Earlier this year we reported about Defense Distributed, a group whose goal is “to produce and publish information related to the 3D printing of firearms.” What that really means is that they want to create and distribute 3D models of working firearms. After having suffered a series of setbacks, Defense Distributed has moved forward and is now in the testing phase of their project. 

One of the biggest mechanical questions surrounding the WikiWeapons project was concern with how the structural integrity of an ABS form would hold up to the pressure produced when discharging a round.  Would the gun simply fall apart? Would it explode, injuring the user?

For the time being, Defense Distributed has chosen to limit the 3D-printed components of the weapon to only the lower receiver. Essentially, the lower receiver of a gun contains all of the working components of the weapon. So while Defense Distributed has chosen to limit the scope of their designs to this one component, it hsa chosen the most critical part.  In fact, the Gun Control Act of 1968 categorizes the lower receiver as the entire gun itself.  

Recently, Defense Distributed tested their WikiWeapon.  The 3D-printed receiver was mounted onto an AR-15 rifle and taken out for a test fire. In a video posted to Youtube, Defense Distributed shows how far it's come in making the WikiWeapon a reality.

As you can see from the video, Defense Distributes still has a ways to go before they can say their project is a complete success. According to the project’s founder, Cody Wilson, “The first string of fire was just one round, which was fired without incident. The weapon fired, extracted/ejected/returned to battery, and the fire control properly rested, meaning the geometry of the axis pin holes is accurate. After examining the receiver for damage and finding none, the magazine was loaded with ten more rounds. On the second string of fire, the receiver seemed to fail on the fifth round – but may have actually failed earlier.”

Wilson continues, “I don't think we thought it'd break within six [rounds]. We thought it'd break within 20."

Read More at Defense Distributed

 

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