So What happens when you have a very creative man with a 3D printer? Well you normally get innovation but this innovation can be both beneficial to the world or unwanted...
Cody Wilson of DefCad has 3D printer a fully working single shot firearm which can shoot a .22 calibre round from a gun made up of 15 3D printed parts and using a common wood nail as the firing pin. This weapons .stl files were then posted on Cody Wilson website for all to 3D print which has caused mixed emotions. Cody wanted to show that with the 3D printing technology improving anyone will be able to print a gun one day, many people believing it cant be done Cody set out to achieve a fully working 3D printer gun.
Cody Wilsons first publicly announced weapon was the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle. This was printed sing resin and was printed at a 40micron layer resolution. And with the lower receiver being a very precise part to the weapon could really only be printed with this type of printed even though FDM/FFF printers can achieve the layer height they would not be able to achieve the tensile strength of the resin. This was pretty huge but was not a problem as hardly anyone could afford the 3D printer used and the gun still required 75% of AR-15 parts to make a firing weapon. Thus making the idea impractical but showed allot of potential.
So after many months Cody Wilson announced the Liberator 3D printed gun. This gun was entirely printed using FDM/FFF technology(extruded plastic from a heated nozzle) Which meant that the idea of a 3D printer gun became ALLOT more practical and when the .stl files were published it caused allot of interest from around the world,being covered by nearly all News teams...This advertised the gun abroad such as the UK where guns are not permitted, but 3D printers are...meaning anyone with access to a 3D printer has now got access to a gun essentially.
This is quite a big blow to the 3D printing community since it has really put a bad name to 3D printing and could potentially cause governments to regulate 3D printers and their manufacturers which could easily kill the technology just as its leaving the ground...so said my father.
So its really reassuring to see Richard Van As using a 3D printer to benefit himself and children with conditions where they have no use of their hands. Richard lost his fingers in a work related accident and being a labour worker he needed his fingers back to continue his job. He first created ROBOFINGER which works just like a finger which is actuated by his lower index finger. This was mainly metal parts... After seeing Richards work a couple got in touch with Richard because their son has a condition where he has no fingers on his right hand. Richard and an associate from Canada came up with ROBOHAND for this young boy. ROBOHAND is nearly all 3D printed using nuts and bolts to keep parts in-place and using a thermal plastic that wraps around the arm to hold the hand in place. The hand is clenched when the boy(Ryan) pivots his wrist. This gives him the ability to catch and throw balls,hold bats, ride bikes easier etc. Please watch the video below as Richard is now looking for Funding to help other children with similar circumstances.
I really think that this shows two ends of 3D printing... They are both massive leaps in innovation but the gun isnt quite what we were hoping to see where as ROBOHAND is truly great for people in those circumstances and it shows just how much 3D printing can benefit those with certain conditions.