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Last week, Philadelphia became the first city in the United States to pass a 3D-Printer gun ban.
Consumer 3D printing has recently been enabled as a feasible activity, with the arrival of printers ranging in price from $300-$4,000 from companies such as Makerbot, Cubify, Flashforge, TypeA Machines, and Solidoodle. A debate is raging in the technology industry about how important and impactful the idea of consumers using their own 3D printers will be in society. It would be easy to get lost in the intricate framework of federal and state regulations covering the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of firearms, because the framework is incredibly intricate. There are regular reports of individuals using professional grade 3D printers to print plastic parts to produce small arms. The question then is how difficult would it be to construct a legal, unregistered, and reliable semi-automatic rifle using widely available components, software, tools, materials, designs and 3D printers?
On a recent weekend, I printed the key part (called the lower receiver, shown in blue in the photo) of an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle on a consumer 3D printer made by Makerbot.
Gilman LouieAn 80% stripped aluminum lower.The most difficult constraint in this exercise was to be able to construct a legally compliant firearm.
In California, you must use a design that has already been approved by the state to avoid running afoul of anti-zip gun laws. To turn a stripped lower to a complete AR-15 lower assembly, you need to acquire the following: a lower AR-15 parts kit, an AR-15 rifle butt-stock kit and a bullet button (for California). Once the lower was completed, I attached the lower to the upper using two pins and added a sight.
A The online 3D printing community has a tradition of a€?moddinga€? (modifying) designs iteratively.
Control over printing guns and gun parts is becoming a hotly debated topic between gun-control and gun-rights groups. The ability to print metals, conductive organics and biological tissue has already been demonstrated and costs are falling quickly. It isna€™t difficult to imagine how disruptive this technology will be once anyone can print metals, biologicals, organics, chemicals and other exotic materials using low-cost printers.A  If you can print small arms, you might be able to print IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) or other DIY (Do It Yourself) weapons, instead of being restricted to assembling from whatever is at hand. Gilman Louie is a partner at Alsop Louie Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm in San Francisco.
Today's business pace demands that writers be clear, concise, and easy-to-understand because everybody has too much to read. If your business focuses entirely on graphics work of some kind (Web design, desktop publication, etc.) then you may want to invest in tools like Adobe Creative Suite. But if you're not in the graphics business, you can save some cash and provide your staff with all the graphics tools they can eat by choosing open source software instead.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is one of the oldest and most successful open source applications. If you're familiar with Illustrator or another vector graphics tool, it shouldn't be difficult to get up to speed with Inkscape. Need to whip up a brochure for your business, or maybe a PDF that you can send to clients and want something with a bit more oomph than Microsoft Word orLibreOffice Writer can provide? You can use Draw for very complex artwork, but it's also well-suited for creating charts and diagrams or other simple artwork for presentations and so on. Last, but very certainly not least, is Blender—an open source, cross-platform suite for 3D creation. Few small businesses will need this kind of power, but Blender is on par with proprietary tools if you have need for 3D modeling and such. Most of my graphics work consists of cropping photos in GIMP or using Inkscape to create simple graphics for presentations -- but the tools are capable of much more.
You don't have to spend a fortune on expensive, over-powered graphics software to create promotional materials for your small business. Tweak and improve portraits using tools designed just for photos of people, including redeye reduction and a skin smoother. Pixlr lets you pull images from a number of existing online libraries, or you can upload photos to the platform’s website.
You can resize the on-screen image to enlarge the portions you’re working on for better visibility. Entirely web-based, Pixlr works with any computer operating system and costs nothing to use. Ribbet's advanced touch-up effects—including eyeliner, eye shadow, and an eyebrow pencil—make improving portraits easy. Use the photo-collage tool to define just the right layout, and drop in a selection of favorite pictures. The powerful Corel PaintShop Pro X8 suite lets you relocate objects or even people within a photo. You can add watermarks and other elements in batches, which makes image editing extra fast.
The image-editing software's fill and blending tools make improving image backgrounds simple, while brushes and preset shapes help you create the right look. Boasting a comprehensive list of features, Pixelmator includes effects to distort, sharpen, and stylize images.
The program also offers a wide variety of tile designs along with stylize options—from rain and snow to spotlights and comics. We look at five low-cost or free image editing tools to help small businesses create perfect images for both offline and online marketing campaigns. I saw this modern square speech bubble graphic used recently in a Kickstarter video and thought it would be a great resource to have.
To help the regular enthusiastic GoPro user, who wants to capture their passion and hobbies in the best possible way without becoming bogged down in technical jargon, we have created this free eBook. The last few months, we have had a huge increase in inquiries for volume licenses from schools.
The importance of great images for your website and printed materials cannot be overstated.
GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) first appeared in 1996, and has been regularly updated ever since, so it is no surprise that the package is the most powerful free photo editor. It is has simple editing tools as well as more advanced options similar to Adobe Photoshop. If you are a Mac user, your computer comes pre-loaded with an iPhoto, a great application for editing Photos. If you are using Picasa for online sharing, storing, and organizing Photos, then it can also be the best choice for you to use it as an image editor.


PhoXo has been around for almost 10 years now, and it is grown into a very useful editor with something for everyone. Photo Pos Pro is a totally free digital photo and image editing software, that allows you to easily create, edit, enhance, print, and manipulate your digital photos and computer graphics, and easily create an eye-catching graphics, beautiful collages, greeting cards, business cards, website designs, buttons and much more. Software also offers some fun touches too, like a set of "Magical" effects which help you add fireworks, bubbles, stardust or similar decorations to the image. Our next post in this series will talk about Tool to Send Promotional Emails for Small Business Owners.
Peer editing is the process of reviewing a paper to make suggestions and corrections regarding its content and improve writing.
Preparation for the air vacation is actually the beginning of the trip, because when you start planning, it gives you a thrill of anticipation. But the current generation of machines are still not reliable nor easy to use and they have very little embedded systems support from computers and software.
For instance, a congressionally approved law that prohibits the printing of undetectable plastic firearms just got extended. Recently, one company, Solid Concepts, using a 3D printer that can print metals, reproduced a clone of a military 1911 .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, which successfully fired 50 rounds. I decided to put that question to the test by constructing a rifle based on the popular AR-15 platform, a semiautomatic version of the automatic rifle used by the military called the M4. The next weekend I took the assembled firearm and succeeded in firing more than 50 rounds into a target from 50 feet away. We havena€™t been able to effectively control the distribution and use of guns in our society when you couldna€™t make your own. Federal law allows individuals to construct an unregistered firearm for personal use as long as the user starts out with the regulated part being less than 80% completed.
A California also requires the use of a bullet button so that the magazine requires a tool to remove it.A  By federal law, the assembled firearm must also be detectable by metal detectors (until December 9th). The book I bought is intended to help gun enthusiasts assemble an AR-15 from parts, not to print the parts.
All of the other components of the rifle can be easily and legally bought on Amazon, eBay or gun-enthusiast sites. I have been using the Makerbot printer for a couple of months, learning how to use it and what issues affected the quality of printing, so a new user would take longer to get the same result. I cleaned up the print using a power drill, Dremel-brand rotary tool and a small amount of Plasticweld to correct a few imperfections in the printing process. A Using a punch kit, screwdriver and vise grip, I followed the instructions provided in the book to assemble the complete functional lower in under an hour.
Besides disrupting existing domestic firearm laws, 3D printable firearms will make sections of the current UN Arms Treaty ineffective. The closest comparison I have is that we are in a similar place where personal computers were in 1977. He is the chairman of the Federation of American Scientists, recently served as a commissioner on the National Commission for Review of Research and Development Programs of the U.S. Before you shell out big bucks for Adobe Creative Suite or another set of proprietary graphics software tools, you should think about what open source software has to offer.
Even though I'm a big fan of open source software, there are some jobs that require or at least benefit greatly from proprietary tools -- though in skilled hands I've seen free and open source tools produce results that rival proprietary tools.
It's widely used by photography enthusiasts and open source enthusiasts who are looking for an alternative to Photoshop. Whether you need to do some simple re-sizing, heavy retouching or creating images from scratch, GIMP is the tool of choice for working with bitmap images. It lets you edit and create complex (or simple) artwork -- anything from icons and simple clip art to complex illustrations for children's books.
Scribus is an open source desktop publishing tool that can help you create press-ready output.
It may not have as many features as those tools, but it is up to the task of creating just about any publication that your small business may need. LibreOffice is a project that spun off from OpenOffice.org to foster better community collaboration. Blender has been used to create animated masterpieces like Big Buck Bunny and Elephants Dream.
On the download page you'll also find "regression files" that are meant to test releases of Blender to ensure that updates don't break features artists have come to expect. Creating your own art to promote your business doesn't have to be expensive or difficult -- the tools are ready and waiting.
Well-chosen photos make marketing materials more engaging, and the right product pictures can help increase small business ecommerce sales. A variety of image editing tool can help you turn your pictures into valuable small business assets. You can upload photos directly to the website, or you can enter a URL for pictures you may already have stored online.
Add animations, drop in text, or access more sophisticated features such as controlling color temperature and adding watermarks. You'll find more advanced commands, such as pixelation, saturation and others, under the menu bar. It’s also easy to select part of an image, and then clone it to use in other sections of the picture. Small businesses that work around seasonal schedules can take advantage of holiday effects, while textures and overlays quickly change the look of any image. It’s a handy feature if you want to mimic something from a past marketing campaign or revise previous changes to match updated needs. The platform's built-in social features make sharing your images on social media fast and easy. It costs $64.99 on Corel's website, but you might find a lower price at Amazon and other retailers.
It provides basic image editing options such as to resize and rotate your photos, a good variety of selection and paint tools, and some excellent special effects.
There are plenty of selection options, a wide range of paint tools, colour corrections and more. Try CentriQS complete task management solution for planning, tracking and reporting tasks, projects, and schedules. Others believe that this preemptive measure will help that city get ahead of creative criminals.


It is still considered a hobby activity, much as personal computers were in 1978 when Apple, Commodore, and Radio Shack introduced the first consumer computers. Defense Distributed, a non-profit digital publisher and 3D R&D firm, developed an all-plastic handgun based on a WWII design called the Liberator.
I am licensed and trained in small arms handling, but I was able to print this part without asking permission or breaking any Federal or State laws in California (it should be noted that firearm laws vary from state to state and from city to city).
We havena€™t even been able to agree on whether we should even try, given the Constitutiona€™s Second Amendment a€?Right to Bear Arms.a€? But now, 3D printers are being sold to individuals who are experimenting with building all kinds of objects. On an AR-15, the only regulated part is called the lower receiver (the part that connects the trigger, magazine loader, stock and barrel into a single unit).
There are set of other rules and laws that control different aspects of how you design the gun.
Other than the lower receiver, I was able to order the book and all of the assembly parts online. Just using Google search on a web browser, I found plenty of 3D CAD files for the lower, as well as detailed blueprints of an AR-15 lower. Other than bullets, all of the necessary parts and tools needed to assemble a 3D printed rifle can be purchase on Amazon.
While consumer 3D printers are based on plastic-based processes, there are multiple competing technologies that have significant advantages.
Intelligence Community and chaired the committee on Forecasting Future Disruptive Technologies for the U.S.
If you'd like to create professional work without breaking the bank, I've got five open source graphics apps that will get the job done. While it's not quite as full-featured as Photoshop (and enthusiasts can explain in great detail where GIMP has shortcomings for high-end photo editing), GIMP offers just about everything that a small business owner would need for image retouching, editing and so on. GIMP is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, and it now runs natively on OS X, without the need to install special X11 libraries.
Check out the gallery on the Inkscape Wiki for some examples of what can be done with Inkscape. If you're already using OpenOffice.org, you can use its version of Draw, or check out LibreOffice.
The OCAL has a collection of clip art licensed under the Creative Commons Public Domain license. You can access existing photos by logging in to Dropbox, Facebook, Picasa, and a host of other popular platforms. PaintShop Pro X8 makes it simple to insert; you can even define an area and wrap text around it.
Increase productivity of your small business or office by better organizing your employees' tasks and time.
Many lawmakers are asking themselves: how real is the threat and how realistic is it to restrict the printing of 3D guns?
Almost no one disagrees that the commercial and industrial use of 3D printers will change manufacturing systems forever and lead to a remarkable revolution in custom and even high-volume manufacturing. A stripped lower is just the bare housing without any of the other components of the rifle.
I anticipated that I wanted to use a small caliber to ensure that the rifle fired reliably and did not break due to high-pressure recoil. Regardless of the outcome of the debate, my experiment demonstrates that this particular genie is already out of the bottle.
Essentially, anything in the OCAL should be entirely free to use, royalty free, in any project that you're working on. So before you publish any images on your website or printed material, select them carefully and make sure they are not too dark, distorted from resizing, or show things that should be cropped out, they can spoil your brand. Its features include layers, over 50 special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools to select, crop, paint and retouch.
The touchstone for the debate about consumer use of 3D printers is the idea that an individual can print a functional gun in the privacy of their home and then use it without ever coming under the scrutiny of law enforcement.
The continued development of 3D printing technology will undermine any notion of regulating firearms, and controlling their distribution as has been done in the past, will lead to a remarkable re-evaluation of our policies regarding gun rights and gun control. The lower is typically made out of aircraft aluminum, used to house the trigger and hammer assembly, and holds in place the magazine, rifle stock and the upper.
If I was not worried about breaking the law, I could have downloaded a modified design for an AR-15 lower that would have fired 5.56 military rounds more reliably than the lower I printed. As with all things digital, it is now impossible to stop the sharing and use of digital content even if sharing is illegal.
I believe 3D printing will follow a similar performance curve to Moorea€™s Law, which a cofounder of Intel, Gordon Moore, observed five decades ago for semiconductors: performance doubles every two years.
He is the founding CEO of In-Q-Tel, formed in 1999 to provide access to new technologies for the CIA.
Especially, you can easily add text effects to the image, such as shadow text, ripple text, gradient color text, etc.
It also supports color channels, Layers concept, multi-step undo gradients and masks support, Text layers support makes PixBuilder Studio a great graphics software for image processing and creating illustration.
And he is the founder of Spectrum HoloByte, developer and publisher of hit video games such as Falcon F-16 and Tetris.
Don’t have the capital to invest in top-quality professional photo editing software like Photoshop?
PhoXo web site provides a large number of resources, including step by step tutorials, thousands of free clip-art, frames, patterns, textures and shapes. Remember, I chose a lower caliber (.22LR) upper to increase reliability and to make it more compliant with other statesa€™ laws. Now the personal computer is a part of a history that has lead directly to tablets and smartphones and wearable computers for billions of consumers. At 50 feet, using a red dot sight, it was easy to place all of the hits into a quarter-size group at the center of the target. We are at the dawn of a new revolution that will be as profound and disruptive as the personal computing revolution. Results of the test: The rifle is reliable, accurate and did not suffer any cracks or mechanical failures.



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