Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wiki 3D guns

3D printed guns.

So far, the eggheads pioneering the open source 3D printed guns seemed focused on replicating an AR-15. But eventually they'll get over themselves and start picking at the low hanging fruit of that tree.

The gun in "In The Line of Fire" is a perfect example of what can easily be done with 3D printers today.

The gun from the movie was a plastic double barrel 9mm, most likely, and it walked past metal detectors with ease. Because 'Booth' only intended to fire two shots from the gun, it didn't need to be built to the high demands of an AR-15. And for self-defense purposes most people who would like to have a gun won't be firing hundreds of rounds through it. They want it for peace of mind, and want to have it around 'just in case'. Lots of gun owners would be fine with just such a disposable gun that could only be fired a few times before it destroyed itself.

And most fire fights happen within 16', even a sloppy, inaccurate gun like this would do the job just fine (if it had, say 25 rounds instead).

Enter 3D printing.

For a movie and a skilled model maker, two barrels would be difficult enough to get to work reliably.

But for a 3D printer, making 25 barrels and 25 firing pins would be simple. And because it lacks a removable clip, it would be exempt from the current gun bans as written. 25 rounds of 9mm would make a barrel 3"x3"x6" long. The trigger could be as simple as pulling a blocking strip from between the pin and the back of the bullet. As strips, it could be fired as fast as an automatic with a quarter a trigger pull being geared to firing a quarter of the bullets.

Of course, disposable guns that can be burned in a fire after use and only cost a few dollars in plastic and an hour or two of assembly would have criminal applications too.

But ponder this, with 3D printing, guns like this can be made to look and feel like toys, even super soakers or ray guns, making them difficult to confiscate if homeland security starts going door to door to confiscate your 'real' guns. Why else has Homeland Security bought enough bullets to fight the Iraq war for 25 years, if not to disarm law biding citizens?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Emu love

I always loved the lowly emu, and it found its way into two of my books. But I never thought emu oil would be worth $10 an OUNCE :)­emu-oil-aids-the-survival-of-an-unusual-industryhtml?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

Sent from my LG phone

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Using "inkjet" printers to "print" computer circuits.

I love seeing articles like this.

You won't believe the 'hate' I got for including a few scenes in my books about printing circuit boards and processors with semi-conducting inks in inkjet printers. I was laughed at and ridiculed, some can still be found in the bad reviews on B&N and Amazon.

But, in 2013, it's starting to become reality.

If you stop and think about it, this is really a 3D printer for circuits, and I love the possibilities this opens up when you combine it with the world 3D printers open up for amateur inventors and home users (something I also took a lot of hate mail for). Since most things mechanical have at least some electronics imbedded, it only makes sense these two inventions will inevitably be brought together at the home user level.

Need a new tablet, but it doesn't need to be as smart or powerful as an iPad?

Just print one out. The processors in the iPad and a typical laptop are tiny and as fast and nimble as a racecar. But if all you're going to do with it is check your email, read some books, play words with friends and suduko then you really only need something with the power and smarts of a scooter, well within range of these inky things.

The printed circuits will be 'bigger', as governed by their droplet size, but bigger has advantages too. Bigger is often cheaper, and it's always easier to make gallons of 'ink' than billions of clean-room silicon chips. And the use of these new inks will let designers optimize the electronics for specialized applications, like those from above.

I believe it'll start a new way of thinking, away from smaller and smaller and into form following function. The processor inside an iPad just has to be smaller than the iPad, it doesn't need to fit on a postage stamp like it does now. It can take up the entire back of the screen if it needs too, or be part of the plastic case. And these inks, inherently, will be layered atop one another into thicker and thicker sheets. Eventually, you'll have inks that make up the screen (already do with Einks on Kindles and Nooks) and the batteries (again, already here), these transistors, diodes, and capacitors are the last few ingredients in the soup.

I see a day when, instead of printing books out with your printer, you print out Ebook readers, preloaded with a library already in them, or the latest iPhone design is just downloaded from the iStore and printed out on your home 3D printer with electronic inks, no trips into town required.

I'm just glad to be around to watch it slowly happen, with a constant trickle of articles like these.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mom just ditched Verizon's $45/month landline...

Mom just ditched Verizon's $45/month landline... for Walmart's $15/month StraightTalk "home phone"... that uses Verizon's cellphone towers to make all its calls. Her reason, "Verizon charges too much" I love irony :)

We'll see how this works out, but with unlimited talk @ $15/m it'll have to be horrible for her to send it back.