When CAD Software Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Design Aircraft

Gurbir Grewal

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

I’ve questioned New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal‘s intelligence and sanity since he sued a California company last year under the novel legal theory that a nonexistent New Jersey law applies to a California gun parts seller. I blame the lead in New Jersey’s water for the Attorney General’s impairment.

In his latest excursion into madness, Grewal has announced that he is joining a lawsuit to block a federal rule change to . . .

enact rules to weaken federal oversight of certain firearm-designing software files, which would make it easier for anyone with access to such files and a 3D printer to create a gun.

If that press release accurately reflects the suit, Silicon Valley, every professional engineering association, machinist, and every company using PLC in the world will come down on his head.

Wait. I stand corrected: I can’t really think of anyone a suit of that nature won’t annoy.

That is because his statement conflates CAD software, device control files, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and both computer numerical control (CNC) and manual milling. The rule change he is challenging relates to only “digital firearms files,” but he describes restrictions on the very software that can generate those files, justifying it by citing non-3D printed 80% lowers.

He specifically calls out computer aided design (CAD) software:

The multistate coalition, which expects to file its suit later this week, is opposing new rules that would remove from the U.S. Munitions List software and technology that enables the design and production of certain firearms.

At least he also mention the “digital firearm files” he’s allegedly concerned with:

With digital firearm files, anyone with a computer and access to a 3D printer – including minors, convicted felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill – can make a working gun.

And he needs to block the software and files because of non-3D printed “80%” lowers and frames:

In June 2018, Attorney General Grewal sent cease-and-desist letters to “ghost gun” companies across the United States, ordering them to stop advertising and selling partially-built firearms,

Grewal has zero grasp of the technologies, and has confused several elements. If he were to win a lawsuit aiming to do what this statement purports, he will seriously impede far more industries than home firearm building.

CAD software is the program used to design something. It can be used to design a firearm (manufacturers use it) or a smartphone, or anything. In the ’90s, I used to do medieval armor design (for the Socienty for Creative Anachronism) with CAD. The CAD program can then render that design into a device control file. Or, as I did, print paper patterns to be traced ont sheet metal.

The device control file — be it for a firearm or spangenhelm Viking helmet — is fed to the device that makes the part. That device could be an additive 3-D printer or a CNC mill (like a DefDist GhostGunner mill).

Additive 3D printing, as generally used by home hobbyists, slowly builds up a part with dabs of molten plastic. At the current state of materials technology, it tends to make substandard firearms because it lacks strength. Cody Wilson’s original Liberator was so bulky and blocky because he had to seriously over-build it to keep it from exploding.

Home 3-D printers are really better for building a plastic model with which to make a mold for convention metal casting, or — if you really want a plastic gun — injection-molding with a material like nylon.

Milling is making a part by removing material from a block. A mill could be CNC, requiring a control file; a manually operated mill; or some guy with a hand file and drill finishing an 80% lower or frame, no digital files needed.

Grewal conflated all of these in his statement.

If he gets the export limits he wants on CAD software, he’ll darn near shut down every industry which uses it. No more downloaded software updates for AutoCad. Boeing, for example, would not be happy; aircraft are hard to design without working CAD. Nor would New Jersy’s manufacturing industry.

His lawsuit is pointless so far as limiting New Jersey access to device control files anyway. Under current export rules, all a company has to do to allow downloads is add an address verification step so downloads can’t be made from outside the US. Under federal rules, NJ residents can still download them.

Also, the files have been in the wild for years. Even before federal Judge Lasnik shut down DefDist’s downloads, the files had been downloaded worldwide over a hundred thousands times, and mirrored on servers across the planet, forcing the technologically-challenged AG to play whack-a-mole every time he finds another download site.

And none of this would address people finishing 80% lowers by hand, or even casting their own lower from scrap aluminum (yes, people do that; check YouTube).

People have been making firearms by hand for nine hundred years. The cat was out of the bag long before Columbus discovered America. Banning software and reducing American industry to a pre-computer level won’t stop that.

comments

  1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I can’t really think of anyone a suit of that nature won’t annoy.

    I think Mr. Grewal’ suit is pretty sharp. I especially like how his tie and head-wrap are matching colors. That snappy purple really completes the ensemble.

    What? The article was referring to a LAWSUIT, not his clothing?!?!?

    (snicker)

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Looks like my doorman.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Subtract the ‘New Jersey Attorney’ and General Gurbir Grewal would make for a great central Asian, former Soviet republic dictator. Certainly looks the part.

        1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          Why would you need to subtract?

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Somehow I fear his head wrap is wound just a *little* too tightly… 😉

    3. avatar Southern Cross says:

      Mr Grewal, if you think your actions are going to stop criminals from acquiring firearms, you must be a very SPECIAL kind of stupid!

      Your knowledge of firearms and technology must rival mine of meso-American pottery shards.

  2. avatar M1Lou says:

    This is what happens when people think technology is magic, or that you can just block software with words on paper.

    1. avatar BusyBeef says:

      good technology is virtually indistinguishable from magic.

  3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    At the current state of materials technology, [3-D printing] tends to make substandard firearms because it lacks strength. Cody Wilson’s original Liberator was so bulky and blocky because he had to seriously over-build it to keep it from exploding.

    Oh my. You didn’t? You just gave government a “compelling public safety” reason to prohibit 3-D printers and files for firearms because 3-D printed plastic firearms are apt to explode, EXPLODE I TELL YOU!, and injure anyone who operates that plastic firearm.

    For anyone who is dense or did not consume enough coffee, that was sarcasm: governments are quite content to manufacture stuff out of thin air (pun unintended) to justify their firearm bans.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Whew! Sure glad I read this page, with the article and all the ensuing comments warning me of the danger. I was *this* close to printing off a plastic gun and sticking a live round in it for giggles. You guys have saved me a lot of trouble, hurt, expense, and embarrassment.

      Sure wish I was smart enuf to figure these kind of things out on my own. Good thing my local politicians are doing it for me. For the children.

    2. avatar Din Zammerman says:

      I like to explode in your wife’s mouth.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        By the way Din Zammerman,

        Who says that I have a wife?

        1. avatar Din Zammerman says:

          Sorry, husband.

        2. avatar Vladster says:

          Vlad, is that you?

    3. avatar strych9 says:

      “You just gave government a “compelling public safety” reason to prohibit 3-D printers…”

      Nah, but you can practically hear the OSHA regulations book growing.

  4. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Gurbir Grewal (India), David Frum (Canada) Andrew Sullivan (England)
    All three of them never supported the American bill of rights. They came here to make $$$ and put their foot on the necks of the Americans who welcomed them to this country. Now they work to make the USA a sh#t hole. Like the one they came from.
    I think anyone who immigrates here and betrays the BoR should be stripped of their citizenship and shipped back to the sh#t hole they came from.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Chris T in KY,

      I think anyone who immigrates here and betrays the BoR should be stripped of their citizenship and shipped back to the sh#t hole they came from.

      Sounds like an excellent idea!

      1. avatar Hush says:

        I think you’ve got something there!

    2. avatar dph says:

      To be fair, he was born in Jersey City, NJ, so he already lives in the shit hole he came from.

      1. avatar Shadowwolffe says:

        I’m from Texas, New Jersy is another country. If he was in texas I would consider him an immigrant, just like all the commifornians who move to Texas

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Hey, did you catch the message from Abbot, welcoming all the CA crowd while advising them to leave their liberal shit behind? I was impressed!

        2. avatar Bad Hat Harry says:

          Hell, North and South NJ are like two different countries who hate each other. Not kidding either.

      2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        to DPH

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurbir_Grewal
        Ship him and his immigrant parents back to the sh#t hole India were the family came from. His parents seem to believe in following the old British rulers.

        “Before 1857 there was no gun control law in India. Any Indian could own any weapon of any caliber. After the mutiny things changed as the British decided that the time had come to restrict Indians from owning weapons and hence the first seeds of arms control were sowed.”

        https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/english-gun-law-a-colonial-import/

  5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    And is Mr. Grewal going to send cease-and-desist orders to every store in the United States that sells plumbing supplies? Remember, you can make a working single-shot 12 gauge shotgun in a just a few minutes with galvanized water pipe.

    For that matter you can make other destructive contraptions with pipe as well. (I am going to avoid saying exactly what those contraptions are so-as to avoid popping up on fedzilla’s radar.) All the more reason to order all stores and websites in the United States to immediately stop selling plumbing supplies.

    1. avatar Docduracoat says:

      No, he is not going to do that.
      Most leftist tyrants have never actually produced anything of value in their entire lives.
      He cannot conceive of the idea of being a craftsman with skills to buy plumbing hardware and manufacture a working gun from parts.
      He can however print a document on a computer.
      So he can conceive of manufacturing a gun from a computer file.
      That is why he is going to ignore all the machinists and harass CAD people

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    This is one SIKH puppy(😅)…ta da!

    1. avatar Chris in VA says:

      I believe you may have just won the internet for the whole weekend! Enjoy it, my friend.

  7. avatar Kendahl says:

    Firearms were designed before the invention of CAD software. In principle, his suit also applies to drafting tables, T-squares, protractors, French curves, pens, pencils and blank paper.

    1. avatar FormerParatrooper says:

      Do the workers in Afghani caves use CAD?

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “Do the workers in Afghani caves use CAD?”

        Nothing to stop them. Lots of ‘thumb’ USB drives were regularly found in terrorist hideouts…

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          Realistically it’s a moot point.

          Many of the roads we’ve spent the last 19 years fighting over in Afghanistan were built by UBL specifically to help harass the Soviets but not allow the Soviets to have a two-way street. These dudes can literally carve roads and huge vehicle-capable tunnels into the sides of mountains if they want to, and they have done so.

          There’s plenty of whip-smart people with a fucked up moral/ethical compass and the resources to indulge their interests. Where the tools are available they’ll use them, where tools are not they’ll just find another way. Just like UBL did with his roads. Where he could put heavy machinery he did (on his own dime too). Where it had to be done old-school it was done.

        2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          AQ specifically recruited engineering students and hand-radicalized them for the 9/11 attacks.

          I fully expect that is still happening and we won’t know about it until after the fact.

          As an aside, the rank-and-file Leftists that believe in the party line for some strange reason think IQ is proportional to the level of education they had. Both you and I know plenty of folks who may not have even graduated high school are whole lot sharper than many with a so-called degree, even the really prestigious Ivy League schools. I’ll qualify that with the graduates of Stanford and MIT (and similar) actually have the goods in the brights department, based on my interactions with a number of MIT grads I’ve hung around with on occasion over the years at my extended family’s gatherings.

          Harvard and Yale? Homie, *please*…

        3. avatar strych9 says:

          [Edit 9]

          The direct conflation of a degree with raw intelligence is not accidental. It was taught to those people on purpose. That purpose is because they’ve been taught in such a way that the degree, and the intelligence is supposedly represents/confers, is part of their identity.

          That means that if you question what they’ve been taught you attack their identity and provoke an emotional defensive reaction which is by design.

          Dumbasses who also believe that they themselves are super smart assume that this is just product of soft kids or a bunch of other bullshit and act in ways that provoke an even deeper and more visceral reaction.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    “I blame the lead in New Jersey’s water for the Attorney General’s impairment.”

    I think his turban is too tight. With no blood flowing to the brain, anyone can become a Democrat.

  9. avatar Shire-man says:

    Today’s left is just a rebirth of the Khmer Rouge. Kill anyone with knowledge that works against the party. Burn all the books containing that knowledge. Round up anyone who isn’t like the party.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      But we aren’t going to fork over the irons and be led into the fields.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “Today’s left is just a rebirth of the Khmer Rouge.”

      Yep, look at the indoctrination training they are swallowing hook, line, and sinker. They are covering the fundamentals, like de-humanizing the enemy (us). It’s not much different than what the military does when going to war, like in Vietnam, where the enemy was ‘gooks’. Now it’s ‘hicks’, knuckle-draggers, etc…

  10. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    Remember that this is from a state that calls a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun a firearm and makes the possession of a Gamo Silent Cat air gun a felony because it’s a “silenced” firearm. I can feel the safety all the way out here in Oklahoma.

  11. avatar GS650G says:

    I bet that AG has armed protection and a personal collection of banned guns in his house. He doesn’t hate guns, just doesn’t want anyone to own them.

  12. avatar Anymouse says:

    We need to ban all books, printing presses, and the internet. Criminals can find out how to make explosives, guns, and drugs.
    This is an asinine lawsuit for so many reasons. 1) What concern is it for the states to prevent exports? What is their standing? Feds get to make foreign policy. States can complain if those policies prevent their products from being exported. They can’t complain about out-of-state exports. 2) Domestically, algorithms and technical information have been ruled as free speech (see DeCSS). 3) You can’t stop the signal. The files are already available on foreign servers, and foreigners are distributing them on peer-to-peer networks. Only the copyright owners could object, and most files are public domain. 4) States can’t file lawsuits to prevent Americans from importing them. That’s federal power. They can lobby, and their reps can propose. 5) They can make laws to prevent their residents from possessing the files, but that’s a violation of 1A.
    Unfortunately, citizens of my state chose to elect as AG a college professor with no experience instead of a highly experienced prosecutor. He participates in this silliness instead of protecting his constituents.

  13. avatar Rand says:

    Just like drugs, the plan is to make guns illegal then sell them to us at extreme prices and pocket the money or use it for slush funds to to whatever other mayhem they desire. They get to bust buyers (that have enough quantity to make headlines) to show how the politicians were right in the first place. The circle keeps circling just like the drug war.

  14. avatar Rusty - Always Carry - Chains says:

    This guy is an idiot, does he think he can require licenses for every high end CAD station? I have news for him, every gaming desktop or laptop made in the last 5 years can be easily repurposed into a CAD station better suited to the purpose than the most expensive high end CAD stations of 10 years ago.

    Modern Socialists seem to be taking inspiration from the Luddite movement of the early 1800s.

  15. avatar Din Zammerman says:

    I’m sorry, but you POTG are such fags!

    1. avatar Kyle says:

      troll better

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      Calling us “cads” would have been ironic and reflected better on your intelligence.

      1. avatar LampOfDiogenes says:

        Yeah, but you have functioning brain cells. Din Zimmerman, OTOH, does not.

        So, why engage this OBVIOUS, brainless troll?

    3. avatar Hillbilly says:

      Earlier you were exploding in a guys mouth and now the other posters are fags? Funny I asked you if you are a fag and you hit me with your purse.

    4. avatar Manly Man says:

      Hey, ‘Din Zammerman’, looking for a little ‘action’?

    5. avatar LampOfDiogenes says:

      Wait, wut????

      I thought it was totes OK to be gay? Is that not true???

      OTOH, why do you care if gays have the right to defend themselves? Do you want to kill gays??

      So, pretty much, you’re a homophobic @$$hole. OK, got it. I can safely ignore you, in the future.

      Have a nice life, troll.

  16. avatar Kyle says:

    Its never about “making sense”. Its about running for higher office, and if your on the wrong side of gun control in the democrat party, your baked.

    1. avatar Din Zammerman says:

      ‘Kyle’ is such a strong name for a pre op trans woman…

      1. avatar Hillbilly says:

        You are the one who hit me with your purse!

      2. avatar LampOfDiogenes says:

        We already know you’re a homophobe, so you don’t need to reinforce that.

        As an alternative, why not confront, directly, the policy issues around ‘common sense gun control’??

        Oh, because you’re actually an ‘ignoranus’. Got it – but, then, I’d already figured that out. But you are a particularly virulent version of an ignoranus, so I feel justified in calling you on your ignoranusness.

  17. avatar strych9 says:

    Why do you think I suggested making all hardware stores into Federally Licensed businesses requiring BGCs?

    Because it’s a Modest Proposal and Admiral Akbar lacked foresight.

  18. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    This guy lacks the IQ of a flatworm.

    The time has come to simply eliminate humanities and liberal arts from colleges. These departments are turning out pedigreed morons who have no concept how the modern world works – where the value of ‘modern’ starts about the year 1900. This is offensive enough – but when they continue on to law schools because their worthless degrees won’t gain them employment, we end up with the above level of rank stupidity.

    We could burn schools like Georgetown, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, et al to the ground, never replace them, and make no negative impediment upon the forward progress of humanity. That’s how much stupidity they produce.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Taking down schools of education would be more productive and require less effort. Taking them over requires more effort but yields better gains in the long run.

      Personally I see no reason to engage in scorched earth policies just to replant the crops later.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “The time has come to simply eliminate humanities and liberal arts from colleges.”

      What needs to happen is conservatives being teachers, degreed conservatives getting in the ground floor of the Department of Education and rising through the ranks there so they can impact lesson plans at the state level. And we need conservatives getting elected to local school boards so they can impact what is taught there.

      If we can’t at least be in parity with Leftists in the education system, we are handing them our children….

    3. avatar Complete Disapproval says:

      @Dyspeptic Gunsmith:

      “The time has come to simply eliminate humanities and liberal arts from colleges.”

      Sir, I generally agree with what you have to say, but this time you are WRONG. A knowledge of humanities and liberal arts (like history and English literature for instance) is of vital importance to a civilized society. If you have ever been exposed to the humanities, you should know that. If not, I feel sorry for you.

      Yes, the humanities can be misused by asshole professors, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. And having been there long ago, I can still spot a asshole professor from a mile away.

      1. avatar Complete Disapproval says:

        Dammit: “…AN asshole…” Where is that edit button?

      2. avatar LampOfDiogenes says:

        Having seen Dyspeptic Gunsmith’s comments before, I am going to ‘assume’ (knowing full well what happens when you ‘assume’) that what he really meant was that we have to eliminate the Leftist version of Humanities.

        When I was in college (admittedly, that is now over 45 years ago, but still . . .), most of my ‘humanities professors were clearly left-of-center (even, to my surprise, one professor who was a retired Marine – go figure), and they weren’t even shy about sharing their OWN views with us. But I can say this with a straight face, I can’t think of a single instance where one of them treated me with anything other than the same respect they afforded my classmates, or downgraded me because I disagreed with them.

        The problem the Left faced in academia was that . . . if they truly taught critical thinking, their message didn’t sell. Who in the blue-hammered hell would believe that the architects of the “Great Leap Forward”, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia, or the Holodomor, or any of a hundred others I could name, would have legitimate insights into how to run a country???

        So, instead, they opted for hegemony – seriously, go online and check out what happens to right-of-center kids at college, today. I have personal experience of this with my two boys, who both graduated from the same college, that became more and more “woke” between when my oldest matriculated and my youngest graduated. I can testify, and get corroborating testimony from my boys, as to the oppressive, and increasing, “wokism” they were subjected to. They graduated ONLY by keeping their heads down – and my youngest was almost prohibited from his graduation ceremony because (it was a practice for the kids at this school to decorate their mortarboards with messages) he had AN AMERICAN FLAG on his mortarboard.

        I. kid. you. not.

        I don’t insist on right-wing professors or courses; I insist on HONEST professors and courses.

        We don’t need, and shouldn’t want, to make academia a right-of-center hegemony. I want GOOD professors. I have learned as much from my Leftist professors as I have from my (relatively few) right-of-center professors – but I was blessed to have GOOD professors (mostly).

        Don’t think that happens, today. Just sayin’.

  19. avatar neiowa says:

    This twit is trying for the dumbest State AG. That takes some doing though. The Iowa dumbass AG has decades of experience on Mr Towelhead.

    1. avatar Engy says:

      Turd Ferguson, AG, of Washington state is in the running.

      Don’t count him out.

  20. avatar ZBM-2 says:

    He’s an anti-weapon Sikh. He could, legitimately, truthfully say that weapons are part of his religion. What’s next, practicing, non-Reform Jews and Muslims trying to outlaw Kosher and Halal?

  21. avatar Mad Max says:

    They won’t have any luck trying to ban AutoCAD, MicroStation, and/or CNC machinery other machine shop equipment.

    They are “in common use” in a multitude of industries and it’s pure stupidity to even try.

    We can’t help it that some gang bangers went to trade school and learned metalworking. Maybe they need background checks for trade school admittance (/s).

  22. avatar LampOfDiogenes says:

    This encapsulates the inherent idiocy of the ‘common sense gun control’ argument.

    THAT HORSE IS LONG OUT OF THE BARN – about 1300 years.

    I don’t make any claim to special knowledge, or exceptional manufacturing or metalworking skills. I don’t even normally reload. I’m just an educated redneck (educated includes, but does not MEAN, a college degree), but I, personally:

    1. Can make a functional firearm with $50 and a trip to Home Depot;
    2. Can make an AR pattern rifle, that will function (more or less) from billet aluminum, including the barrel (barrel wear is a problem, I admit);
    3. Can make a functional incendiary weapon with items I can buy from normal retail outlets, for under $50;
    4. Can make a functional chemical weapon with items I can buy from my local garden store for under $50;
    5. Can access the engineering plans for a functional fission nuclear weapon online, at any time. Admittedly, getting the fissionable material is an issue, but it is doable.

    How the actual, pluperfect f*** are you going to ‘control’ the contents of my brain???????

    LOL. GF.

  23. avatar MAGA says:

    I suppose he will try to ban compasses, french curves, and protractors next.

    Lack of CAD software did not stop John Moses Browning, Samuel Colt, Horace Smith, or Dan Wesson.

  24. avatar Pete says:

    I can see where you are confused, you make the mistake of thinking that politicians know anything other than how to line their pockets.

  25. avatar Matt says:

    I’ve said it many times before. Go the PGP route and just print them out and self publish in a book.

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