It is a marvel of modern technology to be able to print 3D objects. These machines can print anything from toys to shoes to eyewear to jewelry to aircraft parts. Chocolates and cakes may even be produced using these machines.
The printers can also print guns, but few people are aware of this. These are not toys; they’re deadly.
Humans are experiencing mixed emotions when it comes to 3D printing guns. The idea is opposed by some while championed by others.
What Are 3D Printed Guns?
In most cases, 3D guns are printed using thermoplastic materials like ABS or PLA. A direct metal laser sintering method (DMSL) can also be used to print metal guns.
The full functionality of some guns can only be achieved with additional parts. Some of them can be completely printed from A-Z (exceptions include the firing pin and bullet).
Different parts of guns can be 3D printed, including grips, magazines, lowers, triggers, grips, and receivers.
History Of 3D Printed Gun Parts
No solid conclusion has yet been reached regarding 3D printing guns.
This story is about Cody Wilson. Defense Distributed is a non-profit organization founded by him that makes open-source gunsmithing tools, including the Liberator.
I was surprised at how many people wanted a gun like this. Within two days, 100,000 people had downloaded the design file.
A five-year legal battle ensued after the incident. The Trump administration legalized 3D-printed guns in 2018 – a major victory for gun advocates. Defender Distributed could now again print guns.
At the same time, Cody was charged with sexual assault against a minor, and his employment with the organization came to an end.
Late in 2018, an appeals court in Seattle upheld that ruling once again, making 3D printed guns illegal. The judge ordered Defense Distributed to stop sharing gun plans with the public.
Deterrence Dispensed was created as a reaction to this move, which was not well received. Defense Distributed was centralized, which helped them avoid lawsuits.
Public access to Deterrence Dispensed files was a top priority. In their arguments, they frequently mention the Second Amendment, arguing why their organization was founded because of it.
Recent lawsuits filed by 20 states and the District of Columbia against the federal government allege that the government allowed the documents to be published on the internet.
Three Categories Of 3D Printed Guns (Anatomy Of 3D Printed Gun Parts)
Building a 3D printed receiver, frame and part kit
Several 3D-printed guns can be found here that consist of only a few components. For the majority of components, you need to purchase them separately. Assembly is required after purchasing and printing the components.
Guns like these last for many years. Their bullet-reloading capacity is thousands of rounds.
3D Printed Hybrid Firearms
Comparatively, hybrid firearms made from 3D printed materials are mainly composed of plastic printed components. They require the addition of components.
Outwardly, these seem to be made entirely of plastic. Upon closer inspection, these have an interior made up of many metallic components.
Some of the 3D printed parts are screws, springs, and hydraulic tubing. The remainder are commercial components.
Fully Printed Firearms
Full-print firearms like the Liberator are rare. The Songbird and Washbear are also in this category.
Only the firing pin was made of metal on the Liberator, because fifteen of its sixteen parts were made of ABS (a thermoplastic).
The Liberator lasts for one shot in an ideal scenario. Unfortunately, in the worst case scenario, users have reported them shattering in their hands when they pulled the trigger.
3D printed guns can also be made from PLA plastic. ABS is more expensive while PLA is safer.
It looks very unique when a plastic gun is fully 3D printed. Typically, they last between one and thirty rounds before they die.
It is possible to make metal guns, but you may have to spend an arm or leg on them (or possibly your brain and kidneys as well). DMSL is used to make the Solid Concepts 1911. Basically, it’s a 3D-printed 1911 pistol.
34 components made of stainless steel were used in the first version of the gun.
Isn’t it awesome to be able to print a gun out of metal using 3D printing? The printers would only cost you $5000 to $1,000,000 if you had the money.
The Solid Concepts 1911 can fire up to 600 rounds without being damaged.
Process Behind 3D Printed Guns
To make a 3D printed gun, you need to do more than download a blueprint and hit the print button.
Creating models with precision is the first step. All of the gun’s components need to be printed separately and with extreme accuracy.
In order to get a fully functional gun, you must carefully assemble these parts. It takes time, effort, and patience.
A 3D gun prints using ABS and PLA, two types of plastic. Because ABS is brittle, it cracks or breaks nearly as easily as PLA. But PLA generally deforms much more readily than it cracks.
Risks Associated With 3D Printed Guns
There are indeed valid reasons for opposing 3D-printed guns. Since they aren’t marked as normal guns, tracing them is challenging. A law enforcement agency is unable to do its job without serial numbers.
Printing these guns is easy for anyone, including grandma in her basement. Despite my doubts, the criminally inclined grandson of grandma could pose a significant threat.
As well, airport and railway baggage scanners cannot detect these weapons. Taking the Eurostar from London to Paris with disassembled gun pieces, two reporters from the Mail on Sunday defied the rules of safety by boarding the train. In the toilet, they reassembled their weapons. No one caught them.
The bullets and firing pins of these weapons were not made of metal. Whether these guns pose an airport security threat is still up for debate.
Where Are We Now? Different Laws For 3D Printed Guns Parts In Various Countries
Gun laws vary from country to country. Today, we’re going to explore each one.
In our previous post, we briefly mentioned that 3D-printed guns have been the subject of some back and forth.
Many states in the US do not condone them. A 3D printed firearm must be registered and approved if it is to be owned in California.
The Trump administration is being sued by 20 states over its decision to permit the free dissemination of gun blueprints online. Neither the Biden administration nor the courts have decided the case. Many states still allow the printing of these guns.
Australia requires a license for the possession of firearms. The possession of 3D printed weapons is not illegal in some states. NSW is the exception.
Individuals cannot own digital blueprints of 3D printed guns, according to a new law passed by the NSW government. The maximum possible sentence for anyone found guilty is 14 years in prison.
When the blueprints for the Liberator were released, people downloaded them from around the world.
Let’s see who downloaded the most prints from which country. USA was not number one. The Spanish were.
Other European countries with high download numbers were the United Kingdom and Spain.
As of 2013, manufacturing, marketing, and selling 3D printed guns is illegal in the United Kingdom.
Middle East And Asia
Honestly, I hope you do not live in Singapore if you plan on 3D printing a gun. There is a death penalty for possessing a firearm.
A man named Yoshitomo Imura was punished severely for violating Japan’s strict gun laws. Two years of prison were imposed on him for possessing 3D printed firearms. As Yoshima later explained, he downloaded the blueprints from the internet without knowing these guns were illegal.
Debate And Controversy
The controversy over 3D-printed guns was inevitable.
It was their untraceability that scared people most about them. Additionally, 3D printed guns don’t require background checks that regular guns do. People with mental illness, psychosis, or underage use of these guns is wide open due to this.
Gun enthusiasts, on the other hand, are dismissive of the debate. They claim regular guns are more dangerous than 3D printers. The former, they say, is less reliable than the latter. It is true that some 3D printed guns deform or wear down quickly, especially since they are often blasted in users’ hands.
Create Gun Parts From 3D Printed Models
These guns aren’t durable or stable, as the article mentions multiple times. Daredevils need to exercise maximum caution, so if you plan on being one, be very careful.
The right filament should be purchased. Pla, ABS, and PETG make excellent filaments for these guns.
A safe, easy-to-print material, PLA is the cheapest option. Overheating and deformation of the plastic occur when it is fired repeatedly over a short period of time. Ensure sufficient cooling time by avoiding overfiring.
PLA is a robust material, but ABS is brittle and cracks easily. These materials also warp easily when printed in 3D. They are, however, more thermostable than PLA.
ABS is similar to PETG. PETG can differ in its flexibility or brittleness from ABS.
Plaster of Paris and ABS are best for best results.
Either you can design them yourself or download ones from the web.
There are a variety of software programs available to those who want to design their own thing, including TinkerCAD, FreeCAD, Fusion360, Leopoly, etc.
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like design, download designs from GrabCad, Free3D, Cults3D, CGTrader, etc. I will list more blueprint download sites later in the article.
Make sure your 3D printer is accurate so that you can print accurate parts. If you still need more money, you might want to consider the Artillery Sidewinder X1 V4 or the Qidi Tech-X Plus. If you do not need more money, you might consider the Creality Ender 3 Pro V2 (that is currently in high demand) and the Anycubic Mega S.
You can download Cura for free here and use it to slice the chosen design.
The file should be printed.
The printed parts need to be assembled. The parts must fit tightly together with no loose ends. Print the files again if there is an issue to be safe.
Guns that are 3D printed are they legal?
In the majority of countries, 3D printing is illegal, which is either unfortunate or fortunate depending on your perspective on the gun debate.
Owning a 3D printed gun for personal use is not illegal in the US (yet). You should just be careful not to sell the weapon. There is one caveat, however: not all states permit the manufacture of guns. For example, California does not permit the manufacture of guns.
Before taking risks, make sure you understand your state’s/country’s laws.
What are the results? Can A 3D Printing Gun Kill?
There was little consistency to the Liberator. One bullet could be fired at a time. Furthermore, it was only possible to cause damage at close range. This made the gun look more like a toy gun.
This is why so many people turned to CNC milling instead of 3D printing; it produced more efficient weapons. For CNC milling, the lower receivers of guns are honed and mixed with 3D printed parts to result in a fully functional weapon.
The Songbird is made of completely plastic and can fire repeatedly. Adding metal to the gun barrel will help it last longer.
You insist on having your gun 3D printed? Develop hybrid guns that contain a mix of metal and plastic. The most stable are those containing both metal and plastic. You never know when the entire thing might go terribly wrong, so keep 3D printing guns and their parts an amateur interest. Honestly.
Is it impossible to trace them?
Guns printed using 3D printing were initially untraceable. Their serial numbers were absent. Because their backgrounds weren’t checked, it was impossible to trace individuals.
In-fill patterns are created by 3D printers when they create layers of different sizes. The patterns generated by a printer differ depending on its model, filament, and nozzle. It’s like fingerprints, each one is different. Any 3D printed part can therefore be traced back to its original printer.
Models and blueprints of 3D Printed Guns Where Can I Find Them?
Several 3D gun files can be downloaded from this link. GitHub also features different 3D printable gun blueprints for items related to guns. If you’re curious about more, check that out. You can download all the files in one shot here if you don’t like downloading one at a time.
The claim that 3D printers are the new nuclear threat to civilization is made by supporters of hardcore gun control. The anti-gun lobby seeks to spread blueprints of firearms to anyone and everyone. Neither of those options is desirable.
Mass murderers are unlikely to use a Liberator to shoot people; their weapons would likely explode in their hands. A level of regulation can however be put in place regarding hybrid 3D printed guns due to their threat potential.
Realistically, there are more than enough gun makers who make regular guns, and no true killer would use a 3D-printed weapon. For now, these guns aren’t threatening to shake society, but their use may change as the technology improves.