Lately there has been much hoopla about 3D printed guns. The time is fast approaching when almost anyone will be able to print a 3D gun at home using readily available and inexpensive 3D printers from the likes of 3D Systems DDD (DDD), Stratasys (SSYS) and ExOne (XONE).
On the surface, it seems that 3D printed guns will hurt traditional gun manufacturers such as Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm, Ruger RGR & Co. (RGR), but the reality is likely to be quite different for the foreseeable future. Here are five reasons why 3D printed guns will not hurt gun manufacturers.
Regulation: It would seem that it would be difficult for the government to regulate 3D printed guns in the same way as traditional guns. After all, the government is going to have difficulty in regulating what people do in the privacy of their own garage. The government may choose to act smarter and instead of regulating the printing of guns, it may simply regulate the sale of 3D printers. All 3D printers are run by software. The government may simply insist that 3D printer manufacturers install software that prevents printing of a hollow cylinder of a certain size, a firing pin, or a certain type of spring.
Reliability: 3D printers typically use plastics. Firing a gun creates heat and heat melts plastic. Defense Distributed used a 3D printer manufactured by Stratasys bought on eBay for $8,000 and using inexpensive plastic made from acrylonitrile, styrene and butadiene. There are higher end materials that can handle more heat but they are more expensive. They also require high-end printers with costs in six figures. The ability to print guns with reliability on par with conventionally manufactured guns at a competitive price is far, far away…Read more at Forbes