3D Printed Weapons, Opensource design, File Sharing, & the Law

Has desktop gunsmithing begun? An online collective calling themselves “Defense Distributed” has put together an initiative whose goal is an opensource database for a 3d printed gun that is design.

They launched an Indiegogo campaign called the “Wiki Weapon Project” to raise $20,000. Indiegogo pulled the campaign citing company policy against fundraising for the sale of firearms. The project intends to make a fully 3-D printed pistol for the first time, though it would likely be capable of only firing a single shot until the barrel melted. The team eventually raised the full amount through it’s own website using Paypal & BitCoin electronic currency & leased a Stratysys printer to prototype their designs.

Stratysys decided they were not comfortable with the use of their machine within the scope of their agreement so they canceled the lease & sent contractors in an Enterprise rental van to seize the printer from the home of Cody Wilson, the 24 year-old second-year law student at the University of Texas at Austin & director of the Defense Distributed.

Although they have already encountered obstacles in their quest, the group’s blog states “You Can’t Stop What’s Coming”.  With the ever growing availability of DIY & prosumer 3D printers that is likely the case. Understandably the laws are a bit vague when it comes to opensource 3d printed weapons. Conflicting language seems to support Defense Distributed’s concept as much as it prohibits it. Why guns when this project could focus on wind energy or some other more “popular” subject?

Their website states:
“Guns prove out some of our younger generations’  beliefs about information and sharing at an extremity. If we truly believe information should be free, that the internet is the last bastion of freedom and knowledge, and that societies that share are superior to societies that censor and withhold, then why not guns?”.

 Although the language & delivery comes off a bit fringe for the mainstream, Wilson makes an interesting point to the “International Kleptocrats” towards the end of his video presentation (approx 6:30) that “this isn’t in your control anymore…you don’t understand the world you’re living in”.

Well let the arguments begin, meanwhile..while you’re debating, projects like this have already happened. I blogged earlier about 3d printed handcuff keys..well you can now buy one on Amazon.

Michael Guslick (aka “Have Blue”) became an online sensation after claiming that he fired over 200 rounds through an AR-15 3d printed plastic lower receiver built from a blueprint database posted on Thingiverse.