- Sep 30, 2007
- Reaction score
Update on 3D "printed" guns and the associated legal wrangling from Forbes Magazine:
Andy Greenberg, Forbes Staff
Covering the worlds of data security, privacy and hacker culture.
This Is The World's First Entirely
3D-Printed Gun (Photos)
The 3D-printed gun that Cody Wilson calls the "Liberator."
Eight months ago, Cody Wilson set out to create the worlds first entirely
Now he has.
Early next week, Wilson, a 25-year-old University of Texas law student and
founder of the non-profit group Defense Distributed, plans to release the 3D-
printable CAD files for a gun he calls the Liberator, pictured in its initial form
above. Hes agreed to let me document the process of the guns creation, so
long as I dont publish details of its mechanics or its testing until its been
proven to work reliably and the file has been uploaded to Defense
Distributeds online collection of printable gun blueprints at Defcad.org.
All sixteen pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with
a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys, with the
exception of a single nail thats used as a firing pin. The gun is designed to
fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different
calibers of ammunition.
Technically, Defense Distributeds gun has one other non-printed component:
the group added a six ounce chunk of steel into the body to make it
detectable by metal detectors in order to comply with the Undetectable
Firearms Act. In March, the group also obtained a federal firearms license,
making it a legal gun manufacturer.
Of course, Defcads users may not adhere to so many rules. Once the file is
online, anyone will be able to download and print the gun in the privacy of
their garage, legally or not, with no serial number, background check, or
other regulatory hurdles. You can print a lethal device, Wilson told me last
summer. Its kind of scary, but thats what were aiming to show.
Since it was founded last August, Wilsons group has sought to make as
many components of a gun as possible into printable blueprints and to host
those controversial files online, thwarting gun laws and blurring the lines
between the regulation of firearms and information censorship. So far those
pieces have included high capacity ammunition magazines for AR-15s and AK-
47s, as well as an AR lower receiver, the body of that semi-automatic rifle to
which off-the-shelf components like a stock and barrel can be attached.
Those early experiments have made Cody Wilson into one of the most
controversial figures in the 3D printing community. In October of last year,
Stratasys seized a printer it had rented to Defense Distributed after the
company learned how its machine was being used. New York congressman
Steve Israel has responded to Defense Distributeds work by introducing a bill
that would renew the Undetectable Firearms Act with new provisions aimed
specifically at 3D printed components. In January, personal 3D printing firm
Makerbot removed all gun components from Thingiverse, its popular site for
hosting users printable designs.
All of that opposition has only made Wilson more eager to prove the
possibility of a 3D printed firearm. Everyone talks about the 3D printing
revolution. Well, what did you think would happen when everyone has the
means of production? Wilson asked when we spoke earlier in the week. Im
interested to see what the potential for this tool really is. Can it print a gun?
It seems that it can.
Stay tuned for more. In the mean time, heres another photo of Defense
Update: Defense Distributeds political opponents arent waiting around for its
printable gun to be finished and uploaded before calling for it to be banned.
Congressman Steve Israel issued a press release Friday responding to this story:
Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little
good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms
through metal detectors with no one the wiser, his statement reads. When
I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago, I was told
the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology is
proven, we need to act now to extend the ban [on] plastic firearms.
This Is The World's First Entirely 3D-Printed Gun (Photos) - Forbes