The end of the gun debate!

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Post by Yuri Yukuv Tue May 07, 2013 9:00 pm

Staples will begin selling 3D printers this summer

In June, Staples will become among the first major retailers to offer a 3D printer. It will also be among the first to offer an affodable one, with 3D Systems’ Cube 3D printer being sold for $1,299, the company announced on Friday.

Although $1,299 may seem expensive, there was a time when the cheapest dot matrix or impact printers cost more than that. The price will inevitably come down.

The Cube 3D Printer works with both Windows and Mac OS X. It comes with 25 templates with more available online.

It's unlikely that 3D Systems will see massive sales of the Cube 3D Printer, but the publicity alone might be worth it. It's unclear if this model will be powerful enough to print a gun, but with the first blueprints for such a weapon to be released online next week, if the dimensions are small enough -- the Cube 3D Printer can print items up to 5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5” -- you can bet someone will try.

As with any printer, the money is mostly in the consumables. 3D Systems sells its Cubify Invent software as well as plastic cartridge refills, CubeSticks, which stabilize the object being printed and go for $9.99, and replacement Cube Print Pads, which will cost $99.99.

It seems like they will also have higher powered 3D printers for shared use

3D PRINTING GOES PRIME TIME AS STAPLES TO OFFER “EASY 3D” SERVICE

Excited about the potential of 3D printing but not quite ready to invest in a printer for your home? Then you are just the market that Staples is looking to woo as it moves into the 3D printing space.

In a partnership with Ireland-based commercial 3D printer manufacturer Mcor Technologies, the office chain megastore will be launching the “Staples Easy 3D” service. Through the company website, customers upload design files for printing and can then opt to either pick them up at the local store or have them delivered. The service is scheduled to launch in early 2013 in The Netherlands and Belgium, and plans to bring it to U.S. stores are surely in the works.

If you’re curious why these two companies make good bedfellows, the service will utilize Mcor’s IRIS 3D printer, which cuts regular A4 office paper to form 0.1mm layers. Photorealistic color printing of each sheet is possible in over a million colors with resolutions of 5760 x 1440 x 508dpi thanks to Mcor’s True Color technology, according to the company’s website. Each sheet is then glued together to form a compact model with a hardness close to wood. The surrounding support paper is then removed from the object by the technician.

Here’s the promotional video for the service (note it loops ad infinitum):





It’s important to point out that this promo is somewhat misleading. It gives the impression that all you have to do is upload a picture of the object you want printed, but the IRIS printer requires a CAD file format. A single 2D image doesn’t translate into a 3D scan, unless a sophisticated object recognition system was used. Now, a series of images can be used to build 3D models using the free 123D Catch app from AutoDesk, for instance, but it doesn’t appear as if Staples is adding anything like this to the program, at least at this stage of the game.

On the surface, this move by the office supply chain store could be interpreted in two different ways. On one hand, it may look like a natural evolution of 2D paper printing into 3D paper printing, now that the cost of 3D printers has decreased and demand for the services have increased. This is feasible considering that the company has found a clever way to extend the utility of a product they already carry, paper. In addition, Mcor claims that the IRIS printer has the highest color capability and lower operating cost of any commercial printer, making a low-cost risk to test the service with customers.

On the other hand, one could interpret this announcement as a desperation grab from a staple (pun intended) in yet another industry being made obsolete by the digitization of just about everything and online superstores like Amazon.

Regardless of why Staples is starting the program, it will likely be a good thing for 3D printing as it will be yet another avenue for the masses to get into this emerging technology. In fact, 3D printing “photo booths” are starting to show up across the globe, with other large companies like Disney experimenting with what the tech can do for its brand. Furthermore, we are still far from a time when there’s a 3D printer in every home, so this is an ideal window for a company like Staples to gauge interest and perform some market research. After all, the stores do carry regular printers as well, why not 3D printers in a few years?

In a few years time, the landscape of 3D printing will surely look much different, and I’m sure we’ll look back at this time and wonder why there was so much trepidation about a no-brainer technology. Until then, each tiny step that 3D printing takes gets longer in stride, and surely it will be only a matter of time before it is in a full gallop.

To get a sense of how realistic the finished printed objects look, check out this short video that shows what the IRIS printer can produce:


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Post by Swanhends Wed May 08, 2013 1:31 am

The Onion ‏@TheOnion
[American Voices] “I’d probably rather just buy a real gun than trying to figure out how to set up another printer.”

rofl rofl rofl rofl rofl

No but in all seriousness the thought of everyone and their moms being able to print guns is scary as shit

Technology is starting to get past the point of "wow thats convenient!" towards the realm of "holy shit think of all the horror that this could cause" - and thats not only in reference to the whole 3D gun printing thing
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Wed May 08, 2013 3:59 am

Starting?

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Post by VivaStPauli Wed May 08, 2013 8:34 am

Meh, don't be so technophobic. At the moment everyone and their mom can just buy a gun, I don't see how it's going to be worsened by the availability of $6000 3D-printers.

And accessability isn't as much of an issue if it's highly illegal - you can still get people to not do stuff.
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Post by Yuri Yukuv Wed May 08, 2013 1:04 pm

To be honest as of this moment 3D printing of a gun will not change the status quo in the united states as it remains easier to purchase one in a brick and mortar store than it does printing a gun.

On the other hand this does effect europe alot, as the opposite is true. The power of states there will be subverted as there is no clear way to stop this except banning 3D printing or spying on who is downloading CADs of the 3D. I will bet most will do the latter.

Technology is great to be honest, its ability to transfer power to the individual from big institutions is what makes it special.

I cant keep but think how the global workers movement left must hate it (not the US left, they are not really that far out). The internet decreased their relevancy in terms of media, higher level education and labor. 3D printing will further decrease the relevancy of the global workers movement by moving the means of production to the end consumer.
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Post by Yuri Yukuv Fri May 10, 2013 2:48 pm

More than 100,000 "guns" have been downloaded


US government orders removal of Defcad 3D-gun designs

he US government has demanded designs for a 3D-printed gun be taken offline.

The order to remove the blueprints for the plastic gun comes after they were downloaded more than 100,000 times.

The US State Department wrote to the gun's designer, Defense Distributed, suggesting publishing them online may breach arms-control regulations.

Although the files have been removed from the company's Defcad site, it is not clear whether this will stop people accessing the blueprints.

They were being hosted by the Mega online service and may still reside on its servers.

Also, many links to copies of the blueprints have been uploaded to file-sharing site the Pirate Bay, making them widely available. The Pirate Bay has also publicised its links to the files via social news site Reddit suggesting many more people will get hold of the blueprints.

The Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance wrote to Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson demanding the designs be "removed from public access" until he could prove he had not broken laws governing shipping weapons overseas by putting the files online and letting people outside the US download them.

Explosive force
"We have to comply," Mr Wilson told news magazine Forbes in an interview.

But he added the State Department's fears were ungrounded, as Defense Distributed had been set up specifically to meet requirements that exempted it from the arms-control regulations.

He welcomed the US government's intervention, saying it would highlight the issue of whether it was possible to stop the spread of 3D-printed weapons.

Unlike conventional weapons, the printed gun - called the Liberator by its creators - is made out of plastic on a printer. Many engineering firms and manufacturers use these machines to test prototypes before starting large-scale production.

While desktop 3D printers are becoming more popular, Defense Distributed used an industrial 3D printer that cost more than £5,000 to produce its gun. This was able to use high-density plastic that could withstand and channel the explosive force involved in firing a bullet.

Before making the Liberator, Mr Wilson got a licence to manufacture and sell the weapon from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The Bureau told the BBC that any American could make a gun for their own use, even on a 3D printer, but selling it required a licence.

Mr Wilson, who describes himself as a crypto-anarchist, said the project to create a printed gun and make it widely available was all "about liberty".
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