Amazing Homemade 3DPrinted Drone >

When Mitre Corporation, a McLean-based defense contractor announced that they were looking for summer interns, University of Virginia engineering student Steven Easter and his brother and lab partner, Jonathan Turman applied the job. They got the assignment: to build an unmanned aerial vehicle, using 3DPrinting technology.

Luckily they got support from Professor David Sheffler, a 20-year veteran in aerospace engineering. Between May and August the team has been working on designing and building a plane entirely from parts from a 3DPrinter.

The plane has a 2 metre wingspan and all the parts were printed in layers in plastic. During four test flights in August and early September at Milton Airfield near Keswick, the plane achieved a cruising speed of 70 kilomertres per hour.

There are seven 3DPrinters in the Engineering School’s Rapid Prototyping Lab. These 3DPrinters allows students to design, modify and print the parts until they get exactly what they want…

(The unmanned aerial vehicle, “dressed” in U.Va.’s colors.)


(Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor and project adviser David Sheffler, left, with the “printed” plane’s creators, Steven Easter, center, and Jonathan Turman. )

This is “the third 3DPrinted plane known to have been built and flown.” notes in UVA Today’s news. The technology also allows students to take on complex design projects that previously were impractical.

“To make a plastic turbofan engine to scale five years ago would have taken two years, at a cost of about $250,000,” Sheffler said. “But with 3DPrinting we designed and built it in four months for about $2,000. This opens up an arena of teaching that was not available before. It allows us to train engineers for the real challenges they will face in industry.”

 

The students work impressed Mitre Corp. representatives and Army officials, they got a new task – “to build an improved plane – lighter, stronger, faster and more easily assembled.”

Besides creating an attractive and operational unmanned airplane, this is also a valuable experience for the students. “The students sometimes put in 80-hour workweeks, with many long nights in the lab.”

“It was sort of a seat-of-the-pants thing at first – wham, bang,” Easter said. “But we kept banging away and became more confident as we kept designing and printing out new parts.”

Source: UVA Today

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3DPrinted Gun Pt4: What Now? >

Click the image to view the full Stratasys letter to Defense Distributed

In a now ongoing saga Defense Distributed, a group of pro-gun lobbyists with the idea to 3DPrint a live firearm, has had its 3DPrinter seized by the machine’s manufacturer Stratasys.

Comments on the Wiki Weapons story so far have condemned the notion of a 3DPrinted gun – one that would enable anyone, anywhere, to manufacture their own weapon – with negative feedback, and now congratulatory remarks applauding Stratasys. Stratasys informed develop3d.com of their official line on the episode:

“Stratasys reserves the right to reject an order. Members of Defense Distributed, like any U.S. citizens, are able to follow the well-established federal and state regulations to manufacture, distribute or procure a firearm in [the U.S.A.].”

Matter resolved? Responsible company stepping in and doing the safe, legal and proper deed, it could perhaps be concluded as such. But, for example, a 3DPrinting professional visiting a school in South London, U.K., to show students 3DPrinting asked them what they could imagine printing for themselves… a student replied:

“Knives.”

Whilst some students may be intrigued by innovative cutlery design, and schoolboy bravado regarding an interest in weapons/ fast cars/ protein suppliments, we will inevitably face the forthcoming legislative backlash regarding the concern that if anyone can download a file to manufacture a weapon, and the technology continues to progress, ‘press to print products’ will degrade into a home 3DPrinting black market.

How to stop 3DPrinted home weaponary proliferation? Restricting C.A.D. files of weapons from appearing online seems to obvious and popular suggestion – although this simply leads to the difficultly in policing the internet.

The limitations of most available 3DPrinters, materials and processes, mean an readily accessible 3DPrinted threat to humanity is certainly not here yet: but as the inevitability of the wave of concern now seems set, so does the non-rhetorical that 3DPrint makers, bloggers and journalists need to pose to their audience:

 

“What should we do about this?”

 

3DPrinted Gun Pt1: Control Debate >
3DPrinted Gun Pt2: Campaign Stopped >
3DPrinted Gun Pt3: Seized >
3DPrinted Gun Pt4: What Now? >

3DPrinted Gun Pt3: Seized… >

Who would have thought it? Printing guns is frowned upon. Even in the U.S.

Cody Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas at Austin, found this out last week when Stratasys, the company that made the uPrint SE 3DPrinter he was leasing, got wind of his plans to design a 3DPrintable handgun and took back their equipment.

“The company is less than thrilled with what we’re doing. They’re trying to prevent me from breaking any laws with their product,” Wilson told New Scientist.

As reported previously on the DIMENSIONEXT blog, Wilson and friends founded a group called Defense Distributed to promote ideas about universal gun ownership.

If you build it…

In a letter to Wilson, lawyers for Stratasys cited his lack of a federal firearms manufacturer’s licence as their reason for the repossession, adding that it does not knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes. Wilson countered that his group’s aim is to disseminate a printable gun design online, not print guns…

Stratasys didn’t beleive that: Defense Distributed’s stated aims include the building of two prototypes of differing complexity that can be printed on a uPrint SE. If the guns work, the group will modify the designs for use on entry-level 3DPrinters like those of the RepRap Project.

The plans are limited to C.A.D. files, no physical prototype exists, but if Wilson and company manage to build the first fully printable gun, they will risk more than just running afoul of the law. Bullet propellants can create temperatures of up to 1000 °C. The powdered nylon that entry-level 3DPrinters use for construction, called ABS, cannot cope with that.

“The gunpowder explosion will probably be too much for ABS and other plastics in low-end printers,” says Stuart Offer of 3DPrinting firm 3T RPD in Newbury, UK. In all likelihood the gun would be destroyed, perhaps even blowing up in the shooter’s hands, after firing no more than a few rounds.

Fire when ready

3D printers exist that fuse metal powders using laser or electron beams to produce sturdy, solid objects. But those machines cost around £500,000, says Offer, who uses them to make driver roll hoops for Formula 1 cars. And assembling a gun isn’t like snapping together Lego pieces – each part must fit and move precisely.

3DPrinters that fuse metal could make gun components, but those parts would not make ready-to-fire guns, says Dan Johns, an additive-manufacturing engineer based in Bristol, UK. “The parts would need final, expert machining.”

Still, as prices for more sophisticated printers fall, printing functional weapons is likely to become an affordable prospect. When that happens, governments will be faced with a decision…

Could they lean on internet service providers to seek out and delete gun design files as they circulate online, as some ISPs are now asked to police music and movie file-sharing?

That wouldn’t work, says Wilson: “We know that such efforts will be totally futile, with only random and disproportionate enforcement.”

Another possibility would be to more tightly regulate ammunition so that shooters must get a license before they can purchase bullets. But Wilson sees a way around even this: print your own ammo. If the gun project has even modest initial success, he says he expects to get working on this too…

“3DPrintable ammunition would be a joy to pursue.”


Adapted from:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22323-diy-gun-project-misfires-as-3d-printer-is-seized.html

U.S. Air Force: AD2035 > > >

(Credit: USAF)ARTICLE SPECIALIST KNOWLEDGE LEVEL > >2> > >

Exhilarating and fast-paced, this following video on ever accelerating change by the U.S. Air Force, named ‘Welcome to 2035…the Age of Surprise,’ references 3DPrinting among many other amazing developing and future technological shifts in materials, manufacturing,  cyberspace and aerospace. The Air University‘s U.S. Air Force Center for Strategy and Technology based the on Blue Horizons, a multiple year future study being conducted for the Air Force Chief of Staff: “We can predict broad outlines, but we don’t know the ramifications,” the video suggests “the collective intelligence of humanity drives innovation in every direction while enabling new threats from super-empowered individuals with new domains, interconnecting faster than ever before. Unlimited combinations create unforeseen consequences…”

Blue Horizons: air, space, and cyberspace in 20 years

Air Force 2025, the previous major internal study of the future, was produced at Air University in 1996. Over 260 officers worked through the research that led to a large report outlining alternative futures and technologies required for those complex worlds. The Blue Horizons study is designed to answer questions similar to those addressed in the Air Force 2025 study. These include:

 

  • What are the emerging technologies that will shape the US Air Force and the conflict arena in which it must operate in 20 years in the future?
  • What could air, space and cyberspace power look like 20 years in the future?
  • Who will have access to emerging technologies that can make a difference?
  • How soon will these important technological achievements become fielded systems?


The students researched future systems and technological concepts working closely with subject matter experts from the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Defense Research Projects Agency, major universities and businesses, and other government laboratories and agencies. In addition to producing the reports posted here, the result was a cadre of officers conversant enough in critical areas of emerging technologies to ask critical questions and make assessments of systems in directed energy, biotechnology, nanotechnology and cyber technologies and what they mean for the future of the U.S. Air Force. Blue Horizons 2007 was only the beginning of a series of annual long range vision studies which are known collectively as “Blue Horizons.”  These annual studies serve as an input for the development of Title X wargames
, Strategic Planning Guidance, Quadrennial Defense Review scenarios and the development of service requirements. Here’s that amazing video:

Adapted from: http://www.kurzweilai.net/welcome-to-2035-the-age-of-surprise  (September 10, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica, editor of KurzweilAI.)

3DPrinting on the Battlefield > > >

Battlefield 3DPrinting – $2.8 million each and state-of-the-art:

‘For the first time, the Army is deploying special scientists and self-contained, mobile laboratories to the warzone capable of designing and producing problem-solving inventions for soldiers operating in remote outposts in Afghanistan.

The service’s Rapid Equipping Force, known as the REF, took a standard 20-foot shipping container and packed it with high-tech, prototyping machines, lab gear and manufacturing tools to create the Expeditionary Lab — Mobile.

Soldiers no longer have to wait to bring ideas back to scientists and engineers back in the states. The REF has brought the experts to the soldiers in combat.’

Read more: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/08/17/mobile-labs-build-on-the-spot-combat-solutions.html

3DPrinted Gun Pt2: Campaign Stopped >

Could the ability to manufacture weapons by download in your own home could be the first step into a 3DPrinted black market?

Indiegogo has now suspended Defense Distributed‘s  Wiki Weapon Project to develop open source blueprints for a gun that can be made with a 3DPrinter.

 Defense Distributed had raised $1,708 of its $20,000 goal, and switched to accepting Bitcoin donations following the campaign’s shuttering.

According to the Indiegogo campaign, accessible now only through Google cache:

‘The WikiWep project is to produce a CAD file for distribution and sharing across the internet. This CAD file will be a schematic for a modest, 3D printable plastic firearm. In a world where 3D printing becomes more ubiquitous and economical, defense systems and opposition to tyranny may be but a click away… Let’s pull the world toward this future together.’

Defense Distributed isn’t the first to consider using a 3DPrinter to break into the arms market: Betabeat reported on a gun forum poster who claimed to have built the world’s first functioning 3DPrinted firearm.

Indiegogo however simply listing “unusual account activity” as the reason for taking the page offline...

3DPrinted Gun Pt1: Control Debate >

Image

3DPrinting advances are about to make the gun debate in the United States much more intense. Last week, Forbes highlighted Wiki Weapon, a project to prototype the world’s first fully 3DPrintable gun.

U.S. Second Amendment advocates want to make acquiring arms as easy as downloading a file and hitting Print. Defense Distributed, the group behind Wiki Weapon, aims to raise $20,000 to buy a high spec 3DPrinter to further develop the concept, unsurprisingly raising eyebrows.

Prepared for rhetorical battle Defense Distributed‘s website draws from American history to support the concept that building firearms at home is legal and a long-standing tradition in the U.S., stating openly that Wiki Weapon “is about challenging gun control and regulation.”

The idea of a fully 3DPrintable gun now seems inevitable. 3D CAD models of a lower receiver for a semiautomatic rifle sparked controversy when they popped up online last year. A gun enthusiast succeeded in using one to fire 200 rounds of ammunition. 

It is lawful to build a firearm for personal use in the U.S., but making one out of plastic may violate a 1988 law designed to prevent people from sneaking such guns through airport security, as Wired indicates – the legality issue isn’t clear cut.

The 3DPrinting revolution has been slowly unfolding for about a decade, but it’s only in the last few years that it’s begun to creep into mainstream awareness. Whilst the technology is still young we can now 3DPrint everything from houses to human tissue. 

Soon enough, the list of things we’ll be able to print out will grow even more mind-blowing. In the meantime, we already have plenty of complex issues with which to grapple.