The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Firearm: ‘The Liberator’

Meet “The Liberator”: The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Firearm (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 3, 2013):

3D-printing, like decentralized crypto currencies, have the potential to change the world in which we live in extraordinary ways. Ways that are almost inconceivable at this point given we are so early in the game.  More than anything else, these technologies can empower the individual like never before, and I think that is generally a very good thing.

I first covered the impact of 3D-printing on the firearms industry in January in my post 3D-Printing Meets the 2nd Amendment, where I discussed Defense Distributed’s success in printing magazines for semi-automatic weapons.  At the time, their next major goal was to print a fully functioning firearm. They have now done just that.

From Forbes:

Eight months ago, Cody Wilson set out to create the world’s first entirely 3D-printable handgun.

Now he has.

Early next week, Wilson, a 25-year University of Texas law student and founder of the non-profit group Defense Distributed, plans to release the 3D-printable CAD files for a gun he calls “the Liberator,” pictured in its initial form above. He’s agreed to let me document the process of the gun’s creation, so long as I don’t publish details of its mechanics or its testing until it’s been proven to work reliably and the file has been uploaded to Defense Distributed’s online collection of printable gun blueprints at

All sixteen pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys, with the exception of a single nail that’s used as a firing pin. The gun is designed to fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition.

Technically, Defense Distributed’s gun has one other non-printed component: the group added a six ounce chunk of steel into the body to make it detectable by metal detectors in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act. In March, the group also obtained a federal firearms license, making it a legal gun manufacturer.

Of course, Defcad’s users may not adhere to so many rules. Once the file is online, anyone will be able to download and print the gun in the privacy of their garage, legally or not, with no serial number, background check, or other regulatory hurdles. “You can print a lethal device,” Wilson told me last summer. “It’s kind of scary, but that’s what we’re aiming to show.”

Oh, and you can now purchase 3D-printers at Staples for $1,299.

Full article here.

In Liberty,

1 thought on “The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Firearm: ‘The Liberator’”

  1. 3-D technology is changing our world as radically as the computer did. There are some really good things about inventions and development of new ways to do things, unfortunately, mankind has a way of taking something wonderful and quickly turning it into a weapon.
    The aeroplane, first flown in 1903 by the Wright Brothers….wow! Wouldn’t that have been wonderful to see? Some of my old friends, all dead now, were pioneer aviators, and a braver, more adventurous group of people were never made. Flying made travel so much easier, you could see the land from the plane, it was amazing. Within 3 weeks of the outbreak of WWI, it was turned into a weapon. Mustard gas quickly followed. After the war, biological warfare was outlawed internationally………we see how well that agreement was kept.
    Look at nuclear power. Yes, it lights entire cities, a great source of power, we turned it into a bomb. Then, because it was so powerful and cheap, we lighted our nations with it. Now, look at what we face thanks to Fukushima, and the aging power plants here in the USA? Short term corporate thinking is baffling.
    What do we do after Fukushima? Japan started up with more of them. They burn the waste from Fukushima using conventional methods regardless it doesn’t work, sending it into the air twice. They put it in steel, concrete, everywhere. It is almost as if they want to destroy our entire species……the mindless short term thinking in this is beyond my understanding.
    We are the only species capable of inventing things beyond our ability to control them. No other species is so foolish or short sighted.
    What a shame. When I first stood in front of a pyramid built over 4000 years ago, I was awestruck by the engineering and technology that went into it, it was so obviously well-engineered. Every stone fitted exactly, it was amazing. Yet, the civilization that built it vanished without a trace. At the rate we are going, the same is going to happen to us.
    After the fall of the Roman empire, we lost the ability and knowledge to build the arch for hundreds of years, it was nearly 2000 years before we could make concrete as they did. Egyptian embalming technology was not figured out until the 1960s. Egyptians has aspirin, something we didn’t find again until the late 19th century.
    Somehow our species develops to a certain level, and cannot progress any farther, we destroy ourselves. Strange, isn’t it?


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