Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Hardware Build Your Rights Online

Working Handgun Printed On a Sub-$2,000 3D Printer 521

Posted by timothy
from the liberator-lite dept.
Just a few weeks after Cody Wilson and friends successfully fired an instance of their own 3-D printed handgun design, Sparrowvsrevolution writes, "a couple of Wisconsin hobbyist gunsmiths have already managed to adapt Defense Distributed's so-called Liberator firearm and print it on a $1,725 Lulzbot 3D printer, a consumer grade machine that's far cheaper than the industrial quality Stratasys machine Defense Distributed used. They then proceeded to record their cheaper gun (dubbed the 'Lulz Liberator') firing nine .380 rounds without any signs of cracking or melting. Eight of the rounds were fired from a single plastic barrel. (Defense Distributed only fired one through its prototype.) In total, the Lulz Liberator's materials cost around $25 and were printed over just 48 hours."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Working Handgun Printed On a Sub-$2,000 3D Printer

Comments Filter:
  • Requires more metal (Score:5, Informative)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:17AM (#43781347) Journal

    The Lulz Liberator uses more metal parts than the original Liberator...so at least this would be harder to sneak past a metal detector.

    • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:27AM (#43781471)

      Both have a non-functional metal piece inserted in order to make them deliberately detectable, (and hence legal).
      The ungodly would leave that bit out, I assume.

      In addition, this modified version has bore rifling to escape restrictive legislation on smoothbore weapons.

      But, FTA:

      "After each firing, the ammo cartridges expanded enough that they had to be pounded out with a hammer."

      Keep your Semmerling for the moment, Jack...

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:28AM (#43781485) Homepage Journal

      I think bullets and casings contain enough metal to set off most metal detectors anyways, though I'm already envisioning ways to bypass that.

      • I think bullets and casings contain enough metal to set off most metal detectors anyways, though I'm already envisioning ways to bypass that.

        There may be a way (composite round/casing), but you're going to be hard pressed to make firearm ammo that can bypass the scrutiny of trained gunpowder-sniffing dogs.

        • by Medievalist (16032) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @01:10PM (#43783591)

          I think bullets and casings contain enough metal to set off most metal detectors anyways, though I'm already envisioning ways to bypass that.

          There may be a way (composite round/casing), but you're going to be hard pressed to make firearm ammo that can bypass the scrutiny of trained gunpowder-sniffing dogs.

          Paper cartridges with ceramic or stone payloads dipped twice in a clean hard wax doped with a little lavender oil ought to do the trick. You might have to press them in a mold after the second dip in order to get enough regularity for automatic feed, though, and you'd have to have something close to a clean room set up....

      • by budgenator (254554) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @11:43AM (#43782451) Journal

        You'd be surprised, at the Atlanta Olympics we had a security breach and had to bomb sweep the building. Durring the sweep a piece of 2 inch diameter metal pipe that was 4 inches long and had a reducing nipple on it that was lost durring the building construction was found. I looked examined the pipe, saw that it was hollow (as opposed filled with explosives) and kept it. I carried that pipe through the mag-line, in my MOPP carrier for a week and a half with out any of the magnetometers going off. That pipe probably had enough metal to make a couple glocks

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Metal detectors contain metal parts!

      I don't know how they can stand it. If I was a metal detector that would drive me crazy.

      Until someone is challenged to a duel and they choose the plastic pistol over the metal one, we dunna have a story here.

      • by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:46AM (#43781721) Journal

        Metal detectors contain metal parts!

        I don't know how they can stand it. If I was a metal detector that would drive me crazy.

        Yeah! It's like how I can't use a stud finder.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Metal detectors contain metal parts!

        Metal detectors are really conductivity detectors. Most people think they can only detect iron, but they can detect anything that conducts electricity. Even a human body causes a small signal. A loop of carbon fiber would cause a very large signal. Poor anthropomorphized metal detector.

    • When was the last time you walked through a metal detector?

      Seriously?

      For myself, I can think of only a handful of times in the last year.

      1) When going into a state courthouse. (Metal detector, but legally allowed to carry a gun anywhere but in the actual courtroom (with state permit to carry.))
      2) At the airport, but only about 25% of the time, and ONLY when "opting out" of the naked image scanners.

  • How long until this design graduates from a single-shot?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by i kan reed (749298)

      You can't 3d print a spring with a plastics printer. You can't 3d print most of the mechanical components that make (semi)automatics work. It would essentially up the number of machined components up to a point that it would no longer really be a "3d printed gun" and more be a gun kit where you can provide the frame.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:28AM (#43781479)

        You can't 3d print a spring with a plastics printer.

        Printing a Compression Spring on a RepRap / RepStrap 3D Printer
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHrlasCSa3U

        • by Digicaf (48857)

          Really?

          You want to take something like what they made in that video and use it as a recoil spring? First off, it was huge. It would have to be significantly reduced in size to fit in a weapon, making it a lot less useful. Additionally, it would need to be extremely more robust. Do you have any idea the magnitude of the force absorbed by the recoil spring or the speed with which it's expected to function?

          I'm not saying it's impossible to print the mechanical equivalent of a set of springs for use in a semi-a

      • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:44AM (#43781677) Journal
        Despite it no longer being a "3d printed gun", it would still be a game changer in the sense that this would be a functional multi-shot gun that can be manufactured by pretty much anyone with access to a crappy consumer-grade printer, without requiring any gunsmithing, metal working or other mechanical skills. If you can assemble a simple Lego kit, you can put together such a gun.
      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Two Words.

        Rupertus Pepperbox.

        The spring would not be necessary.

        • Or revolver. Several solutions that don't require "self loading" features. I'm thinking a breakopen revolver like a Webley or old Smith & Wesson would work well....
          • by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @11:41AM (#43782421)

            The gap between cylinder and barrel might be problematic. An imperfectly aligned cylinder will increase wear and stress on any revolver, and a polymer frame revolvers have issues with frame ablation/cutting from the gasses coming out of the gap. The pepperbox concept would be a logical first step to avoid those issues which could prove catastrophic on an ABS barrel/frame revolver.

            • Quite correct. A pepperbox (or other multibarrel concept - your basic double-barrel derringer comes to mind) is the logical next step in the process.

              But, dollars to donuts, someone will be working on a revolver design somewhere. Just because it's an interesting technical problem.

              As for me, I'm still in the "you can't pay me enough to pull the trigger on one of those" camp....

  • Define "working" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    FTA: " Over the course of its test firing, Joe and Guslick say it misfired several times, and some of its screws and its firing pin had to be replaced. After each firing, the ammo cartridges expanded enough that they had to be pounded out with a hammer."

    Sure, so other than that...

    • Re:Define "working" (Score:4, Informative)

      by crakbone (860662) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:38AM (#43781603)
      What did you expect from a 25 dollar gun that is in its beta stage?
  • by houbou (1097327) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:19AM (#43781373) Journal
    weapon smugglers won't need to smuggle weapons any longer. Just smuggle the printer and the raw materials. What will become more valuable will be the specs for any new weapon design. Welcome to the future....
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Zip guns are nothing new. You can with a bit of know how make one from stuff you buy at a hardware store (and far cheaper and easier).

      This 3d printed gun thing is just a variation on zip guns. I would go as far to say it is a novelty more than anything.

      Right now the cost of the plastic to put into these things is worth more than the object they are making.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wouldn't be surprised if some type of DRM appeared on printers to prevent this, similar to the algorithm in color copiers which at best locks up a copier, at worst phones home, if someone places a dollar or Euro on the glass and hits copy.

      The DRM could look for blueprint designs by hash, or certain "gun-like" items.

      This could easily become law in days.

      Of course, it will result in a cat and mouse game, but in a cat and mouse game, the cat almost always wins.

      • by mark-t (151149)

        Even assuming that such DRM were feasible to implement, it still could not stop people from printing guns which do not conform to legal standards in the first place, but may still be entirely functional.

        Of course, I expect that once this is fully realized, home manufacturing of any kind, without some sort of license and thus subject to regular inspection, is I'm afraid likely to be outlawed in the not too distant future.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Gaygirlie (1657131)

        I wouldn't be surprised if some type of DRM appeared on printers to prevent this

        3D-printers are actually pretty easy to build even at home and if you build one of your own there wouldn't be any sort of a DRM.

        The DRM could look for blueprint designs by hash, or certain "gun-like" items.

        Impossible. There is no way for the printer or the software to know what the parts will be used for. There is no universal definition for "gun-like" as even a simple, straight tube would be "gun-like."

      • by JDG1980 (2438906)

        Many of the most popular 3D printers are open-source designs, including the firmware. This makes DRM embedding essentially impossible since the whole concept is based on security by obscurity.

      • by SirGarlon (845873) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @11:00AM (#43781869)

        Of course, it will result in a cat and mouse game, but in a cat and mouse game, the cat almost always wins.

        Sorry for the digression, but real predator-prey dynamics are more complicated than that. Predators are far short of 100% efficient (citation needed; I am lazy!), and predator and prey populations are interdependent [wikipedia.org]. I can only speculate about the analogy to regulation and disobedience, but it seems possible that it still holds up. There could be the same back-and-forth between the success of regulators and the success of those who circumvent or evade the regulation.

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:19AM (#43781381) Homepage Journal

    according to the guys they claim the usual home printer abs is stronger than the stratasys abs+.
    though it wouldn't be that far fetched to believe the stratasys just uses it so they can keep tighter stranglehold on the consumables..

  • so what (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:21AM (#43781397)
    In 1994 a friend and I assembled a .22 from hardware store pipe, a hacksaw, a drill, some nails, and springs. It had a hammer and a trigger. We followed no plans...we just knew you needed a barrel, and something to smack the rim of the bullets we had...and we improvised. It worked fine, but you have to unscrew the barrel to to reload its single shot.
    • Re:so what (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arkhan_jg (618674) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:29AM (#43781495)

      In 1994 a friend and I assembled a .22 from hardware store pipe, a hacksaw, a drill, some nails, and springs. It had a hammer and a trigger. We followed no plans...we just knew you needed a barrel, and something to smack the rim of the bullets we had...and we improvised

      Ah, but you forgot something something Libertarian something something Internet something something Freedom!

  • It's not a gun (Score:5, Informative)

    by SupplyMission (1005737) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:28AM (#43781475)

    It may be a fun proof of concept, but about the only things it is good for are generating political hype and drawing attention to the inventors.

    People fail to realize that it's much easier and cheaper to make a home made gun using existing tools and materials. Just because someone now made a [not very good] one using a 3D printer, everybody seems to be freaking out.

    Further well-grounded and thoughtful discussion on the matter can be found here:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/10/oh_no_its_the_plastic_3d_gun/ [theregister.co.uk]

  • here's a question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @10:40AM (#43781633)
    Everyone is freaking out like before this you needed to be God himself to create a firearm. How long does it take a gunsmith to build a gun from scratch? Compare that to the time it takes to design one in AutoCAD or whatever and then 3D print it and assemble it. It's probably pretty comparable and the metal one doesn't look like a bad sci fi prop. I bet I could design a working rifle that would fire a couple bullets from a trip to the hardware store, or especially a shotgun! You need a barrel, aka steel pipe. Then a handle so solder/glue basically anything on. Then you need an end cap with a semi-sealed firing pin to strike the bullet so a piece of scrap metal and a spring. Tada, gun (at about the same reliability level).
    • Your example gunsmith tends to use metallic parts whic are easier to detect at airport screenings instead of 3D pritned plastic... That's why everybody is freaking out.
  • "Joe, who asked that I not reveal his full name..."

    "The clip was filmed by Michael Guslick, a fellow Wisconsin engineer who helped Joe"

    Hmmmmm, lol.
  • Until then I am not impressed. So you can print a plastic tube with a handle. Wow. Now for the trip to a "hardware store" to buy some bullets. Oh wait, I am not in USA, there are no bullets for general sale here, unless you are a registered gun owner.

    • For what it's worth... here in the US it varies from region to region.

      Sure, some states have guns and ammo available at general stores. Others, like mine... not as easy. Guns are only sold in gun shops as well as ammo. No "Walmart" or "KMart" gun shops here.

      So buying bullets would be more of a pain than, say, Texas. Since there aren't THAT many places here.

      But I don't know if there's a restriction of "needing to be a gun owner" to buy them here. I don't THINK so but I don't know.

  • nocera.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/the-gun-report-may-21-2013/#more-3086

  • Video author made this real, multi-shot gun out of $10 worth of scrap metal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av0pEqR5KWs [youtube.com] Shall we ban metal now as well?
  • I don't get the obsession with using 3D printing for guns. Other than the fact that it sounds cool and futuristic, it seems inferior to CNC-machining in just about every way. It's not even cheaper; you could buy a pretty decent hobbyist CNC machine for less than the $1725 that this 3D printer cost. And it's unlikely that cost gap will change significantly, since 3D printers need many of the same components (precise linear guidance rails and stepper motors) that CNC machines do.

    The truth is that this is just

  • by kaizendojo (956951) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @11:10AM (#43782023)
    Call me when you start printing plastic ammunition. Until then, this isn't all that much of a threat as far as I can see.
  • by bmacs27 (1314285) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @11:56AM (#43782667)
    Well... at least there's a waiting period.

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

Working...