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3D printed handgun blueprint can now be downloaded

Posting in Design

The world's first entirely printed handgun, the result of an eight-month project by 25-year-old law student Cody Wilson, was successfully fired at a range in Texas. Now he's sharing the design and blueprint for the gun with the rest of the world.

Defense Distributed, the non-profit founded by Wilson, released the 3D printable CAD files today for his so-called Liberator pistol. That means anyone with access to a 3D printer--a device that can be purchased via eBay for upwards of $10,000--can make their own handgun. There are laws that aim to narrow that field. For example, a would be gun maker must have a federal firearms license. But it doesn't prevent folks from illegally printing a gun.

The file was uploaded to Defense Distributed’s online collection of printable gun blueprints at Defcad.org after the successful firing test. Defense Distributed has made a host of other controversial printable gun components available on its website in recent months, including high-capacity ammunition magazines for AK-47s.

Last week, Wilson shared the process of the gun's creation with Forbes, which had the first photos of the pistol. The Liberator prototype is comprised of 16 pieces printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys with one exception: a single nail that's used as a firing pin, reported Forbes.

In order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act, Defense Distributed added a six-ounce piece of steel into the body. The non-profit group also obtained a federal firearms license back in March. That doesn't mean anyone who downloads the CAD file and uses it to print a handgun will follow any of these rules.

Politicians were quick to respond once news broke about the successful firing. Congressman Steve Israel has already called for a ban on plastic firearms.

Here's the official Liberator video showing the gun being fired.

Photo: Defense Distributed

— By on May 6, 2013, 2:09 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure