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Microstamping/Microetching Firing Pin

Viperdark

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Hey, I am new to the community but everything I've seen seems to show great interest and knowledge about lasers. I am currently a graduate student in Economics doing research on the costs of a process of etching an identification code onto a firing pin of a firearm which would then stamp the casing of the bullet. While it might sound like an incredibly smart idea and a good way to solve crimes involving firearms being fired, it only creates a false sense of security. The firing pin's code etching is easily scratched off with less than 5 minutes of relatively painless work on a standard file. So, the costs of going through legislature and having both sides of the issue debating back and forth will eventually be taken from the our taxpayer's pockets. I was running an analysis of what it would cost to set up a facility specifically to etch firing pins. This cost would then be weighed with the benefits (if any) of implementing such a technology on all firearms sold to the public (law enforcement agencies will not be subject to this requirement for some strange reason). If someone could help me out with the equipment required, maintenance costs, optics, etc., I would really appreciate it. The only information I actually have are the following:
1.5-W diode-pumped solid-state ultraviolet laser (the manuf. used was Coherent) at 266 and 355 nm coupled with a holographic-mask technology.

The pin to be etched had characters with a high of approximately 0.008 inch, width of approximately 0.005 inch, and raised approximately 25 microns.
The area to be engraved has a diameter of approximately 0.037 inch.

Thanks a lot in advance.
Vic
 

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I'm certainly not an engineer on that kind of level, but I think that you're looking in the right place with a high-powered UV laser. UV can be focused down to a much smaller spot than a long-wave IR laser, so etching at the thousandths of an inch scale shouldn't be a problem. As far as a good setup, I have no experience personally with commercial laser etching and CNC manufacturing so I wouldn't be the best person to ask about that. There are folks here that can help you, but I would suggest that if you want input from some serious professionals, post this question on www.photonlexicon.com as well. (ONLY ONCE PLEASE!!!)
 
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GooeyGus

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I'd say you're looking at close to 100 grand (or more) for the laser setup alone. Like you said, a q-switched YAG laser operating on third harmonic or fourth harmonic (355nm or 266nm) will be your best bet.

As far as maintenance and other facility costs, I couldn't tell ya.
 

dr-ebert

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It wouldn't make sense for other reasons. First, it wouldn't take a very bright criminal to simply attach a cotton bag to the ejector to catch the shells. Then, it would be too easy to get somebody else's spent shells (from a shooting range, say) and just leave them as a false trail. Such a system is just begging to be abused. Now, if you could leave the stamp on the bullet...
 

Switch

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Well you can already take someone else's shells, the firing pin leaves a unique mark for each gun as far as I know.

I'm sure the pin can be etched but will the number be stamped on the shell at that size?
I think it would be easier to just have a database of all the unique patterns and a program capable of comparing a foto to the entries in the data base.
 

lasersbee

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This was an interesting Thread... until he started spamming 3 other section with
an identical (word for word) Thread..:tsk:


Jerry
 

Viperdark

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I'm sorry bout the mass posts... I was just trying to get the most views possible assuming people dont go to all the sections checking new posts... Sorry again.. and sorry for posting my apology more than once.
 
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^It's no problem, really. No need to feel like you're walking on eggshells. I understand your reasons. Since I know you're not spamming maliciously I just hope that you find the info you seek.
 

Hemlock_Mike

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A stamp on the slug --- ??? Ammo is scarse and expensive right now. Some ammo is about $0.50 per shot.... Add a postage stamp to each slug???" No Way. I may not know the target's zip code. could take too long to get there.

:) grinn -----

Mike
 

Switch

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I think my idea would work...If they have a program to compare human faces they should have no problem with shells.And you'd have to mutilate that firing pin to some extent to look completely different.
 
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It can't and won't work. Swap firing pin: mark changes. Grind firing pin: mark changes. Use ammo with a harder or softer primer: Mark changes. Recover casings: Moot point. Use a revolver: Moot point. Go to hardware store and spend $15 on supplies to scratch build a gun: Really moot point.

Every ballistics fingerprinting program ever undertaken has been a dismal failure, succeeding only at lightening the wallets of the taxpayers. Gun control has nothing to do with guns, and everything to do with control.
 
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You cannot say it is not worth it because there are ways around it. Sure, there are ways to steal a car and remove the VIN numbers. That is why they decided to put one on the chassis. Sure you can scratch off the number or mark on a fireing pin, but for most people, this isn't really practical. If someone is using a random gun to commit a crime, they probably aren't thinking about the firing pin.

What I think would work better is if gun makers were required to keep a log of the groove markings for every gun they sold or serviced and then make this data available to law enforcement agencies. This would allow a gun to be identified easily. Another thing I could think of is if the bullet makers would put a isotope or indicate in their slugs which would make it easier and more cost effective to match a lot of bullets then doing metallurgical tests which can cost thousands of dollars and can be inconclusive.

To answer the first question though, the 266nm laser marking system I have used cost ~$250k. It's a 75W QCW system though. You do not need anything more then 1064nm to scribe on most metals. That would greatly reduce the cost of the system.
 

TonyG

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Not to put your idea down, it is interesting to say the least...but I am against it.
If you are shooting corrosive ammo it will eat away at the firing pin and bolt face if not properly cleaned, once again making this a mute point. Also, how are you going to go about implementing this on firearms currently in private hands? There will be lots of oops mr. atf agent, I seem to have sold that gun for cash and don't have any kind of records for it, in fact I don't currently own any guns...
Even trying to implement this idea on used guns going through a ffl dealer would be almost impossible, due to the shear number of gun transfers daily and a limited number of engraving sites, just seems to make for a waste of tax payer dollars and aggravated dealers and consumers.
 

dr-ebert

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@laser_ben: I don't think that would work either. The grooves suffer a bit of wear over time, so the markings would change - slightly, but the differences are slight anyway. As for isotope doping or otherwise marking a bullet, I've read an article a long time ago about a company that could mark explosives by adding a hydrogen-rich compounds where selected hydrogen atoms were replaced by deuterium: 30 H atoms in the compound would then result in 2^30 (~1 billion) different "codes" which could be used to trace the manufacturer, manufacturing date and indirectly distribution channels of an explosive (even after it had detonated!).

I've never heard any more about it. Face it, explosives, guns & bullets are produced in huge quantities, there's enormous amounts of money and profit in weapons dealing, and there are too many people (in influential positions) who don't want it known to whom they are selling and from whom they are getting money (Eisenhowers "military-industrial complex").
 




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