3D-Printed Gun Now Exists

The world's first entirely 3-D printed gun is now a reality.


The world’s first entirely 3-D printed gun is now a reality, Forbes’ Andy Greenberg reports.

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 Defcad.org.

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.”

Two thoughts immediately spring to mind. First, 25 years is a long time to spend in law school; three years is the standard for full-time student and four for night students.

Second, once this technology becomes more affordable and widespread—and that’s going to happen very, very soon—it’s going to make a lot of existing laws obsolete.

Indeed, there are already attempts to regulate the technology:

New York congressman Steve Israel has responded to Defense Distributed’s work by introducing a bill that would renew the Undetectable Firearms Act with new provisions aimed specifically at 3D printed components. In January, personal 3D printing firm Makerbot removed all gun components from Thingiverse, its popular site for hosting users’ printable designs.

All of that opposition has only made Wilson more eager to prove the possibility of a 3D printed firearm. “Everyone talks about the 3D printing revolution. Well, what did you think would happen when everyone has the means of production?” Wilson asked when we spoke earlier in the week. “I’m interested to see what the potential for this tool really is. Can it print a gun?”

The very nature of the technology would seem to make it next to impossible to regulate.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, Uncategorized, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. J-Dub says:

    I sense a sea change when innovation is no longer driven by pornography but by deadly weaponry.

  2. The very nature of the technology would seem to make it next to impossible to regulate.

    Yeah, I don’t know about that……

    Makers may be able to print guns in their garages……but that alone doesn’t prove 3D printing is impossible to regulate.

    Seems to me that regulation is less about preventing things from occurring than it is about providing legal sanction for violations. That scheme will work the same in 3D printed guns as it does for everything else in the known world, if not more.

  3. PJ says:

    @James Joyner:

    First, 25 years is a long time to spend in law school; three years is the standard for full-time student and four for night students.

    Not sure if you meant that as a joke or not, but it’s a typo.

  4. Franklin says:

    @PJ: Is it a typo? I assumed that was typical of a gun nut.

  5. JKB says:

    First, 25 years is a long time to spend in law school;

    Have you ever tried to gain an understanding of gun laws in the U.S.? 25 yrs would be a bare minimum of study in the face of what is sure to be arbitrary and capricious enforcement.

  6. Cd6 says:

    Clearly this would be impossible to regulate. Just like we gave up and never passed laws about making bombs or meth in your home. That’s the American way: if something flight be hard, don’t bother trying

  7. john personna says:

    3-d printing is a happening technology, but it is important to note the principle distinction between consumer and commercial devices.

    Consumer devices are cheap and work in soft plastics.

    Commercial devices are very expensive, and if they work in metal, then end up as part of a metal shop.

    Now can you make a zip-gun in soft plastic? Probably, but note that you can buy a plastic flare gun, in 12ga, right now on Amazon.

    It is not considered harmful, and in my mind this whole conversation is wasted energy (like “oh noes, self-driving cars”) until quite a bit more is developed. You really need home or small-shop printing of metal parts to make it “oh noes, gunz for everyone.”

  8. john personna says:

    BTW, interesting that he chose his name as reference to the FP-45 Liberator, a WWII vintage zip gun.

  9. john personna says:

    Oh and from the article above:

    A poster Defense Distributed offered to anyone who donated $1,776 to their Wiki Weapon Project. The image is taken from an 1835 Texas Revolution flag that has become a favorite symbol of the National Rifle Association, with a RepRap 3D printer substituted for a cannon.

    This shows the deep misunderstanding. A RepRap only works in soft plastic, the video shows a more expensive commercial machine.

  10. john personna says:


    Maybe that’s the game. Pretend you can print any weapon with a RepRap, and say that therefore gun laws are obsolete.

    (Always say “obsolete” with Twilight zone “you are obsolete” inflection.)

  11. Hello World! says:

    I doubt the gun has the power of a glock or even 6 rounder

  12. john personna says:

    From the Defense Distributed comment threads:

    Cant wait for the videos of it firing. Its basic physics that this can happen, which is why I have been insisting you can do this despite some others who clearly do not understand basic physics claiming its totally impossible to ever make an all printed/plastic gun. Physics wins again!

  13. gVOR08 says:

    I’m sitting 20′ from a 3D printer, the second one I’ve managed. I’ll believe it when he goes public with a credible barrel construction. Like @john personna: said, it’s just a zip gun. And in the picture, it looks like his trigger is broken.

  14. @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    Seems to me that regulation is less about preventing things from occurring than it is about providing legal sanction for violations. That scheme will work the same in 3D printed guns as it does for everything else in the known world, if not more.

    So you mean like every other attempt at prohibition, it will fail completely while enriching the worst criminals and thoroughly corrupting the government?

  15. john personna says:
  16. Rafer Janders says:

    Second, once this technology becomes more affordable and widespread—and that’s going to happen very, very soon—it’s going to make a lot of existing laws obsolete.

    It’s not going to make most of those laws obsolete, it’s just going to make them harder to enforce.

  17. Andre Kenji says:


    Not sure if you meant that as a joke or not, but it’s a typo.

    Andy Greenberg DESERVES to be mocked due to this typo. Even people that have a Neo-Latin language as their native language and that have poor English does not commit these kinds of typos.

  18. Andre Kenji says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    It’s not going to make most of those laws obsolete, it’s just going to make them harder to enforce.

    Not only that. If someones manages to make a credible 3D printed gun the life of terrorists is going to become much easier than it is today.

  19. ernieyeball says:

    Oh Boy! Oh Boy!! Oh Boy!!! I can’t wait till there’s a gun in my box of Wheaties!

  20. @Stormy Dragon:

    So you mean like every other attempt at prohibition, it will fail completely while enriching the worst criminals and thoroughly corrupting the government?

    Every other attempt at prohibition?” Yeah, okay……

  21. matt says:

    I’ve mentioned that this was coming and soon for a bit now.

    @john personna: Today’s commercial machine is tomorrows home enthusiast’s machine. 10 years ago home 3d printing was completely non existent but today there’s a variety of very affordable machines capable of printing in ABS and PLA for under 2 grand. A 3d printer in 2010 that cost $20000 is now available for under $1000.

  22. @matt:

    A 3d printer in 2010 that cost $20000 is now available for under $1000.

    A real gun’s still cheaper. And better. And easier to get.


  23. john personna says:


    Where’s my jetpack? Or for that matter my flying car?

    (ie. not everything built as a one-off ends up cheap and in every garage.)

  24. john personna says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    It is probably a BS claim anyway. You could get sintered metal printers in 2010 and you still can’t get them for home.

  25. john personna says:

    To say it straight up, I am really tired of stupid people who say “I can print a plastic toy, therefore M-16s are around the corner.”

    The high quality plastics in a Glock only provide a framework for the important and high tolerance metal parts which contain the high pressures of combustion. A fully plastic Glock would explode. The barrel would not be rigid enough to fire a .45 or 9mm at full pressure without it turning or sticking.

    I mean, how obvious is it, if fully plastic guns worked (from soft plastics yet) they would be on the market, and beating everything on price.

  26. matt says:

    @john personna: http://www.xperiencedays.com/Ft_Lauderdale_Jetpack_Flight_Experience.html?gclid=CNr28N2Y_bYCFcdU4AodLn0ACQ


    You know flying things are in a whole other world of difficulty from something as simple as 3d printing. Flying cars are a pipe dream and until we master the 2d world of regular driving we’re never going to see widespread use of a 3d system like a flying car.

    Actually there’s some parallels as we completely mastered 2d printing decades ago.

    @john personna: The only part that truly needs to be metal for long term use is the barrel firing pin and chamber. The other 95% of the gun can be printed in plastic and fairly reliable. Reliability of course will improve as better printing technologies become cost effective. Also another factor is the design of how the part is printed in the first place. That’s why they were able to fire +600 rounds through a completely printed lower AR15 receiver (which is the only part that is counted as a gun).

  27. john personna says:


    You put a cheat in there, with “barrel and chamber.” That assumes a single-shot gun, and not what your readers are visualizing.

    As a gun guy sums it up:

    Notwithstanding the use of Polymers, Nylons, and Carbon Fibers, Metal (Steel in particular) is still a very necessary component in the production of any Firearm! Barrels, for instance, must still be made from Steel! (There is experimenting now going on using new types of Ceramics for handgun barrels, but this is yet in the future!) Smith and Wesson utilizes Stainless Steel Barrel Liners on all their Titanium, Aluminum Alloy, and Scandium framed Handguns. Why? Because only Steel can withstand the heat generated from repeated firing. None of the above mentioned plastics could withstand the heat generated by the continued firing of a handgun or rifle.

    Do a test. Load a 30 round magazine into an AR-15 (or any semi-auto), and fire off all 30 rounds in succession. Now place your hand close to the barrel, but do not touch it. Feel the heat? If subjected to continuous fire for a long period, the barrel can become so hot that it will glow red, and even start to melt. This is the reason many Machine Guns have the capability of quickly changing the Barrel. Even the strongest Steel can not hold up to the continuous rapid fire of a machine Gun for extended periods. I know that this is an unlikely scenario on most semi auto rifles, but I am just trying to make a point! No Polymer or Carbon Fiber could withstand even a fraction of the heat exposure that Steel can! This is one reason why there are NO COMPLETE PLASTIC RIFLES OR HANDGUNS!

    Now are you seriously going to put RepRap up against that?

    Are you the idiot who downvoted my criticism of RepRap for gun production above?

  28. john personna says:

    Also from that page:

    Smaller Internal Parts, such as the Firing Pin, Sear, Small Springs, ect, must also be made of 4140 heat treated Steel. While these parts theoretically could be made from polymers, they would not hold up with repeated use over time, thus causing excessive failure of the firearm. What Firearms manufacturer wants to be known for excessive mechanical failure of their products?

  29. john personna says:

    (Frontiersmen got metal parts for their guns and freehand carved the rest out of wood. Sure, you could RepRap a stock for a flintlock, but it would probably take a bit longer.)

  30. matt says:

    @john personna: Your source is intentionally misleading with his statements. The only way you melt a barrel is when you put thousands of rounds through it in a short period of time. I’ve seen Ak and AR platforms fire 1000 rounds without a break and never once did the barrel get anywhere near hot enough to melt plastic let alone the metal.

    Here’s an example of a test where they fired 10,000 rounds through an AR-15 platform in an effort to show wear on barrel. All barrels were chrome lined (best lining).

    If you pay attention you’ll notice that the hand-grips and such are already plastic on an AR15..

    Machines guns like the m60 have quick barrel change capability because of the much higher rate of fire that machines guns are capable of. Since AR15s and such aren’t machines guns they can’t reach the same rate of fire..

    The printed ar 15 lower (only part that counts as a gun) withstood over 650 rounds and that’s just a low quality home printed receiver..

  31. john personna says:


    I think a lot of this boils down to people who think “3d printers” are all the same, and as soon as you go “3d” you can print anything. They don’t get materials engineering. They think 3d is 3d.

    Think of it, the soft plastics used with home printers have poorer structural rigidity than hardwoods.

    Has there ever been a hardwood pistol?

    Has there ever been a commercial weapon with all plastic parts?

  32. john personna says:

    (If there has never been a functional plastic gun, “3ding it” won’t fix it.)

  33. @john personna:

    Are you the idiot who downvoted my criticism of RepRap for gun production above?

    Yes, where ever Matt is, a downvote is sure to follow…..

    His interest in 3D printed guns (as well as I’d say the interest of “Defense Distributed”) seems to be all about mooting, reducing, or otherwise making difficult gun control. 3D printed guns as a thing…as a useful thing? That’s secondary.

    I’ll tell you what I’m worried about…….amateur blacksmiths. They can pound out a gun in about a week, no serial numbers, no license, nothing. What are we going to do about them??? (Snark off….)

  34. john personna says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    Back when gangs were poor, didn’t’ they make zip guns with a pipe, a rubber band, and a nail?

    (Geez, this being the internet, I see that there are instructions.)

  35. matt says:

    @john personna: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2011/10/05/what-happened-the-the-mythical-undetectable-plastic-gun/

    As for why we don’t already have pure non-metal guns I imagine it has something to do with the illegality of the concept.


    Now there are quite a few composite based handguns out there already. Glock is semi-famous for their extensive use of composites in their guns.

    Being an electrical engineer I have taken mechanical engineering related courses. I also have had access to the 3d printing machines we have on campus. It’s only a matter of time before metal printing hits the home market and I fully expect it to be there within 10 years if not 5.

    ABS is quite durable and easier to form then wood :O

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):
    Homemade in England http://thehomegunsmith.com/

    You don’t need 3d printers to make guns. This technology is exciting for far more reasons then either of you wish to explore here. THis post is about printing guns so excuse me for keeping on topic..

  36. matt says:

    Caught in moderation..Apparently linked to too many sources.

  37. john personna says:

    What kind of moron down-votes the central question:

    Has there ever been a commercial weapon with all plastic parts?

    If not, why not?

    Also consider this:

    In its continuing mission to build a “Wiki Weapon,” Defense Distributed has 3D printed the lower receiver of an AR-15 assault rifle and tested it to failure — on video (embedded below). The printed part only survives the firing of six shots, but for a first attempt that’s quite impressive.

    They act with the “first attempt” stuff like it is a design problem, and not a materials problem. If it is materials you can redesign to the cows come home. You need a 3d printer which can print high quality steel … something not available even in commercial models.

  38. matt says:

    @john personna: You’re way behind as they printed out a redesigned receiver which fired 650 rounds fine. They only stopped because they ran out of ammo and it’s hard to find these days..

    According to the law they made a pure plastic firearm.

  39. john personna says:

    To document that you can’t print high grade steel:

    3D printed stainless steel has a slightly pitted surface finish for that vintage, steam punk look. This material can be polished smoother for jewelry, structural parts, and anything in between. Shapeways 3D printed stainless steel is very strong and rigid with similar properties to 420 stainless steel, except it is infused with a bronze content of up to 30%. This gives some Stainless Steel objects a slightly bronze hue.

  40. matt says:

    @john personna: They made firearms for centuries before high grade steel. Hell my mosin nagant uses high carbon steel and probably not even high quality stuff at that. IT’s hard to make high quality steel during war. Yet somehow despite not having enough high quality steel the axis and allies still managed to make a shit ton of guns out of “sub par” metals..

  41. john personna says:


    This gun matt?

    It is not a “pure plastic firearm” is it?

    The receiver is stronger, I’ll give them that, but it still has many many metal parts purchased commercially.

    (Matt knows, but he isn’t telling you that “according to the law” has a special meaning. To uniquely identify a weapon, which may wear and have parts replaced, a single central part as chosen as “the gun.” This has been the receiver. And so if you printed one, you bypassed manufacture and purchase, and could then add on all the hard metal parts you needed.

    This is a different problem than someone truly printing a truly plastic gun.)

  42. john personna says:


    And flintlocks can be sold my mail … what’s your point?

  43. matt says:

    @john personna: According to the law it’s a pure plastic firearm as the reciever is the only part that is considered a firearm.

    The rest of the parts can be bought without background checks and such as they are not considered a gun. The receiver is the only part that qualifies as a gun and since the reciever is made entirely out of plastic…

    Yeah I know I’m pulling a technicality on you but it’s only because I’m following the rule of the law 😛

    Barrels and other parts are almost completely unregulated here in the USA so those parts are of no concern. The only viable solution would be to regulare barrels like England but that would create all kinds of problems.

  44. matt says:

    @john personna: The current 3d metal printing methods are more then up to the task of building gun parts. Your pretense that you need high quality steel to make a firearm is just false and irrelevant.

  45. john personna says:

    Pfft, In the AR-15, the “lower receiver” isn’t the whole receiver, and isn’t the one taking the real stress. That would be the “upper receiver” that these guys purchased, in metal.

  46. john personna says:


    My argument was two-fold:

    1. Home printers work in soft plastics
    2. Metal printers are expensive and go in metal shops

    I said this was not going to change soon.

    Now we know that even those expensive printers print in lower grade metals than are used for commercial firearms.

    You answer, moving the ball again, that they *could*?

    Find me a commercial weapon with 30% brass in the barrel. I dare you.

  47. john personna says:

    (This is the NRA meme I guess, move the ball all over the field in the hopes that *someone* will believe a RepRap prints “fully legal plastic AR-15s.” Or some such BS.)

  48. matt says:

    @john personna: ACtually the lower reciever is probably taking the more stress as teh trigger assembly the magazine and most importantly the stock itself all attach to the lower reciever. The twisting motion of the upper reciever is absorbed by the lower.

    I’ve said from the get go that this is an emerging technology. It’s not my fault you lack the reading comprehension to realize that..

    Currently available alloys used in the process include 17-4 and 15-5 stainless steel, maraging steel, cobalt chromium, inconel 625 and 718, and titanium Ti6Alv4. Theoretically, almost any alloy metal can be used in this process once fully developed and validated.

    I know that our printer doesn’t use 30% brass..

  49. matt says:

    @john personna: /facepalm. I’m providing you with information you should be using in your fight for more gun control yet all you can do is try to argue with me. It’s funny and sad at the same time. I really don’t know why I bother trying to educate you on the relevant laws and what needs to change if you want to keep guns properly regulated.

    Seriously think about this for a moment. If I was truly a NRA mouthpiece I wouldn’t be pointing out how an emerging technology is going to allow for guns to be produced with no paper trails or legal repercussions. I sure as shit wouldn’t be telling you what laws apply to what aspect of the process. I’d just keep quiet and let the technology hit the home…

    I’m curious if you thought computers were just a curiosity that people would never have a use for in their home back in the 70s?

    Or do you think you won’t be alive in 5 or 10 years so none of this matters?

  50. @matt:

    If I was truly a NRA mouthpiece I wouldn’t be pointing out how an emerging technology is going to allow for guns to be produced with no paper trails or legal repercussions.

    Ha! No paper trails or legal repercussions???

    That has yet to be demonstrated…….but hey, man, keep trying.

  51. @john personna:

    Pfft, In the AR-15, the “lower receiver” isn’t the whole receiver

    Yes, but according to current ATF regulations, the lower receiver is the part that’s considered the gun for the purposes of federal law (e.g. as per federal law, a firearm must have a serial number engraved in it. On an AR-15, the serial number is on the lower receiver).

  52. rudderpedals says:

    It seems really retro to be fabricating 19th century technology with machines from the 21st. There’s nothing wrong with that but we should be able to do something different if we have to do it at home, at least where we can 3d print the ammunition as well as the weapon. You won’t need matt‘s very cool but pricey laser printer if you can print all the flechettes you want along with your weapon on the cheaper fabricator.

  53. john personna says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I believe I covered that fully, above.


    You haven’t given me anything that would make me think “a gun” will be printed in the home in the next 20 years. That is where this story started.

    Now, will parts but not all be printed on higher end equipment? Possibly, but again you have never shown me commercial weapons cast or machined from these materials now. “3d” does not change the material. If they were good materials they’d be used now, cast or machined.

    Now, if it reduces to making zip guns with low end 3d equipment, that is not such a big deal.

    If you step up to machine shop operations … well, machine shops have always been able to make guns.

  54. john personna says:

    Geebus, the line above “3d-printed gun now exists” buries so much more than it reveals.

  55. john personna says:

    Just to emphasize, let’s remember what the “sci fi” definition of a printed gun is:

    “plans go in, gun comes out”

    It is not making the easy half of the receiver, becoming a gunsmith, ordering all the other parts, and hand assembling them.

  56. matt says:

    @john personna: The “plans go in gun comes out” requirement is technically achievable but extremely cost prohibitive for your average person. So for the masses? No it’s not here but I do see it coming and I’m guessing it’ll be less then 10 years. For those in position to have access to high end 3d metal printers? It’s pretty much possible but would be time consuming to map out/design all the parts required.

    One of the biggest reasons why the AR-15 platform is so popular is because once you have the lower receiver (the gun part) the rest is basically lego like. Everything snaps into place with minimal to no fitting required. The high degree of precision present in the AR-15 platform allows for that. In comparison my SAIGA which is based on the AK platform tends to require fitting and modifications for parts to work. This is a generalization of course and there’s always the exceptions.

    @john personna: It’s not the strength of the part but the cost that is the real issue. 3d printing a part is almost always far more costly then forging or casting it. Especially if you move to a mass production model.

  57. matt says:

    I’d like us to get the legalities of 3d printed guns out of the way before something stupid happens. Laws made in the heat of the moment rarely appear wise later on.

  58. john personna says:

    Grizzly will sell you a 10″ x 22″ Bench Top Metal Lathe for $1349. You can get a milling machine for another grand.

    With those you can make anything.

    … but because they aren’t a meme they don’t get the NRA sweaty.

    Strange, because right now you can buy a book on Amazon about how to make …

    The .22 Machine Pistol (Home Workshop Guns for Defense & Resistance)

    But that’s not 3d?

  59. john personna says:

    (A home metal workshop to make a gun costs less than a real 3d metal printer. It is an unsupported claim that the 3d metal printer will get cheap “because I wish it would.” Some things in the world do get cheap, and some never do.

    Remember Robert X. Cringely’s line: If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside.

    Everyone thinks about how amazing it was that computers scaled that way, but they don’t always stop to think precisely why Rolls-Royces could not.)

  60. john personna says:

    Ooh, another thought provoking question … why are forged parts stronger than cast?

    And why would sintered be weaker then either?

  61. matt says:

    @john personna: Lets see here. 20 years ago 3d printing was a pipe dream. 10 years ago 3d printing was MANY times more expensive then today and more complex.

    Why do you believe that this trend will suddenly reverse itself?

    Why do you believe that technological advances in metallurgy will suddenly stop?

    Why do you believe that computing power will suddenly stop increasing and suddenly cost more?

    Why do you believe that in-spite of the decades of rapid advancement in technology that suddenly our technological advancements will cease to continue any moment now?

    @john personna: Industry doesn’t care about what is stronger as long as the object is strong enough to do the job. What they do care about is cost and that’s why we use cast parts instead of forged everything. That’s why we see plastic parts in areas where there used to be metal parts. etc etc etc

  62. matt says:

    @john personna:

    If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside.

    What relevance is this? Cars today get far better gas mileage are far safer and far better performing then they were 60 years ago.

    What is he talking about when he says exploding once a year? My computers have certainly never exploded. I only get rid of machines because I cannot justify keeping them around.

  63. rudderpedals says:

    @matt: Computers used to be a lot crashier before NT. Here’s another one:

    A future helicopter pilot in a non GPS world is lost around Seattle above a thick cloud deck. Spotting a building poking through the layer he lands to ask where he is. “You’re on top of a building” said the roof attendant.

    With that the pilot knew precisely where he was. He reset the INS and landed at his destination uneventfully. His passenger couldn’t believe it. How did you do it? “Well, when the guy said ‘You’re on top of a building’ I knew we were at Microsoft HQ because the answer was perfectly correct and completely useless.”

  64. john personna says:


    Actually fleet mpg in the US is very close to working mpg of the Model T.

    It took a lot of hard work to double that, with the hybrids. 75 years?

    On “you don’t care about strong,” that’s the whole point of zip guns, and the whole bait-and-switch of “printable guns.”

    I see that this plastic gun has been “test fired” once, an the guy walks off the screen. That sir, is a zip gun. Extra “design” will not make a plastic gun into a high powered assault rifle.

  65. Al says:

    It’s fun to watch both sides come completely off the rails on this one.

    The idea that 3d printing, when it hits the 5th or 6th generation, won’t be able to produce a firearm that’s at least as capable (if not as durable) as Peacemaker or 30-30 is wishful thinking.

    The idea that 3d printing is unregulatable is also wishful thinking. Head to your nearest color copier or scanner and try to scan or copy the $20 bill in your pocket. Let me know what happens.

  66. Al says:

    @john personna:

    Actually fleet mpg in the US is very close to working mpg of the Model T.

    Apples and oranges. The Model T had an engine that produced 20 hp and had a top speed of 40 MPH. The 2014 Ford Fiesta has an engine that produces 120 hp, can hit 100 MPH and gets 29 mpg in the city.

  67. Matt says:

    @john personna:

    Actually fleet mpg in the US is very close to working mpg of the Model T.

    Only because you’re comparing a car to an average that includes sports cars and large trucks. A more valid comparison would be a four door honda accord hybrid which gets 46 MPG or even a regular accord which gets 36 mpg. I know a few people with model Ts or similar vehicles and they get nowhere near 25 mpg as listed on some sites.

    It took a lot of hard work to double that, with the hybrids. 75 years?

    My 95 del sol gets +40 mpg on the highway with A/C. If you removed all the features of a modern car you’d of seen a doubling in MPG long ago. INstead we decided we wanted things like an enclosed driving space, advanced environmental control systems, the ability to survive horrific crashes with advanced crumple zone technology and front/side/back airbags. Add in the stuff such as heated seats and electronic adjustment for everything. Oh and cruise control and massive amount of emissions reducing equipment and you get a massive dead weight increase. Then there’s the huge difference in performance itself. Try to drive a stock model T at 70 and tell me how that goes. THere’s a reason you ignored most of my statement and focused solely on the MPG aspect because cars have improved dramatically in all other aspects at the cost of potential MPG. You know this and you’re being dishonest with your “argument”.

    On “you don’t care about strong,” that’s the whole point of zip guns, and the whole bait-and-switch of “printable guns.”

    Strong enough is all that matters in almost every industry. If a company thinks it can switch to a cheaper material that while weaker still exceeds the requirement they WILL switch.

  68. Matt says:

    Model T curb weight : 1200 lbs

    Accord 2013 four door (non hybrid mentioned above) : 3300 lbs

    Notice something?

  69. matt says:

    @Al: I think we need to clarify some regulations on 3d printing before it becomes an issue. Waiting till emotions are charged because of an event to write legislature just seems like a bad idea to me. Very rarely has any good laws come out of such an emotionally charged situation.

  70. john personna says:


    Yeah, I notice that you are operating in the same order of magnitude.

    Step back and look where we started: “If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon,”

    You are explaining why we maybe achieve a doubling, maybe, with heavier cars and more performance.

    You are quite a bit short of a million, which was my point, which you seek to obfuscate.

  71. john personna says:

    I actually can’t be sure if you are intentionally dishonest, or just can’t follow the conversation.

  72. john personna says:

    I say “fuel cell cars” you say “here are other fuel cells.”

    Was that too lack of comprehension, or dishonesty?

    I say where are fuel cell cars and jet packs, as consumer products, you say “here they are as extremely expensive demonstration projects

    What that too lack of comprehension, or dishonesty?

  73. redleg says:

    All of you are missing the point. They called it the Liberator after a cheap, mass produced pistol dropped behind enemy lines in France in WWII. The object was to give a French citizen a chance to join the resistance by giving him/her a working weapon in .45 ACP. Granted it was only single shot, had no extractor– a wooden dowel provided that– and 10 rounds. It was also smoothbore. It’s use was such:

    1) potential resistance member sees Wehrmacht soldier guarding something– approaches him as a civilian looking to light a cigarette or other ruse.

    2) soldier is distracted and looks for a match or accepts a cigarette

    3) resistance member shoots soldier and removes from him his K98k. He/She gives the pistol to the next recruit and uses the rifle to garner more weaponry. lather, rinse, repeat.

    The point is to have cheap, easily available handguns that will only be used a few times. To get the jack booted thug’s selective fire assault rifles. If we do not have machineguns on the day of the revolution, we will have them on day 2. 3D printing hasn’t gotten there yet so that everyone has one, but it could be coming. You can also easily fabricate a similar zip gun in your garage for whatever ammo you have– and probably as safely. Gun Control is moot– what the authorities want is population control. This denies that to them. It only has to be effective for a few shots, and then as Bruce Willis said “Ho-ho-ho– now I have a machinegun too.” That is why the progressives/luddites hate the idea of this. Can’t stop the signal Mal.

  74. matt says:

    @john personna:
    Except your quote has nothing to do with anything I said. You were the one to say it and now you’re trying to use it against me as if I was the one that made it. You’re playing a stupid quote game that is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    The laws of physics and thermodynamics clearly do not allow for your quote to even remotely be possible. You know this and you know why but for some reason you refuse to acknowledge such a simple truth. It’s as if you think you’re performing for an uninformed crowd and you think you can “win” by spewing nonsense.

    As for the model t vs today well..

    On the one hand we’ve taken a car that struggled to reach 40 mph got single digit gas mileage and was a cold/sweltering death trap that could injure you just trying to start it and advanced it beyond the wildest dreams of Ford. Ford would be blown away if he knew how capable cars are today in performance and luxury. We went from “I think we have enough gas” to tracking gas usage in real time. We went from “golly I hope it doesn’t backfire and break my arm as I’m trying to crank start this” to starting our car from our living room. WE went from “golly I hope it doesn’t rain or is windy today” to completely enclosed driving spaces with individual climate controlled zones. We went from “any accident over 40mph is fatal” to surviving +120mph wrecks with barely a scratch. Holy crap only someone who is delusional would think that cars haven’t advanced a metric crapton over the years.

    @john personna: Well much like your stupid remark about how cars should have million miles per gallon capability the fuel cell powered car has things stopping it from occurring. You know damned well that the oil companies don’t want competition. You know damned well that the millions of service stations across the country don’t want to rebuild their station to accommodate a new fuel supply. You know damned well that service garages across the country don’t want to pay for training or new tools that fuel cell cars would require. You also know damned well all of this. You also know damned well that the only reason gasoline and the car became big was because of the powerful interests that pushed it including the government. The fuel cell powered car has none of that and on top of that unlike the gasoline powered car the fuel cell powered car as an entrenched competitor.

    You also know damned well you’re focusing like a laser on one small application of fuel cell technology and then calling fuel cells a failure. That would be like me focusing in on 3d printing’s inability to produce a product that has superior strength to a forged part and then calling the whole field a total failure..

  75. matt says:

    What’s really funny is the quote you’re using is just some arbitrary numbers used by the fellow. There was no real ratio established and nothing scientific about his quote.

    He could of said bazillion miles per gallon and it wouldn’t of changed a thing.

  76. wr says:

    @redleg: “Can’t stop the signal Mal. ”

    No, but if the tinfoil doesn’t help, they have meds for your condition.

  77. john personna says:


    You are not an honest partner in this conversation. I say that we don’t get all the technologies that we wish for, and illustrate that with examples. You give examples that don’t even come close, and think you’ve proven something.

    Either you can’t follow the conversation, or you are just spinning bullshit.

    I mean I say “where is my jet-pack, the one I can take to work” and you say “you can take a jet-pack to work!”

    For Pete’s sake.

  78. redleg says:

    @wr: Thanks for the ad hominem attack. I conclude you can’t attack my argument on its merits and have simply resorted to vitriol. I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to armed resistance, but as our founding fathers knew– tyranny is terrible close when government grows too powerful. Hence the 2nd Amendment. A 3D untraceable firearm now makes the Soldiers of tyranny vulnerable. The Liberator is simply a tool to the weapons the government reserves for its exclusive use. And guerrillas can challenge big militaries. It is just very difficult and very costly. Shown a picture of a UH-1 helicopter returning from a mission in Vietnam in 1962 with an arrow in the tail, two soldiers observed– “How can we lose? They are fighting us with bows and arrows.” Yes, the other one observed “How can we win– they are fighting helicopters with bows and arrows.” I gather your government will be willing to fight to the last ATF agent, soldier or FBI agent. But are you willing to fight to the last Senator, mid-level beaureucrat, or District Attorney? People willing to die for their rights are usually willing to kill to defend them. Take it as a warning, because a civil war would be bloody and the end of the United States as we know it. Don’t push me, and I won’t push you.

  79. matt says:

    @john personna: I linked you a jet pack you could take to work hypothetically if it was legal to do so. This is the problem though as you certainly know that any attempt to fly to work with a jet pack would require approval from the FAA and other governmental regulators. Just like with the fuel cell car you chose very carefully technology that is being limited by legislature/regulations or entrenched interests. When you’re not busy setting up no win situations where problems outside of the technology is limiting it you produce nonsensical things like MILLION MILES PER GALLON quotes that have no scientific basis. It’d be like demanding I disprove that the boogie man exists.

    You’re not being remotely honest with in this discussion.

  80. matt says:

    @john personna: I never argued we that we get all the technologies we wish for. I merely argued that the technology to do a 3d printed gun is almost completely here. That advances in printing technology and treatment technology has gotten to the point that almost cast steel strength is possible. I didn’t argue that we’d be building everything from 3d printers. I didn’t argue it was economically feasible to 3d print everything. Hell the fullest extent that I argued when it came to home printing was that you could print out what is legally considered the gun and buy the rest of the parts to finish it off. Hell in most states a felon could buy the rest of the parts without breaking the law (some states regulate magazine sales to felons but you can print those easily).

    The fact is you can 3d print a successful lower receiver for an ar-15 (possible for other guns too). The lower receiver is the ONLY PART THAT IS CONSIDERED A GUN BY LAW!!!!1. Thus you can already 3d print an entire gun from the point of view of the law. Since the rest of the parts are exceedingly easy to obtain they are irrelevant.

  81. grumpy realist says:

    @john personna: Actually, what’s holding the fuel cell car back is the immense expense of the platinum needed as catalyst for the fuel cells.

    Cogen systems are quite efficient (83%) and are being used in places that need electricity and hot water, particularly in locations that need an uninterrupted supply of electricity.

    One of the Kirin breweries in Chiba has managed to cut costs 6% per bottle of beer manufactured through the use of a cogen SOFC system using the methane from fermentation.

  82. This was inevitable in my opinion. He’s just the first person to do it. How does that stop ANYONE else from doing it by their own design? Or based off the pictures of the gun itself? People are definitely smart enough, unfortunately too, it’s generally the weirdo’s who are the smart ones and could possibly use this for harming other people. Granted it’s a gun, has there been anyone freaking out about other weapons people could make? Like a legit sword for example? Or a small shiv? In my opinion, you can’t stop this sort of stuff from happening in one form or another.