I have a use for this…

Most 1/24 scale model trucks are left hand drive. Sometimes you can convert, I have an Opel fire truck and a DAF box van (it wasn’t sold as a box van) which had nice flat dashboards so could be, and have been, converted to right hand drive.

Modern trucks have dashboards that look like the bridge of a starship. You can’t just swap thngs around.

However, with a 3D printer, you have the potential to 3D-scan that piece of dashboard, reverse it and print a new one. If you print loads of them you could set up an eBay business selling them to UK model builders. They are so hard to get, you could probably cover the cost of the printer in a few months.

As for it being able to ‘print a gun’, pfft. You can make a single shot gun out of wood and plumbing and it would cost you a hell of a lot less than a 3D printer. Besides, the gun, however made, is useless without bullets and you can’t print those.

Worryingly, metal detectors cannot detect a plastic gun.

The bullets are not plastic. The metal detector will find them. The X-ray scanners will see a gun shape. You are not going to get on a plane with this.

I’d be far more concerned about plastic knives or sharpened credit cards. Neither of which need any more technology than a good file.

Still, the 3D printer is on my list… when the price comes down into the real world.

41 thoughts on “I have a use for this…

  1. It is unfortunate that we must all suffer from the stupidity of a few. Real security and real freedom come from taking the risk that some of us might be attacked by someone with a gun but this risk is necessary. I could be attacked by someone with a pointed stick, a club, a knife, a piece of broken glass, fists or feet or a piece of fruit. I, also, could attack someone with any of these or with a gun. We all take and accept risks. No sane person endorses removing sticks or stones or fruit from unregulated access. Not because it would be too difficult and not because these things are inherently harmless but because the potential harm is not to be found in the object but in the action and the intent. Using similar logic it is senseless to attempt to regulate or ban firearms as a means of improving safety and security. They pose no threat to anyone because most people pose no threat to anyone. Having a gun doesn’t make a peaceful person any more likely to harm others just as lack of guns doesn’t render the few violent people less dangerous. Guns lend strength and power to the weak and timid against the violence prone. Banning them only strengthens the criminally minded. No one should be made to lose their freedom to be armed and to protect themselves, not even the violent and criminally minded, until after they have committed a criminal act of violence. It is a basic principle of justice and law that no act can be considered a crime and no punishment inflicted if there is no victim. Gun control, like all other forms of prior restraint, make all of us into de facto criminals because someone at some time believed that any one of us might commit a crime and thus needed to be stopped before we could do it. Supporting bans and outlawing freedom is support for making everyone into a criminal without any actual criminal action.


  2. The Mail is a few years behind the times again. I looked into 3D printers some time ago with a view to making table flag parts, but the slow “printing” speeds would have meant having to install a row of them, as the occasional customer wants hundreds at a time.

    There are ten reviewed here, starting at £300 (but some of these self-builds are very technical and can take a day or two – maybe not much trouble for you?).

    P.S. How about plastic bullets tipped with something nasty from your lab?


  3. XX The bullets are not plastic.XX

    Why not?

    Quite possible. Or ceramic?

    Even without bullets (ball) we put on a show at a re-enactment of what a cannon WITHOUT ball could do to various turnips and cabbages.

    From 25 feet, (WITHOUT BALL remember!) the things were blown into so many pieces, it looked like a snow storm.

    So. Even a plastic tube filled with powder could do the job from close range.


    • There were stories about the huge guns on WW II battleships. I don’t know if it’s true, but it was said that even standing next to the gun turrets when they were firing was deadly. The concussions could mash you into a pulp.


      • If you rest a .30-06 caliber rifle across the hood of a Jeep and then and then fire the rilfe, the concussion will shatter the windshield.

        Ask me how I know.


  4. Airport security is a joke, sealed litre bottles of spirits are a non no, but lighter fluid is fine (It went through the scanner). Rolls of coins, billiard balls and socks, a hefty ball point pen, a copy of the Times are all A-ok.


  5. The main problem with printed plastic guns is that the barrel simply cannot take the pressures developed by firing, and tends to explode in the user’s hand. As with many such things, this is easily solved and indeed has already been solved.

    Back in the 1960s there was a weird handgun called the gyrojet. It was essentially a very small rocket launcher, and the barrel was a plain tube that guided the projectile, a spin-stabilised rocket, in mostly the right direction. The barrel was just a guide and didn’t need to be a pressure vessel; the projectile had to be somewhat more robust but again, could be made of a metal-free ceramic plus a carbon fibre outer to retain more pressure.

    The Gyrojet wasn’t ever very popular, because the ammo was expensive and it introduced more problems than it actually solved. Whilst not being quite as good as a handgun about the only good point was the complete lack of recoil and the rather sizable projectiles; at range (the rocket kept burning for at least twenty feet from the muzzle) it had good stopping power and low recoil.

    For plastic printed guns, though, a variant on this sort of thing would be useful, and could be made entirely in non-metallic components.

    What is cheering though is that modern criminals don’t actually seem all that bothered about obtaining non-metallic knives. As Leggy will be aware, we already have non-metallic knives and have had the technology for the last quarter of a million years; if non-metal cutting tools were needed, Grimes Graves would be a modern hive of activity, and flint knapping would be yet another skill of the modern disaffected urban youth.


  6. It’s a silly thought, but I wonder how long before someone invents a computer program for the 3-D printer that lets you select whatever brand of cigarette, booze or fatty food you want, then prints it out for you in the comfort of your own home. Wouldn’t that be convenient, if it could. Maybe if they invented some sort of organic “inks” to be used instead of plastics, then one day that will become a reality.


  7. Airport security is by and large a ‘stress test’, to be honest (and I was a Sec-Man at the largest airport in Europe). I haven’t tried but I reckon I could get a ‘proper’ handgun unto a plane or at least the components for an assemble-in-the- lav zip without breaking a sweat.

    That’s the key btw- ‘breaking a sweat’ ie STRESS

    Xray machines are horribly easy to fool. Come on, everyone here has had to unpack their suitcase at some point cos the machine ‘saw’ something innocuous as dangerous…colgate as C4- Do you not realise it cuts both ways?!

    Wands are only effective if his partner is watching your eyes/face….they could set the ‘beep’ to random for all the good it does. Same goes for those metal detecting door frames, the Sec Man is watching YOU as you go back through and you can bet he’ll be ‘chatting’ to you as you do…”Don’t worry Sir, happens all the time, just walk back through. Off on holiday?”

    The greatest and most effective security measure is THE QUEUE. The Sec Man wants you STRESSED. Terrorists don’t get pissed off, don’t start humming ‘why are we waiting’. People with a one way ticket to a neverending night of virgin shagging and wine drinking don’t stress about missing their connecting flight. The guy in the suit who is deadly calm and patient cos he has a packet of Prozac in him is far more likely to get pulled aside than the Victor Meldrew who has been on his feet since Silly Oclock in the morning, whose bladder is filling and who has -despite the bar code check in- been standing in the sodding queue for 2 hours AND HAS HAD ENOUGH!

    The MSM loves to call terrorists and bombers ‘cowards’. Now someone with his knickers full of unstable home made plastique may be many many things (‘stupid’ springs to mind) but the one thing I can absolutely guaran-fucking-tee you is : He is no coward. If he is a True Beliver than he will have the patience of a Zen Master while the people in front get to chuck away their bottles of water cos they aren’t in approved bottles. If however he is acting under duress then he will get panicky. What he won’t do IS GET PISSED OFF with the world and his brother.

    The other great tool in airport security is the seeming meaningless ‘chatting’, that ‘good morning Sir’ as you put your bag on to the bench. That ‘Good Morning’ which you , as a good Brit, are genetically preprogrammed to reply to.

    A mate of mine got stopped every single time he flew/travelled by ferry. And I do mean every single time-before they had seen his UK Passport or his Crown Forces Military ID card. Every single time until he realised that replying ‘ Good Morning’ in his heavy native Belfast accent … Few mainland brits can tell the difference between Armagh and Belfast accents let alone destinguish between ‘Falls Rd’ and ‘Ulster Scots’ accents. A mick is a mick.

    There was an EL AL security officer on the radio a while back and he was saying that he would swap all the technological and just look in people’s eyes. And EL AL really know something about airport security.

    /endeth the sermon


    • I seem to recollect reading (on DP’s blog maybe?) some time ago that if you fly from Ben Gurion, you can expect to make it from the car park to your departure gate in a max 25 minutes. They don’t bother with all the pointless, time wasting theatre that everyone else (in the name of Political Correctness) does.

      I mean, really, a ginger, freckled bloke towing an equally pasty missus and two young kids boarding a flight to Alicante from Gatwick is not actually very likely to have a bomb strapped to him. Or in his shoes. Or the ingredients of said bomb in sprog’s formula and loud-and-difficult’s bottle of Fanta. In fact the chances of him being a suicidal terrorist are so infinitesimal as to be not worth consideration. Yet the jobsworths still put him through the full rigmarole of scanning all his baggage, scanning him, making him take his shoes off and emptying his pockets etc.

      And the drones nod approvingly, and say “yes, but it’s a small price to pay for our safety…”.

      Fucking idiots.


      • My boss (a Belgian 40-something greying fair-skinned chap) missed a connecting flight from Heathrow last week as he had to endure a full body search, the police at Heathrow would only say its for security reasons ? Eh ? As a seasoned traveller he took it in his stride. As we all do, we endure searches, missed connections, humilations at the checkin. Not for me, I always try to get the ferry to Hook of Holland or go through the Tunnel.


      • “a ginger”

        Security were acting after a tip off from the CDC. He was stopped for reasons of pandemic control. There is no known cure for Gingeritus. 😛


  8. Well Leg, I agree, so much so that I am about to put my money where my mouth is!
    It’s here, it’s happening. I am in the process of setting up a simple 3D print shop / bureau. Initially using self builds just for the experience of building them. If you have design(Initially STL files) and want to be a beta tester of our on-line control system (You get you own dedicated printer controlled via a web browser) then drop me a design in about a month’s time … the email address is genuine….


  9. PLEASE! Don’t go blowing your cash on that 3D Printing stuff! It’s expensive, it stinks, it fails – a lot! Great for the experimenter, the nerd/geek, the hopelessly Californian or people who have just read too much Cory Doctorow. Please don’t waste money that would be better spent on booze, fags, plasticene and silicone. Take a look at Tiranti’s for some ideas/methods, but don’t spend there. Think silicone mold plus centrifuge plus whtaever. Proj on Leg!


    • I have nowhere near enough cash to blow on such a machine. My plan was to wait until the dedicated ones work out all the bugs, and until they become as cheap as colour inkjets are now. Not so long ago, you’d be paying mortgage prices for a colour printer. Now they are pretty much throw-away.


  10. The TV guy Jay Leno also has a bit of a car hobby, and collects and restores antique engines. One of the car enthusiast shows featured Mr. Leno’s shop, where he was scanning 3D images of obsolete parts and printing plastic molds to use in casting a metal part that is otherwise unobtainable.


    • Ah, now we’re talking. rent time on a machine to produce one copy of a part, use that part to make a mould, cast as many as you want. That sounds like a viable business plan to me!


  11. 3-d printers are great at ceating a wobbly bust of venus de milo, but a receiver for a gun ? No. A half-wit with an ounce of engineering skill could make one on a simple shaping machine, bought from ebay for 50 quids.


    • I still have nightmares about the shaper from metalwork class. The forge, the casting, the brazing, tempering, none of that bothered me one bit but the shaper…

      It had a huge steel lump that shot forwards and back at face level with a blade that smoothed off your casting. There was no guard. If your head was an inch too far forward…

      With a good lathe, you could bore and rifle a steel rod in no time. It might not last long if you don’t have the right kind of steel but it wouldn’t blow your hand off

      A simple flintlock is well within the range of someone with ‘O’ level metalwork. At least, someone who did it before all this ‘safety’ stuff kicked in.


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