3D Printing on the Rise


Megan A. '20, Writer

With technology advancing each year, 3D printing has become a new way of creating art. However, with a recent spread of gun control awareness, the issue of 3D printing guns has become a prominent addition to the never-ending debate on the second amendment.

As 3D printing has evolved from printing objects such as toys and prosthetic body parts to printing guns and other weapons. 3D printing erupted in America once blueprints of firearms as well as online. Blueprints have slowly started to be released to the public, despite a federal court order.

“3D printing guns is not safe. It will only lead to more problems that we’re trying to overcome,” Khrizima S. ‘20 said.

The first efforts of 3D printing guns began during the 1980s by Dr. Hideo Kodama. He exposed photopolymer (light-active resin) material to UV light which hardened the chosen outline shape. The material goes through a copying software which creates one thick wire layer. The process then repeats itself until the desired shape is reached or stopped manually.

“The debate about 3D printing guns is just as important as gun control,” Khrizima S. ‘20 said.


Permission to print from Wikipedia Commons.


With 3D printers, guns are more accessible to the public than ever, meaning background checks are not required, and serial numbers are not tagged onto the firearm to trace it if it’s used in a crime. The blueprints for the guns have become a current debate due to President Donald Trump’s administration because his policies are more gun-friendly. The former President Barack Obama’s Justice Department agreed to a settlement giving Wilson and his nonprofit an easier access to the American public. According to CNN, Founder of Defense Distribution, Cody Wilson interpreted the court order as,’he could not put gun blueprints online to be downloaded for free.’

“Obama told Wilson to not sell any blueprints online, but once Trump was elected, Obama’s fight against 3D printing guns hasn’t become a major issue we need to talk about,” Neetyaa B. ‘20 said.

Defense Distributed’s website has published blueprints for AR-15-style rifles, Beretta M9 handguns, and other firearms. Printing a plastic gun uses computer website designs such as Autocad Solidworks (which OHS CAD course uses), and is then sent to the printer saved as an SDF file. This software is used by Olentangy High School Computer Aided Design (CAD) classes. Students print out small objects such as fidget spinners, mini owls or animals, circles, triangles, and squares.

“All of our CAD II classes get to pick an object out of a scale to model their design and then print. A lot of kids build fidget spinners,” OHS Industrial Technology Teacher Jeffery Young said.