50 to 100 times more expensive

Much has been made of 3D printing for 2nd amendment purposes. 3D printing is an excellent process (actually several processes) for rapid prototyping and manufacturing low volumes of parts that can’t be made using conventional processes. It is not currently poised to replace conventional manufacturing. Proto Labs, which sells 3D printing AND conventional machining and molding processes, put out a great journal issue which covers the relative merits. http://www.protolabs.com/journal They list the relative merits and applications of 3DP and conventional processes. Key point: 3D printing is 50 to 100 times more expensive than a molded plastic part in volume. Not 50 to 100 percent, 50 to 100 TIMES. As I have said elsewhere, if there were a total gun ban in the US, the most likely source would be conventional machine shops, perhaps set up in secret, or perhaps legit operations operating off hours. You can machine a gun a lot better and a lot cheaper than using a replicator, at least until the 23rd century. But by then we’ll be using phasers anyway.
Actually, one of the most difficult things might be primers. If we’re fighting a guerrilla war against a repressive government, when our ammo is gone, we can mix black powder and cast lead, but will need a clandestine primer plant to mix up that magic material and fill tiny metal cans.


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