Researcher discovers way to trace 3D-printed guns—with a few caveats

An article in Popular Mechanics reports on research by Wenyao Xu, associate professor of computer science and engineering, that has discovered the first way to track 3D-printed objects, including guns, using the unique “fingerprints” that 3D printers leave on the objects they produce.

The article notes that Xu explained that even devoid of a serial number, identifying markers are already embedded in the firearms similar to birthmarks left from the 3D-printing process. First Bell, a weekday newsletter of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), also linked to the story. The link is available only to ASEE members.

Read the story here.

An article on Vice News also reports on the research and quotes Xu. “3D printers are built to be the same,” he said. “But there are slight variations in their hardware created during the manufacturing process that lead to unique, inevitable and unchangeable patterns in every object they print.”