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3D-printed gun may be unveiled soon

Colin Neagle | April 26, 2013
A 3D-printed gun capable of firing multiple rounds may be unveiled soon.

A 3D-printed gun capable of firing multiple rounds may be unveiled soon.

Cody Wilson, the 25-year-old founder and director of nonprofit organization Defense Distributed, recently told Mashable that the end product of Wiki Weapon, the initiative to create an operational 3D-printed gun, may soon be ready to unveil to the public.

In a March interview with CNN, Wilson said he hoped to have a printable gun ready by the end of April.

While Wilson was sparse with details, he did tell Mashable that the prototype would be a handgun consisting of 12 parts made out of ABS+ thermoplastic, which is known for its durability and is commonly used in industrial settings. The firing pin would be the only steel component of the 3D-printed gun, which will be able to withstand a few shots before melting or breaking, Mashable reports.

Wilson reportedly anticipates making an official announcement soon.

Defense Distributed has progressed quickly since it was founded last summer. After crowd-funding site Indiegogo suspended its campaign to raise $20,000, Defense Distributed reached its fundraising goal independently in September 2012, through PayPal and Bitcoin contributions to its own site.

In early February, Defense Distributed released a video showing a functional 3D-printed magazine capable of holding 30 rounds for an AR-15 assault rifle. A month later, the group obtained a federal firearms license from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, granting it the ability to sell its firearm-related technology.

"I can now sell the things we make, and am before the law a manufacturer, not a private citizen with regard to these items," Wilson said at the time, according to the IDG News Service.

That development threw a wrench into the nationwide gun control debate.

"This whole issue could obliterate, or at least undermine, the effective regulation of firearms possession," University of Washington law professor Mary Fan told the IDG News Service.

That seems to be the groups main objective. All along, Wilson has been forthright about his organizations political goals. The groups 3D-printed assault rifle magazine was mockingly named Cuomo, after the New York governor who helped pass a state law banning magazines capable of holding more than seven rounds.

Politicians, big Wall Street traders, they have armed guards, Wilson said in a February interview with Talking Points Memo. So New York passes a law banning high-capacity magazines and Cuomo says: OK, New York is safe. But he should back down from the hyperbole. Not only can it [high-capacity magazine manufacturing] not be regulated, but its about to be exploded open right now.

Still, Wilson maintains that Defense Distributed is a software organization aiming to facilitate an open source community around 3D printing.


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