USA – -(Ammoland.com)- In May of 2013 the world was introduced to the first completely downloadable and printable 3-D gun named the Liberator.
Three months later, the first completely printable rifle, Grizzly, was released in Canada.
In September of 2013 the Reprringer, a small revolver that fires .22 caliber ammo was printed. In November 2014, a 1911 Browning .45 pistol was replicated by Solid Concepts by using a metal laser printer.
Solid Concepts—now Stratasys— has released their second 3-D printed weapon, the Reason, to some of the top firearms dealers.
So goes the evolution of 3-D printed weapons.
When the .380 Liberator was first test-fired, for the most part it was deemed a huge technological breakthrough, but naysayers said that no single-shot gun made of almost all plastic parts and only two pieces of metal was going to make any real ripple in the gun world.
ABS plastic is used in 3-D guns because it’s cheaper (better plastic means more expensive printers) and still durable. Accuracy was a problem with the Liberator due to lack of temperature control in the printers. A high-end 3-D printer can adjust for material changes because it can control the temperature, lower-end printers do not provide any type of temperature control.
In October of 2014, Defense Distributed debuted the Ghost Gunner, the hardware for manufacturing the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle. The hardware can be connected to any personal computer, thus enabling gunsmiths to construct an AR-15 from their home. After the lower receiver has been completed, traditional AR-15 accessories can be added to complete the firearm. Derringers, rifles, multi-round handguns and parts for these weapons are being tested, and there are many more waiting in the wings.
FOSSCAD (Free Open Source Software & Computer Aided Design) currently hosts the blueprints for the Liberator, along with dozens more downloadable files for printing firearms. There are schematics for AK-47s and M16s, as well as handguns and semi-automatic weapons. Virtually any design for any firearm you can build at home has an available download online.
Plastic isn’t a particularly great material to house a gunshot. That problem has been eliminated by new ammunition that has been designed specifically for 3-D printed guns. A lead bullet is inserted deep into a thick steel shell that will contain the gunpowder blast, thus eliminating the projection of the explosive to the plastic body of the gun. Prior to the invention of the new ammo, a shooter could only fire one round off at a time due to the damage that occurred from the blast. The plastic 3-D printed weapons can now shoot as many rounds as the owner wishes.
Technology for the 3-D printed gun will continue to advance. Custom gun-making will be able to be done entirely at home. Until 3-D metal printers become more popular and lower in price, modern-day gunsmiths will have to continue to make technological advances in 3-D printed guns using plastic printers and the support of the 3-D gun enthusiast community.