The gun is called “the Liberator” (Defense Distributed is located in Texas, after all), and every single part is 3D-printed. The Liberator still has some more testing to go through, but once that has been completed, DD will release the CAD files into the wilds of the internet, onto its blueprints archive, Defcad.org. Using Stratasys’ Dimension SST 3D printer, DD printed all 16 parts of the Liberator. The gun uses interchangeable barrels in order to allow the wielder to choose different caliber bullets.
Well, almost all of its parts are printed. The Liberator still requires a metal nail for the pin and Defense Distributed has opted to put a hunk of metal into the gun so that a metal detector would pick it up. But the metal isn’t necessary for the gun to work:
Considering the gun works and wouldn’t be taken seriously at a glance because it looks like something a kid would make in elementary school art class, having a bit of metal inside it is certainly a good decision. However, since the plans will be made available on the blueprints archive, nothing is going to stop some ne’er-do-wells out there from printing the Liberator without the detectable metal bits. Those ne’er-do-wells will still need real bullets, at least, but the lack of requiring a license — and the gun’s lack of a serial number — are unsettling thoughts.
The arrival of 3D printed guns are an important milestone in the gun control debate in the United States, but they’re really just the tip of the iceberg. 3D printing looks to be a massively disruptive technology, with potential applications in medicine being one of the most important fronts to watch. Interesting times, indeed.We leave you with a somewhat ominous yet ultimately bracing video from the Defense Distributed guys to ponder this Saturday morning. Discuss in the comments.[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO54gzfite4′][Photo of the Liberator by Michael Thad Carter for Forbes.com. Click through to see more photos]