An ambitious project has been started. The purpose of this project is so that anyone can download a 3D printer file from the internet and print out their own gun using a 3D printer. This gun will use a standard .22 caliber bullet and is entirely made of the plastic polymer that is used by 3D printers. The designers admit that it may not be able to have the longevity of a metal gun but any gun that can be printed out and be able to shoot at least one bullet is still a unique achievement. Being able to print out guns would obviously seem to go against gun control laws yet in America it would be legal to print any gun that they would lawfully be allowed to own, as long as they weren’t intended for sale. While these first generation guns may be less than totally reliable, ultimately design improvements may make these weapons cheap, available, and reliable.
The goal of this project is to be able to first design a gun that can be used on a $10,000 Stratasys 3D printer and then to adapt that design for use in a $1,000 RepRap model. A contest is planned for the best printed gun design with a $1,000 to $2,000 prize for the best design and several designs have already been submitted. While this would be the first fully printed gun, designs have already been uploaded for a magazine and lower receiver for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Since all other parts for a AR-15 can be bought without any limitations from gun control laws, this would be a gun that could be assembled without submitting to any current gun control laws. This weapon was tested and after firing 200 rounds, no signs of wear could be detected.
So are we doomed for a post apocalyptic wasteland where everyone and their kid will be sporting cheap plastic guns? The Founding Fathers of America did envision a population that had access to firearms. At the same time, this could allow any particular gang with a 3D printer to suddenly become as well armed at the U.S. Army. Today illegal arms can already be found by criminals and I’m sure that 3D printers will allow some criminals and the mentally unstable to get their hands on a cheap gun. At the same time, it may allow many more responsible citizens a level of protection that they can easily afford. Now all we need is a 3D printable body armor for everyone else and a bin for all of those soon to be defunct metal detectors.