Hey! That’s no trigger!
If you were listening to the news on the radio this Friday morning, you may have heard some somewhat breathless reportage about the Greater Manchester Police Department’s raid on a house in order to seize a 3D printed gun. As reported by the GMPD,
Component parts for what could be the UK’s first ever 3D gun have been seized by Greater Manchester Police.
As part of Challenger, the largest ever multi-agency operation to target organised criminality in Manchester, officers from Greater Manchester Police executed a series of warrants in the Baguley area on Thursday 24 October 2013.
During the searches, officers found a 3D printer and what is suspected to be a 3D plastic magazine and trigger which could be fitted together to make a viable 3D gun.
It they are found to be viable components for a 3D gun, it would be the first ever seizure of this kind in the UK.
Wow. Scary stuff, huh? Not only did they grab parts that could have been assembled into a firearm, but they got the printer, too! It could’ve been a gun factory! After all, everyone knows that The Liberator, billed as the “first 3D printed gun,” actually does work (though you might be better off with an old skool “zipgun” if you don’t want to blow your hand off).
Only it wasn’t.
As reported by Ian Steadman in his blog on The New Statesman, it turns out that the “gun” pieces were really just 3D printed parts for a 3D printer. To be precise, they are most likely the drive block and filament holder for the Makerbot Replicator 2.
As of this writing the Manchester police have not yet come out and admitted their mistake, but when you compare the parts found by the police with the parts that make up the Liberator (see below), there doesn’t appear to be much of a match.
It’s pretty clear that today’s “raid” of 3D printer pieces is the latest in what’s bound to be a long series of “oh my gosh that new 3D printing technology is scary” reactions by governments and media who are now just beginning to grasp the implications of a technology that allows people to make stuff at home simply by downloading a file.
Things are going to get pretty interesting.
- Seized “magazine”
- Actual Liberator 3D gun parts