And no, we're not talking about Super Soakers.
3D printing has been around for a long time, but it's only really started to take off in the last few years. We've already seen how 3D printing could effect the medical industry (remember the 83-year-old woman in Belgium with the 3D-printed titanium jaw?) and now we're getting a sneak peak at the 3D printer's first dalliance with the firearms industry.
Forbes has posted a gallery of photos of a 3D printed gun along with the story of Cody Wilson, a 25-year University of Texas law student who founded a non-profit group called Defense Distributed. Wilson's mission was to create the the world’s first entirely 3D-printable handgun and Forbes reports that he has done just that.
The gun in question, dubbed 'The Liberator,' is made of sixteen components, each printed using ABS plastic. In fact, the only parts of the gun that aren't plastic are the firing pin (a single nail), and a six ounce chunk of steel that Defense Distributed added to ensure the gun was detectable by metal detectors and so in compliance of the Undetectable Firearms Act.
Defense Distributed plans to release the CAD files for the Liberator and post them to its collection of gun blueprints at Defcad.org. In theory, this would mean anyone with a 3D printer could print their own gun at home, regardless of whether or not they have a license to own a gun. Wilson agrees that it's a scary prospect, but says that what he is setting out to prove is that anyone can print a lethal weapon at home. Forbes reports that at least one congressman is calling for a ban on plastic firearms.
Check out the full story, along with pictures, over on Forbes.