Wiki Weapon, an Internet project led by Cody Wilson’s Defense Distributed organization for the purpose of creating and sharing open-source models for 3D printed firearms (see our earlier coverage), recently suffered a setback as their shiny new 3D printer was repossessed before the machine could even be set up.
After a series on online fundraisers, Defense Distributed achieved their goal of raising $20,000. Wilson had initially been approved for a lease on Stratasys Mojo commercial grade printer. Soon after the machine arrived however, the 3D printing gunsmith received a letter from the machine’s manufacturer stating that they wanted their printer back because the printer was “to be used for illegal purposes”. After a few days of back-and-forth emails where Wilson protested that nothing he was doing was illegal, contracted repo men showed up at his home in a rental van to take his Mojo.
While it is legal to manufacture some models of firearms without a license, provided they are not intended for sale or trade, the Undetectable Firearms Act could outlaw the production of any fully plastic gun. Still, we’re pretty much entering uncharted territory here.
Stratasys made the following statement to Wired when asked about the recently repo’ed replicator:
"“Stratasys reserves the right to reject an order. Members of Defense Distributed, like any U.S. citizens, are able to follow the well-established federal and state regulations to manufacture, distribute or procure a firearm in this country.”
Stratasys recently made PR waves with a story involving a 3D printed “magic arms” exoskeleton that gave two-year old AMC sufferer Emma the use of her arms (also covered previously).
Cody Wilson, a second year law student, is currently in discussions with legal council. and looking to acquiring a federal firearms manufacturing license. In the meantime, Defense Distributed is moving on to build a 3D printed firing chamber for testing the effects of heat and pressure on plastic parts when bullets are fired. The firing chamber will be triggered by electricity and not have a trigger, placing it outside of regulation.