ever a time when guns in the classroom were normal?

      Excuse my ignorance, I am from the UK, were we don’t have shootings every other month.

      1. Well, maybe not in the actual classroom itself, but apparently out in the country it was common back in the 50’s for children to bring their hunting rifles if they were going hunting immediately after school.

      2. “Wait, in the US was there ever a time when guns in the classroom were normal?”

        High schools used to have competition shooting sports. Students engaged in such sports were on grounds with rifles.

        My point is making a law doesn’t stop the lawless. Calling the school a gun-free zone is only establishing a false sense of security.

        “Excuse my ignorance, I am from the UK, were we don’t have shootings every other month.”

        You barely disguised your look down your nose.

        1. “… in the US was there ever a time when guns in the classroom were normal?”

          Don’t know about the US but I went to school in England in the 1960’s and there were twenty Lee Enfield rifles, two Bren guns and two Sten guns in the armoury. The ammunition was kept separately. They were for the Combined Cadet Force (Army Navy and AirForce branches, each with different toys to play with). I wasn’t in the cadet force but still managed to play with most of their toys now and again. There was a shooting range close by where I found out I was a lousy shot.

          I always thought that life in the UK went downhill after the Beatles broke up.

          1. My step-son went to a local private school (in the UK) a couple of years ago, they still have a rifle range on site for the army/air cadets to practice with.

          2. It is pretty much the same in the US (at least until the mid 90’s when I graduated). We call it ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps). Its generally an elective course for people interested in military careers but a couple of times a year they would take a day to try an indoctrinate/recruit kids. Do some marching drills, shoot some guns, learn to say “sir” as the first and last thing out of your mouth, etc.

      3. Absolutely agree, “But UK gun laws are weird”. No they are not, they are very simple, you are not allowed one, and if the police find you with one then you get arrested, no excuses.
        As a result we have one of the lowest murder rates due to guns in the world and one of the lowest suicides due to guns.
        As you would (wrongly) say in the US, “Do the math” if there are less guns there will be less incidents involving them.

        1. “lowest murder rates due to guns”

          I don’t know the legal details, but my understanding is that in the U.K. a body riddled with bullets isn’t counted as a murder until the case is solved if at all.

          But how about other crimes? How about other tools used as weapons?

          In the U.S. locations that have strict gun laws (Chicago) have very high crime rates. Those that have allowed concealed or open carry of guns have seen a decrease in crime.

          1. UK gun laws aren’t that weird. UK *KNIFE* laws are weird. Police and tabloid newspapers freak out about “knife crime”. And what’s the difference between a perfectly legal butcher knife for your kitchen and a seriously illegal knife-criminal weapon knife? Intent, as far as I can tell, or where you’re carrying it, or your probable social class, or whether there’s a football game nearby…

          2. The difference between a butchers knife when used for butchering animals and butchering people is obvious. (And this is the same argument about guns as hunting tools)

            It’s illegal to carry a fixed blade knife or locking blade knife over three inches long.
            The argument earlier about a machete having been used to kill someone, that doesn’t change the fact that to have a machete in public would be illegal.

            You have to have good reason (for example taking a chefs roll to or from work) you can’t just leave knives in your car because for the purposes of the law your car is a public place.

            It’s simple,
            Air rifles are free to own.
            Paintball guns, free to own but only pressurised to a certain level (after which they start to fall foul of firearms laws)
            Shot guns. Single and double barrel with an appropriate certificate -that is not hard to get.
            Pump action shot guns and high capacity shot guns come under firearms laws.
            Firearms (afformentiined shit guns) riffles and various forces guns are licenced under firearms laws with relevant certificates.

            No active handguns (at all)

            No fixed blade knives in public
            No locking knives (lock knives or butterfly knives) in public
            No automatic (flick knives, or sprung blades) in public
            No folding knives over three inches.
            No swords in public
            No machetes in public.

            You can have good reason to have weapons in public, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be arrested and made to explain your good reason,

            For the purposes of being seen in public, replica, immitation and deactivated guns look like weapons and are treated as if they are weapons (eg you’re fine to own them, but people will think you have a gun and the police will respond as if you did have a gun, and this may be the last thing you do)

            The laws aren’t weird, they are pretty easy to understand.

        2. “No they are not, they are very simple, you are not allowed one, and if the police find you with one then you get arrested, no excuses.”

          Completely wrong. Tell that to my stepdad (who has section 1 and 2 firearms certificates and is a private citizen) or to his brother who has a vast collection of firearms.

          1. I agree, that should have said without a relevant certificate.
            As it happens I also hold a current NSRA Instructors certificate and have held various firearms certificates for my previous job. I often wonder how many certificates there are compared to the actual number of guns in the UK?

          2. Well, the police I would assume could pull up records on legally registered firearms and should be able to get a count on number of certificate holders and number of licensed firearms. But that would of course exclude illegally obtained firearms which at best you can only give a vague estimate on.

            There is also the matter of law enforcement and military firearms being included but I assume you would be more interested in excluding them if you are comparing to civilian registration, although numbers both with and without could probably be obtained.

            I kinda wish that data could be published actually. I’m interested now

          3. yeah but you can’t just go out and get yourself a glock or a 9mm, you can only have pistols that:
            1) are muzzle loading or antique weapons (black powder), or
            2) have a barrel longer than 30cm, and an overall length of 60cm (over 23″)

            the only exception is if you live in Northern Ireland, then you can apply to the Home Office for a personal protection license if there is a real threat to your life.

            I think the point of the law is you can’t legally own a handgun that you can stuff in your waistband or in a pocket, you can own certain types (with a license and the police checks that go with it) but nothing that you would choose to use in a crime; it’s difficult to conceal a two foot revolver!

        3. But that just defers whatever violence or suicide would have happened with a gun to another method and closes an entire range of sport to people. Of course there is a linear proportional dependence between firearms ownership and firearms related accident or misuse, just like there is for hammers, or cars it’s silly to point that out as an argument in favor of banning them.

          You’re actually completely ignorant of our own laws, because you CAN own a gun, and if you’re found with one for a rational purpose carried appropriately then you WONT be arrested.

          The trouble is that the definition of what is a rational purpose is entirely arbitrarily decided by people who have no idea that something was once a flourishing sport. The fact we have a non 0 murder rate with firearms shows how the laws have been ineffective, the ownership of firearms is so heavily regulated and even then still can’t reduce murders to 0.

          If it’s about protecting people, then why don’t we allow our own Olympic shooters to practice their sport or compete in their own country? We had to have a special omission made to allow the Olympic games’ shooting sports to take place and those guns are so heavily removed from what would even make an effective weapon it’s like comparing a bow and arrow. We completely removed the option of owning certain classes of firearms and storing them at a club for sporting purposes. The only reason we’re still allowed shotguns and their regulation is treated differently is that shooting with them is a common sport for the gentry and our politicians, the one thing that affected them gets preferential treatment, funny that.

          A particularly good example of what neutering people’s right to own a firearm or defend themselves does, is that poor gentleman in London who was hacked apart with a machete while an entire crowd watched – kept effectively hostage by one man with a gun which he had no legal right to possess. If you could 100% guarantee that no criminal would ever have a gun, then you would be just in saying that nobody law abiding had any reason to own one for self defense, but you’d still be responsible for destroying a sport & a way of life for anybody who shoots for food.

          1. Ban pistols and rifles, which make one hole in you if whomever is shooting at you manages to hit you. But shotguns, OK. Nevermind that with anything heavier than birdshot it’s equivalent to being hit with several small caliber handgun shots at once.

          2. I did correct that later, to say yes you can own a gun with a license, but you will soon lose that if the police find you with a loaded gun in a public place.
            I appreciate that it must be difficult in a country like the US where there is so much more violence to expect people to voluntarily give up their guns, but the system we have hear results in far fewer deaths and I think that most Brits wouldn’t change that.
            As for shooting for food, why bother? We have Tesco.

        4. The published murder rates show the UK has about a quarter of the murder rate of the USA. I guess that the restrictions on gun and knife ownership in the UK has contributed slightly to the good situation in the Uk, but I guess also that the principle reasons for the difference in murder rates are social and cultural rather than imposed by law. It is worth looking at the published figures for different regions and countries.
          As for the farce of arresting a plastic printer or whatever, what do you expect the police to do – disregard the law? British police, bless ’em, are never afraid of looking a bit foolish if it sends the right message.

          1. So for 1/6 the population they have 1/4 the murder rate?
            UK: So 64.7 million they have 601,134 violent crimes listed by the government
            US: 320 million has 1,214,462 violent crimes.
            So ‘doing the math’ says for 6 times the population the US has twice the violent crime.
            It’s ok ‘Gun control works’, I’m sure will keep you safe.

          2. Mike, the USA has 24 times more murders (all types, not just guns) than the UK, but since the USA has 6 times the number of people, then the relative murder rate is 24/6 = 4 times greater (4.7 per 100,000 vs 1.2 per 100,000).

            With that in mind, I’d think that the two documents that you link to are measuring different things. The numbers are interesting, but I’m not sure that they’re directly comparable. Do you really think that it’s likely that the US only has double the number of total violent crimes as the UK? Have you been here?

            With the US population being 6 times, that of the UK (or 5 depending on who’s figures you believe), that would make the violent crime rate (incidents per person) in the UK 3 times that of the US. I don’t believe that for one minute. Do you?

            I fully appreciate why many Americans do not want to give up their guns in the present climate, but that does not mean that those places whose citizens do not feel the need for guns are wrong, or that our way does not work here. A lack of guns, and careful gun control does work, on the whole, in a society where people are not shit scared of one another.

            Finally, no-one ever said that gun controls keep us 100% safe. But the figures do show that, for whatever reason, than most of our crime rates (per capita) are much lower than those in the US. Maybe it’s just cultural?

          3. I’d believe that the uk has more violent crime per person than the us…

            Going out getting drunk and getting into a fight on a Friday night is practically a national past time.

            Visiting America I felt quite safe wandering around New York (Manhattan) at any time of night in any kind of state, I can’t say the same thing of west end London.

          4. I’d agree that binge drinking youngsters on a Friday and Saturday night is a problem in most UK towns and cities, but I’m not sure that it contributes significantly to violent crime figures? It would be interesting to see the numbers broken down…. There are areas of both NYC and London that are safe and unsafe. Feeling safe and being safe are probably quite different issues though?

          5. Neither of us have access to the figures to show that.

            Whether or not violent crime through drinking is significant for crime figures I can’t say, what I can say is my mrs works for the ambulance service and drunken figts seem to take up an awful lot of their time on a Friday/Saturday night…

          1. I always took “do the math” as short for “you work it out” or “do the mathematics” so it would be “do the maths”. I mean our kids have Mathematics lessons, not Mathematic lessons. (even my spell checker doesn’t like that)
            I don’t really care what the Americans do t the English language, but i do wish they would stop saying “Legos” :-)

      4. I have met at least one (former) teacher who used to carry a handgun (concealed) while teaching until it was illegal to do so.

        See, the thing is… concealed means concealed… there were very likely plenty of teachers, janitors, administrators that carried guns right up until the point where it became illegal. So while “guns in the classroom” (that is kind of an alarmist way to say it) may not have been “normal”, it was certainly not unheard of or particularly strange.

      5. There are some facts you’re overlooking and being rather snobbish about. The Manchester police goofed. You can’t possibly argue that. Both the ‘trigger’ and the ‘magazine’ were just 3d printed parts for a 3d printer. There are plenty of articles that make that abundantly clear. That’s quite the failure, and I honestly hope the man they arrested gets rich off a wrongful arrest lawsuit.

        The US does not have ‘school shootings’ every other month, nor is the UK free of them. In fact, as I recall- gun control became strict in the UK as a direct result of a school shooting back in 1996. Schools are drug-free zones as well, that doesn’t mean that I and half of the rest of the population of my high school didn’t go smoke pot on our lunch break.

        Prohibition made alcohol illegal, that didn’t stop people from getting it and drinking it.

        Having rules/laws and having everyone follow them are two completely different things. In the UK a real gun can be had on the streets for a mere 100 pounds, that’s 10 times cheaper than a 3d printer with less hassle, and and considerably less chance of shredding your hand should you try to use it.

        As far as guns and public safety are concerned, here in the US the areas with lowest incidents of gun-related crimes are the same areas where the vast majority of the population have guns; and frankly, that makes sense. For example, a robber using a gun as leverage isn’t likely to try and rob from someone that they KNOW also has a gun readily available, because their leverage is much smaller, and the risk to their own health is very high.

        Once again- guns are a tool. Wrenches(Spanners), hammers, lathes, chisels, table-saws, drills, etc. are also tools- all of which can be used to kill someone, and as many have stated before me, many of such tools can be used to make a gun out of more suitable materials than plastic.

        Guns have a range of applications that isn’t limited to crime. For example, sports, recreation, even therapy (there are many that go to a shooting range to blow off steam) not just murder. When was the last time you heard of someone committing robberies with a bow and arrow? But it’s a tool for killing too- then again- so was the yo-yo.

        I have a pipe i can smoke tobacco or marijuana or crack out of, it just so happens i only use it for tobacco, but someone else with the same pipe might use it differently.

        The point is, blaming the tool for what someone chooses to do with it is just as absurd as condemning a country for having laws different than your own. (every country has laws that citizens of other countries will view as silly or stupid.)

        Lets not turn this into a petty pissing match- and instead focus on the real problem- The media’s senseless demonizing of newer technology with multiple potential uses, and the negative impact it can have on the technology’s evolution. After all- according to the media- TV was supposed to kill radio, VHS was supposed to kill Hollywood, cassette tapes were supposed to kill the music industry, CD’s were supposed to kill the software industry (and the music industry), and the internet was supposed to kill them all. Can we(humanity collectively)- please stop letting the fear of change ruin or cripple the potential for new technologies to make a marked improvement in our world?

        1. Whilst I actually agree with the gist of your statement, the article itself started the “petty pissing match” by inferring that UK gun laws are weird – that was a stupidly uninformed statement designed specifically to incite.

        2. As regards the schoolyard shootings (and I have no other comment on what you wrote), Wikipedia disagrees with you. The shootings in the USA do cluster, it’s true, but they are indeed very common (so far, 10 times this year if my bleary morning eyes don’t deceive me) – see

          The shooting in the UK was widely regarded to be a copycat-style shooting of the ones in the USA and as a result the law was indeed changed as you say. The UK doesn’t have dead children any more as a result, and I’m just fine with that.

          The UK is not a problem-free panacea, and the police were obviously going OTT in this instance, but having lived in the UK and the USA (both for over a decade), I generally prefer the UK approach.

          A *much* lower incidence of guns translates to a more relaxed society, where policemen don’t approach a traffic stop with one hand on their gun holster; where innocent bystanders don’t have dozens of bullets pumped into their car by police on a cop-killer-manhunt/rampage (, and where arrested and cuffed persons are not summarily executed by police “reaching for a totally different weapon by mistake” (

          I had a good working relationship with the police in the UK – I’d chat with the local bobby on his rounds, and I’ve walked up to a policeman in the UK to ask for directions, it wouldn’t occur to me to do that in the USA where I currently live. It seems to me that in the UK, the police exercise control by consensus (see the whole attitude of “it’s a fair cop, guv”), whereas in the USA, they do it with fear. *That* is the difference that a prevalence of guns makes to society, apart from all the killings of course.

          1. +1 Simon

            I would never feel intimidated walking up to a copper and asking directions, it’s part of the culture here. I’ve been pulled over by the police twice in the last 18 months, faulty brake light (I had spares in the car) and expired MOT certificate (it’s a fair cop guv). Both times I pulled over, immediately got out of my car, approached the copper, had a friendly conversation and took any consequences on the chin. I wasn’t intimidated, they were just doing their job; the copper wasn’t intimidated, they had no reason to fear me or to suspect to fear me. This, I see as the difference between a default-armed society and a default-unarmed society.
            A couple of articles that may be of interest to follow up readers:
            80% of guns used in US mass shootings are legally held:
            countries with gun control have less gun-related homicides than those without:

            For info, I love guns and I love shooting. I intend to get my own firearms certificate in the next year or so but I’m glad that the police will come to my house and make sure that I am suitable to own gun before signing off on it because it means they have done that for everyone else. I see it as a privilege rather than a right.

    2. I really love how people continue to talk about this issue as if it really has anything to do with guns. The term “Gun” is only used for its manipulative power of fear and hysteria generation.

      This issue is not about guns. This issue is about multibillion dollar corporations litterally shitting in their pants over the fear of consumers being able to create what ever they desire at home, cheap, and easily, and without the need of said multibillion dollar corporations and their endless warehouses filled with tortured Asian slaves to produce them.

      There is one thing that corporations hate more than anything in this world and that is being denied a profit. Millions of dollars are being piped into politicians by lobbyist contributions in efforts to ban this technology from consumers.

      It should enrage you that they are so blatantly attempting to manipulate your minds in efforts to force you to help them achieve their goal of human enslavement for their massive obscene profits.

      This is going to get ugly. This is just the beginning of the raids. Militarized police getting reports of “3d printing related items” being purchased and raiding peoples homes terrorized and thinking they are mass producing AK-47’s, just executing everyone they see out of the sheer terror of the situation they’ve constructed in their minds.

      What will they find? A few puzzle boxes, some electronic hobby boxes.. and of course your corpse laying on the ground..

      Imagine how the media will play it? “Heroic police raid the lair of what looked to be domestic terrorists constructing strange electronic devices and or bombs. During the raid, officials say these terrorist attacked police officers resulting in a fire fight which left 3 dead. Our hearts go out to these brave officers fighting to keep our streets safe..”

      Then it vanishes from the news.. at least until the next one..

      1. “There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.”

        “Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.” Applies to this entire discussion but went ahead and placed the quotes next to each other.

  2. Ok, I’m sure everyone is tired of “that’s not a hack” comments, but come on HaD, we don’t need a articles re-hashing stuff that’s already been seen on a bazillion other NEWS ORIENTATED sites.

    Just because it has some tech type focus, it doesn’t mean it’s a hack, and definately doesn’t mean it should be reposted here on HaD.

    Stick with hacking – not politics, not Lady Gaga styling tips, not MoMA rejects, and not general news.

    1. This is a perfectly legitimate article for hackaday, they’ve featured the original hack, they’ve even tried it out themselves, kudos for that for finding out how truly poor the design was :-)

      Hackaday has a large user base, that share and disseminate information, often some of those people are quite impressionable, so from time to time I welcome the fact that we can actually discuss the implications of these hacks and what it could mean for people of various countries/legal jurisdictions.

      The case in question seems clear cut when you first look at it, a case of mistaken identity of the part in question, right up until you realise that the guy was arrested on suspicion of making his own gunpowder, clearly the police have jumped the gun and released information too early but I think it’s right that they are cautious and do explore this further, clearly it’s not a whole weapon but was it part of plans being adapted?

      On the whole I don’t think this should actually affect other 3d printer users, they’re focused on the printer because of the media but it was only of interest after it was deemed that the guy was suspicious making gunpowder, it’s the guy, not the tool he’s using.

      1. they apparently seized model rockets (the actual craft, not the rocket motors), gunpowder was probably for them. Unfortunately in the UK you do need a permit to have the correct type of gunpowder for those rockets, but “launching model rockets” is considered a genuine reason to obtain one. Some of the larger sizes of rocket motor also require the permit, not sure about the smaller ones. Tbh, if I was into that hobby I would just be getting the permit anyway rather than open the door to police questions over whether I can or cannot have X amount of Y compound.

      1. Isn’t fun when you just turn 12 and learn how to say all the “bad words”. @Yarr, I’ve yet to see you post a comment with a content value greater then zero. Try rubbing a few brain cells together and see if you can make a full sentence that actually says something. Give it a try – you might surprise yourself (I know you’ll surprise me).

    2. Absolutely not.
      If they report on 3D Printed weapons, its equally important to print on their consequences.

      This was a clear case of police being slightly ignorant and overly scared…..but its very important people are informed about it.

        1. The problem comes along when the police realize on the scene that they’ve screwed up or reacted improperly to misinformation – but go ahead with arrest and confiscation anyway. They only look more incompetent when they keep digging the stupidity hole they put themselves into.

          1. In the case the police would be torn to shreds for making their own judgement on the scene as an individual rozzer would not be regarded as qualified to make the decision, even if the knew all about 3D printers. If the complaint was that somebody was making illegal parts with a 3D printer then they were always going to have to get it checked out by somebody the courts would accept as an expert.

  3. The other part they printed (a spool holder I believe) the police claim is a gun magazine. Funny thing is, they may have arrested him for having these parts, but its not a crime. Even here in the UK you can have make the magazine for a weapon no problem, we might have laws against semi automatic weapons and handguns, but none for magazines.

    1. Exactly, in the UK you can own (certified) demilled guns which only have the barrel welded /closed (and often the barrel is welded to the receiver) and the firing pin shortened.
      And they look and work like a real one (so they are with magazine, have a functioning slide, a functioning hammer, functioning trigger etc.. it only is not able to chamber a round or to fire it.
      So not only did the suspect NOT own these objects (magazine end trigger), even if he had they wouldn’t be illegal.

      1. even if he had manufactured a magazine, it would not be illegal. Going by the official UK definition of what constitutes manufacture of a firearm, the trigger shouldn’t be counted either, but they would try and pin it on him anyway.

  4. “But UK gun laws are weird.

    Then print a knife.”

    This made me chuckle! Also being a Brit, so did the news story!
    Vonskippy is right though, this isn’t NewsADay, where’s the hack?

      1. Next they ban scrapyards (used to get long piece of evil metal to make evil long knifes) and grinding wheels (used to make evil long piece of scrap metal sharp). After that they ban iron ore, coal, forges and sandstone

  5. ballistics cant prove if it is a gun part other than maybe if they pull the trigger levers out of all their inventory of archived guns collected over the years and compare to the trigger levers in them.

    and a trigger lever is not enough by it’s self it has to be the lower receiver ( i think) that is classified as a firearm .

    it is probably more like some cam lever.

    1. Him manufacturing the trigger for a firearm under UK law is not actually an offense. In this case I think they arrested him because intent to is “a thing” here, they probably seized the parts, incorrectly decided that part of an extruder and a spool holder were firearms parts and arrested him for intent to manufacture a firearm.

      1. well, hackaday mistook part of my text as an HTML tag and stripped it. Intent to do a crime, such as dealing drugs, rob someone or in this case manufacture a firearm (even though I believe he is innocent) is grounds for arrest. If you are arrested for possession of heroin for example and they believe you have too much for it to be personal use, they will arrest you for intent to supply drugs (fancy term for dealing :P ) even though you havent actually been dealing them

      2. Other sites report that the police thought he was also making gunpowder.

        The reporting on this issue is mixed, but there must have been something that triggered the raid to start with. Maybe buying “too much” of something and someone called the police over it?

        1. Was part of a raid against organised crime. Him buying the chemicals to make gunpowder (even for his model rockets also rumoured to be seized supposedly) could easily have flagged him up as being associated. Or he could have legitimately had ties to a gang, perhaps mugged an old woman, raped someone, street raced or nicked a TV (gang crime really doesnt get much more serious than that, not that I condone it at all).
          He wasnt the only person hit. Manchester police hit several houses that morning. His was just the one where “oh no he’s making a gun”

      3. It actually is an offence under UK law, this is from the Crown Prosecuting Service guidence

        “component parts”. R v Clarke (F), 82 Cr App R 308, CA states that the component part of a prohibited weapon is itself a prohibited weapon. Although there is no statutory definition, the Home Office Guidance to the Police at paragraph 13.70 states the following:

        The term “component part” may be held to include (i) the barrel, chamber, cylinder, (ii) frame, body or receiver, (iii) breech, block, bolt or other mechanism for containing the charge at the rear of the chamber (iv), any other part of the firearm upon which the pressure caused by firing the weapon impinges directly. Magazines, sights and furniture are not considered component parts.

  6. After the first printed gun was fabricated the UK tabloids were full of stories of the “new terror on the streets”, one such paper the Daily Mail has been described in the past when reading it that it was like, “spending 20 minutes in mental hospital”. Most firearms are illegal in the the UK and you cannot buy ammunition easily nor unlike what we see on Mythbusters can you buy gun powder over the counter. The trouble is the Daily Mail readers will decide that a ban on 3D printers is a good idea as unfortunately in the UK if you do anything remotely creative you must be weird. You should actually be achieving bad grades at school, living on benefits, getting drunk at weekends and having no interests at all as that seems to be accepted norm for the DM readers.

    I’d love a 3D printer but I fear as soon as I buy one I’m going to have the rozzers kick my door in, go into my workshop see the printer, the welder and the lathe and instead of assuming that maybe I have hobbies that no, I’m weird and must be making guns, init.

    (obviously any comments about the Daily Mail are simply not true….)

    1. go to the gunshops in march or sandy, you can buy ammunition over the counter, you just need to present your relevant licenses :P I went up to the one in march with stepdad, walked into the shop, walked around the shop, surveyed their products a bit, walked out with 30 .410 shotgun cartridges and went shooting that afternoon, we already had the shotgun.

      I have not shot or handled blackpowder weapons. However I have a close friend who regularly does (or rather uses a substitute now), apparently you can buy that over the counter no problems, just need the certificates again. And yes, I am english.

  7. “Equal skill is required to operate both machines.”

    umm…thats not true at all.
    A 3d Printer, if set up right, is essentially a push button, “send to printer” tool.
    My Ultimaker isnt quite there yet, but its very close.

    On the other hand a mill and lathe? I know what they are, but I wouldn’t have a clue how to use them correctly, let alone make a gun on one.

    I think in the eagerness of defending people from the stupid, you gota be careful not to go too far the other way. 3D Printers arnt “better” at making guns, but they are almost certainly easier.

    The police, in this case, apparently were follow up on reports the guy was making dynamite. On raiding the place, they, in their ignorance, saw what they thought was gun parts. Probably after seeing a recent episode of “Elementary”, they then got carried away.
    England has 1/10th the gun deaths the US has, and thats almost certainly down to less firearms. Pursuing and stopping their sale makes sense in that country.

    The problem here was acting on poor information, and jumping to conclusions far too soon. They should have investigated, got an expert, and the whole thing could have been dismissed quite quickly.
    Their second mistake was reporting to the Press far too soon – and damaging this poor guys reputation.

    1. Just because you do not possess the skill does not mean that the required skill for such an operation is not at the same level. Someone who operates a mill and lathe may not know how to use a 3d printer either..

      1. pcf11. You again. Of course it does, but anyone with a brain making a comparison would look at rates, not raw numbers. Let me do that for you:
        Total murder rates in the UK are 1/4 of those in the USA.
        Firearm death rates in the UK are 1/40th of those in the USA.
        Firearm homicides in the UK are 1/90th of those in the USA.
        Firearm suicides in the UK are 1/35th of those in the USA.
        Regardless of local indoctrination of whether guns are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, the numbers are significant and interesting. I’m yet to see an intelligent debate on the topic.

        1. “So you don’t think the fact that England is a sixth the population of the USA has anything to do with less deaths?”
          “Total murder rates in the UK are 1/4 of those in the USA.”

          Being that 1/6 is smaller than 1/4, what I infer from the two statements is: adjusting for population; England has a higher murder rate than the USA.

          While there is this big debate on gun violence and what not, the fact of the matter remains that: murder is murder regardless the weapon or instrument used to commit it. In all fairness, the victim is ill concerned by what the manner or method utilized to end their life without just cause. The victim is still dead and his or her blood cries out for justice.

          Those therefore, who focus on gun violence alone are disingenuous regarding their activism as they ought to be focused on reducing the number of murders, not the number or kind of weapons used to commit them.

          People have committed murder with a baseball bat. So what are you gonna do, outlaw baseball bats?

          Looking at the rates of murder makes the point obvious. Removing a given weapon from the hands of the innocent does not reduce the total number of murders as the innocent, do not commit murders.

          1. SATovey, do you know what rate means? In this case it means after you adjust for population. The USA has 4 times the number of murders, *after* you adjust for the population sizes. To spell it out, the USA has 24 times more murders than the UK, but since the USA has 6 times the number of people, then the relative murder rate is 24/6 = 4 times greater (4.7 per 100,000 vs 1.2 per 100,000). I used ‘total’ to mean including all types of murder, not just gun related.

            The rest of your post is therefore null and void.

            See here: and

            The USA has the highest rates of murder and gun related murder of any developed nation.

            Do you have any rationale as to why that might be, and what reasonable things could be done to reduce it?

          2. “SATovey, do you know what rate means? In this case it means after you adjust for population.”

            1. the amount of a charge or payment with reference to some basis
            of calculation: a high rate of interest on loans.
            2. a certain quantity or amount of one thing considered in relation to
            a unit of another thing and used as a standard or measure: at the
            rate of 60 miles an hour.
            3. a fixed charge per unit of quantity: a rate of 10 cents a pound.
            4. price; cost: to cut rates on all home furnishings.
            5. degree of speed, progress, etc.: to work at a rapid rate.

            Your implied meaning is not amongst the list in the dictionaries definition.

            Now If that is what you meant, then why is it that you did not state it?

            I was in K_mart yesterday and walked passed the Layaway counter and seen a sign that read: “Online order pickup” which I noted to be impossible as one cannot pickup an order online.

            Rate is a word like most words that can have differing definitions and meanings dependent upon it’s use and perspective. Never assume your audience knows from which point of view or perspective you are speaking. Always clarify your point of view, otherwise you’ll have someone like me that reads your non-clarified statement and takes it at the face value of what their perspective entails which is void of your industry point of view.

            Besides, I have never heard anyone report an inflation rate comparison between yesterday dollars and today dollars without stating: adjusted for inflation. This fact supports my position that it is up to you to make the clarification, not up to me to make the assumption.

          3. The number of murders when considered against the number of people. I.e the rate.

            The word being used correctly and according to definition 2 that you wrote…

            Claiming to not understand how the word is being used whilst posting definitions if words that show that it is being used correctly is just weird and/or stupid.

          4. My post previous to the one that you can’t understand says: ‘making a comparison would look at rates, not raw numbers’. I guess if you can’t understand that, then I did need to be more explicit. However, if you’re going to make a comment on something, it’s equally up to you to make sure you’re making correct assumptions, not for me to have to spoon feed them to you. You got it wrong because you don’t know what you’re on about. It’s not my job to educate you!

          5. Everyone is innocent before they commit a crime. Crime happens because people have a means, a motive, and an opportunity. Take any of those prerequisites away from someone and they are less likely to commit a crime. That is called prevention.

          6. pcf11. Good point. Hence the recent discussions of banning assault weapons in the US. The only reason to have one is to kill lots of people in a short space of time, and crazies tend to act alone or in small groups. That, and there are no particular for ordinary citizens to need one, nor any detriment to them not having them. I do get that US people don’t like the idea of the government removing their implied freedoms.

          7. All gun laws are stupid because criminals don’t obey laws anyways. So the only people gun laws affect are innocent citizens. But some gun laws are much more stupid than other ones I suppose. Banning assault weapons is an especially stupid law too because the term assault weapon is an arbitrary one made up by ignorant politicians. All an assault weapon really is is a semiautomatic rifle that has the appearance of an assault rifle. Assault rifles are completely different than so called assault weapons too. Assault rifles have selective fully automatic fire. Assault weapons do not. Banning assault weapons is tantamount to banning automatic transmissions and expecting to make cars safer. It wouldn’t.

            Most crimes are not committed with long guns anyways. So any laws that concern long guns are not going to be helpful. No gun law is going to be helpful. Well, maybe a law that says everyone has to have a gun, that might help. Guns are a Pandora’s box, once opened closing it does no good. The essence has escaped and now we have to accept reality for what it is.

            Sticking our heads in the sands with delusional gun laws is not the answer.

    1. And we quite this before it starts?
      These arguments dont go anywhere;

      a) X is also dangerous because it can be used to kill!
      b) But X isnt designed specificly to kill, it has other uses.
      c) Well, if everything is ok because everything can be used to killl anyway, why have anything at all illegal? Lets all have nukes.

      etc etc.
      Its the same talking points on every site, every time.

      1. “b) But X isnt designed specificly to kill, it has other uses.”

        My gun isn’t designed to kill. It is designed to launch a lead projectile on my command. It my life is seriously threatened I will use this tool to stop that threat. I will use as much force as necessary to protect myself and my loved ones. I have no intention to kill, just to stop from being killed.

        “Its the same talking points on every site, every time.”

        I agree. You have not shown any critical thinking, just repeated the same talking points. I consider you a troll, now.

        1. Yes, and an axe isn’t designed to chop down trees – it’s designed to wedge a metal blade crosswise into wood at the swing of the handle. You’re just playing semantic games.

          Guns in general are designed to kill – that’s their point – that’s their reason to exist in the first place and the recreational uses are simply an afterthought.

          1. Your argument would make all police officers into murderous killers.

            Go ahead and dismiss the use of a gun as a self-defense tool because… well why? I guess that you don’t value the life of a person defending themselves.

          2. British government doesnt value the life of a person defending themselves. If I owned a shotgun (which I sadly do not) and an *armed* thug broke into my house, was about to kill my wife (hypothetical, I am not married) and I then shot the invader who then died of his injuries I would be taken to caught for manslaughter and the fact that my families life was in danger would be entirely ignored. The exact same would apply to me beating the guy up hand to hand, stabbing him with a blade or smacking a baseball bat over his head. We *cannot* use any force at all against a home invader, mugger or anyone else.

          3. six677: See my sheep comment above. You are being asked to allow your own death.

            In some states in the us, like Maryland, the only way you can have a gun carried on your person is if you transport money. So the $500 in the money pouch that you carry is worth defending against theft, but a human life is not?

            Governments don’t value their subjects safety or lives. Maintaining control and order is more important.

            The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States doesn’t GIVE a right to bear arms – that right is for all Americans. The amendment recognizes a God-given right to self defense. It means that if out government is out of control, patriots will regain control. To defend self against evil in the form of a mugger or in the form of a dangerous government.

            six677 I wish the best for your countrymen.

          4. Tell it to the people all around me that hunt with guns. Why just yesterday someone was having a bit of fun behind my house with what sounded to me like a fully automatic weapon. The bursts were too long for them to have been bump firing.

          5. “My gun isn’t designed to kill, it is designed to launch a lead projectile on my command.” -[Gizmos]

            Seriously?!, either that was a joke or you are training to be a lawyer. Here, let me try:
            My gun isn’t designed to kill, it is designed to launch a lead projectile on my command, if my life is seriously threatened I will use this to stop that threat, in addition I will also use this as a very effective way to:
            a) drive a nail into wood with a single blow.
            b) type on my computer keyboard (heck I even used it to help [Rob] nail the words he was struggling with).
            c) ring (or use it in place of) a door bell.
            d) punch holes in sheet metal.
            e) pluck fruit from tall trees.

            The fact that a gun can effectively be used as a self defence tool does not disprove the fact that it was designed PRIMARILY to kill.

            Disclaimer: I am NOT taking sides in the gun laws debate, I just STRONGLY disagree with [Gizmo’s] definition of a gun as a general purpose tool.

            [Dax]: even some of the afterthought recreational activities involve some form of killing; hunting (killing animals), pigeon shooting (killing pigeons, animate and inanimate {I know, you can’t kill something that didn’t live but you get the point}) etc.

  8. Banning the tools is ineffective, agreed. But I dislike the lax gun talk around here. Ban the weapons – producing and keeping firearms should be no activity for civilians in a well run society. It is the US fetish with weaponry that it out of time and should be given up. Like all fetishists, the nation will cling to its harmful ways. But you’ll get over it.

          1. I think your wrong there…
            You are allowed to use reasonable force, and in the event of you fearing for your life, deadly force would be a reasonable response…. So shooting someone pointing a gun at you, or approaching you with a knife would generally be seen as reasonable force.. But shooting him again when he was down and no longer a thread would be unreasonable…. Although I suspect if you had a shotgun pointed at someone they would drop the knife, piss themselves and obey your every in instruction until they were restrained…

            There were recent guidelines brought in to protect people who defend themselves, and I did read the laws, they are fairly clear.. the problem is often the police being over zealous in trying to be right.

          2. ” So shooting someone pointing a gun at you, or approaching you with a knife would generally be seen as reasonable force.. But shooting him again when he was down and no longer a thread would be unreasonable”

            Law enforcement will shoot to kill someone approaching them with a knife.

            In such situations where the need to fire exists, one should always respond in the same way that law enforcement does.
            1. Fire two shots back to back. – This is to ensure that if the assailant is not killed, the assailant will be incapacitate.
            2. Shoot to kill. – There is no point in leaving yourself vulnerable to a lawsuit by the assailant should he survive your act of self defense.

            Yes, as moronic as it may be, there are cases where the perpetrator of criminal activity has sued and won a law suite against the people being victimized by the criminal act. Whether the injury was caused by the criminals clumsiness, or inflicted by the victim.

        1. Immediately after Hungerford the UK Scout association banned all shooting activities for several years. Now we are allowed to shoot air rifles, but each kid needs written consent from a parent that clearly identifies the date and the location, so you can’t have a blanket one that cover any eventuality.

  9. in the uk better be careful what knife you print and where you take it, most places outside your kitchen you can get arrested for carrying a knife if you have no good reason to have it (which the court will decide) … :) btw in the uk self defence is illegal … if you’re a victim you have to be the person left at the crime scene dead … otherwise you’re the criminal … police likes to have it easy ..

  10. If I may throw 2 cents in. Our E.R. saw an unfortunate case of a teenager trying to fire a 3d printed gun printed out of ABS before the shards did their damage. We wrote up the case and submitted it for publication in a few medical journals and is under review currently. We are always careful of documentation of these issues because of the sensationalism involved. But as for advice evolved from several round table discussions with other docs and law enforcement who actually are familiar with 3D printing…

    it is the further exploration of what you can usefully hack together with this tool that will help fight the prejudiced ignorance of “just another gun subversive with ill intent using an uncontrollable tool.”

    So hack on my friends- the mills will never be banned because of its universally accepted utility. Submit your novel hacks and the printer might just get there too!

    Ps- please for the love of Gawd…learn to print with nylon or a less brittle material than ABS!

      1. I highly doubt there is a polymer/plastic of any sort suitable for both 3d printing and safe manufacture of firearms. I love firearms, I love 3d printing. But 3d printing firearms is something I think is an *incredibly* bad idea and anyone idiotic enough to try and fire such a weapon perhaps deserves what is coming to them.

        Firearms accessories on the other hand, meh, who gives 2 tosses whether or not the scope rings on a rifle were 3d printed or milled from plastic, if they fail nobody is being killed by them. AR15 lower receivers I can also stretch to, a so called catastrophic failure for an AR15 lower is not going to do as much damage as a liberator handgun, I predict the buffer tube would snap off first, which at most would simply put the weapon out of use, shock the user a bit and perhaps bruise your shoulder at most. Printing the actual chamber is just asking for trouble.

    1. ABS isn’t brittle – it’s actually very tough and impact resistant, and used in things like car bumpers and exterior plastic parts because of that.

      It’s the 3D printer that makes it so because of the layering. The part splits along the grain.

      1. Academia bites in regards to openness…the submission agreement doesn’t allow an exact copy to be posted in public until official rejection.
        But I will ask if one of the residents would be interested in, ahem, writing up another version if that’ll work?

  11. “But UK gun laws are weird”

    I agree it is ridiculous to seize a 3D printer, that’s a police mistake and it has little to do with UK gun laws being weird. USA gun laws sound anachronistic and sick to european people.

    1. A really archaic law is the one for what happens when peasants own a crossbow and armored soldiers come-a-calling. Automatic death penalty because obviously that person is antiroyalty.

    1. Think about it. American population is much higher than ours (I am english). Lets say 10% of all people are criminals (this is of course an entirely made up number). 10% of the american population is a number so big that it would outnumber the entire british population, the number of crimes would be much higher and with that the likelihood of a severe crime such as a school shooting would increase. Of course thats a generalisation but a higher population would generally lead to a higher number of crimes and with that comes the possibility of more severe crimes occuring more frequently.

      Many gun murders in the UK are performed with blackmarket handguns etc. Nothing to stop someone using one for a school murder. You still have dunblane (although at the time the 4 handguns used *were* legally registered*, it was in response to dunblane that handguns were banned).

      1. such statistics are usually balanced for population, as in X deaths per 100000 population. And Hans was actually incorrect, US gun deaths are currently just north of 40X that of the UK.

        Now to address blackmarket handguns, while they do exist in the UK, as gun ownership, and more specifically handgun ownership is far less common the instance of “blackmarket guns” is significantly less. Clearly there are weapons imported by criminal organizations in the UK I will not argue that, but in the united states the bulk of “black market guns” come from one of two sources. Less commonly they are acquired through straw purchases, where someone legally buys a gun for the purpose of selling it to someone not legally allowed to purchase or unwilling to have recordation of purchase. The bulk of “black market guns” in the united states and other countries with more liberal gun ownership rules come from simple theft.
        If statistics are to be believed, roughly 1 in 3 american homes has a firearm, if we take the estimate that there are approximately 88.8 guns per hundred people, with an average household size of 2.46, we arrive at an imaginary average of 7.38 guns in each of these gun owning households. Now I wont argue that is the norm, there are plenty of people with a single gun, and there are many with “collections” numbering in the dozens. The point is simply, a burglar has a 1 in 3 chance of hitting a home with at least 1 gun available to steal, and statistics would argue, fairly often they would find quite a bit more.

        But dont let any of this fool you, The UK may not have as many guns…but they have plenty of violent crime, knife assaults, beatings….oh and lets not forget…..for such a small little country Great Britain has experienced far more car bombings, and close calls of that nature than they care to highlight.

        1. Living in britain I am well aware of british crime, one of my best friends dad still has shrapnel in his leg from an IRA car bomb in northern ireland, stepdad has a scarred cheek from a completely unprovoked random assault when someone hit him in the face with a smashed bottle.
          Handguns are illegal for citizens in the UK, for a gangmember to have one it would be illegally smuggled into the country, they cant obtain them via straw purchases. Shotguns are a popular one among “travellers” and in fact in my town a drive by was performed with a double barrel sawn off shotgun, thankfully both shots missed the target, unfortunately the door behind him that the shooter hit splintered and wood fragments did cut up the back of the neck of the target and required stitches, but he is lucky to be alive so I dont think he cares. Shooter was traced onto the travellers site and found to own 4 illegal weapons, including 1 SMG.

      2. I think your numbers are a little out there – 10% of the US population would be only half the population of the UK, and, as it has already been pointed out, the statistics are per capita.

        1. my claim was not that there are more murders etc.

          As a gross number there will be more crimes across the entirety of the US than the entirety of the UK due to a greater population. Therefore it stands to reason that a school shooting would become more likely simply because of a larger population in which someone with just the right kind of wrong mind could go and start firing within a school.

          Per capita really doesnt matter when I dont give 2 flying tosses about crime per capita, In my statement I care more about a raw number of crimes. I am not trying to make the US sound any more or less dangerous than the UK, simply saying that with a larger population you have more peoples minds to come up with more dangerous crimes.

          1. But that is the whole point – you DON’T have more dangerous crimes because of the larger population. Statistically once you have reached a certain sample size, the probability on any particular trait will approach unity. That sample size is much less than 10% of either countries population. Any variations in behaviour between 2 such large populations is more likely to be cultural than related to population size. The only other variable that I would concede is that because *things* are much cheaper and more available in the US the ability to do anything at all is increased – that situation is due to a large number of factors and population size is one of them for sure.

      3. “Think about it. American population is much higher
        than ours (I am english). Lets say 10% of all
        people are criminals (this is of course an entirely
        made up number). 10% of the american
        population is a number so big that it would
        outnumber the entire british population, the
        number of crimes would be much higher and with
        that the likelihood of a severe crime such as a
        school shooting would increase. Of course thats a
        generalisation but a higher population would
        generally lead to a higher number of crimes and
        with that comes the possibility of more severe
        crimes occuring more frequently.” -[six677]

        What you said is undoubtedly true, but unfortunately these incidents are (still) much higher in the U.S than in say China or India which have SIGNIFICANTLY larger populations.

  12. “But UK gun laws are wierd!” – no, UK gun laws are simple: nothing over .22 with a barrel shorter than 50cm unless you hold a fully endorsed license and have it locked in a safe place (gun locker). If a safe place cannot be found then the local authorities will secure it for you. License can be supplied provided you are of sound mind (psycho exam), show proficiency using your firearm (handling safely, storing safely, cleaning) and have a valid reason to use one.

    No of this “give us $500 and wait 3-days” bollox

    I’ll point you guys over the pond to the Dunblane Incident:
    (bit of pub trivia: Tennis Player Andy Murray is a survivor of this incident)

    this is basically what caused a massive crack down on firearms in the UK – anyone so much as see’s something that remotely looks like a gun, everyone S#1t’s themselves and call the police (people have been shot by police for carrying rolled up carpet!)

    1. Dunblane caused a massive crackdown on handguns. Hungerford on semi-autos and shotguns. Cumbria overhauled licensing procedure (on the government side not ours) and altered regulations on firearms safes slightly.

      No local force enforces any practical examination on handling and cleaning, they do examine the safe when applying to actually purchase the first weapon but until cumbria did not examine a safe when applying for the license.

      Barrel length is 30 centimetres (not 50 as you said) with an overall weapon length of 60 centimetres. There is confusion as the written law says 300mm barrel *OR* 600mm overall, but the home office guidance states *AND*, people have been penalized for going by the written law so it is best to go with the home office guidance.

      Shotguns must have a minimum 24″ barrel. Pump action and semi automatic shotguns (which are allowed) must have a 40″ overall length. Shotguns must have a maximum capacity of 3 rounds, including chambered. However, there is a way of adding a shotgun to a firearms certificate instead (you still require the shotgun certificate) whereby you bypass the magazine capacity restriction.

      Rimfire rifles which are of caliber no greater than .22 may be semi automatic. All centrefire rifles cannot be semi automatic. Being rimfire *does not* revoke the overall length requirement. Rifles no not have any magazine restrictions whatsoever. A god damn belt fed MG sufficiently modified to the point where it is effectively a straight pull bolt action and not possible for the user to restore semi/full auto functionality could theoretically be held on a section 1 license.

      The rifle license is considered section 1. Shotgun section 2. There are also several other sections but generally speaking anything that doesnt fit into the section 1 and 2 requirements fits into section 5 and is not available to private citizens (there are exceptions but they are *incredibly* rare).

      Not really the most complex. “certificates” arent exactly expensive either. £50 each for section 1 and 2, or you can buy both at once for £60-£75 depending on local governing body, most go with £60. Reasonable enough.
      Friend and I worked out that it would be just as cheap to go and legitimately obtain a section 1 certificate, safe, ruger 10/22 (so a legal semi automatic as its a .22lr) and ammunition as it would be to buy a 3d printer and print the liberator. At least the ruger would take your hand off, plus is capable of firing multiple shots sequentially rather than having to go home and print off another. Although the vast majority of gun crime in the UK is done with illegal weapons rather than legitimate ones.

        1. Well no. An AR15 lower receiver is still classified as a normal section 1 firearm actually provided it is fitted with an appropriate upper receiver, of which several are manufactured expressly for the UK market. We have access to upper receivers without any provision for a gas system to be added and usually an enlarged charging handle, effectively rendering the weapons straight pull bolt action (MP5’s with fake suppressors are also available in this form along with AK’s) and also .22lr uppers are perfectly fine and sold in the UK.

          The AR30 is a bolt action rifle, so section 1. Its barrel length is 61cm so straight off the bat it meats the minimum overall length requirement. Detachable magazines are not restricted on rifles. Calibre is not restricted on rifles, non of this destructive device tax if we want to fire a .950JDJ

  13. What’s actually more scary isn’t so much the fact that the police made a mistake, it’s that they came on the news pointing out that guns can be printed and that this might be a call to monitor 3d printer sales and access to material in the same way that online access to terrorism books on how to build bombs are monitored.

    The facts are there though, whether this was or was not a 3d printed gun, it’s possible and the police want to spy on me for the possibility of wanting to print a gun…

    (This is the same police who accuse politicians of calling them names, the same police who got friends to call in (serving police) to give false witness statements, the same police who sold the story to paper, the same police who met with said politician where he explained him self, the same police who said he hadn’t explained himself and called for said politicians resignation, now it’s come out that CCTV proves there was no long argument, no witnessed to the argument and a recording of the meeting proves the guy did explain himself… Yet the police stand by their account…

    Proof if ever that the police will do and say as they like, if the actual law makers (the politicians not the law enforcers who just believe that they make the law are not safe, what makes you think you are??

    1. so what if they monitor 3d printer sales, what does it matter? Every time you buy a TV your address is (supposed to be) requested in the UK for TV licensing purposes, what’s the difference?

      1. It’s a legal requirement to register the purchase of a tv for the purposes of licensing broadcast receiving equipment.

        When you buy a gun you register it as it’s a legal requirement to register guns.

        When I buy a lawn mower I don’t need to register. When I buy a hammer etc… You see where I’m going.

        1. Don’t need to register them *yet*. That famous British socialist George Orwell warned the world about the dangers of Socialism.

          Funny thing those socialist authors like Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, Stanislaw Lem and others – their most famous works are all about heavy handed socialist dystopias.

  14. I saw this coming a long way off and warned about it in the “3D gun” thread. so thank you ass holes (the 3D gun people not HaD) for wreaking it for the rest of us.

  15. Does anyone have the Clint Eastwood movie, “In the Line of Fire”, in which the villain makes a double barrel pistol out of casting resin and the ability to pull stills from the movie? An article on the construction of that gun would make an interesting counterpoint to the 3D printer nonsense. Should satisfy the “hack” in Hack A Day too.

    NB: a short barrel smoothbore weapon falls under the NFA in the US, so it is illegal unless you file the proper paperwork and pay the $200 fee.

    The WW II era Liberator is another story. That’s the real thing. It was designed by engineers rather than a law student.

  16. Actually you can build a gun out of pipe and metal parts with a drill, hacksaw and a hammer.

    It was quite effective and the iron pipe for the barrell is thicker and stronger than what was used for most flintlocks and early shotguns.

    He was able to chamber a 12Ga shell and fire it. far, far more leathal than the plastic toy gun that you supposedly can print

    1. 10 british pounds was a price I saw quoted somewhere as the upper end of parts cost to manufacture a so called “zip gun”. A drill, hacksaw and hammer, if your spending even £50 trying to obtain some then you’ve spent too much :P (of course if you genuinely need some hammers, drills and hacksaws for business you might well want to pay £50 or more per tool but I’m talking random twat making guns he shouldnt be).

    1. Yes, for industrial system these “printers” much, much worse than guns. And of course they won’t be abirritated. Ok. I think the good solution to stop this “gun trolling” for a some time is following.

    2. It is necessary to develop the project of not lethal firearms of self-defense under the low-power legal cartridge (Flobert). It has to be not the toy and the real mean of self-defense, but it has to be completely legally and not fall under any restrictions.

      It has to be an effective remedy of self-defense first of all, safe for this purpose who uses it. Therefore in it it is possible to use completely electronic trigger mechanism which will be controlled with radio tags like in new smartphones (search Xperia Smart Tags)

      In case of loss by the owner of the weapon it will be disconnected and won’t allow to make any shot while the owner won’t unblock it for example by means of the password or the scanner of fingerprints (Search for Arduino fingerprints scanner).

      Certainly absolute protection don’t exist therefore in this case it is important to make the mechanism such that after blocking to return it to a working condition an unauthorized way and without the necessary equipment will take away too much time for those situations in which usually it is necessary to apply such means and anybody won’t begin to do it (BTW this could usefull for police as well).

      The second moment – efficiency of the weapon as self-defense agents. Flobert’s cartridge is capable to give to a steel pellet rate to 220-230 m/s. It is a little more, than it is authorized for game in hardball with the pneumatic weapon (180M/with for lead pellets). I’ve been hited more than once from such weapon to the sites protected by dense clothes. In principle anything special, not always even the ecchymosis remains. But if such shots is 10-15, it will be though not lethal, but quite difficult test. Certainly if it is a question of firing on feet, a trunk and arms, instead of in the head. So to make such gun 40-50 charging it is possible using the scheme when in the gun as much trunks, how many cartridges and all of them are placed in magazine. On close distances high precision isn’t so necessary also barrel lengths in the 5-6th. will be quite enough. Barrels can settle down in shop according to the same scheme as in this air gun – (search for Anics-3000 Skif). It is the conveyor scheme of a locating. It is possible to bridge them a tape, or leave as is. The mechanism won’t demand from the owner of efforts on raising trigger (especially if the solenoid will be used) therefore to make 10-15 shots with an interval of 0,5-0,3 seconds won’t make big work for any person.

      And the same way of storage of cartridges will allow to make wearing and use of such weapon safer than ordinary guns (common scheme will look similar to this – search Hackaday for rubber band blaster).

      Certainly a half of details, such as barrels, electronics and cartridges won’t be able to be printed on the printer because plastic far not the best material for this purpose, but all the rest it is possible to make printed and quite legal and lawful agent of self-defense.

      Also can be at least after that the British police though will a little recover and will start catching not 3D printers, but criminals.

  17. Giving up freedom for a slight increase in security is stupid. Greatly impeding the progression of technology for a negligable increase in security is an idea that can only be proposed by someone with a negative IQ.

    1. perhaps its silly to attempt to educate a potato, but I.Q. is an abbreviation for intelligence quotient, being the quotient of mental age divided by physical age, such that a 30 year old with the mental age of a 10 year old would have an I.Q. of 33, and a 10 year old with the mind of a 30 year old would break the charts at an I.Q. of 300. The point I am hoping to make is that it is mathematically impossible to have a “negative IQ”

      1. I understand the bounds of the IQ scale, and was under the assumption that they were common knowledge. I simply said “negative IQ” for the sake of hyperbole. I thought that fact would be obvious to anyone who read my comment. What did you hope to gain from attacking my comment over something so pointless and futile?

        1. what did you hope to gain with your pointless and futile rhetoric? Did you think suddenly everyone would read your words and be illuminated to the necessity of firearms for personal security? Not bloody likely.
          I was hoping that, perhaps just maybe, this could be the last time I read something like “failed an I.Q. test”, “negative I.Q.” or some other nonsense. Also not bloody likely.

  18. TL DR … go to COMPARING GUNS below

    This ‘Gun’ debate is useless as it just relates to ‘Guns’ in general. It’s like saying a bb gun is the same as an oozy.

    I grew up in the remote country areas of Australia (in the bush). As we all know Australian (and especially the bush) has the most dangerous creatures in the world. There are legitimate uses for ‘some’ types of gun.

    I had several guns as a child but before each of them I had to demonstrate to my dad that I could and would always use them responsibly. You can be certain that a decent dad is not going to give a child a gun if that child could injure themselves, a family member or some other person.

    I had a .22 bolt action rifle which now would require a licence, a 303 bolt action rifle that would now require a licence and a .22 semi-automatic pistol which is now outright banned. All of these guns are capable of killing a human.

    Our laws changed and many types of guns were banned so all the honest people handed in their guns. The criminals kept their guns.

    All this did was increase the crime value of guns to criminals. It didn’t change crime.

    Now here in Queensland (Australia) our police are requesting higher power guns (they currently have a Glock 9 or 10 mm) effectively stating an arms race with bikie gangs.

    Here’s a basic comparison of some guns and what they may be used for.


    low power bolt action rifle like a .22 calibre bolt action rifle.
    Low power, accuracy close to mid range, slow to aim, slow to reload.
    Snakes: effective.
    Bores: ineffective due to low power and slow reload time.
    Crocks: ineffective due to power.
    Armed Robbery: not useful as not concealable.
    Murder: Not a weapon of choice due to it low power and slow reload

    .22 calibre semi-auto pistol
    Low power, accuracy close range only, quick to aim, quick to reload
    Snakes: effective.
    Bores: partially effective limited due to low power.
    Crocks: ineffective due to power.
    Armed Robbery: useful as it is concealable.
    Murder: Sometimes a weapon of choice at close range but limited due to its low power.

    mid powered bolt action rifle like a 303 bolt action rifle.
    Mid power, accuracy close to very long range, slow to aim, slow to reload.
    Snakes: effective but limited by aim time.
    Bores: effective as you wont need a second shot.
    Crocks: effective due to power.
    Armed Robbery: not useful as it is not concealable.
    Murder: A weapon of choice at longer ranges but limited due as it is not concealable.

    mid powered semi-auto rifle
    Mid power, close to very long range, fast to reload, slow to aim
    Snakes: not choice as slow to aim, more than the needed power.
    Bores: effective due to both power and reload time but slow to aim
    Crocks: effective but fast reload is not really that needed.
    Armed Robbery: not useful as it is not concealable.
    Murder: not a weapon of choice at fast reload is not needed and it is not concealable.
    Gang warfare: weapon of choice for shoot outs at a mid range with authorities and rivals.

    High powered semi-auto pistol common in us
    High power, close range only, fast reload, fast aim
    Snakes: not the best choice as over powered and fast relaod not needed.
    Bores: effective power but fast reload not needed.
    Crocks: not the best choice as it only close range.
    Armed Robbery: effective as concealable but fast reload dis not needed.
    Murder: A weapon of choice at close range.
    Gang warfare: weapon of second choice for shoot outs at a mid range with authorities and rivals as it is close range only.

    High powered high speed repeating full auto hand gun
    Gang warfare: most effective gun
    weapon of choice for mass murder in crowded places
    no other real purposes.

    3D printed gun.
    low power, point blank close range only, no reload, fast aim
    Snakes: far to inaccurate.
    Bores: not effective due to power and single shot.
    Crocks: not effective due to power, single shot and range.
    Armed Robbery: poorly effective as concealable but if the offender fires it then he/she is likely to injure him/her self.
    Murder: not a choice due to low power, single shot and poor accuracy and dangerous to use.
    Gang warfare: are you kidding a bb gun would be better, help get me out of here.

    Home manufactured gun
    High power, close range, no reload, slow to aim
    Snakes: far to inaccurate.
    Bores: not effective due to single shot.
    Crocks: not effective due to single shot and range.
    Armed Robbery: poorly effective as not easily concealable.
    Murder: not a choice due to single shot and poor accuracy.
    Gang warfare: are you kidding a water pistol would be better.

    So there you have it, 3D printed guns are the least of our worries.

    Those who argue that it can pass security screening need to show me a bullet that would also pass security screening.

    1. Perhaps I should add some reasoning for the snakes, boars and crocks evaluations.

      Boars (as I miss-spelled as bores) are big pigs, there not the cute pink things that your used to seeing. Their large, hairy and have huge tusks that can snap the bones of your leg or rip your torso apart. You can often hear them moving from a distance but if they have piglets then they will be running towards you and fast. Most often you have plenty of time to aim but you need a gun with power because you really don’t want to be taking second shots as it gets closer to you as it can rip you apart. Your not interested in shooting boars at a distance unless your hunting them. My examples relate to self defence only.

      You don’t hunt snakes. They’re part of the habitat, leave them alone and they will leave you alone most of the time. They don’t move all that fast unless they’re about to strike. So you are only concerned about snakes at a close range. If the snake is several meters away then you can move away faster than it can chase. But if you step to within a couple of meters of a snake then it will feel threatened and either run away or attack. You don’t know the snake is there. If you did then you wouldn’t have approached it so it has taken you by surprise. You don’t need a powerful gun but it has to be accurate and very fast to aim as you not going to get in second shot before it bites you and then you’re as good as dead even if you then kill it. Obviously I am talking about venomous snakes but you don’t have time to work that out. Some venomous and non-venomous snake look very similar. In the bush most of them can kill you.

      Crocodiles (Crocks) are prehistoric creatures that have risen to the top of the food chain. They have evolved to be the most powerful death machine. Alligators look something like baby crocks but crocks have much larger heads and jaws and grow to about 5 meters long. Any crock over about 2 meters can kill you. Even the smaller ones will leave you with what looks like a shark bite. They can do up to 40 – 50 Km/h on land and they’re a water creature. something like a .22 calibre gun will at most make a crock very angry, it wont penetrate their thick skin, you hear the bullet ricochet off. Perhaps you could kill a crock with a .22 if you have plenty of amo and all day to shoot but he is going to hang around for that. My assessments relate to shooting crocks from a distance where you have plenty of time to aim. Nothing but the highest powered pistol will save you at close range and only if your lucky. The options with crocks are 1) detect them early so you don’t get near them 2) become crock food.

    2. Only one note – “3D-printed gun” it generally not a separate class of the weapon as media try to impose it, and is simple the indicating for a way of production of its parts. And what exactly will turn out – will already depend on the technology and the designer. And yes – opportunity to print on the small printer the weapon with high fighting characteristics will testify to a high level of development of technology, just as it serves as an indicator for lathe, milling, injection molding and other machines used on weapon productions and which are used for production of all other things. It would be desirable to emphasize – this is an indicator of a level of development of manufacturing technology, it is not the command demanding immediately to print on it a machine gun and to shoot down all. In the company of the same normal people the weapon simply isn’t necessary for the majority of normal people, and the mass absolutely other things is necessary.

  19. To the same extent, they need to arrest everyone and all company officers who either personally or part of their business have a lathe or a milling machine, or even a dremel tool equivalent. All of these can be used (and have been used) to manufacture arms at one time or another.

  20. The UK government forced all British WW2 veterans to either turn in their guns or permanently block the barrels or otherwise make them permanently unusable.

    Forced the destruction of the very arms that kept the enemies of the country away from the shores of the United Kingdom.

    1. *sigh* they were government issue, you don’t normally get to keep them. Although quite a lot of people managed to keep souveniers or looted items.

      The reason the govt scapped a whole pile of guns along with planes and warships because *the war was over* and they were no longer required; a liability, like the vast pile of shells which were dumped at sea and occasionally wash up.

      The result of this is a UK murder total comparable to either Detroit or Chicago, overall a far lower rate than the US. We also have had exactly one school shooting.

      1. Irony: NO ONE in Chicago is allowed to own ‘those’ kinds of guns. Well unless you have a pocket full of gold to get an old one and pay the taxes. Which conveniently the crooked politicians can do. Nice, having a high court like old days in England.

  21. I am sure I am repeating many of the comments here, but there was too many to read in a short amount of time.
    I would like to know where you can buy a 3D printer on the high street in Britain. I live in Britain and find the whole story laughable. And that was before it was revealed that the parts found may actually be for the Makerbot. It would be interesting to see what other items around the house could be made into a weapon – and get “national ballistics experts” opinions on.
    The gun laws in the UK aren’t weird. To buy a gun you need a gun license. IANAL but these are limited to rifles and shotguns – guns used for hunting. These are a lot harder to hide in a pocket to rob a 7-11. Generally, gun crime is a lot less than in the US, and its probably down to there being less guns than people.

  22. This kind of stuff kinda makes me expect to one day get shot carrying one of my homemade electronics. The sheer number of people in authority positions that don’t know a gun part from a printer upgrade, especially since both parts are readily able to be downloaded and inspected is scary. These same people end lives based on their ‘perceptions’ and quick judgements and that scares the crap out of me. They even had time to prepare for this it is not like they got a call at 2 am and had to rush in. They just didn’t prepare.

  23. It’s also just as easy/hard to get a real gun with bullets in the UK as it is to just get bullets I think it’s safe to say. You can’t just walk into a mall like in the US and get ammunition.

  24. Didn’t we already DO this a while ago? Nothing’s changed since the last one, except the British police bungling as usual. And the British press talking shit, lying, and scaremongering as usual. The issues are the same, the guy mentioning the shovel into an AK47 is the same, it’s gonna devolve into a general purpose gun argument where people don’t listen to each other. Etc! Etc! bloody etc!

    Even HaD’s arguments about bullets, Delrin and a fucking lathe are the same. Since nobody’s invented a time machine this week, we have to have deja vu instead? If anybody missed this last time, it’s available in the archive and it’s just as fucking boring. Save yourself the time.

  25. Sorry guys, but I feel it’s almost a duty to clarify WHY the printer was seized in the first place. ” …agencies have been involved in around 100 raids during a week of hush-hush operations, with more expected this morning. Fifty people have been arrested so far. ” It also wasn’t that he was building a gun that it was seized, it was the suspected extended printed magazine that he had that caused the seizure. He was also not arrested for owning a printer he was arrested under suspicion of manufacturing gun powder which is illegal in the UK. You can read more in the local news:

  26. I see the ‘do nothing because it is pointless’ crowd is out in force. ‘But UK gun laws are weird’. US laws are weirder. I’m not going to bother listing the inconsistencies, loopholes that make any attempt to keep guns away from those that should not have them pointless, a political system that panders to the minority in the face of overwhelming support for change…….

    This is about changing a culture to make everyone aware that certain behaviors are not acceptable in a civilized country, not about keeping some outdated right alive.

    Americans are inadvertently creating a police state and destroying their own democracy, as well as continually putting the world economy in danger, a shining example of what results from the briefs I see in some of the posts made in this forum.

    1. And mandatory reference to communism in 3…2…1… Hehe, if someone’s too immature to even have the _potential_ to make a gun, then having a driver’s license or raising kids is definitely out of the question.

  27. This is just the beginning of the horrors that are soon to be inflicted upon the 3D printing community.

    They will always say this issue is about guns.. But that is a lie.

    The real issue here is multibillion dollar corporations shitting their pants over consumers being able to cheaply and easily create any cheap little plastic part of device they choose without the need for the multibillion dollar corporation and their sweat shops full of asian slaves making them.

    People will die over this. Officials who are “bribed” millions of dollars in lobbyist contributions from these corporations will send in para-militarized police and execute people involved.

    You can not prevent billionaires from utilizing their slaves and keep even a penny from them. They will kill you to prevent it.

    This is going to get ugly.. everywhere.

    1. The right to hack stuff is the right worth dying for. Not some geopolitical blabbering or patriotism or any other crap. The tree of freedom has to be fertilized with the corpses of megacorporation that outlived their time.
      They can take my machining tools, from my cold dead hands, after themselves suffering significant casualties.

    2. Genocide Man Comic (damn thing won’t allow URL’s AND it deletes the comment in browser when going back)
      Why no one thinks to mass-sterilize the city block (or even county) one is sighted in, is the author’s prerogative. In other words, it makes the story longer and more interesting.

  28. This is the start of what we’ve started seeing in Canada as well – government sponsored terrorism against Makers. They came for the speakers, the protesters, and the activists.

    They’re coming for us next, kids. They just want to shut us down so we obey, buy disposable, don’t raise intelligent children, and ensure human progress STOPS DEAD in our lifetimes.

    1. Free boots for mankind, forever! LOL, not exactly what most people think of when you say ‘free’. Although the boot-to-face concept must feel pretty empowering if you’re the boot-wearer.

  29. Nice report and then totally ruined it by the fatuous throwaway final line which opened up the “gun-debate” in the comments. Shame on you Brian!
    Yes, media-generated scare stories about 3D printed guns are crazy. You could machine a much better gun from a proper engineering plastic than create with a 3D printer.
    No, UK gun laws are not weird, they are just strict. Authorities (and population generally) decided after 1 mass-shooting (Hungerford?) that was enough. Ditto Australia. Consequently very few (i.e. zero) incidents of 4-year-olds shooting other 4-year-olds, and mass-murders at schools.

  30. I love hearing that “but bullets aren’t made of plastic.” I accidentally left a live 9mm round in my front pocket in a pair of Jeans. A week later, I took an international trip wearing those same jeans. Flight #1: Brisbane (Australia) to Sydney (Australia). Flight #2: Sydney to LAX. Processed through Immigration and Customs at LAX. Flight #3 to Las Vegas.

    That night, after checking into the Venetian, I found the live 9mm round in my pocket. Took a photo, shook my head, and threw it in the waste paper basket in my room.

    Sure, it’s probably a lot harder to do that these days… but does anyone really think an average high school is going to have better metal detectors than all those airports did?

    BTW, I’m a 3d-printed-guns crypto-anarchist. I just like to tell that story.

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