A video has emerged on YouTube of what could be the first homemade all-plastic rifle to be constructed using a 3D printer.
The video appears to show a man successfully firing one shot from the weapon, which looks more like a toy than a working firearm. It was posted just two months after controversial group Defense Distributed made the digital blueprints for the 3D printed firearm the “Liberator” available online.
The gun’s maker, YouTube user “ThreeD Ukulele”, has named his weapon “The Grizzly” after the Canadian built Sherman Tanks of WWII. In the video description he explains that his design incorporates the coiled mainsprings of the original Defense Distributed model, adding “Like the Liberator the only metal is a 1” roofing nail”.
In the footage the man test-fires the rifle using a piece of string tied to the trigger. Although the rifle successfully fired one shot, the barrel split along both sides. The user added in his comments “some changes will need to be made on the next.”
The blueprints for the Liberator, which was developed by 25 year old American student Cody Wilson, were eventually taken offline by US authorities, but not before more than 100,000 copies had been downloaded.
Wilson was named by technology magazine Wired as one of “the 15 most dangerous people in the world” for sharing the blueprints. He once told Forbes, “I recognize that this tool might be used to harm people. That’s what it is — it’s a gun. But I don’t think that’s a reason to not put it out there. I think that liberty in the end is a better interest.”
Wilson’s plastic design has caused major security concerns as it could, potentially, be adapted to evade metal detectors. Gun control advocates also worry that anyone with access to a 3D printer could print a weapon, a concern that may have just been proven right.
At the moment these printers retail for around $25,000 (19,000€) but the price has been decreasing, with second hand models available for around $8,000 (6000€). 3D printers work by laying down layers of material, often plastic or melted polymer, that harden to form solid objects.