UK police cast doubt on 3D-printed 'gun parts' (Update)

Oct 25, 2013 by Jill Lawless
Undated handout photo made available by Greater Manchester Police in northern England Friday Oct. 25, 2013 of a plastic gun trigger made with a 3D printer which was found by officers during a raid on suspected gang members in the Bagley area of Manchester. Police said Friday that if the gun were viable it would be the first such seizure in Britain. (AP Photo/Greater Manchester Police)

Police in northern England thought they'd made a major discovery, but they may have jumped the gun.

Officers said Friday they had seized what appeared to be gun components made on a 3-D printer—then, hours later, cast doubt on the find after technology experts said photos released by police appeared to be of parts for the printer itself.

The police department in greater Manchester initially said officers found what appeared to be a plastic magazine and trigger, along with a 3-D printer, in a raid targeting criminal gangs.

Forensic specialists were examining the parts "to establish if they could construct a genuine device," police said.

If the gun was viable, it would be the first such seizure in Britain, police said. Authorities worry the technology could allow anyone to manufacture guns that would pass unnoticed through metal detectors

After some observers pointed out that the images released by police resembled printer parts, the police department toned down its language, saying detectives were attempting to "establish exactly what these parts can be used for and whether they pose any threat."

"We need to be absolutely clear that at that this stage, we cannot categorically say we have recovered the component parts for a 3-D gun," Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said.

Undated handout photo made available by Greater Manchester Police in northern England Friday Oct. 25, 2013 of a 3D printer used to make plastic gun components which was found by officers during a raid on suspected gang members in the Bagley area of Manchester. Police said Friday that if the gun were viable it would be the first such seizure in Britain. (AP Photo/Greater Manchester Police)

"What we have seized are items that need further forensic testing by national ballistics experts to establish whether they can be used in the construction of a genuine, viable firearm."

A man was arrested for questioning and then released. He told Britain's Press Association news agency that he owned the premises raided by police—a model shop—and used the 3-D printer to make plastic decorations and models. He said the suspected gun magazine was a spool holder and the "trigger" was another printer part.

Earlier this year, a Texas company said it had successfully test-fired a handgun created with a 3-D printer, and posted blueprints for the weapon online. Such printers can be paired with a home computer to manufacture objects using layers of high-density plastic.

Undated handout photo made available by Greater Manchester Police in northern England Friday Oct. 25, 2013 of a plastic gun clip made with a 3D printer which was found by officers during a raid on suspected gang members in the Bagley area of Manchester. Police said Friday that if the gun were viable it would be the first such seizure in Britain. (AP Photo/Greater Manchester Police)

Last month, London's Victoria and Albert museum announced it had acquired two prototypes of the Texas gun for its collection of contemporary design.

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User comments : 13

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Technophebe
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 25, 2013
This appears to have been a misunderstanding on the Police's part, looks like the items shown are actually parts for the printer itself:

http://yro.slashd...er-parts
freethinking
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 25, 2013
It doesn't matter if it is a gun piece..... looking at it it looks like a gun.... just imagine the danger of a child taking this item into a school and the horror of a teacher or administrator seeing this object. The child would be handcuffed and thrown out of school.

You gotta love it when Progressives try to keep us safe.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Oct 25, 2013
It doesn't matter if it is a gun piece..... looking at it it looks like a gun.... just imagine the danger of a child
-You mean like this ft?

"California cops shoot dead 13-year-old boy armed with toy gun
Andy Lopez refused to drop his friend's a plastic AK-47 rifle replica when police in Santa Rosa ordered him to on Tuesday, authorities say.
Comments (329)
By Michael Walsh / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 1:22 PM"

-Lots of cheap toy guns already available. No need to print them. You can even make them out of food.

"Boy Suspended From School For Making "Gun" Out Of A Pop-Tart
A 7-year-old was suspended for two days for his Pop Tart weapon
By Melissa Locker @woolyknickersMarch 04, 2013"

-And consider that layered pop-tart-type foods will be among the first to be printed. Can you make an uzi out of a pizza? Im scared I tell you.
freethinking
1 / 5 (11) Oct 25, 2013
We should banned these 3d printers NOW..... kids can start making objects that look like guns which would cause schools to suspend them.... We would need to raid any home which download any fabrication details of toy guns or any object that would/could look like a gun.

FYI, can't find the article but a boy was suspended for bringing a GI Joe gun (around the size of a penny), another boy 7-10 years old was suspended for throwing a make believe hand grenade at a make believe enemy monster coming up from underground.

Progressives Idiots who run the school system are dangerous and should be banned.
alfie_null
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 26, 2013
Progressives Idiots who run the school system are dangerous and should be banned.

Thank you for your assessment. Your perception, your depth of understanding, is stunning. Do you believe Progressives Idiots [sic] have control of all England's schools? Maybe other countries also? Sounds like a conspiracy, eh?

The skill with which you employ the written word makes me wonder how much experience you have had with the education system in whatever country you come from.
mosahlah
1 / 5 (8) Oct 27, 2013
We all know how much you people want it to be gun parts, so make a gun that uses this part and then hoist those people up on a stake in the center of town.
Moebius
1.8 / 5 (10) Oct 27, 2013
There must be mechanical engineer types here like me. Am I the only one that could make a gun with a 3D printer in no time? I doubt it.

3D printers now are capable of making a gun. Even making your own black powder is easy, I used to do it when I was a kid. 3D printer research is going to constantly look for new materials to use and they will get better and stronger until (if) the holy grail is achieved, 3D printing of metal alloys with perfect control. When that happens no one will be worrying about plastic toys made with printers.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (1) Oct 27, 2013
"We need to be absolutely clear that at that this stage, we cannot categorically say we have recovered the component parts for a 3-D gun,"

In other words: "We (OMG guns!) don't (can't rule out guns!) know (might be guns!) what (looks kinda like something that coulda been a gun precursor!) we (it's practically almost categorically a gun!) found."

Way to go on making a non-statement that insinuates all kinds of BS Mr. Heywood.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (10) Oct 27, 2013
The sissification and homofication of young boys continues at a record pace in the west, while in China...
http://www.tomato...373.html
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Oct 27, 2013
3D printers now are capable of making a gun.
NO they ARENT. They cant print barrels and chambers which can withstand the pressures associated with smokeless powder.
Even making your own black powder is easy, I used to do it when I was a kid
I dont believe you.
http://www.wikiho...k-Powder

-But even if you purchased your ammo pre-made, or used pyrodex in a muzzleloader you happened to print out, it would blow up in your face. Of course if you think that 'gun' means 'bomb' using powder from elsewhere, you would be right.
barakn
3 / 5 (2) Oct 27, 2013
The sissification and homofication of young boys continues at a record pace in the west, while in China...
http://www.tomato...373.html

Lack of militarization has nothing to do with homosexuality. Witness the Sacred Band of Thebes, which was composed of 150 pederastic male couples to achieve strong group cohesion, or in more modern times, the Boy Scouts.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Oct 27, 2013
The sissification and homofication of young boys continues at a record pace in the west, while in China...
http://www.tomato...373.html

Lack of militarization has nothing to do with homosexuality. Witness the Sacred Band of Thebes, which was composed of 150 pederastic male couples to achieve strong group cohesion, or in more modern times, the Boy Scouts.
Yes I hear of their legendary slapfights.
http://www.youtub...bVN_rA28
mosahlah
1.2 / 5 (5) Oct 28, 2013
For the sake of all the victims of printed guns, California should immediately ban these dubious 3D printers, and also the "ink cartridges" for environmental considerations. Of course no printer software should be allowed without a kilometer of a public school. We wouldn't want children endangered by this mysterious and devious technology.