There’s a big story right now on CNN titled “UK police raise specter of 3-D printer-made guns“, that claims that components used to make a 3D printed gun were seized in Manchester, along with the 3D printer (a Makerbot Replicator 2) used to make them. The Independent posted the first article, claiming “…the device – together with a trigger and magazine capable of holding bullets – was found in raids in the Bagley area of the city.” 

There’s one problem. The components are actually parts for the printer itself, not pieces of a gun. (NOTE: The CNN article actually shows a picture of a 3D printed gun, not the pictures of the components seized by the Manchester police. This strikes me as a little fear-mongering, as they do not explain that the gun shown has nothing to do with the parts seized.)

Extruder ComponentExtruder component (Photo: Manchester Police)

As pointed out by a commenter online, this is actually a piece of an extruder that is used to feed filament through the print head, not a trigger.

Assembled extruder Assembled extruder (Photo: Thingiverse.com)

After this was pointed out to the police, they issued a second statement, stating “It prudent we establish exactly what these parts can be used for and whether they pose any threat.

This is pretty unnerving to read, as the part is clearly NOT a component for a firearm, and the police are continuing to treat it as a weapon.

I wonder what the outcome of this will be. Will the police admit they made an error? Or will this set a precedent for the laws and regulations surrounding 3D printers in the UK?