3D printing is being heralded as the biggest technological revolution since the Internet and if you were to believe certain political doctrines, there can be no revolution without a gun. So it should be no surprise that the world’s first entirely 3D printed gun is here.
Cody Wilson, a 25-year-old law student of University of Texas, had founded Defense Distributed, a company that manufactures gun parts using a 3D printer. Now Cody, who had been working on a fully 3D printed gun, has unveiled his creation. The 3D printed gun, called “The Liberator”, is capable of firing standard handgun rounds using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition and is made entirely of plastic, except for a nail that's being used as a firing pin and a 170 gram piece of steel that is embedded in the gun’s body so as to allow the gun to be detected by metal detectors.
According to Forbes, all 16 pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys.
Meet the world’s first entirely 3D-printed gun (Image credit: Forbes)
Wilson’s company Defense Distributed operates defcad.org, where he plans to upload the blueprints and designs of the Liberator once the gun has undergone testing and is proven to work reliably. While Defense Distributed may be a licensed gun manufacturer, once the prints and designs of the Liberator become available to the general public, anyone will be able to download them and print their own gun without any oversight. This means that we could see illegal, unlicensed, 3D printed plastic firearms readily available to anyone who has access to a 3D printer.
While politicians in the US are already mulling laws to control lethal plastic firearms produced by 3D printing, Indian lawmakers could find themselves playing catch up again with yet another technological advancement. If we don’t take cognisance of this development and draft our regulations carefully, we could very well see legal fiascoes similar to the ones around “controlling” social media and censoring the Internet play out again and all forms of 3D printing enmeshed in a hurried and uninformed regulations.