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Beyond the Liberator: A 3D-Printed Plastic 9mm Semi-Auto Pistol 295

Profiled at Ars Technica is the (mostly) 3D-printed semi-auto pistol design from a West Virginia maker known as Derwood. The PLA-based design, which Derwood calls the Shuty MP-1, isn't quite all-plastic; like others that are roughly similar, it utilizes metal for a few parts that aren't practical in plastic. (Ars says just the barrel and springs, but it looks like metal is used for the guide rod and an internal plate, as well as for the screws that hold the whole thing together.) The core of the gun is a lower that bears a strong resemblance to an AR-15's, but the assembled gun looks to me more like a Skorpion submachine gun. Unlike Cody Wilson's single-shot Liberator pistol (mentioned here a few times before), the design files are not available for download -- at least not yet: "Not long," Derwood writes in a comment on a YouTube video of the pistol's assembly.
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Beyond the Liberator: A 3D-Printed Plastic 9mm Semi-Auto Pistol

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  • by Jack Griffin ( 3459907 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @11:53PM (#51436609)
    3D printer prints some parts of a gun, but none of the important bits. Who gives a fuck, seriously?
    But wait, 3D printing!!!
    • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @12:17AM (#51436695)

      Well, which parts are "important"?

      For someone trying to make an all-3d-printed gun (perhaps to prove or improve the technology), it's the barrel, chamber, firing pin, and so on, the functional bits that are placed under the most stress. For them, using metal, particularly finely-machined metal parts, quite defeats the purpose. The only parts they might even consider making out of metal would be the ones plastic is literally unable to do, like the firing pin or springs - and even then, they'd try to make it out of some simple, readily-available part you can find at Home Depot.

      For someone trying to bypass firearms laws, the important part is whichever one is legally deemed the "firearm", usually the receiver. You can buy barrels, recoil springs, magazines, grips, sights, and all sorts of other fiddly bits as spare parts, which are legally no different than a spare tire for your car. If you designed a 3d-printed receiver that worked with existing spare parts, you've worked around those pesky laws. (I personally find that law, at least, to be quite reasonable, but some people seem to want to work around it as a matter of principle).

      And of course, to the person who's actually interested in shooting guns, rather than writing angry comments about them on the internet, the important part is whatever breaks most readily on your particular gun and needs replacement. I expect historical firearms shooters would be quite interested in being able to print parts once considered disposable, or which frequently are damaged, like clips. Or better yet, print brass casings for all those guns whose cartridges are no longer produced. There are many, many guns in collections that can't be fired not because they are old or damaged, but because the ammunition is so scarce. (There are many more problems than just forming the brass, obviously, and I don't think 3D-printing is a particularly good solution for it, but maybe I'm wrong and 3D printing will eventually help).

      • For someone trying to bypass firearms laws, the important part is whichever one is legally deemed the "firearm", usually the receiver. You can buy barrels, recoil springs, magazines, grips, sights, and all sorts of other fiddly bits as spare parts, which are legally no different than a spare tire for your car. If you designed a 3d-printed receiver that worked with existing spare parts, you've worked around those pesky laws. (I personally find that law, at least, to be quite reasonable, but some people seem to want to work around it as a matter of principle).

        How is followign the law trying to bypass a firearm law? While making for your own self is legal, it is NOT legal if you are a "prohibited person" when it comes to firearm ownership.

        And of course, to the person who's actually interested in shooting guns, rather than writing angry comments about them on the internet, the important part is whatever breaks most readily on your particular gun and needs replacement. I expect historical firearms shooters would be quite interested in being able to print parts once considered disposable, or which frequently are damaged, like clips. Or better yet, print brass casings for all those guns whose cartridges are no longer produced. There are many, many guns in collections that can't be fired not because they are old or damaged, but because the ammunition is so scarce. (There are many more problems than just forming the brass, obviously, and I don't think 3D-printing is a particularly good solution for it, but maybe I'm wrong and 3D printing will eventually help).

        Forming brass is trivial if there is a suitable parent case. Suitable can mean "same diameter rim and case head size and perfectly straight". Of course you need accurate case dimensions but you can cast the chamber and take measurements if you have something totally unknown, and then have a custom set of forming and reloading

      • Could the Derwood make a piezoelectric motor?
      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        For someone trying to make an all-3d-printed gun

        Also known as a hand grenade, with a slight difference to the usual meaning of the term in it blowing up the hard of the person firing it. ABS plastic is a worse choice than many types of wood for the bits that have to deal with high pressure gas.
        Laser metal sintering is looking like a different story since it's getting close to zero porosity - so none of those holes that plagued cannon builders over the ages. Any gun small enough has been made out of forged

      • Firearm law avoidance, like tax avoidance, is not illegal activity.

      • Or better yet, print brass casings for all those guns whose cartridges are no longer produced.

        But we're nowhere near being able to do that cost-effectively. For any significant number of casings it would literally be cheaper to go back into production on them. That will be true for the foreseeable future since 3d printers physically do not make the kind of structures wanted.

    • by melted ( 227442 )

      The important bit there is the barrel, by far the hardest thing to make by hand. The barrel is not considered to be "the gun", and you can buy it online without any regulation. If you can then print a decent lower at home, you have your own firearm.

      Not that there's anything wrong with having a firearm, of course. If you really want one, you can build a shotgun out of $30 worth of parts from your local Home Depot.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      I can literally buy a real gun for less than the price of a 3d printer any time I want one. The people that like to do these designs do it mainly for the cool factor or just to piss off all the anti-gun people. Maye both reasons for some.

      • Not everyone can; in most European countries guns are strictly regulated. But it sure looks like 3d printed guns are improving; I expect that they will soon be more reliable than what a regular person can cobble together himself. Not reliable enough to fire 100 rounds at the range every week, and certainly not better than real guns, but better than a baseball bat for home defense in countries where you're not allowed to have a firearm of any kind.

        Of course for this design you'll still need a barrel, wh
      • I will be making one for two reasons:

        0. Because I can, as an intellectual exercise.

        1. So that I can do it again, if needed, lest my government believe it can actually oppress me even further than it does now, and personally so.

  • Will that one work?

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @12:49AM (#51436755)
    If you wanted to get 3D printing regulated then making a lot of attention seeking noise about how people can make zip guns using it is a good way to do it.

    You can't even do the barrel and ABS plastic is far less suitable for the other parts than even most hardwoods so it's stirring up hysteria over nothing IMHO.

    Will we see fuss about dremel made guns next?
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
    Posting the files is a federal crime.
    Second Amendment does not apply.
    Certain federal agencies may have already paid a visit
  • We keep hearing about these interesting 3D-printed firearms, and the limitation is always along the lines of "everything works except the barrel, which blows up after X number of shots." The Shuty in the article uses a Glock barrel and other parts to get around this.

    It seems that the obvious thing to do would be to design a firearm kit - a series of parts that you could combine with a standard item or two (a steel tube that you could buy anywhere and convert to a barrel with minimal work, plus a breech). In

  • Guns save lives (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zapadnik ( 2965889 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @01:11AM (#51436839)

    Guns save lives - Thomas Sowell
    http://www.creators.com/opinio... [creators.com]

    Summary: in the US, where there are around 300 million personal firearms.
    There are around 30,000 firearms deaths per year. 20,000 firearms deaths are self-inflicted (suicide) and would occur whether firearms were available for self-defense or not. of other the 10,000 firearms deaths, many are gang violence. However, set against the 10,000 non-suicide gun deaths is around 100,000 violence crimes prevented by citizens. In many cases the firearm is not discharged, the mere presentation is enough to deter the crime.

    In cases such as a string 26-year old male attacker who waited for the family to go out the only defense a 12-year old girl had against rape and possibly murder at the hands of the much-stronger attacker was the pink rifle her father had given her. She was able to stop the attacker in her home and drive him off. And there are many, many similar cases like this.

    Whether or not you believe citizens have a right to self-defense - or if you think it is somehow morally superior' to be defenseless and slaughtered like sheep either by criminals that don't obey gun control laws; or by any of the mass-murdering Governments (National Socialism, Soviet Socialism, Chinese Socialism, North Korean Socialism, Cuban Socialism, Vietnamese Socialism, East German Socialism, Ba'athist Socialism, and various Islamist regimes) that murdered over 200 million of their *own* citizens in peacetime - then the statistics are clear: GUNS SAVE LIVES.

    The best defense against a bad guy/jihadi with a gun really is good guys with guns. This is proven over and over and over again.

    Now if you don't like firearms then please don't obtain and learn how to use one - but it is illogical and immoral to say that competent individuals cannot have access to firearms for self-defense. Even Europeans are slowly starting to grok this (shotguns are pretty much sold out in Austria as their country buckles under invasion of a large number of unruly youths who don't share European cultural norms about not stealing, not raping and not trashing the joint). I wish this were not the reality of today's world, but unfortunately it is.

    • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

      The number of personal firearms is north of 360 ~ 450 million now.

      There were something like 5 million NICS checks in January 2016. Rates have been ramping up since 2008 and records broken each month. There isn't a one to one translation for NICS to "firearms bought" but it is ballpark.

      That "300 million" number has been tossed around a long time and the number is stale.

  • A quick release valve on a pressure cylinder + a pipe and some kind of dart or other metal projectile can easily kill a human. Redneck home brews like this are not exactly new. People are just all excited because you can practically buy a 3D printer, download the mode, hit print, and you've got a gun. That's so much harder than basic pneumatic/plumbing knowledge...or the ability to follow directions on the internet with difficulty on par with baking cupcakes or building an ikea chair.
  • Posts like these helps us, the rest of the world, be amused at US crazyness about guns. And, of course, the gun in this one is called "liberator".

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @02:03AM (#51436975) Journal

    The guide rod doesn't have to be metal. The stock Glock guide rod is plastic, although Glock owners often replace it with steel or tungsten.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      The guide rod doesn't have to be metal. The stock Glock guide rod is plastic, although Glock owners often replace it with steel or tungsten.

      My Sig has plastic guide rod as well. Plastic is fine as long as you aren't putting thousands of round through the gun.

  • I've read a lot of posts of people exclaiming 3D printed handguns a waste of time, or an effort to expand one's "manhood" by building weapons. I've read an article on 3D printed handguns before where the creator was asked why they chose to print a handgun of all things. In this case it was a 3D printed Model 1911, printed using a number of direct printing metal techniques but the answer to this question stuck with me and I believe answers the question quite well.

    The creator of this 3D printed handgun explained the choice of printing a handgun this way. People understand what a handgun does and what it is used for. People understand that a handgun is a device with many intricate parts placed under considerable wear, pressures, and so forth. Whatever a handgun is made from must be durable. A handgun built with poor tolerances is not likely to function. A handgun is an expensive machine, not something one can typically purchase on a whim. It is also something that can be manufactured within the size limits of their machines.

    Someone could 3D print a clock, for example, to show how a useful item can be built with amazing precision with a 3D printer. To show how a 3D printer can make something that is durable could mean printing a carpenter hammer, or anvil. Perhaps building an adjustable wrench, socket set, or any of a number of tools that need to hold up to extreme stresses and tight tolerances would show the capabilities of a 3D printer. Those are also rather mundane and perhaps a number of people that do not use tools regularly will not understand the difficulty in building such a tool with a 3D printer. These are also tools that do not have much value since people can buy these items relatively cheaply most anywhere.

    People choose to 3D print a handgun because it is hard to do. Someone successful in this has then demonstrated their ability to build any of a number of more common and mundane items we use every day. It also doesn't hurt that 3D printed handguns makes politicians nervous and gets clicks on the internet.

    Go print a clock and see how many clicks you get on your website, then print an anvil and do the same. Now print a handgun and hope that you've got enough bandwidth to handle the load.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      A handgun is an expensive machine, not something one can typically purchase on a whim.

      Really? [hi-pointfirearms.com]

      Granted, those are crap guns and basically are new Saturday Night Specials, but are easily affordable and legal to purchase. With the right connections you could easily get a sub-$100 gun on the street illegally, or even legally on the internet/in person with patience and no scruples regarding quality or condition.

  • It might just be me, but that thing looks more like a bulky Tec-9 [wikipedia.org] without the heatshield than it does a Skorpion.

"Well, if you can't believe what you read in a comic book, what *can* you believe?!" -- Bullwinkle J. Moose

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