San Jose Crackdown: Teen Arrested for 3D Printing Illegal Firearms

By on February 27th, 2024 in news, Usage

Tags: , ,

Items seized from an illegal manufacturing operation [Source: SJPD]

Another perp has been busted for 3D printing weapons.

Readers may recall our story of a case in Canada from a few weeks ago. Now the focus is on San Jose, California, where an 18-year old has been charged with the “manufacture and sale of illegal firearms”.

The perp was apparently using a desktop 3D printer to produce components that could be assembled into working firearms. San Jose Police Department writes:

“On January 12, 2024 the San José Police Department Gun and Hazardous Offender Suppression Team (GHOST) conducted a proactive investigation following a tip into the manufacturing and sale of privately made firearms (PMF’s), commonly known as ghost guns, in the city of San José. During the investigation, Francisco Sanchez Jr. was revealed as the primary suspect, and it was discovered that the suspect was using a 3D printer to manufacture illegal firearms for sale.”

SJPD collected a 3D printer, firearm parts and “firearm manufacturing precursor materials”, which I suspect means “spools of filament”.

In the image the 3D printer appears to be a SOVOL SV06, a well-regarded desktop device that can print at high speeds. Interestingly, it’s also one of the lowest-cost high speed 3D printers on the market, currently listed at only US$199. The control panel appears to be disconnected.

The practice of producing “ghost guns” has become more frequent in recent years due to the low cost of equipment and materials, along with the availability of design files. Police in many cities have been scooping up these operations as soon as they are identified.

There’s really no technical approach to prevent this from occurring, as 3D printers dutifully make whatever design is provided. In fact, metalworking equipment like lathes, CNC mills and others can also produce firearms, and those are more likely to function correctly.

However, as long as there are buyers, there will be suppliers.


By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

Leave a comment