When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have 3D Printers

Anything can kill you. Anything. So it’s not terribly surprising that news stories have fingered a “laser 3D printer” in the untimely demise of a Berkeley California couple.

The couple, Valerie (32) and Roger Morash (35), who had met while studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were found dead in their Berkeley, CA home last week. The couple’s pets, two cats, were also found. Valerie was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and Roger was a video game developer.

Though the definitive cause of death has not been released, many sources are speculating that they died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that is produced by fuel-burning machines, such as cars, stoves, furnaces, etc.

Strangely, though no autopsy has been released, sources such as The Daily Mail have suggested that a 3D printer or laser cutting machine was responsible for the carbon monoxide emissions. The machine was reported as being a “laser 3D printer,” though a friend of the couple said they owned a small commercial laser cutter and a small desktop 3D printer, neither of which were likely in use at the time of the couple’s death.

Of course, media being media, the story has been “too good to check” and has gotten global distribution, but nobody has actually suggested that the printer or laser cutter that the pair owned actually did them in, or even offered a likely mechanism by which such machines might have done so.

7 thoughts on “When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have 3D Printers

  1. james

    I have a friend with a laser cutter, properly installed, it must be vented outdoors through a hose, with a fan pulling the air out. It seems the cutting of some plastics can produce extremely toxic vapors.

  2. haze gray

    As of 4 Feb local news sources reported: A couple and their two cats found dead in a Berkeley apartment last week were killed due to “acute carbon monoxide intoxication,” police said on Friday.
    The pair was identified as Roger, 35, and Valerie Morash, 32, and their deaths were immediately flagged as suspicious, according to police.
    Officials had initially ruled out carbon monoxide or radiation poisoning, saying tests came back negative for those elements. On Friday, however, police said that evidence collected from the Morash’s apartment was free of “toxins,” but autopsy, toxicology and necropsy findings pointed to carbon monoxide intoxication.
    ……Investigators are still trying to track down the source of the carbon monoxide that caused what they deemed a “tragic” accident.

  3. Clarence Chen

    A CO detector is a worthwhile investment for anyone really, especially if you have any manufacturing or indoor non-electric heaters.

    1. TRX

      I’m astonished that a large California town doesn’t mandate CO detectors in private homes. Or the couple’s insurance company, for that matter.

      As part of some renovation work, the local Code Gestapo are requiring I install CO and smoke detectors. As of 2014 the smoke detectors must be networked, so when one goes off, they all go off. So you get to drag the step-stool from room to room, resetting detectors until you find the one that set off the cacaphony. Which will be wondrous fun at the usual oh-dark-thirty false alarm time slot.

      Smoke detectors are generally not required in the kitchen, which is where a fire is most likely to start, since “enthusiastic” cookery can set off the detectors too often. Though it wasn’t required, I installed one of the thermal type detectors there. Might as well, since there are enough useless detectors to wire in anyway, including one in a hallway that is literally 37 inches long…

      1. Scott

        “literally 37 inches long”? What monstrosity is that?

        I just built a house, code requires regular smoke detectors in each bedroom, combo smoke / CO detectors on each floor (outside bedrooms, generally). Those combo units aren’t inexpensive.

        Our main floor (kitchen, dining, living) is all open floor plan, so the combo smoke / CO is placed rather far from the kitchen. I still think my wife will manage to set it off. If / when she does, I pity the dog…

        1. Scott

          I should add that they are all hardwired together, 120 (with 9V batter backup) on 12/3 wiring in my case, though 14/3 would suffice. (Being a belt + suspenders sort when it comes to selection of materials that might potentially burning down the house, I didn’t use any 14ga wire.) So, when my wife does set off the alarm, all six alarms will fire. Loudly.

          Ergo my pity for the poor pooch.

      2. Hognose Post author

        Here in NH we have networked detectors but no CO detector. They are wired to a 5v circuit with a backup 9v battery in each. “Live free or die,” or as we like to put it, “Live Free or Live in Massachusetts, baby!” I used to have a portable one for flying because airplanes are heated like an old VW with an exhaust sleeve and there’s a case every few years of somebody flying 400 or 1000 miles in a straight line, dead as a mackerel.

        Again, here in NH, there’s about one apartment house that burns down a year from the clueless Section 8 tenants running electric space heaters and/or smoking while passed out from drink/drugs.

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