Consumer-grade 3D printers just got their own variation of the Liberator pistol, the 3D-printed firearm which brought the ire of the State Department and various U.S. politicians earlier this month. It's durable, and it costs $25 to create.
That low barrier to entry effectively disproves initial criticisms of the original 3D printed Liberator pistol, and could renew a massive regulatory battle over gun control and the fledgling consumer 3D printer industry.
The original Liberator pistol, created by crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson, was printed from an industry-grade Stratasys printer. Priced at $8,000, it was thought access to the printer and the cost of creating the gun parts were too high for the general public. Additionally, the original pistol's barrel, and the gun itself, couldn't withstand multiple firings. Both criticisms are no longer the case.
The new pistol, dubbed the "Lulz Liberator," was designed for, and printed off of, the consumer-grade Lulzbot A0-101 3D printer, according to Forbes, which first reported the story. That printer costs a relatively cheap $1,725.
The gun's designer, going by the name of Joe, told Forbes that the gun was created with the generic plastic, Polylac PA-747 ABS, which is, in Joe's experience, far stronger than the plastics used by Wilsion.
The new pistol can be printed in 48 hours, features a rifle-bore barrel for increased accuracy and legal reasons, and is capable of withstanding nine repeated shots. Like its predecessor, the pistol uses a nail for the firing pin and contains a non-functional piece of metal in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act.
Unlike its predecessor, the Lulz Liberator is held together by several metal screws bought at a hardware store.
But the newly designed Lulz Liberator pistol isn't without its flaws. As Forbes reports, the pistol frequently misfires, and parts of the pistol, such as the firing pin and metal screws, had to be replaced. Additionally, the ammo cartridges had to be knocked out of the barrel with a hammer after each shot.
Still, the gun effectively serves as a proof-of-concept that plastic firearms can be cheaply created, though they remain incapable of outperforming their metal counterparts.
It's unclear if Joe will release his new design online, especially after the State Department demanded Wilson take down the original Liberator design, citing export control laws. The original design, which was downloaded over 100,000 times in two days, has spread beyond the control of the State Department, and can be found on various file-sharing websites on the Internet.