Gun made from 3D printer successfully fired

Jordan Chittley
Daily Buzz

3D printers have been made to create jewelry, help a little girl use her arms and construct Pez dispensers, but now some suspect this neat new technology could be used for evil.

The world's first 3D gun has not only been printed, but it's also been fired. This quashes theories that it may explode when fired because its mostly plastic.

"I think a lot of people weren't expecting that this could be done," said Cody Wilson, of a group called Defense Distributed, to BBC. The 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas and his group spent a year trying to create the firearm.

A video posted to YouTube yesterday shows the gun, called the Liberator, being fired. The group will make the plans of how to build the gun available online and this has gun control advocates wondering what to do next.

"These guns could fall into the hands of people who should not have guns - criminals, people who are seriously mentally ill, people who are convicted of domestic violence, even children," said Leah Gunn Barrett, from the group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, to BBC.

[ Related: 3D printed gun project halted when company seizes equipment ]

The group previously had their printer seized by the company that makes it back in October, as we reported at the time. Stratasys seized the printer before Wilson even took it out of the box because the printer could be used to hurt someone.

But Wilson doesn't see that happening. "I recognize the tool might be used to harm other people - that's what the tool is - it's a gun," he said. "But I don't think that's a reason to not do it - or a reason not to put it out there."

According to the group's website, their status as a nonprofit corporation is pending and their purpose is "to defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute, at no cost to the public, such information and knowledge in promotion of the public interest."

[ Related: Bring your scribbles to life with the world’s first 3D printing pen ]

Anyone in the U.S. can manufacture a firearm, but if they want to sell it, then they need a license. When Wilson first began to design the gun, it was thought it may be illegal because it would be entirely plastic and evade metal detectors. But the group has produced it with a 175g chunk of steel inside. Other than that, the metal firing pin, which can be made with a nail, are the only pieces that aren't made with the 3D printer.

The idea behind 3D printers is as the printers become cheaper and goods become more expensive, people will download designs and print their own goods instead of buying them at a store. This gun was made with a printer that cost the group about $8,000. They printed the components separately and assembled them.