Feb. 10, 2015 | By Alec

Are 3D printers becoming tools for criminals as well? Breaking news from Australia seems to suggest its definitely possible, as police from Queensland, Australia arrest a 28-year-old man in possession of a sawn-off rifle, ammunition, cannabis and and plastic gun components and a knuckle duster, both believed to have been created using 3D printing technology.

Several guns have been 3D printed in the past using either desktop 3D printer or high quality and very expensive Selective Laser Sintering metal 3D printers (like the 3D printed ‘Reason’ revolver). The well-publicised case is the arrest and sentencing of Yoshitomo Imura, who 3D printed several working plastic guns.

And while the initial reports in Australian media sources are uncertain about whether or not this plastic gun works or ever has worked, it is quite shocking to find one in the hands of a suspected criminal. As Australian news source ABS reported, the gun was found in the home of the suspect in Mudgeeraba, a small town on the Gold Coast, near Brisbane.

The arrested suspect has been charged with drug and weapon offences, though further tests are necessary to definitively conclude that these gun parts and the knuckle duster have indeed been made with a 3D printer. Detective Inspector Scott Knowles, of the Queensland police, said that they would need to consult outside experts on 3D printing, as this was the first time his department encountered these types of weapons. " We've obviously got to get it through our ballistic experts but we can identify most if not all of the major components of a weapon,’ he revealed. ‘To us it appears that they are complete weapons just requiring assembly."

The police officer went on to say that they regarded the weapons as very real threats to the broader community, but also to the user. "The technology's dangerous [because for the] weapons they're trying to design, the materials they're using aren't able to sustain the sorts of forces that [are unleashed when firing." That analysis is consistent with earlier reports about 3D printed guns, where users reported that plastic guns break down after several shots.

In the Australian judicial system, 3D printed weapons and components of weapons are classified as firearms. "People can also see themselves before the courts for manufacturing and possessing these items," officer Knowles said. While we’ll have to wait for more news to find out if these parts were indeed 3D printed, the photos released by the police certainly suggest so. 


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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kb wrote at 2/17/2015 9:35:42 PM:

Luckily for him they aren't firearms yet! It's just a pile of parts

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