Files posted online to 'print' working handgun

May 06, 2013 by Robert Macpherson
Visitors look at a 3D printer printing an object during an exhibition in New York on April 22, 2013. Computer files to create a handgun almost entirely from parts made with a 3D printer went online Monday, alarming gun control advocates after it was successfully test-fired by its inventor.

Computer files to create a handgun almost entirely from parts made with a 3D printer went online Monday, alarming gun control advocates after it was successfully test-fired by its inventor.

The single-shot .380-caliber Liberator bears a vague resemblance to its namesake, the FP-45 Liberator pistol that the United States developed during World War II to be air-dropped to French Resistance fighters.

Computer-aided design (CAD) files for the Liberator appeared on the website of Defense Distributed, a non-profit group that promotes the of firearms using 3D printers.

"We'll build the trigger first... Next, we'll build the hammer subassembly ... Next, drop the hammer into the frame...," reads the accompanying set of instructions, which come in English and Chinese.

"Finally slide the grip on the frame and insert the grip pin. Your Liberator is now ready to go!"

For the Liberator to conform with US firearms law, the instructions call for an inch-big chunk of steel to be sealed with epoxy glue in front of the trigger guard, so that the weapon can be spotted by metal detectors.

The only other non-plastic part is a tiny nail that acts as the firing pin.

Business magazine Forbes posted a video of the Liberator being remotely test-fired outside Austin, Texas last week, with a yellow string tied to the trigger of the toy-like white-and-blue handgun.

"The verdict: it worked," Forbes reported, adding however that the Liberator exploded ("sending shards of white ABS plastic flying into the weeds") when its inventor Cody Wilson attempted a second test using a rifle cartridge.

"I feel no sense of achievement," the 25-year-old University of Texas law student told Forbes. "There's a lot of work to be done."

CAD files for gun parts have been available on the Internet for some time, but the Liberator is apparently the first entire weapon ever to be fabricated almost exclusively with parts created with 3D .

Supporters of tougher in the United States—where there are nearly as many guns (an estimated 300 million) as there are people (about 315 million) and more than 30,000 gun-related deaths a year—expressed alarm.

"Stomach-churning," said Senator Charles Schumer of New York. "Now anyone—a terrorist, someone who is mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon—can essentially open a gun factory in their garage. It must be stopped."

In the House of Representatives, Congressman Steve Israel, also from New York, is sponsoring an Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act to outlaw plastic homemade guns.

"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," he said in a statement.

No longer prohibitively expensive, 3D printers can now be bought for about the same price as a top-end laptop computer. Brooklyn-based MakerBot, for instance, markets its desktop Replicator 2 for $2,199 with delivery in a week.

After the December 2012 massacre of 20 children at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, MakerBot took down CAD files for semi-automatic rifle parts that gun enthusiasts had posted on its open-source 3D printing library.

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EyeNStein
1.9 / 5 (9) May 06, 2013
Following after the production formula for SARIN nerve agent on Wikipedia or to fabricate SMALLPOX on your home DNA base pair synthesiser. Its a good job you can't order 6Kg of plutonium (in two handy hemispheres clad with TNT ) on Amazon yet!
EyeNStein
2.5 / 5 (13) May 06, 2013
Our society is so placid, sterile, state controlled and anaemic that people feel compelled to print guns or own semi automatic rifles just to feel alive.
Sad and dangerous really.
Jeddy_Mctedder
3.2 / 5 (12) May 06, 2013
it speaks volumes that the level of discourse in the u.s. is dumbed down so much that we have made a tabloid affair of our highest technologies. 3d printing implicates a large movement of talent and industrial effort to bring forward high tech software and hardware designs to rapidly advance the prototyping and design process. truly a revolution in how things can be designed and tried out. however, of course, it is the LEAST interesting thing about 3d printing that catches the publics eye. and of course, it isn't a surprise that people are talking about 3d printing parts that will inevitably be thrown away after one use in real life. as if these 3d guns were any better than jury rigged zipguns at best for actual usage.you want a gun, go buy one. you're not going to print a gun stock , let alone barrel, that will be of any use with an at home 3d printer that extrudes plastic. what nonsense, it insults eveyrone who is working on 3d printing in earnest.
freethinking
2.1 / 5 (14) May 06, 2013
I love this. All the ignorant anti-gun progressives will show their ignorance about guns and panic at the sight of white plastic. FYI If I carried a gun, I won't be carrying a zipgun of any sort and especially not a plastic zipgun.

BTW, Anyone who wants to build a plastic zipgun can do so already by going to the hardware store and buying off the self parts/tubing. It's a lot easier than buying a 3'd printer. Also if you are a drug dealer or just a bad buy, you can always get a real gun from Obama's buddy Eric Holder via the fast and furious gun sale.

Progressive antigun nuts please don't read the following: http://www.thebla...-to-see/

Hey progressives, how about making a law stating that it is illegal to kill someone?
freethinking
1.9 / 5 (13) May 06, 2013
I think a great way to reduce gun crime is to make it illegal for Progressives or Democrats to own guns. It is well known that the vast majority of murderers, and gang members voted for or support Obama.

Of the five worst mass killings, where a firearm was used, the killers didn't belong to the NRA.
Ft Hood: Registered Democrat/Muslim.
Columbine: Too young to vote; both families were registered Democrats and progressive liberals.
Virginia Tech: Wrote hate mail to President Bush and to his staff; Registered Democrat.
Colorado Theater: Registered Democrat; staff worker on the Obama campaign; Occupy Wall Street participant; progressive liberal.
Connecticut School Shooter: Registered Democrat; hated Christians.
canuckit
3 / 5 (2) May 06, 2013
No need to shop at Guns'R US anymore.
Huns
3.4 / 5 (5) May 06, 2013
"Stomach-churning," said Senator Charles Schumer of New York. "Now anyone—a hobbyist, someone who wants to defend their home, someone who's figured out that me and my buddies are all REALLY about aggregating as much power at the top as possible, a person who wants to have that one last stop-gap measure against the tyranny we perpetrate against the Constitution daily—can essentially open a gun factory in their garage. It must be stopped."
Telekinetic
2.2 / 5 (10) May 06, 2013
I think this gun would be a perfect first firearm for a two or three year old child so that he can shoot his sister while she's still a fetus.
dan42day
3 / 5 (11) May 07, 2013
the Liberator exploded ("sending shards of white ABS plastic flying into the weeds


This is exactly the kind of gun I want to see in the hands of criminals.
Guy_Underbridge
3 / 5 (5) May 07, 2013
While some of you obviously consider Kansas as the geographic center of the universe, I will agree with the sentiment that this particular technological 'threat' is exaggerated. Someone with a bit of mechanical and material know-how and an internet connection (or a library card) could easily build a much more effective weapon.

That being said...
Of the five worst mass killings...

I notice Breivik didn't make your list...
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) May 07, 2013
it isn't a surprise that people are talking about 3d printing parts that will inevitably be thrown away after one use in real life

Which is all kinds of useful in the medical sector. Manufacturing stuff and keping it stored in a sterile fashion is a major headache (syringes, IV tubes, ... ). Printing this on the spot would be incredible (and would save loads of money, as companies who manufacture these things currently are charging ridiculous amounts of money for such throw-away articles)
you're not going to print a gun stock , let alone barrel, that will be of any use with an at home 3d printer that extrudes plastic.

Laser sinter printers are still more costly - but that price is coming down, rapidly, also. And with those you CAN print a stock and barrel.

But republicans will surely be glad that this makes firerarm registration pretty much obsolete.
Claudius
2.5 / 5 (8) May 07, 2013
Amazing technology. You can "successfully" print a gun, and it will blow up in your face the first time you use it. What will they think of next.
Claudius
2.1 / 5 (7) May 07, 2013
Laser sinter printers are still more costly - but that price is coming down, rapidly, also. And with those you CAN print a stock and barrel.


That way, when the gun blows up in your face the first time you use it, you will be hit by bits of metal as well as plastic.

Gun barrels need to be made of hardened and tempered steel. Try printing one of those.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) May 07, 2013
Gun barrels need to be made of hardened and tempered steel. Try printing one of those.

NASA is already printing rocket parts
http://www.extrem...-plastic

And tempering isn't exactly rocket science. There's no reason why it can't be applied to the printed product.
Eikka
4.5 / 5 (2) May 07, 2013
Laser sinter printers are still more costly - but that price is coming down, rapidly, also. And with those you CAN print a stock and barrel.


Sintered parts are brittle and porous.

And tempering isn't exactly rocket science. There's no reason why it can't be applied to the printed product


True, but it won't work the same on a sintered part than on bulk metal.

Tempering is done on alloyed high strenght steel after quenching to improve toughness and reduce the tendency to fracture. These kinds of steels are notoriously hard to weld because their properties depend on the distribution and diffusion of additives like molybdenium and carbon in the crystal structure. Either they don't stick, or they lose their properties during the melt, which makes them unsuitable for sintering or selective laser melting.
Eikka
4 / 5 (2) May 07, 2013
NASA is already printing rocket parts


As surprising as it may sound, guns are a much more demanding application for metals than rocket engines. The pressures involved for example are much higher in a gun barrel than in a rocket nozzle. The main worry is that your rocket engine can't withstand the heat.

That's why you can turn a rocket nozzle out of graphite, but try to turn a gun barrel out of it and it'll just blow up in your face.
Eikka
5 / 5 (4) May 07, 2013
The problem with printing in high strenght steel is that once you've made the print, you have to heat it up to about a thousand degrees C, and then bring it down at a suitable rate to change the crystal structure of the steel from ferrite to martensite, and then you temper it to produce bainite which is the strong and tough version of steel.

Now the problem is that all this heating and cooling releases the internal tensions, and also causes new tensions because of the expansion and contraction of the metal, so if you're relying on the printer to produce your final form, you're going to get a wonky barrel.
geokstr
1 / 5 (6) May 07, 2013
I notice Breivik didn't make your list...


Last I heard, Norway was not in the United States, and a reasonably honest reading of freethinking's comment where he mentions Democrats and Obama would show, rather easily, that he was talking about the US. On top of that, Norway has much tougher gun control than Chicago and New York, where gun murders are rampant.

And if you want to go international when a discussion of mass murders comes up, perhaps we should also include the real undisputed world champs, which is basically an exclusive list of all the Peoples' Republics ever attempted, who make Breivik's slaughter a mere couple minutes work on every given day on the road to the workers' utopias, like the USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba, Cambodia, et al, ad nauseum. And in those paradises, the first thing done was to disarm the public.

100,000 million of their own citizens dead in a short period of time for the crime of disagreeing with the Collective tyranny of the left.
Guy_Underbridge
3.7 / 5 (6) May 08, 2013
Wow, G. While I admire Freethinker's ability to tie anything, regardless of how strained the connection to the topic at hand, into his own personal political paranoia, you, Sir, take it to a level that I can only ponder with awe and wonder.

And if you want to go international...

Quite a few of us already consider the US as 'international'.
freethinking
1.7 / 5 (6) May 08, 2013
The most dangerous thing is when Progressives and Atheists get their hands on or control guns.

I bet this person was glad he had a gun and didn't wait around for cops.
http://www.thebla...son-why/

BTW Breivik considered himself a christian atheist and was a member of the Progress party. He underwent paramilitary training in a camp organised by retired KGB colonel Valery Lunev, and described al-Qaeda as the "most successful revolutionary force in the world" and praised their "cult of martyrdom"
freethinking
1.6 / 5 (7) May 08, 2013
I also wonder how long before the Boston bomber becomes a hero of the Progressives and becomes a Progressive university professor?

http://www.thebla...t-happy/

Statistics and history shows that if you truly want to reduce the murder rate from guns, all you need to prevent those who lean progressive from owning guns.
Guy_Underbridge
3 / 5 (2) May 08, 2013
Free, the Progress Party is right-wing conservative, but thanks for the laugh.
CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (7) May 11, 2013
I love it. I say stop printing money and start printing guns!
CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (5) May 11, 2013
Following after the production formula for SARIN nerve agent on Wikipedia or to fabricate SMALLPOX on your home DNA base pair synthesiser. Its a good job you can't order 6Kg of plutonium (in two handy hemispheres clad with TNT ) on Amazon yet!


Maybe Silk Road will offer other plutonium than just drugs someday.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) May 11, 2013
Gun barrels need to be made of hardened and tempered steel. Try printing one of those.

NASA is already printing rocket parts
http://www.extrem...-plastic

And tempering isn't exactly rocket science. There's no reason why it can't be applied to the printed product.
'selective laser melting' Huh. I wonder what that costs. As much as this you think?
http://www.youtub...V3lmbSv4
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (6) May 11, 2013
The most dangerous thing is when Progressives and Atheists get their hands on or control guns
Even more dangerous is when religionists start shooting us with them, and blowing up sporting events.
draa
3 / 5 (2) May 12, 2013
And any time freestinker wants to try some of his suggestions he's welcome to come on down and give it a try on me. He may find that not every liberal is the pansy-ass that he thinks we are. Absolute ignorance from somebody as ill informed as him is what's causing people like me to vote Democrat. Total bullshiat thinking like his is destroying the GOP. And it's about damn time.
megmaltese
2.1 / 5 (7) May 12, 2013
I wonder why nobody is developing small portable crossbows.
It should be quite easy with today materials and miniaturization capacity to make such weapons.
It wouldn't require any metal, no gun powder and no metal bullet and it would be as lethal as any small gun.

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