According to police in Manchester, UK, a recent raid netted several parts of the 3D-printed guns that were supposedly being used by local criminals.
“If what we have seized is proven to be viable components capable of constructing a genuine firearm,” said police spokesman Chris Mossop, “then it demonstrates that organised crime groups are acquiring technology that can be bought on the high street to produce the next generation of weapons.”
However, what the officials found weren’t parts of a 3D-printed gun, but parts of a 3D printer. New Scientist explains.
If the police have linked the production of gunpowder with the 3D printed parts, they may be mistaken. The “trigger” identified by police appears to be part of a MakerBot 3D printer designed to extrude 3D-printing plastic to make an object, and the “clip” looks like a part intended to hold spools of plastic.
Of course, had they found actual gun parts, the weapons wouldn’t be doing criminals much good anyway. Most 3D-printed guns so far have fallen apart after just a few shots.