For every person who attempts to use a technology such as 3D Printing for a weapon (and whether the journalistic hype surrounding the drama actually meets reality), there are hundreds of thousands of people who use 3D Printing for something creative such as the iShooter, a 3D Printable ring stabilizer for the iPhone and iPad.. No more shaky videos and may even be handy for some gyroscope based driving/flying games (not first person shooters)...
Duann, in what way does experimenting with 3D printing for gunsmithing applications make me an 'idiot'? I have eagerly promoted and supported 3D printing ever since becoming interested in the technology (including pointing many people to Shapeways when they ask how they can have something made), and have spent several thousand dollars of my own money researching and testing better/cheaper plastic resins for 3D printing.
I understand that you may not share my interest in firearms, but I don't feel that such a statement is warranted. I do, however, agree fully that the journalistic hype is unwarranted (and furthermore, that there appears to have been very little actual 'journalism' done).
Name calling will get us nowhere fast, I apologize for that.
Your documentation of your process shows a thoughtful respect for the limits of the 3D printing process but I do not want to encourage people to follow your investigations without a proper understanding of those same limits inherent in the materials and processes.
As you are probably aware but many readers (ahem, journalists) in the blogosphere may not understand is that a 3D Printed polymer is very different to an injection molded polymer, just as FDM, SLS and SLA have very different properties.
I would hate to see someone pay for the mistake of not really understanding this.
We do not permit the use of Shapeways for the 3D Printing of any weapons or part there of, we will not knowingly 3D Print them or allow them in our gallery.
I have edited the post, but still believe in sharing this information, although an interesting case study in an academic sense, may do more harm than good.
Thank you Duann, apology accepted - I appreciate your candor.
I agree that people who may wish to attempt a similar project should be aware of the technical limitations (and especially any legal implications) therein - in this specific case, I worked with a system that would still provide a great amount of safety should the printed part fail.
I do disagree regarding the harm/good of sharing the information - I hope that the knowledge that 3D printing was successfully used in this project will cause people to think of other novel applications where 3D printing had not previously been considered. Like you, I naturally want to see the technology expand further and look forward to seeing what other fields can benefit from it.