Want to print a race car, acoustic guitar or even a fully functional prosthetic arm? But what amazes me most about 3D printing is is the possibility of producing a gun. This shocked me beyond reason and I had to delve more into it to satisfy my curiosity.

The first gun was made on a 3D printer by Defense Distributed, headed by Cody Wilson and Ben Denio. The group has spent a year trying to create the firearm. He says a lot of people doubted whether he could do it or no, but he did it. Every time one of his designs fails, it offers more insight into what designs work…

Finally in 2012 they disclosed their plans to make the blueprints available to all for downloading and producing. According to Mr Wilson , “I’m seeing a world where technology says you can pretty much be able to have whatever you want. It’s not up to the political players anymore.”

To manufacture the gun, he obtained a license from the ATF, but after he announced the publication of the blueprints available online, his printer was confiscated. So via a crowd funding appeal, they raised over $20,000 and partnered with private firms the organization began live fire testing of printable firearm components.

On May 5, 2013, Defense Distributed made public the 3D printable files for the world’s first fully 3D printable gun, the Liberator .380 single shot pistol. But On May 9, 2013, the United States Department of State requested that Defense Distributed remove its download links. Defense Distributed voluntarily compiled. In December 2012, Defense Distributed launched DEFCAD as a companion site to publicly host the removed files. It got immense popularity and in March 2013, Cody Wilson announced an expanded site that would serve as a 3D search engine and development hub.

When BBC asked if he felt any sense of responsibility about whose hands the gun might fall into, he said “I recognise the tool might be used to harm others – that’s what a gun is “But I don’t think that’s a reason to not do it – or not to put it out there.”

Further sources:

Parker Winship