May.3, 2013

25-year-old University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, has provided images of the first 3D-printed handgun.

Credit: Michael Thad Carter for Forbes

Defense Distributed calls this gun the "Liberator" which is a small pistol-like weapon made of sixteen pieces. Each of these pieces was "3D printed with a Stratasys Dimension SST printer in ABS plastic, with the exception of a single nail that's used as a firing pin," Greenberg reports.

"The gun is designed to fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition." He adds.

The only part which was not printed is a six ounce chunk of steel being inserted into the body to make it detectable by metal detectors in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act. But Greenberg also points out Defcad's users that print out the design 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. "It's kind of scary, but that's what we're aiming to show." says Wilson.

Defense Distributed announced in March that they had obtained a federal license to manufacture and sell firearms - the group is now a legal gun manufacturer.

Credit: Michael Thad Carter for Forbes

The Liberator still has some more testing to go through, but once the full tests has been completed, Wilson will put the plan on its blueprints website,, somewhen next week, so that anyone can use the design and print out their own guns at home.

With announcement of fully plastic gun, U.S. Congressman Steve Israel has just issued a press release today stressing need for revamped Undetectable Firearms Act:

Today, following news of a working plastic gun made almost entirely on a 3D printer, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) renewed his call for passage of his recently-introduced Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act that extends the ban on plastic firearms and includes homemade, plastic high-capacity magazines and receivers. The existing ban on plastic guns expires this year and does not clearly cover these major components. On Friday, Defense Distributed, a group of homemade gun enthusiasts, premiered a plastic firearm with only one small necessary metal part, a single nail used as the firing pin.

Rep. Israel said, "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. 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 appears to be upon us, we need to act now to extend the ban on plastic firearms."

The Defense Distributed project circumvents the current Undetectable Firearms Act by including an extraneous block of metal in the gun, making the firearm detectable by metal detector. However, those who wish to smuggle guns onto planes and into high security areas will soon be able to download the digital blueprints from Defense Distributed's website and forgo the extraneous metal, producing guns completely undetectable by metal detector.

The revamped Undetectable Firearms Act that Rep. Israel wrote makes it illegal to manufacture, own, transport, buy, or sell any firearm, receiver, or magazine that is homemade and not detectable by metal detector and/or does not present an accurate image when put through an x-ray machine. The reauthorization would extend the life of the bill for another 10 years from the date of enactment.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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orest wrote at 5/9/2013 10:02:02 AM:

I would wish, the regulators will stop pretending being stupid. Yes, the home-made guns should be illegal (all of them, not just those made from plastic), but the only reasonable reaction would be watching the ammunition, not the 3d printers. - And that can't be done because too many votes from militant jerks would be in danger.

Fred wrote at 5/4/2013 12:12:08 AM:

And CRIMINALS who are apparently willing to do mass murder/suicide if the intention is to "sneak" it on a plane will abide by this law because........????? It only screws the law biding citizen, NEVER the criminal.....

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