Plastic handgun made with 3D printer successfully fired in Texas
Firm plans to publish gun blueprint online
The test of the plastic handgun came after a year of development
The world’s first gun made almost entirely by a 3D plastic printer has been successfully fired in Texas.
The test of the plastic handgun, which was built by Defense Distributed using an $8,000 (€6,100) 3D printer, came after a year of development. The company, which is run by Cody Wilson (25), now plans to publish the blueprints for the gun online.
Mr Wilson and a companion fired the gun for the first time in Austin at the weekend.
A video published online shows the gun held in place by a metal stand, with yellow string attached to its trigger. By yanking on the string, the pair were able to pull the trigger from six metres away, discharging a .380 calibre bullet.
Defense Distributed’s device is controversial because of how it is made. Fifteen of its 16 pieces were constructed in a secondhand Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer, according to Forbes magazine.
The final piece, the firing pin, is a common nail available from any hardware store.
The printer uses ABS plastic to create the gun parts, which are then slotted together by Mr Wilson. After the test was revealed by Forbes at the weekend, the BBC filmed a later test, in which Mr Wilson successfully fired the gun by hand.
The undetectable firearms act of 1988 makes it illegal to manufacture any firearm in the US that cannot be picked up by walk-through metal detectors. To combat this, Mr Wilson inserted a six-ounce piece of steel into the body, making the gun legal.
How long the law stays this way remains to be seen, however. On Sunday, New York senator Charles Schumer called for legislation to make building a gun with a 3D printer illegal and said he and fellow senator Steve Israel would introduce new legislation to ban weapons like Mr Wilson’s.
It would not be the first setback that Mr Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas, has faced. His initial bid to raise money for the 3D-printed gun project through Indiegogo was thwarted when the crowdfunding website took his pitch offline, citing a breach of rules.
After Mr Wilson raised $20,000 through Bitcoin donations, he was hindered again when Stratasys seized his printer.
Defense Distributed acquired a second-hand Stratasys, however, and carried on experimenting. – ( Guardian service)