With 3D printers being so detailed that they've already been welcomed with open arms by the medical community for a variety of applications -- it helped give this woman a new jaw and this little girl "magic arms" -- the gun community is taking an interest as well.
In fact, a Texas-based group called Defense Distributed has begun a project that could make 3D printable designs for firearms available to anyone -- anyone who had the use of a 3-D printer that is.
The group's purpose, according to its website is:
To defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute, at no cost to the public, such information and knowledge in promotion of the public interest.
Learn more about the purpose of the project and its logistics in Defense Distributed's video from earlier this year:
The "Wiki Weapons Project"project has seen significant attention in the media in the last six months or so, ranging from gun regulation issues to features on the technology. The ultimate goal of the project is to make the "world's first 100 percent 3D printable gun" and make that design publicly available.
"This project could very well change the way we think about gun control and consumption," the website states. "How do governments behave if they must one day operate on the assumption that any and every citizen has near instant access to a firearm through the Internet?"
Regarding legality, in it's FAQs the groups points out that it is legal to make your own firearm. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, based on the provisions in the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968 an unlicensed person can make their own gun but not for the sale or distribution to others.
Using a trial and error method, the project will first create Wiki Weapon A, which has no moving parts and uses an inserted solenoid to fire. After that, they'll move on to Wiki Weapon B, which would have moving parts for firing.
The group hopes someday signs would be able to be made on printers like this RapMan 3D printer. The cost of an unassembled RapManUSA Kit is $1,495. (Image: RapManUSA.com)
Earlier this year, Defense Distributed raised enough money through fundraising to rent a 3D printer, but after the company learned what the group would be making with the equipment, they took it back. According to Animal New York, the 3D printer company Stratasys said that it does not knowingly allow its machines to be used for illegal purposes. Shortly thereafter though, in October, Wired reported that anonymous companies had come out to help Defense Distributed. One of the companies is offering what co-founder Cody Wilson called a "safe haven" for the group to test the guns and the other works with a 3D printer.
To prevent further legal issues, Defense Distributed is applying for an official firearms license. According to a recent article in The Guardian, Wilson said the group, which has non-profit status pending, could be making and testing its prototypes before the year is out if they obtain the license. Wilson said it expects it in the next two to three weeks.
The Guardian also reported that Defense Distributed won't accept further donations until it gets the green light to print its first prototypes. Wilson told The Guardian they have several concepts submitted from designers. On Defense Distributed's website, there's an area where designers can submit plans to its contest.
As an example of a gun design that has already been created with a 3D printer, check out this YouTube video of a Nerf dart design:
What do you think of the idea of publicly available 3D printable gun designs? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image via Shutterstock.com.
(H/T: Daily Mail)