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Toolchest contents: getting better and less expensive all the time

Bayou Renaissance Man asks Has technology killed gun control? He starts with a note about “‘3D printing’, a technology that allows you to build up almost anything you can think of in your own basement if you can afford anything from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for equipment.”

“3D printing isn’t necessary for (or even the optimum solution to) home gun production.  Older metal-working technology is becoming more and more affordable and easy to use. As Popehat pointed out last year, even regular machine tools can be purchased cheaply and converted to CNC operation.”

The manufacture of guns seems to be a marker. The idea of interchangeable parts is highlighted by the story of Eli Whitney’s firearms manufacturing. That was a benchmark in the precision manufacturing of metal parts that eventually lead to assembly lines and manufacturing automation. Where we are now, the Harbor Freight era, is where hobbyist tools are becoming sufficiently inexpensive as to allow nearly anyone to obtain sophisticated technologies to put their ideas and creativity into functional expressions.

It is not only the fact that the tools have become less expensive; it is also that the tools have become more precise, more innovative, and more capable as well. That is illustrated by computer assisted design and machine control systems that can also be ‘homebrewed’ for a garage workshop (see build your own CNC).

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