Apr. 24, 2015 | By Alec

It’s the same matter that worries US lawmakers about the idea of 3D printed guns: how do you keep track of them and how do you prevent terrorists and criminals from concealing plastic guns on their person? That issue is further illustrated by a harmless project by Dutch student Philine van Bilsen, who studies Communication & Multimedia design at Avans College in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. She successfully smuggled two 3D printed knives – both sharp enough to stab someone – into the courtroom of the Palace of Justice in Den Bosch.

The knives being tested for sharpness.

Now visitors of the courtroom are always required to pass through a body scanner and are often searched as well, but Philine was able to get in with a plastic 3D printed cutting knife hidden under her dress and an even larger 3D printed knife in her makeup bag. The knives were previously tested for cutting power and though no chef would like to use them for cooking, both proved easily sharp enough to seriously wound or even kill someone.

As the student pointed out, she was surprised at how effortlessly people can bring weapons into court. ‘After we had managed to get it, we realized how easy it was and how easily people with bad intentions could do the same and smuggle in a weapon.’ She said.

The students behind the project.

Now fortunately there were no legal repercussions for the socially aware student, as the group of students from Avans College were given permission to test the court’s security protocol beforehand. According to the court’s spokeswoman Ilse Westenenk, the courtroom regularly works together with the college. ‘That’s why we gave them permission, but obviously after checking they were actual Avans students,’ she said.

The spokeswoman further revealed that the court was already aware of these loopholes in the security system, but added that this experiment will not lead to a tightening of security. ‘We have known for some time that knives of this kind cannot be detected by metal scanners. 3D printed weapons simply require other security measures. But for now we will uphold the current balance between security and transparency,’ she said. The courtroom and its corridors are also patrolled by security personnel.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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342234534 wrote at 4/28/2015 6:07:09 PM:

3D printers can be assembled from parts at place so customs have little chance to stop 3D printer proliferation, neither good nor bad purposes. But I strongly support the 2nd amendment and as an European citizen I hope that the advent of additive manufacturing will severely limit the governments' ability to control private gun ownership.

Within Reason. wrote at 4/26/2015 10:08:52 PM:

While I admit the Dutch educational system is much better than our own, it is heartening to see they still produce as many idiots as anywhere else.

Joeboofx wrote at 4/25/2015 2:12:43 AM:

It's kinda silly to even link this to 3d printing, it doesn't take much to sharpen a peice of plastic. Prison inmates have been doing this for years...

Edd wrote at 4/24/2015 11:15:04 PM:

Lets see them sneak them into jail next? You can walk in with a pencil or pen, that can do more damage than printed knives. Anyone that is determined to get something in, will get it in. Heck, he just smuggled in a weapon that can strangle sombody! Outlaw shoelaces! How about hot coffee in the jury room? You want to get 2 minutes of fame and criminalize 3d prints? Irresponsible Idiots!

Scalar wrote at 4/24/2015 5:59:11 PM:

The answer is for all logical, rational, and reasonable nations to end ALL anti knife laws and realize that it is a Universal Human right to be armed and to defend yourself and also to own carry and use and distribute tools such as knives. All nations who make bans on any form of knives, from "switch blades" and daggers to pocket and pen knives are foolish and are violationing fundamental human and civil rights and freedoms. Ban the evil behavior, not the tool. More people die from car wrecks than from knife and gun attacks worldwide. Why not ban cars? Some idiots already are wanting to do that!

farid wrote at 4/24/2015 4:51:53 PM:

No need for a 3d printer to make undetectable hand weapon, even a piece of wood, or a rock well catted can do the job. sorry this is a ridiculous proof that 3d printing could do harm for security !!

farid wrote at 4/24/2015 4:46:23 PM:

No need for a 3d printer to make undetectable hand weapon, even a piece of wood, or a rock well catted can do the job. sorry this is a ridiculous proof that 3d printing could do harm for security !!

Jay wrote at 4/24/2015 3:01:00 PM:

This is BS...they're plastic shanks...you don't need a 3D printer to make one. This is just like the 3D printed guns. People are shocked but don't realize there have been homemade guns (and knives) since they were invented..

Chris wrote at 4/24/2015 2:51:38 PM:

ok its a 3d printing blog, ok 3d printing is THE THING at the moment, but one could do the same with a knife carved from wood, or stone or concrete,..... so best practice a ban on DIY? (<<-- sarcasm)

lykos wrote at 4/24/2015 11:59:17 AM:

This is really really disheartening news for 3D printing community. Because of this kind of publicity, customs in lots of countries are holding 3D printers suspecting that they'll be used in procucing guns, and worst of all, more criminals are getting interested in the technology. Besides, in most cases, there are no practical precautions that can be taken other than strip searches as mentioned in the article. Such idiotic "university projects" proving 3d printed knives cannot be found by technology like those made from wood or injection molded plastic only harm 3d printing technology, and can even cause banning of it in some places.

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