For the first time, a working handgun has been made with a 3D printer and successfully fired. The designer and developer is now making the blueprints available online for anyone to download to 3D print your own personal handgun.
According to io9, the gun group Defense Distributed has successfully tested the untraceable 3D-printed handgun — called “The Liberator” — at a firing range in Austin, Texas. Its designers say the Liberator took more than a year to develop, and are happy to share their blueprints with anyone with a computer and a 3D printer. Anti-gun campaigners are deeply opposed to the 3D handgun, while law enforcement agencies such as the ATF and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are not happy with the controversial handgun’s production and distribution.
Cody Wilson, a 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas, and head of Defense Distributed, describes the new gun as an act to “defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms” through “information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms.” Wilson, who describes himself as a “crypto-anarchist,” says the issue is “about liberty.”
In order for the Liberator to comply with U.S. law, the 3D gun must have at least 175 grams of steel within it so it can be picked up via metal detector. At the moment, all of the gun parts can be made using a 3D printer, except for the metal firing pin.
Although the files have allegedly been downloaded more than 100,000 times, the State Department wants the blueprints to be taken off the Defense Distributed’s website. The controversial files and instructions on how to make the 3D-printed gun are still available on peer-to-peer networks, but file-sharing networks like Mega.co.nz and the 3D printer manufacturer Makerbot have both banned and removed blueprints for the Liberator.
You can watch a BBC report on the 3D handgun below: