When I wrote about the 3D printed gun, the Liberator, I didn’t take into account the printer’s physical size, which is apparently equitable to that of a large refrigerator. Factor in the cost, and accessibility is all but limited to a relatively select few. So logic suggests that even though the blueprints for the Liberator were made publicly available, a would be assassin, terrorist or all together nut would have a hard time crafting one. That is until this past weekend, when an individual by the name of “Joe”, a Wisconsin engineer, built one using a $1,725 Lulzbot A0-101 consumer-grade 3D printer and $25 in materials.
To a large degree the Lulzbot Liberator is very much like the original Liberator that was only revealed a few weeks ago. However, this version contains a few more metal components, such as a set of hardware screws to hold the hammer in place as well as a non-functional piece of steel designed to make it detectable by metal detectors and thus comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act.
And like the Liberator, Joe’s version wasn’t completely problem free during test firing. In addition to misfiring a number of times, some of the screws and its firing pin had to be replaced, and after each test fire the ammo cartridges expanded requiring them to be banged back into place with a hammer.
Skeptics will likely argue that the plastic is too fragile to withstand the blast of a .380 caliber round. But according to Joe, the plastic used in the Lulzbot printer, Polylac PA-747 ABS, is stronger than the plastic used in the Stratasys printers. Nevertheless, after the 8th shot, the barrel was replaced.