Rockford 3-D printing shop talks about national 3-D printed gun threat

It’s a popular tool in today’s society, a 3-D printer.
"What a lot of people are printing at home are things like little trinkets. However, some people have gotten into printing prosthetics for their kids, all the way up to repair items around the house." said Brandon Haight, a manufacturing engineer at 425 Manufacturing in Rockford.

With technology getting bigger and better, that means prices to own one at home are becoming more affordable.

"You can get a 3-D printer that’s about 150 dollars you build yourself, you kinda wire it yourself, all the way to a printer that’s 250,000 dollars." said Haight.

As technology improves, consumers now have the tools to print virtually anything. 

"If you just wanted to print something that was already designed, you can get that off the internet. You put that into the software that works with the printer, and you upload it, and pretty much just hit print and go." said Haight.

You can even print guns.

"There’s a company called "Thingiverse" online and it’s free software. You there and go to this website, and you can search for virtually anything. Anything from a toy octopus to in some cases, components for firearms." said Haight.

But 425 Manufacturing says just because you can print certain pieces of the firearm at home, doesn’t mean it’s that simple.

"A lower that we have here was about 19 hours of printing." said Haight.

It’s something drawing concerns from gun control advocates, who say the ability to print gun pieces threatens the safety of others. But 425 Manufacturing says that’s not necessarily the case. 

"If you were to use it and try to actually shoot the gun, there’s a good chance it would end up blowing up in your hand." said Tyler Thomason, a welder with 425 Manufacturing.

Meaning, while the physical technology to print a gun is there, hat doesn’t mean it will work.

"Most barrels, all of those components are made out of metal for a reason. There is so much velocity behind a bullet, that it takes such a big expansion force that it would just blow plastic to pieces. " said Thomason.

While the battle over 3-D printed guns continues, 3-D printing engineers say there is no need to panic right now. 

"You can’t just 3-D print an AR-15." said Thomason.  
 

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