(Bartlett, TN) People most commonly use their computer's to print pictures, letters, and resumes, but the technology is coming where someone can print a fully functioning gun.
It has many concerned on who could get their hands on one, but some local 3-D printing hobbyists say it’s not that simple.
Those with the MidSouth Makers hand-build their own three-dimensional printers and they cost around $1,000 a piece, but a printer capable of recreating a fully, functioning gun, they claim, would cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Right now, the group is capable of printing things like whistles, computer cases, tablet stands, even more 3-D printers.
“The big movement is to try and model a whole lot of things,” said Daniel Hess, the group’s president.
Things like the main body of an assault rifle are now even being printed.
A group from Texas, known as Defense Distributed is working hard to develop the digital gun models that "do-it-yourselfers" like Hess can download and print, but so far the group can only get about five to six shots off before the plastic fails.
They hope to create an entire gun made of plastic, but Hess says the technology is not quite ready, “It has a lot of durability issues and everything like that. It's not fully rigid like a high intensity polymer would be.”
At this point, Hess argues printing a gun is really more trouble than it’s worth, “Thus far we have not had anybody try to build a or manufacture a gun either with the 3-D printer or any other parts here because we do have a lay and a mill, where it would actually be less feasible for us to try and make a gun from the 3-D printer.”
So fears of a tech-savvy kid printing a fully-functioning weapon, Hess claims, is far-fetched for now, “I would argue there is no concern for it. It's kind of just more of a neat little experiment than anything.”
However, technology is constantly changing. Hess says there are groups developing 3-D printers that can print with metal. He says that’s what people, wanting to print real guns, would need.