3D printing might only now be hitting the mainstream, but people have been making things out of other things for years. Guns, of course, are no exception and while all this talk of fashioning firearms out of plastic and magic has raised eyebrows, it appears we might be getting ahead of ourselves, according to one Australian expert.
In an article on the ABC, the University of Wollongong's Dr Robert Gorkin downplays the chances of 3D printing putting bullet-throwing weapons in the homes of the public.
Dr Gorkin, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, is currently investigating the applications of 3D printing and human tissue recreation, according to the article.
As we saw yesterday, while 3D printing can certainly craft something weapon-like, when it comes to actually firing the thing, the results are less than palatable, especially for any limbs that might be holding said firearm. It's a point Dr Gorkin stresses:
Dr Gorkin says even high-end printers have not been able to produce a gun that is reliable, accurate, can be repeatedly shot, and will not possibly explode when fired.
"You can print parts of guns and put them together," he said.
"But right now there's nothing that you can just download a file, have a printer -- not even the high-end printers -- and print a complete assembled gun that will act like something you can buy in a store."
In fact, if you really wanted to make a gun, there are "plenty of other ways" to go about it. Dr Gorkin says that it's "really not the most efficient way", and going by YouTube and the internet in general, it's hard to disagree.
He doesn't wave off the idea entirely though -- he's well aware the technology is advancing quickly:
"It's impossible to say that it'll never happen ... I do think that some of this conversation is relevant ... but I think that discussion should be made with a reasonable analysis of where the technology is."
And I'd say that's fair enough.