The original Liberator handgun was printed using an $8,000 piece of equipment the size of a refrigerator. But for most people, something like a “Lulzbot AO-101” is more affordable at around $1,750. Unfortunately, the original plans were not completely compatible with that kind of printer and needed a little tweaking. Which “Joe,” an engineer in Wisconsin, has done and successfully tested . . .
Eight of Joe’s test-fires were performed using a single barrel before swapping it out for a new one on the ninth. After all those shots, the weapon’s main components remained intact–even the spiraled rifling inside of the barrel’s bore. “The only reason we stopped firing is because the sun went down,” he says.
Just how the Lulz Liberator survived those explosions isn’t exactly clear. Joe claims that the plastic he used, the generic Polylac PA-747 ABS fed into most consumer 3D printers, is actually stronger than the more expensive ABS plastic used in a Stratasys printer. In fact, before using a Lulzbot-printed barrel, he and Guslick tested one made on Guslick’s Stratasys printer. That barrel exploded on firing, though Joe blames the problem in part on its having been printed with a smaller chamber, the space at the back of the barrel into which the round is inserted.
Joe’s printed gun contains a few more pieces of metal hardware than the original Liberator. Rather than print plastic pins to hold the hammer in the body, for instance, he used hardware store screws. Like Defense Distributed’s gun, the Lulz Liberator also uses a metal nail for a firing pin, and includes a chunk of non-functional steel designed to make it detectable with a metal detector so that it complies with the Undetectable Firearms Act. The rifling that Joe added to the barrel is designed to skirt the National Firearms Act, which regulates improvised weapons and those with smooth-bored barrels.
So there it is. People claimed that the Liberator was a flash in the pan, something that was only capable of being printed by expensive machines, impossible for the average consumer to make. And, even if they could, they said the barrels would explode. It looks like every one of the fairy tales that gun control advocates have been telling themselves to make this seem like it isn’t the end of gun control as we know it have been crumbling, one after another.
Oh, and the best part is this comment under the Forbes article:
Why isn’t everyone screaming to ban this technology! This is exactly what’s wrong in this country, allowing anyone with the capability to make guns at home! Don’t think for a minute that the scum bag criminals aren’t going to jump on this like a dog on a bone. Stop this now before it’s too late!
I don’t even know where to start with that cry for the government to step in and regulate away the bad guys . . .