Plans for fully 3D-printed gun go online next week

The Liberator pistol causes political panic


Defense Distributed, the pending non-profit that plans to make 3D-printed weaponry available for anyone with such a printer, will release the blueprints for a fully-working plastic firearm next week.

The 3D-Printed Liberator pistol

Here at last – your own printed pistol

The handgun, seen by Forbes, uses 16 printed parts that are clipped together and can be fitted with interchangeable barrels to fire different-caliber rounds. The only non-printed part needed to fire is a simple nail, which acts as the firing pin.

Final testing for the firearm is still ongoing by the group's founder Cody Wilson, who said that the plans should be online next week. The Liberator is printed from ABS plastic using a Dimension SST printer from Stratasys – although that company has already refused Defense Distributed the use of one of its printers.

"Everyone talks about the 3D printing revolution," Wilson said. "Well, what did you think would happen when everyone has the means of production? I'm interested to see what the potential for this tool really is. Can it print a gun?"

The interior of the Liberator 3D printed pistol

Not the most deadly weapon available in the US

Wilson is a legally certified firearms manufacturer after getting clearance in March, and in order to make the Liberator legal the group has added a six-ounce chunk of steel so that it can be picked up by metal detectors – a requirement for weaponry in the US under the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act.

But if the plans do go public, there's going to be nothing in the design that makes the metal addition crucial, so potentially there could be people walking around with firearms that can get through airport scanners undetected. With its ultra-short barrel, the Liberator looks about as accurate as a Fox News daytime TV presenter, but politicians are already worried.

"Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser," said Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) in a statement.

"When I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago," Israel said, "I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology appears to be upon us, we need to act now to extend the ban on plastic firearms."

Meanwhile, American consumers could be the able to build their own plastic armory a lot more easily after Staples announced it will be the first big retailer to stock a 3D printer for consumers. The Cube 3D Printer from 3D Systems costs $1,300 and its printing plastic cartridges (which are available in 12 colors) cost $50 apiece. ®


Other stories you might like

  • You need to RTFM, but feel free to use your brain too
    But I was only following the procedures!

    Who, Me? Monday is here, and with it a warning that steadfast determination to ignore instructions might not be such a silly thing after all. Welcome to Who, Me?

    Today's story comes from a reader Regomized as "Sam" and takes us back to his first proper IT job following his departure from the education system.

    Sam found himself on the mainframe operations team for a telecommunications company. The work was, initially, pretty manual stuff. The telco wasn't silly, and had its new recruits start by performing offline duties, such as gathering tapes and job tickets for batch runs, handling payslips, "basically anything involving a bit of leg work," he told us.

    Continue reading
  • Tropical island paradise ponders tax-free 'Digital Nomad Visa'
    Live and work in Bali, pay tax at home

    The government of Indonesia has once again raised the idea of creating a "digital nomad visa" that would allow foreign workers to live and work in the tropical paradise of Bali, tax free, for five years.

    The idea was raised before the COVID-19 pandemic, but understandably shelved as borders closed and the prospect of any digital nomads showing up dropped to zero.

    But in recent interviews Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia's minister for Tourism and the Creative Economy, said the visa was back on the drawing board.

    Continue reading
  • Small in Japan: Hitachi creates its own (modest) cloud
    VMware-powered sovereign cloud not going to challenge hyperscalers, but probably won't be the last such venture

    Hitachi has taken a modest step towards becoming a public cloud provider, with the launch of a VMware-powered cloud in Japan that The Register understands may not be its only such venture.

    The Japanese giant has styled the service a "sovereign cloud" – a term that VMware introduced to distinguish some of its 4,000-plus partners that operate small clouds and can attest to their operations being subject to privacy laws and governance structures within the nation in which they operate.

    Public cloud heavyweights AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, IBM, and Alibaba also offer VMware-powered clouds, at hyperscale. But some organizations worry that their US or Chinese roots make them vulnerable to laws that might allow Washington or Beijing to exercise extraterritorial oversight.

    Continue reading
  • Beijing probes security at academic journal database
    It's easy to see why – the question is, why now?

    China's internet regulator has launched an investigation into the security regime protecting academic journal database China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), citing national security concerns.

    In its announcement of the investigation, the China Cyberspace Administration (CAC) said:

    Continue reading
  • Cerebras sets record for 'largest AI model' on a single chip
    Plus: Yandex releases 100-billion-parameter language model for free, and more

    In brief US hardware startup Cerebras claims to have trained the largest AI model on a single device powered by the world's largest Wafer Scale Engine 2 chip the size of a plate.

    "Using the Cerebras Software Platform (CSoft), our customers can easily train state-of-the-art GPT language models (such as GPT-3 and GPT-J) with up to 20 billion parameters on a single CS-2 system," the company claimed this week. "Running on a single CS-2, these models take minutes to set up and users can quickly move between models with just a few keystrokes."

    The CS-2 packs a whopping 850,000 cores, and has 40GB of on-chip memory capable of reaching 20 PB/sec memory bandwidth. The specs on other types of AI accelerators and GPUs pale in comparison, meaning machine learning engineers have to train huge AI models with billions of parameters across more servers.

    Continue reading
  • Zendesk sold to private investors two weeks after saying it would stay public
    Private offer 34 percent above share price is just the thing to change minds

    Customer service as-a-service vendor Zendesk has announced it will allow itself to be acquired for $10.2 billion by a group of investors led by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, investment company Permira, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

    The decision is a little odd, in light of the company's recent strategic review, announced on June, which saw the board unanimously conclude "that continuing to execute on the Company's strategic plan as an independent, public company is in the best interest of the Company and its stockholders at this time."

    That process saw Zendesk chat to 16 potential strategic partners and ten financial sponsors, including a group of investors who had previously expressed conditional interest in acquiring the company. Zendesk even extended its discussions with some parties but eventually walked away after "no actionable proposals were submitted, with the final bidders citing adverse market conditions and financing difficulties at the end of the process."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022