3D Print Gun Project Misfires

Cody Wilson, from the DD intro YouTube.

The Texas law student who is running Defense Distributed (think: the Wiki Weapon) ran into some unexpected return fire.

It came from Stratasys, the company that made the 3-D printer that Cody Wilson had only just leased — with part of $20k he’d raised online. A crew of goons and a rented truck showed up at his door and took the printer back before he even got it unboxed.

A Stratasys shyster, whose name was redacted from the letter on Wilson’s website but looks from the signature to be something like “Claire Ryan,” wrote that Stratasys was repo-ing the printer because making a weapon without a Federal Firearms License is illegal.

Stratasys printer at Wilson’s digs, before the arrival of the goon squad.

She either didn’t look at the statutes, case law, and ATF rulings, or she couldn’t understand them. (The ATF says explicitly in an FAQ here: “[P]er provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCAfor his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution.” ) (Emphasis in ATF’s original, which goes on to show the statutory definition of “firearm”).

Funny, neither “Claire Ryan” nor Stratasys honcho and FDM co-inventor S. Scott Crump seem to have any problem with Stratasys machines in the nuclear-weapons and biological warfare labs of many countries (including North Korea and Iran). What’s the difference?

Oh yeah, Wilson blogged about it. Nork germ-warfare technicians got no blog. That’s alright then!

So it was legal malpractice. Or publicity shyness. Or something else was driving the train — politics? While the heads of Stratasys and even the rank and file employees of the Minnesota firm don’t seem to be political donors, the company has benefited hansomeley from modern crony capitalism,and might be susceptible to pressure from an Administration  that’s been Stratasys’s happy candy man.

With any company as cozy with politicians as Stratasys, you can’t rule out corruption as a motive, but we’ll go to Occam’s Razor as usual, and say that the most probable explanation is incompetence.


Lessons learned:

  1. Buy, don’t lease, your 3-D printer.
  2. Scratch Stratasys off your short list now. Maybe they’re not the anti-gun activists they look like here… maybe they’re just stupid. But there’s enough stupidity around without you or us encouraging it by subsidizing it.
  3. When we find out who that lawyer “Claire Ryan” actually is, you’ll want to put her on your list of “stupid lawyers not to hire.” Because even if we’re wrong about Occam, and the explanation was politics or corruption, the stupid is strong with this one. (Cooley grad maybe?)
  4. Normally we wouldn’t call a lawyer stupid just on one blunder, but she did just start a dispute based on palpably  false information with a law student from a decent school who’s patently quite clever. And she managed to libel him as a criminal in the process! That’s not smart for any non-sarcastic value of “smart,” is it?

Hat tip: BoingBoing

4 thoughts on “3D Print Gun Project Misfires

    1. Hognose Post author

      Hear he’s thinking of applying for an 07 FFL. I don’t think he wants to open that can of worms, but we’ll see.

  1. Cult

    What makes this completely ridiculous is that you can purchase CNC machinery and make firearms probably for about the same price as it costs to do so on a 3D printer. The press and Stratasys are making a mountain out of a molehill.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Well, Stratasys has sent the message that they don’t want to be involved in guns, so they’ve taken a strong political position. In this US, that’s a partisan position and politics is very divisive. This will cost them sales, as there are many competitors out there (despite Stratasys and 3DS trying to buy them all!). Even at the entry level price point.

      You make a good point about additive vs. subtractive machinery. Roland has been pushing CNC router/mills for the same kind of prototype shops.

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