Timelapse Of The 3d Printed Gun Being Printed.

Once the DoD requested the 3d printed gun files be removed from the internet, a couple things happened.

  1.   The Streisand Effect went into full force. The file was shared all over and can still be found easily.
  2.   I suddenly realized that I was going to be printing a 3d printed gun and doing another article on it even though I had just written an opinion piece about how I don’t care.

I’m not above admitting that it is childish of me. I was told I couldn’t have this thing and suddenly I knew I had to make it. I see it with my kids all the time. Toys can sit in a corner collecting dust for ages, but the second it is in threat of being removed, they have renewed interest, at least for a few minutes.

I figured, if I’m going to be childish about it and print a gun that a) won’t work because I don’t have the right printer, and b) I won’t use anyway because I don’t generally play with guns, I might as well make a fun timelapse video of the more recognizable parts being made.

It initially seemed like it was going to be quick and easy. However, I quickly found that just printing this thing was going to be a time consuming and frustrating task.

1. the scale on the individual files was way off. 

I suspect this has something to do with the printer it was designed for. It seemed very close to being 1 inch = 1 mm. Not a completely uncommon problem. Manually resizing got some files to look right, but I found many simply wouldn’t resize.

2. Almost every single item had errors.

If you’ve done 3d printing, you’ve found that a model can have all kinds of issues that will stop it from printing correctly. I found every single item for the gun had errors. I actually learned a lot about how to repair non-manifold items from this exercise, so it was good in the end.

Some items, like the hammer and the hammer springs simply would not print. I ran them through systems to repair them and fix errors. It would say that everything was fixed, but when I tried to “slice” them for printing, the software would crash.  This means that my gun is incomplete. It has no hammer. Not really that big of a deal to me.

the whole gun
Note that it is missing the hammer mechanism. More on that later.

Do I care now?

Nope. I climbed to the top of the fridge and got my cookies. I’m a happy child. The reality is that a zip gun is still cheaper, easier, safer, and more reliable.  Here’s an example.

196 thoughts on “Timelapse Of The 3d Printed Gun Being Printed.

    1. I think that it is mostly the fact that printed weapons can be made and disposed of really easily. Also they are probably freaking out about that these weapons are going to easily pass any security checkpoint at an airport.

        1. Easily made using match heads and curtain rods.

          And that’s if you absolutely MUST make cartridges, instead of just making a musket. Then you can get away with fertilizer.

          1. I’m not talking about the primer or the charge. The bullet, the metal thing that flies out of the gun, is impossible to sneak past any airport checkpoint.

        2. >What good is a 3d printed gun without bullets?

          It’s worth about $300 at any government gun “buy-back” program.

          Actually, they’ll be thrilled to get one “off the street” (at least the first one. Maybe not the 1000th copy/) Suddenly 3D printing got profitable again, as you can’t hardly sell a Mendel kit on ebay nowadays at a price that will cover your labor.

          1. Excellent! We have gun buy-back programs all the time over here in LA. I’ll print several of these and sell them to the gov’t to get them off the street! haha

        3. One word: ceramics.

          Now, a ceramic bullet might not be the easiest thing to procure, and it might prove prone to shattering. But, buckshot’s a whole different story. Spherical grinding or polishing media, or ceramic ball bearings are not a difficult thing to come by.

          Of course, if you want to go that route, what’s stopping anyone from putting ball bearing wheels on their carry-on luggage? Doesn’t even have to be ceramic. What are they going to do, ban all skate wheels unequivocally, on the off chance someone might make improvised birdshot?

          If someone really wants to cause harm, it only takes a little bit of creativity. That this seldom happens is either a testament to a stark lack of creativity on the part of people, or a sign that maybe humanity isn’t so evil and untrustworthy as anti-gun crusaders would have you believe.

        4. 1. just print a bullet who said it must be metal
          2.you can even make a plexi bulet if you want
          The poin is a gun is very very easy to make indetectble if you want
          And if you make a disposeble gun it should only need to fire once.
          It takes long long time to print a gun. I don`t see any criminals doing it any time soon

          1. That’s not being naive. Being naive would be assuming that the real looking gun is just a squirt gun that won’t harm you. Acting accordingly would be more along the lines of being cynical but not really due to the fact that there are plastic guns that shoot real bullets.

            No, I would say that acting accordingly when someone points a real-looking gun at you is being realistic.

        1. I think its more that these things are much more likely to explode and take out the users hand due to people running them off with extrusion based 3d printers, like above. Also what Jacob Says.

          1. They’re meant to fire a .22 round. I have fired one of these rounds held between my fingers with a rock hammer. If they ‘explode’ it is due to faulty ammo, not a weak chamber. A 1″ piece of printed plastic would likely stop that sized bullet entirely. It is, in fact, rather hard to injure yourself badly with a single-shot .22 weapon.

          2. This is in reply to M4CGYV3R.

            You might want to tell that to the five year old who inadvertently killed his sister in Burkesville, KY with a .22 “My First Rifle”. Or the dude who accidentally shot himself in the jaw with a .22 in Salem, OR.

            I’m not arguing for or against guns. What I’m saying is a .22 is just as deadly in the wrong hands as any other type of bullet. It may not have the stopping power of the larger brothers, but it still deserves the same amount of respect.

          3. I suspect that Mr M4CGYV3R is rather underestimating the dangerousness of a 9mm weapon. As has been pointed out, even a single shot 9mm can be deadly. 9mm automatics are /very/ effective (c.f Sten, etc)

            Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated with a 9mm weapon, indirectly triggering WW1.

            The risk of explosion comes from the barel, not (necessarily) the receiver. That’s why the “weapon” in question has a stubby little plastic tube.

            Still, it’s vastly more effective to make a weapon using more conventional means. Single-shot zip guns are trivially easy to make (and don’t necessarily even /look/ like guns), and automatics aren’t much harder (again, c.f. Sten).

    2. The main problem is that this gun is made of plastic and contains only very little metal and thus can’t be reliably detected by a metal detector i.e. at an airport. That’s way this type of gun is problematic even in the USA where everyone can buy a gun without any special permission. In many other countries you need a special permission to buy a gun and a 3D-printed gun allows bypassing this laws by printing your own gun.

      Maybe it is better to restrict access to ammunition instead of guns because producing ammunition requires access to explosive chemicals, which can easier be controlled than 3D printers.

        1. No, a 3D printed knife is quite impractical. All a knife is is a sharpened piece of metal, and if you have one in the right size and shape, it is quite easy to sharpen it to an edge yourself.

      1. It’s not any more practical to restrict the chemicals than it is to restrict the guns themselves. Incendiary (and other) Chemical propellants have existed since the first century, guns didn’t come along until much later.

        And, back to the scarier/irritating/frustrating issue at hand, if I have the materials and know-how to make gun powder, who is the Federal Gov’t to tell me I can’t? My neighbors, the bank holding a loan on my house, maybe even the local law enforcement may have some reasonable safety concerns or right to be informed, but the people in Washington (D.C. or the State) have nothing to do with it and would be restricting my right to own otherwise harmless chemicals.

        Frankly, I’m a little surprised that Caleb isn’t irritated by the ‘nanny state’ aspect of this, but that’s his prerogative.

        1. Don’t try that kids
          TATP as gunpowder replacement will go DDT and blow (parts of) the receiver right into your eye (and brains if you use a rifle cartridge).

          Remember that gunpowder as well as smokeless powder deflagrates while TATP as well as other primaries will detonate if they are confined inside something as a cartridge. Detonation produces pressures that will break your gun to fas flying shrapnel.

          1. Note that he suggested using it as a primer. Only a small pellet of the stuff is actually used; there’s an insufficient amount to actually do much to the barrel. Gunpowder doesn’t reliably ignite with sparks or percussion, so you use a substance that does.

            Personally, I’d use silver acetylide or maybe Armstrong’s mixture with some grit. Not going to comment on where to get either, apart from it being really easy. TATP is just a but too unstable for a bullet primer. You may end up hoisted by your own petard.

            But yeah, I would agree that people shouldn’t try it.

        2. you can use matchheads as both a propellant and primer, download a copy of the US Army’s Improvised Munitions handbook and see for yourself. Keep in mind that they are corrosive, so be sure to clean your gun after firing

      2. I don’t know about that. I have set off scanners at my local county court house with nothing more than the foil in a cigarette pack. There is a lot more metal in a .22 short bullet (not counting the casing). Granted, if you REALLY want to pass a gun through a metal detector, you would forgo the metal bullet for a dense ceramic (or glass) one.

        1. John Malkovich hid his bullets in a rabbit’s foot charm, hanging off his key chain.
          He also used the springs from a pen as hammer springs.

          Clint Eastwood still beat him, though.

      3. Even with the lack of metal, you would still likely get stopped at the airport due to the plastic chemicals in the gun. For a gun made on the correct printer, there are several chemicals that would be tagged as biological on an x-ray, and the gun shape would be recoginzed immediatly. Having worked with someone who frequently flew with a case of 3d printed parts, of which some were missile part examples (he works for a 3d printing company, so he has to show off,) those parts are quickly picked up. You’d be hard pressed to get around that.

        1. Its not just about x-ray machines but also think of all the places that have simple metal detectors and nothing else (courthouses, government buildings, even some high schools and nightclubs and things these days have them).
          Imagine a 3d-printed gun that has no metal in it and a non-metal projectile (such as the example of a shotgun made using non-metal pellets or a musket-type gun using a glass or ceramic ball instead of a metal ball)

      1. Grumble, mumble an edit feature would still be great, or at least a delete option. After “editing” the following several times still I sent it wrong No they don’t want tax slaves at all this point in time, they desire wage slaves. Wage slaves are more likely to revolt than tax slaves are to. Should have been; No they don’t want tax slaves at all this point in time, they desire wage slaves. Wage slaves are less likely to revolt than tax slaves are to revolt.

    1. If you observe a modicum of safety like a rational person, or don’t actually do what is written like a smart person, the AC is actually an effective and informative science book. At the very least, it helped my ‘MacGyver Sense’ and taught me to look at things around me for solutions to almost any problem I come upon.

    2. And that is the thing that terrifies me the most, that those who we put in power might (or already do) ban knowledge. Sure, some people may abuse said knowledge, but suppression is never the right course of action. I’m not insinuating that you were suggesting things like The Anarchists Cookbook should be banned, but there are those who hold that attitude.

  1. First of all, I love the HaD flair :-)

    I think that it’s the perfect anti-climax that these files, which are intended to be universally distributed, don’t actually print without lots of manual fudging.

    (PS what format did the CAD files come in?)

  2. While I haven’t printed any of these parts, I have spent a long time 3D modeling and a fair amount of time 3D printing. I wonder if the issues with the hammer spring was due to the thin void geometry of the inside of the spiral, where the spring touches the center axle. if you do in and add an inside fillet to that part, it might work.

  3. Sure, a zip gun is “cheaper, easier [to build], safer, and more reliable”, but it’s metal – making it an apples to oranges comparison. The hype about 3D printed guns is that it’s made out of plastic and largely undetectable by metal detectors.

          1. Careful, you wouldn’t want open mouths to be banned, would you?

            Wait, wait. This is perfect. Can’t pass stupid laws if you can’t communicate them, right?

          2. I find it hilarious, but this is true. Anything with a hole can be made into a gun. Some old halberds had musket tubes on the end. They were loaded like a musket, and when you were done slicing people down, you’d touch a flame to the side where the firing hole was and it would fire like a gun. This was literally just a hollow piece of cast metal with a hole in it.

          3. No they don’t want tax slaves at all this point in time, they desire wage slaves. Wage slaves are more likely to revolt than tax slaves are to. Consumption beyond one’s immediate survival needs has created a docile work force. While they will mumble & grumble about paying taxes, wage slaves will quietly pay them if you promise they can keep their toys. Along with continuing the lie every generation can have more toys than the generation before it, on a planet, with exponential population growth & limited resources. On top of that the grasshoppers have already convinced a sufficient number of ants they too can play the game the grasshoppers play. While it’s hardly any consolation prize, the consolation prize is that in time the grasshoppers will consume themselves.

  4. wait… let me get this straight… you went and took something that the DOJ says is Illegal to print… with proper gun manufacturer license or not… and did so announcing it to the whole world…
    What happened to the no weapons rule of hackaday?
    It starts with ammo magazines and has now moved to zip guns what next? Arduino controlled Pipe bombs? Embedded Linux flame throwers? Oh i know! Machete wielding robots that have a true “Kill switch”!

      1. I would rather see a bipedal robot with chainsaws for hands.
        Actually I could live without seeing most of the weapons hacks but this is interesting because of the politics and the problems you had making it. The springs are also interesting.

      2. Machete, a wide metal blade with a sharpened edge used for cutting vegetation.

        I have a machine with an engine that spins two of them at rather high speeds.

        I call it a lawn mower.
        And yes you can get robotic versions.

        No link needed really…

    1. The DOJ hasn’t said it’s illegal to print. Also, it’s not their place to say it’s illegal to print. DD has been silent on the matter, but the DOJ does have the power to ask (“ask”) to have something removed if it’s a danger to the country/it’s citizens. The ATF is the only agency that has power to say whether or not it’s illegal, and so far, they’ve remained mute.

        1. Oh you zing all you want now, just you wait until they start 3d printing pressure cookers. Those crafty kitchen terrorists and their 21 psi hot gravy are a force to be reckoned with!

    2. The Department of State (not DOJ) regulates export of controlled tech. This includes pretty much any firearm under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Traffic_in_Arms_Regulations The DoS locked it down because the design has not been approved for export thru downloading internationally from a US server.

      Printing the gun in the US is legal as is any other home made gun that follows some ATF restrictions. IE. not fully automatic, not a short barrel rifle/shotgun ect. Also the person making the gun must be legally able to purchase such a gun. Read up on the ATF rules before making a firearm though.

      1. “The DoS locked it down because the design has not been approved for export thru downloading internationally from a US server.”

        Wouldn’t that apply to just about every open-hardware project? (ie: Global Village Construction Set …that soil pulverizer sure looks like it could be used as a weapon to hurt people.)

        1. There’s a large list of fairly detailed categories of items that are covered by ITAR… certain larger/faster FPGAs, for instance. However bothersome and questionably effective it may be, it’s not as completely stupid as “anything that looks like it could be used as a weapon”. It’s also constantly evolving. (The FPGA restrictions seem different every time I look)

  5. I wonder if the errors were planted by the DoD. I think I remember hearing that the RIAA did something similar with music, where they would spread garbage files posing as popular songs.

      1. While I have no Idea what I’m talking about, I would not print the barrel in orange/red. I believe orange/red tip barrel actually signifies that its a toy gun and not real. I think its some kind of law (or at least everyone does it) that all the toy guns in the store that look slightly real need to have the orange tip.

  6. I always get amazed about your government putting to much effort into stopping this bullshit and then letting Crickett sell guns for children. A child has already died because of a shot by her brother.

  7. I always get amazed about your government putting so much effort into stopping this bullshit and, at the same time, letting Crickett sell guns specially crafted for children. There has been already a death about a small guy shooting (and killing) her sister, and nobody cares about the firearm problem still. The problem is not how you can make a gun, the problem is that inside the US society, people still fight for the supposed “right” to have a gun.

    1. There is no “firearm problem,” subject. More kids die in pools. Ban pools. More kids get type 2 diabetes. Ban twinkies. Not one month ago a 12 yr old boy stabbed his 8yr old sister to death in California, USA. Ban kitchens.

      Or better yet, why don’t you buy a plane ticket and come take our guns away yourself if the US Constitution irks you so much. Piss off.

      1. Lol, what a bunch of fallacies. If you put in the same bag the accidental deaths, deaths by illness and intentional homicides I understand why you are so out of the gun problem. Of course there is a problem. Fortunately i don’t live in the US, nor I do wanna live, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think of what is good and what is not good. Even if you think there is not, there is strong direct correlation between easy access to guns and intentional homicide rates, and that is because whatever you think, people don’t use guns to defend themselves in most of the cases, but to inflict damage and do crimes.

        1. Chicago: guns almost impossible to own legally -> among highest murder rate
          DC: guns almost impossible to own legally – > among highest murder rate
          England: guns banned, self defense prosecuted -> violent crimes, property crimes increase
          Australia: guns banned -> violent crimes, property crimes increase

          gun crime has been on a steady decline in the US at the same time as guns in circulation have increased. crime rates are lower where density of responsible gun ownership is higher. crime rates are higher where criminals feel like they have a better chance of getting away uninjured. criminals and tyrants arent lacking a self preservation instinct, they prefer weaker targets. if you want to be the weak one, thats your issue. play the odds, be my guest.

          like i said, if you want to enforce your beliefs on us come try. then maybe youll start to understand the origins of our constitution.

          1. In the UK punching someone in the face is classed as violent crime. After guns were banned there were litlle to no gun crime at all. So every crime under that level was bumped up and classed as Violent crime. Hitting a football player is classed as Violent crime. Thats why the stats look like they do.

            And the origins of your constitution was based on the fact, that you were little out croppings of civilisation with little or no active policing service. Which ment that if you were attacked either by aggressors within or from outside of your country you could defend yourselves and do so without having to bother the government. The constitution is broken. It’s a stone tablet in a digital age, and you guys are still chipping away.
            Wake up and smell the coffee Merica!
            Your own worst enemy, is the one you created yourself. YOU. But well what do you expect from a country thats only 500 years old ( give or take ) Meh..

          2. In regards to Australia gun yes related crimes went down. Violent crimes went up because instead of shooting eachother people where brawling, which is considered a violent crime. Not the ideal outcome but there are a hell of a lot less sucking chest wounds. There have been a small spate of shootings of late in the country, but they have been done by weapons smuggled into the country. In essence, as Andy said Franc N Beins, your argument is riddled with fallacies and a bullshit one sided representation of the actual statistics.

          3. Just like the person in the last topic on guns (who said that the murder rate was only so low in Britain because deaths weren’t recorded as murder unless proven in court) your point is less valid when you have to lie or make up facts.

            “Self defence” isn’t illegal in the uk at all, there have been quite a few cases recently where burglars entering a property have been stabbed and killed by home owners, and their actions are framed justified by the prosecution services and so no charges are bought.

            Self defence has to be proportionate though. You can’t spend have an hour sharpening a stick to go stab the burglar with, at that point it does quite rightly become pre-meditated murder.

            Another case that made the news was the tony Martin thing. A farmer who illegally bought (without the checks or licence,) two guns, which he illegally stored (under his bed instead of in a purpose made gun cabinet), which he only bought because his house was being burgled repeatedly, which he used to shoot two burglars in the back as they fled from his property.

            Even in the us that would be illegal

            It is actually still the case that an english mans home is his castle, and he does have a right to defend it. -but the means of defence do have to be legal!

        2. Shouldn’t you be thrilled that gun nuts’ children are killing each other off, leaving fewer of us to “inflict damage and do crimes” at you later in life?

    2. Ok I have an opinion about gun control, diabetes, knives and twinkies. First off….oh wait this is about the 3D printed gun, at what range can that caliber bullet pierce the skin. I think I’d be more afraid of a desperate person with a steak knife.

        1. Doesn’t matter how the rounds are made. 3D Printed gun fires .22LR caliber rounds through a plastic (No rifling, probably have some imperfections that will be ‘cleared’ when fired, etc.) barrel that has an extremely low manufacturing tolerance (round isn’t fired through the barrel as much as it passes by it on the way out.)

          What this means is that the effective range of this weapon will be less than 5 yards with barely any accuracy. Though the manufacturing technology is far more advanced, the technological equivalent is comparable to a ball-and-powder-based dueling pistol circa-1722.

  8. In Canada we have controlled ammunition (and strict gun control for pistols), as in no gun license, no ammo. Print all the crappy quality dangerous plastic guns you want, you still need to find the ammo.

    1. I think it is still easier to put an identification code on a gun than writing it in the ammo. I don’t know if it has any security code or something, but, in case of a crime, it is easier, in my opinion to find the gun than to find the shells.

      1. What the deuce? Criminals leaving their guns behind and taking their bullets with them.

        With citizenry silly enough to do that, it is no wonder so many countries are nanny states.

          1. The liberals are the ones trying to ban guns. Also, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil, where guns are all-but illegal, have more straight-up murders per year than the US(and fewer citizens, to boot)

          2. You’re right, I apologize.

            Unfortunately, guns are an inherently politicized topic, especially with the recent goings-on in Capitol Hill since the beginning of the year. That’s why Defense Distributed selected a gun for their project, after all.(politicized = “will get everyone’s attention.”)

            I wish it could be otherwise. The topic of “guns” was settled for me when I was very young. I’ve been around them and people who like them long enough to familiarize myself with them and not fear them, and I’ve seen and studied enough actual crime statistics and comparisons between regions with high and low gun ownership to know that the issue of permissive gun ownership is a CALCULATION, not a CHOICE.(A calculation is something which has a known “right” answer, a choice is an option between two more-or-less equivalent things)

            The one thing I always, always, ALWAYS see when two sides start getting into the topic of gun ownership is that the pro-gun side pulls out charts, graphs, and numbers, and the anti-gun side pulls out emotions, insults, and declarations. And I have NEVER seen numbers pulled up to back up said declarations. In fact I’ve been called a moron or troll to my face when I asked for those numbers. I had to go looking myself in the last topic about the Liberator.

            I don’t understand why it’s still argued about. History and public crime statistics both show that a society which permits guns has less crime and fewer homicides. Further, a society which permits citizens to carry concealed weapons has an even lower crime and homicide rate. Every set of numbers and set of comparative records I’ve ever seen backs this statement up. A single Google search will turn up easily dozens of comparative charts using both anecdotal records and official government records.

          3. This comment left out politics. I was trying to make the point that ammo shells are easier to destroy, so it is more useful to be able to identify guns.

          4. Volfram, did you really look up the statistics? Because when I compare the statistics from the US to similar countries, it doesn’t look good for your argument that more guns means less crime.

            Wikipedia: List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate
            United States: 4.8
            Canada: 1.6
            United Kingdom: 1.2
            France: 1.1
            Australia: 1.0

            You’ll notice, that’s all homicide, not just gun homicide.

            According to this,
            among OECD countries, for rape you are near the top (Australia and Sweden have a very high rate compared to the rest of the countries, maybe different laws?), robbery and assault you are middle of the pack, and burglary and vehicule theft a little bit above average. The numbers for homicide are probably for a different year than wikipedia, but they remain very similar.

            So I don’t see any support for “a society which permits guns has less crime and fewer homicides”.

            Only numbers, charts and graphs, no emotions or insults here.

        1. Hi, i’m from the other side and not from the U.S,
          You said pro-gun people always had lots of statistic evidence on their side, could you show them please? I’m curious (and not trolling) I really am.

          1. A late response but maybe you’ll check back. The most mentioned statistic against a gun-crime correlation is that, in the US, gun sales have skyrocketed in recent years while key crime categories have fallen. http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/05/14/disarming-realities-as-gun-sales-soar-gun-crimes-plummet/
            It’s obvious that the number of guns in an area and the number of gun deaths in that area are generally going to be directly related. The question is, do deaths and crime increase or decrease as a result of increased firearm ownership when viewed holistically. Proponents of gun control will often cite statistics that cities with a higher number of guns will have more crime. However, cities with more people will inevitably have both more guns and more crime. What I’m getting at is, statistics don’t mean anything. Depending on how you read them, you can show a wide range of correlations, but you can never show causation. I would be interested in seeing statistics normalizing guns to population. I would like to see if places where there are an inordinately large number of guns for a relatively small number of people have a higher or lower rate of crime. I’m not aware of such a study, but it still wouldn’t prove causation – too many other variables.

    2. Brass, powder, 9mm “wadcutter” shot, a reloader
      Back when I was shooting [targets] I bought all the above for my Beretta, and never got asked about my license. Of course, that was a few years ago now [how time flies].

      I miss it- but when arthritis meant my hands would shake with the effort of curling a finger enough to pull a trigger, I considered my self “unsafe”. Took advantage of an Australian gun amnesty deal, handed in the lot.

      Plastic guns? Meh. Make a [decent] gun that is less reliant on an agile index finger – THEN I’ll get excited.

  9. a nail gun is more effective then that and everyone can buy it at any tool store everywhere in the world. nails even come in clips and guns shoot nails at a rate of several ones per second.
    US DoD is amazingly stupid.

    1. You have clearly not used a nail gun… Firstly, they have to be pressed against a hard surface to fire (safety). If the safety was disengaged somehow (which is designed to be difficult usually) you have an effective range of maybe six inches before the nails start to tumble, and hitting a target with a nail going sideways is useless. Finally, the nails have so little mass they can barely penetrate anything at any range beyond point-blank.

      That said, yes, this “gun” is pretty pointless too.

  10. It doesn’t change the underlying story, but we should be clear that the DoD isn’t the government office involved here…and it doesn’t have to do with ATF firearm licensing issues.

    The operative issue here is export control..namely the State Department doesn’t let you provide certain classes of information to foreign nationals without following some specific rules–lots of crazy stuff is banned, but in this case it probably would of been ok with some paperwork.

    I suppose it doesn’t help things that even the folks involved didn’t understand that fact–Pro Tip: If you don’t know what government agency is telling you not to do something, even after they identify themselves in the letter, then you probably aren’t compliant with their paperwork.

  11. I doubt it should matter if a gun is metal or plastic, like many have said, the bullets will be metal, further if the gun was in lugage it still be detected, also its been a while so icant remember if they do a pat down or not, besides don’t they have full body scanners at most major airports now, like others have said its just the un/misinformed people throwing a fit, or legislation trying to find another way to reduce our freedoms

    1. If my calculations aren’t completely off, you can produce a miniaturized “potato gun” using butane and air at atmospheric pressure, with a chamber volume of 260 ml, that could deliver approximately 200-300 Joules of muzzle energy to a projectile with reasonable assumptions about the thermodynamic efficiency. All parts could be made out of plastic, including a burst disc to seal off the chamber prior to ignition. A ceramic dart or bolt may serve as the projectile.

      A soda-can sized lethal weapon could be produced completely without any metal whatsoever. All you need to do is stab it with two needles and wire a piezo lighter to the needles to act as your spark plug.

      1. Nice work, Dax. It baffles me that anybody in a community about creatively repurposing anything and everything could think there wasn’t an easy way to engineer around physical restrictions on bullets.

        The bullet doesn’t even have to take that much stress compared to the gun barrel. I’d wager a couple of cardboard wads would be enough to eliminate any thermal stresses on the projectile, leaving you open to pretty much any small, dense object.

      2. The only problem in my calculation is that I get a lower estimate for the chamber pressure for the gun to be just 1 MPa based on the air volume and combustion energy, which gives an acceleration of about 8000 G for the projectile, which means that it takes 45 milliseconds to reach muzzle velocity. At an average speed of 182 m/s that would make the barrel 8 meters long.

        With best known estimates about spudguns the optimal barrel volume is 1.2 times the volume of the chamber, which would give the optimal barrel lenght for a 5.6 mm projectile to be 10 meters long, and for a 9mm projectile about 5 meters.

        Surely the instantaneous pressure of combustion must be higher than 1 MPa, but I don’t know a way to prove it. What I do know is that combustion engines are known to have absolute pressures of around 6-7 MPa at high loads, but they compress the charge to about 1 MPa to start with. Perhaps it would be possible to have a pre-compressed chamber with a volume of 26 ml, where the combustible gas is injected prior to launch, or use an intermediate piston to generate more pressure at the barrel.

        Or, you could use a larger, heavier projectile that travels slower and acts more like a crossbow bolt than a bullet. The same kinetic energy for a 10 gram object would yield 200 m/s and suppose it has a sabot of 20mm in diameter, you could do with a 1 meter barrel, that is, assuming the chamber pressure is just 1 MPa.

        1. A third way is to have a bottle of compressed air at 10 bar, and meter out 26 ml volumes of air into a smaller chamber, next to an 8 ml chamber behind the projectile that is filled with butane. At the release of a valve, the compressed air would be connected to the barrel and the gasses ignited. That way your get that 6-7 MPa at the barrel, and your barrel lenght can be cut to just a few inches.

          The main problem then becomes that the burst pressure of PVC is about 1.5 MPa so you obviously can’t use that. Atmospheric pressure spudguns are just about on the limit of what is safe to build out of that material.

        1. I work as desktop support for a university, and I’ve been doing PC support (mostly Windows based) for a while now. Before that ,when I was growing up, I started to teach my friends how to do the more “elaborate things” with windows and I realized that they just found a more effective way to destabilize their computer.

          The 3D printed gun is a good point because someone is going to try and put a higher caliber bullet in it without judging the ramifications of the design.

          1. (lol at Windows joke.)

            I think I get what you’re saying.

            I wouldn’t worry too much about someone trying to rechamber it for a more powerful bullet. Either they’ll practice appropriate safety precautions(test-firing from behind a blast shield using a string and clamp apparatus, into the ground) or they’ll blow themselves up(in which case they deserved it and I hope they didn’t take anyone with them). Either way, no real harm done.

            Common sense usually has a way of sorting these sorts of things out when it’s allowed to run unimpeded.

  12. The way you keep saying “I’m done, I don’t care” sounds like you’re trying to convince somebody. I think the message might be stronger if you said it once and left it at that.

    Also, your swinging the “finished” gun around to show the camera both sides sent a shiver down my spine as I thought “DUDE! MUZZLE CONTROL!” I assume there was nobody else in the room, though, so only the camera was ever really at risk.

    (Gun safety rule 1: a gun is always loaded. Even if it isn’t loaded, it’s always loaded. I blame Bullet Pixies.)

    1. (should have put this in the post first time around) Good on you, though, and the gun itself looks nifty!

      Personally I wasn’t going to bother with the DD Liberator. As has been stated repeatedly, it’s a lousy gun, and terrible value for the price. The moment I learned the DoJ had “declared” they were taking control, though, I went on Pirate Bay and got a copy, which I have been seeding intermittently.

      I’m a bit surprised at how little upload data I have on the torrent, actually…

    2. you didn’t read the article or listen to the video did you. Not only are there no bullets, there’s no firing pin, or even hammer. I’m swinging around a 3d printed tube. Though you will notice I still practice good TRIGGER CONTROL.

      Gun safety rule number one: a gun is always loaded… unless it isn’t even a gun.

      1. I did listen and read, and that’s why I didn’t just shout “DUDE! MUZZLE CONTROL!” I should have acknowledged the details though.

        Technically I would classify this particular gun as being in the “chamber open” state, which is (supposed to be…) the safest state a gun can be in.(Do NOT buy a USFA Zip gun. The hammer can drop just fine when the chamber is open, causing an out-of-battery detonation, causing painful burns. Could be worse except it’s chambered for 22LR) Yes, in the state that “gun” is in, it’s probably perfectly safe to be waving it around.

        Probably.(BULLET PIXIES!)

        I did notice you practicing good trigger control, and I should have commented on that.

          1. well your playing in the grey area of manufacturing parts to create a gun … you dont have to have a working or complete end product in order to violate the firearm manufacturing laws in the USA … im not 100% sure but i think so far it has not violated any laws unless you do not intend to create a firearm with this

  13. So how long before all (applicable?) plastics
    get a mandatory tracer chemical
    and ( an aromatic ?) in the recipe that’s
    sniff able like plastic explosives ??

    My concern is what will that out gassing
    aromatic do for the life expectancy
    of anything made from it.
    seeing as they likely will require any item
    that’s made from a thermoplastic and could
    be remelted for feed stock to be contaminated
    with it.
    I can only see the life span of every leaf blower,etc
    or power tools being degraded by it.
    What about game consoles, cell phones
    You name it…
    To borrow a phrase,
    “I’ve got no horse in this race”
    i.e. no gun ownership,
    But all the other shorter plastic things around me
    with NO available alternatives will become prohibitively expensive to replace.

    1. Well, if you can make a plastic that can withstand the forces of a higher caliber bullet that would be dangerous enough, then I can see something like that happening.

    2. If they added an aromatic tracer the dogs wouldn’t get any rest because I’d be out front of the airport giving away 3D Printed travel toothbrushes and combs. My luggage would all have 3D Printed replacement handles.

      1. Phnx, I’m actually laughing at the idea of the
        “bomb” or gun scented tooth brushes etc. xD
        but guess I should have been more concise
        concise in my comments and said the
        aromatics would be primarily for the machines that “sniff” for the explosives.

  14. All… the Department of Defense (DoD) had absolutely nothing to do with this. This was misreported in the press and quickly corrected – but most of the blogosphere has stuck with the orginal error. Department of State enforces ITAR, not the DoD. It was the state department that sent the take-down letter.

    1. people were confusing the DoD’s statement that printing a gun is illegal with the take down order
      granted i thought the order was given by the justice department but i guess i was wrong

  15. Thanks for playing into the media frenzy surrounding this one. You are replicating ~800 year old technology (explosion propelling a projectile) using 21st century technology. Doing something guaranteed to cause a stir over something quite mundane. I propose a new term for this:

    Attention snoring

        1. but even if it was a completed gun, caleb is still within US law to make the gun for himself.

          but, if he had written the article, and then immediately offered the piece up for sale, than he would be in violation of US law, as it would become a for-profit piece, and the law clearly states that as long as you make it only for yourself with no intents to sell, it is legal.

          but that still doesn’t account for local laws and restrictions placed on firearm ownership– he could very well be illegal for possessing a firearm without the correct identification and/or approval.

  16. A cylinder is basically all that is needed, right?

    Can’t find a plastic pen with a tube of the right diameter?

    Seems like a much simpler alternative to a 3D printed gun.

    1. That isn’t the point. Even with the extremely expensive 3D printer it was designed for, it is a total piece of trash. Really, if you wanted to distribute a model of a gun, you would design it for a CNC machine, so that it could be made of steel, hold a clip, and pose more danger to the person it is pointed at than to the person holding it. The point is to start a discussion…I’m not 100% sure what discussion it is meant to start, but it has started a lot of them.

      1. just remember this is the first crude effort given time the 3D gun will become a more reliable and affective device.the first flint locks were probable through of as unreliable and a pain to reload give time and the design will improve. Then it will be a real concern to authorities and the 3D hobby printer marker will require a “license” like HAM radio or be made illegal. The main problem is unlike real guns or even zip guns you can make this in a apartment withing a few hours (requiring little technical skill (yes someone will fix the files shortly I bet)) then kill some one the next day all without doing anything to tip of the authorizes other than download the file. to make a real weapon require a expensive machine shop but this requires a ~ $1000 device that will one day probable be as common as a TV or phone. These guns are also disposable with fire or solvent and untraceable no serial. Ounce opened this door cant be closes and that is something we all will live with the consequences of in one form or other. for example data laws may become more oppressive to stamp out circulation of potently deadly files or even require ISP’s to log every file/page you access and alert the police when flaged files are found. some way or other this will come back to bite us you can count on that

  17. Very nice hack, I liked the video of the “zip-gun” too. A nice use of a 3D printer to produce a simple working mechanical device. I’ve seen quite a bit on these machines but this one finally intrigued me into looking at purchasing a 3D printer kit.

    I don’t see why this has become so controversial in the first place, The DOD removing the information only ultimately increased it’s publicity. It’s just one of those unfortunate topics which are inherently politicised, Politicians after all, need to justify why we pay them so much money. “looking busy” is a term that immediately comes to mind.

    I can get books and information on the internet on how to build atomic bombs, should that be pulled? I can find information on how bullets work, should that be pulled? I’m sure if I looked hard enough, I could find detailed information on how to build a variety of lethal devices on the internet. Why anger and split a group of enthusiasts because they built a gun on a printer. Almost anyone can goto k-mart and get a damn gun, Not many have 3D printers at their disposal. As per usual, the DOD’s actions have only led to free-advertising for the aforementioned invention, It has spread like wildfire and now enticed myself, and possibly others to take up 3D printing.

    In the end, it wouldn’t really matter anyway, I can still hold up an aeroplane with a box knife and I can still buy as many pressure cookers as my heart desires.

  18. 3D printed handheld coilgun would be badass though.

    Its not hard, just needs a power source and if you were really ingenious the projectile could be the AA used to charge up the capacitors.

  19. lol, Caleb, looks like we had the same idea. I too did not care for the whole gun thing, but cared enough to want to print one. I couldn’t get most of the pins to even fit. I did get everything to print right, had to convert in to mm. I scaled the hammer springs up a bit so they would fit. Although there was a lot of filing involved. It looks prettier printed on a rep 2, and most everything is assembled correctly. The trigger doesn’t pull back far enough, and I need to get my hammer springs to move better, its a tight fit. But it looks cool and everyone at heatsync got a kick out of it. The common consensus is that the DHS is going to dissapear me because I’m “too brown to be f***zing around with this s**T”

  20. I think you guys/gals are overlooking a very important point,
    Caleb needs to 3d print a decent mount for his GoPro so it doesn’t fall into 3D printers or off of quadcopters!

    1. valid observation!

      Here’s some inside information. The quadcopter shoot was a mess because I couldn’t find my gopro mount! I just zip tied the bare gopro to the bottom of the AR Drone. On top of that, the drone and gopro were taking turns freezing up, so I was very irritated at both. Poor me, too many cool toys.

  21. To everybody talking about getting a bullet through airport security: have you BEEN through airport security? Pre-911, I once accidentally took an actual (decommissioned–e.g. no primer or powder) cartridge through security by accident while meeting someone at the airport (note: not boarding a flight). Security flagged the cartridge, inspected it carefully, then let me take it through. After I got through security, I realized they had totally missed my pocketknife, which I had also forgotten about. These days (post-911), security regularly fails to notice my toothpaste in my carryon, which technically should not go through as it is larger than three ounces and is not taken out of my backpack.

    My point is this: what is the chance of someone getting a bullet through airport security? IMO, very, very good. It’s a very small object, and a bullet by itself is much less obvious than a full cartridge. Finally, a bullet could very well be argued not to be a dangerous object, so even if security saw it, they might let it through. It’s just a lump of lead, after all.

  22. OK, I’ll bite. I want to say this with as much respect as I can, in the hopes that people respond respectfully as well. In a society where almost anyone can purchase a weapon legally, why would anyone want/need something like this, unless the wanted to use it for a purpose that was less than honorable? OK, there is the “I just wanted to try it, to see if it could be done” crowd. I can understand that. Is it the concern that the government would confiscate weapons, and this would be the only way to arm oneself to fight back? It just seems to me that given that this device has no serial numbers, and is made of plastic, it just suits itself to be used in crimes, and then burned afterwards. I look forward to learning from your repsonses. Thanks!

  23. I think, like you said, it’s not a big deal in and of itself. The anarchist and narcissistic symbolism that follows from the pursuit of this project is a big deal. It’s to late now because the cat is out of the bag, but the stubbornness and lack of ethical thought that accompanied this endeavour will have serious repercussions on 3d printing technology.

    The irony is that this gun, for which ammo can’t (yet) be printed, is the perfect ammo for companies, institutions and governments to try and seriously hinder the potential of the technology. Whether or not regulations on sharing, DRM, proprietary drivers and limits in the cad software will work or not, these implementations will hinder everybody at one point, be it a nuisance or a serious hindrance.

    It find it incredibly selfish and naive to pursue the creation of a gun with a technology that could mean a new industrial revolution for the entire world, when an individual with even the slightest sense of insight can predict that this is the prefect excuse to try and cripple the technology world wide. Thank, gun loving hicks with your nonsensical definition of freedom and false sense of security, for fucking it up for everybody else!

    1. Sadly, yes. Fortunently, since 3d printers have a strong diy presence, such a thing would be extreamly difficult. Not impossible, but I feel the government would try any alternative before attempting to do so.

      1. The US government crippling 3D printing devices is one thing. But this technology will also be hampered in countries where the insatiable appetite for primitive boom-sticks isn’t an issue which is most of the western world.
        If the US wishes to drown themselves in home-made Saturday night specials, I could not care less, but the inability or unwillingness to even consider the broader implication of this shallow and narcissistic behaviour is frightening.

        1. How can open source tech be crippled by the government here or elsewhere? Plastic guns don’t threaten the gun industry so nothing will be done about them. However once people start distibuting near copys of plastic products and all hell will break out in the 3d printing world. Until some industry gets threatened nothing will be done. And it requires literally everyone to have a 3d printer or access to one to even be a problem.

          1. Various scenario’s come to mind in which this technology, no matter how open, is crippled under the farcical excuse of protection from proven weaponization.
            You need only to accept that various industries have a vested interest in limiting the availibility of objects or features on these devices and that these will use lobby groups and patent law to not only hinder printing guns, but just about any part they see as their IP.
            Faux excuses to protect IP are not uncommon as anybody who has not lived under a rock knows.
            Apart from patents limiting the tech or channeling the features to a select view propriatary vendors is I can imagine very irritating limitations on sharing material.

            Do remember that it matters not that these measures will work or not, but that it will close, limit,mslow down innovation and crimialize use, in which case , we all lose again.

            Tgis childish gun mallakey is just an excuse.

    2. Many governments might. Even if the US doesn’t mind the idea of anyone (child?drunk?) one day Alt+P ing a weapon, most of europe and especially the UK sure would.

      Worse, it will be (much like child pornography) the legitimate excuse for much more far reaching censorship :(

  24. Mind doing a further experiment, and firing several rounds through? I would love to see how much damage the actual unit takes. Do be careful if you do decide to fire it!

  25. I’d Probally Say make a test fire if u can fully get it to work user s .22 Round and have it fired from inside a glass box w/ string tied to trigger\hammmer so that if it does explode then u wont lose an eye from flying chunks of plastic

  26. Definitely enjoying the videos. Caleb, I am assuming that you are a US citizen. I believe that this is the case. The export laws used to remove these items from Defense Distributed’s website don’t actually suggest that you, as a US citizen, “can’t have this”. Actually, they sort of got DD with a technicality. The internet is accessible by persons of foreign origin. Because of this, DD was exporting information that could be used, by non-citizens, to produce weapons. This is illegal. That doesn’t mean I’m happy about it, but it is. Frankly, it seems crazy to me. There are things that it is illegal for me to even talk about to certain people. It makes sense with complex weapons systems protecting our armed forces, but I can’t help but feel that they were over reaching a bit using these laws to ban what is effectively a zip gun.

    What 3D printer did you use? If you could build a safe test rig and get the hammer working, a firing video would be awesome.

  27. These days a growing number of movies are in the public domain. These works are considered part of the public cultural heritage and may be freely used by all. Public domain refers to the body of creative works and knowledge in which no person, government or organization has any proprietary interest such as a copyright.

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