TV Station Prints and Fires a 3D Plastic Pistol. It Doesn’t Go Well.


We’ve been told by all the most reliable, intelligent and informed people in the both the media and politics that easily downloadable blueprints for 3D printable guns presents a clear and present danger to national security and the American way of life. In fact, the technology is such a threat that some politicians have even suggested 3D printers themselves should probably be registered or regulated.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that all the hysteria about 3D printing isn’t really so much about guns as it is about control.

Anyway, just to see what caused all the hair-on-fire sturm und drang, Dallas’s WFAA found someone who owns a 3D printing job shop and had him print out Defense Distributed’s design for the Liberator pistol.

It took 36-hours and $10 worth of plastic to print 13 pieces that he assembled into the pistol. That convenience is what worries critics. But the quality of fully printed plastic firearms is another issue.

As for test firing the pistol . . .

Maybe when noted firearms experts like Alyssa Milano call 3D guns “downloadable death” they’re actually concerned about the people who will be holding the guns. Or not.

In any case, all of the panic over Defense Distributed loosing its dangerous plans on the world had nothing to do with the actual “threat” the guns pose and everything to do with exposing their carefully constructed gun control regimes and generating some anti-gun press. Plus, it got them a restraining order preventing the company from releasing their files.

Not that the judge’s laughable order means anything at all here in the real world. 3D plans for firearms are and have been widely available online for years. You can get yours right here.

Of course, the Liberator pistol design isn’t the only plan out there. You can also print a very serviceable AR lower which tends to perform well.

And if you have enough scratch, you can even print yourself a metal 1911 like the Solid Concepts DMLS at considerably higher cost.

Whatever. All of the hysterical hoplophobes tend to gloss over the fact that it’s always been perfectly legal to build your own guns at home. Whether you do it the low tech way with cheap, readily available Home Depot components or with a roughly $2000 (for now) 3D printer is utterly beside the point.

But let them keep continue sticking their bony little fingers in the ever-multiplying holes in the electronic dike. Maybe it makes them feel like they’re accomplishing something. As ever, they just can’t stop the signal.



  1. avatar kevin says:

    That’s a gun that you drop behind enemy lines in hopes that someone will try to shoot you with it.

    1. avatar D B says:

      No self respecting and mostly illiterate Chicago thug is going to learn to do this when they can easily acquire a real heater through other means for less.

  2. avatar 16V says:

    Printed by, finished by, assembled by a hipster.
    Chances of firing successfully were entirely predictable.

    1. avatar Dave says:

      The guy who made it seemed to think it was pretty cool, at least conceptually.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of young people of the gun, and I’m sure somewhere there is an excellent gunsmith who looks like an Amish Andy Capp. I’m just pretty sure it ain’t this cat.

        I have met a couple of potential Suicide Girls who have successfully built their own poodle popper though…

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

          Ignoring the ridiculous grooming jobs most poodles seem to be afflicted with, poodles as a breed aren’t known to be particularly pleasant dogs to be around.

          Almost as bad as that ‘Olde English Sheepdog’ my family had in the 70s. Miserable cur to be around…

    2. avatar enuf says:

      Looked to me that the TV station went to that guy because he already had a 3D printing business. All they had to pay for was $10 of plastic filament on a roll. Saves the TV people a ton of money on having to buy s 3D printer good enough to make this hand exploding wonder gun.

  3. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Technology always develops in advance of society’s ability to adjust to the change. In other words . . . you can’t stop the signal.

  4. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Well Duh,some Tards never learn or think before doing.

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    LOL LOL LOL!!!😄

  6. avatar dlj95118 says:

    …soooooo, was the correct plastic used to print this gun?

    I’m a bit wary of the thinking that Defense Distributed would not have specified a particular grade (?) of plastic filament.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      That doesn’t look like it was made via a filament printer. It looks more like a laser/resin job that’s far more accurate but, typically, far less durable. Dead giveaway is the color of the material. Filament prints don’t tend to be clear.

      1. avatar KenW says:

        Why did they choose a low infill and thin shell for the print? If I was using the parts for a mold I could see it but for something that is expected to hold together what they chose did what I would expect it to do, blow up.

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

          Yeah, I saw an awful lot of geometric shapes and air spaces during the structural buildup.

          Is the ‘filament’ plastic Serge mentioned a thermoset plastic?

          Should it have been solid-printed?

          (Not that I’m complaining about the end result. Let the ‘Sheeple’ think they are hand grenades held in the hand…)

        2. avatar KenW says:

          Probably more than you asked for…… Slight nerd alert warning… I make jewelry and rebuild old lapidary and woodworking equipment so I use 3D printers for some parts and equipment like a mill and several lathes and such for others.
          There are translucent plastics available for thermal printers. I do not think they used PLA, at least not for parts that needed to flex like the springs. PLA is brittle so the springs would have snapped. And when exposed to air adsorbs moisture so it becomes more brittle over time. Oddly it is stronger than ABS , ABS is not a very strong plastic. A polycarbonate filament or nylon with glass fibers would have been my choice for printing one but requires a heated bed and the printer enclosed as it is very prone to warp if there is even the slightest temperature variation. And nylon with glass fibers chews up print heads brass so you would need steel heads which are harder to find..They used a very low infill if you notice the open honeycomb effect inside the snapped pieces and the almost paperthin shell. I agree with others on here that video was made to scare potential makers of the gun from doing so. If I wanted it to burst I would use ABS with a low infill and thicker layers like the gun in the video. Problem is if you are at all familiar with 3D printing you notice the faults in how they did it. If I were to make one #1 it would be a lower pressure slower caliber, assuming marlin, infill would have been set to 100% with a cross 3D pattern , and all settings would have been for the thinnest layer deposited to make sure the layers adhere to the previous layer. And used a stronger less brittle filament. All stuff I noticed was not done in the video. I have no interested in printing a plastic gun but if I did you can bet your stars I would have fired it the same way they did. Now if I were to have printed it with a metal barrel insert or bored it to accept a metal barrel insert maybe I would trust it after initial firings and a good inspection after each firing but not a plastic weapon using today’s plastics.

        3. avatar KenW says:

          Forgot to say, the initial picture of the translucent body is not the same one they test fired as that one was dull white with thick layers.

        4. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

          “Probably more than you asked for…… Slight nerd alert warning…”

          Not at all, thanks for the attempt at educating a dullard like myself. There’s a lot more to it than I realized. For fiberglass-plastics, is the head assembly like a fiberglass rope chopper gun when doing fiberglass resin layups like when building boats?

        5. avatar KenW says:

          So far filament have had the fibers like fiberglass or carbon mixed with the pellets before it is extruded into filament.

        6. avatar dlj95118 says:


          Thank you for the insight.

  7. avatar Unbreakable says:

    Did he follow the undetectable firearm act? I thought 2 oz of metal were required from what I had seen?

    1. avatar Kenneth says:

      Probably not. As a ‘journalist’, the firearms laws won’t apply to him, which he was likely well aware of.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    “noted firearms experts like Alyssa Milano call 3D guns ‘downloadable death'”

    I think she was talking about reruns of “Charmed.”

    1. avatar enuf says:

      “Charmed” would have done a whole bunch better on HBO late at night, and with less clothing in certain scenes.

  9. avatar FedUp says:

    Did they pay Lynn to make that gun?
    Does Lynn have a manufacturer’s license?

    I was hoping that employees of the TV station bought a printer and made it themselves.
    After all, the headline says the TV station printed and fired it, when the TV station didn’t make it or fire it.
    It feels like cheating to use a guy who is in the actual business of 3d printing to do the hard work for you.

  10. avatar SkorpionFan says:

    I’m not knowledgable about the legal requirements, but doesn’t that plastic Liberator pistol require the a steel block (just over 1 cubic inch) to be installed in the receiver (in the hollow compartment in front of the trigger) before the components are installed to be compliant with metal detection requirement of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988?

    If so, did the did the manufacturer build and fire an illegal firearm? Did the news program pay him or reimburse him and thereby conspire to or pay for comission of an illegal act?

    1. avatar Nanashi says:

      Well Wayne LaPierre wants the gun laws he supports (explicitly straw purchases) persecuted to the maximum extent. He wrote the UFA so he must want the feds to use their resources for such an endevour.

      Unless he’s a total hypocrite, which is also possible.

      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        He would rather stand and capitulate on Americans civil rights,he and Negotiating Rights Away.

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          What did you two nattering mother-in-laws do for the 2nd this week.

        2. avatar Nanashi says:

          I called primary candidates and asked about their second amendment views. What did the NRA defense force do?

      2. avatar Jhon says:

        Show me on the doll where the NRA has hurt you.

        1. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

          Ok I spit food from that one. 🙂

    2. avatar Nanashi says:

      I just used a different browser to get the video working. The page image is not the same print. The one in the video is opaque.

    3. avatar KenW says:

      SkorpionFan just like an 80% receiver you cannot have others make it for you. You need to follow the same regulations used for an 80% receiver. If they paid him or had him make the part and it was done to more than 80% complete so they could finish it they broke the law. But since they are not us they can get away with it.

  11. avatar Bob Jones says:

    I remember as a kid my neighbors put a .32-20 primed case (no powder or bullet) into a Mattel Fanner 50 and pulled the trigger using a string. The cylinder and barrel were destroyed – just like the video here. One reason I’ve never liked “plastic” guns.

  12. avatar Matt o says:

    What do we think the odds are that the guy printed in using the wrong plastic intentionally knowing it would blow up? Thinking maybe he wanted to show the tech wasn’t anything to be worried about. He owns a 3D print shop so he clearly knows at least the basics of printing, and even a quick google would show him that 22lr would give him the best chance of it surviving firing. Either he wanted it to kaboom or he’s a moron

  13. avatar Lowell says:

    Few things, 1) they probably printed it up out of the wrong plastic. Most likely it was standard white PLA when they should have used nylon, ABS or PET. 2) The Liberator was designed by a law student, not an engineer. Cody Wilson did not design the Liberator to be mass produced, he designed it to cause panic among the political class as a way to instigate legal action which he could then bring what he hoped would be a Supreme Court challenge(reading between the lines from his interviews). 3)This is the biggy : Nobody cared about the Liberator.

    The gun control crowd noticed it, and shrugged,because everyone thought it would blow up when you fired it.

    Cody actually caused real panic with his AR15 receiver, and then with his 30 round stanag magazine. The magazine apparently took sixteen hours to design, was hosted for a few days along with the other DefCAD files, now exists endlessly as a torrent file, and has single handedly made mag bans pointless because you can make a working AR15 mag with a $300 Chinese knockoff printer and some piano wire for the spring.

    Basically, when the gun control crowd set up America’s firearms laws around the serial numbered part they really screwed up. And now it’s way too late to change it.

    1. avatar Lowell says:

      The only truly effective form of gun control is actually the barrier of entry into manufacturing. As it stands right now, you can’t print a rifle bolt or barrel because you simply can’t print in hardened steel. You can’t print smokeless gun powder or boxer primers. Or a cartridge case that won’t explode.

      What Cody has done is a temporary victory until the knowledge required to manufacture those things is as easy to download as a Liberator.

      1. avatar Robert W says:

        That’s part of the reason for the Ghost Gunner. A pre-made mill that can cut metal parts. If the equivalent lathe was made, between the two you could manufacture most firearms parts besides the barrel. And even a barrel wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to complete once you’ve got the barrel done on a lathe; an equivalent machine that could do cut rifling wouldn’t be a stretch.

        1. avatar No one of consequence says:

          Wasn’t there someone who demonstrated using a reverse plating process form rifling?

          Ah, here it is, or at least a link to the concepts:

      2. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

        “As it stands right now, you can’t print a rifle bolt or barrel because you simply can’t print in hardened steel.”

        Er, I do believe Cody had a 1911 printed in DMLS stainless steel and Inconel, including the barrel. And he fired it…

  14. avatar Brian says:

    I wonder what would happen if someone in California got a whole lot of plastic straws, melted them down and used the plastic to build an AR receiver using a 3D printer

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      the loss of control is what really scares the hell out of them…

      1. avatar Brian says:

        I am aware of that. I am addressing the issue of how people would react to the afore mentioned scenario.

        (explaining a joke often times makes it less funny)
        We’ve heard stories of people melting or cutting an AR-15- or multiples of such- and making furniture or pieces of artwork with the metal.
        In California they have banned plastic straws- it is now pretty much more of a crime to use a straw in your drink than it is to knowingly spread AIDS to other people.

        The joke is melting plastic straws down and using the melted plastic to make 3d printed guns as a form of art/protest against the straw ban the same way people melted ARs down to protest “gun violence”

        1. avatar Wedge259 says:

          Sorry Brian, pretty sure Kel-Tec has already scooped them all up, they need them for their pistol frames. Particularly since ball point pens and bottle caps are running low these days! 😉

  15. avatar Scotty Gunn says:

    If you don’t print rifling in it, and it is a smoothbore, that too is illegal.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      What’s smoothbore mean, besides the difference between a shotgun that needs an 18″ barrel and a rifle that needs a 16″ barrel per the NFA?

    2. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

      “If you don’t print rifling in it, and it is a smoothbore, that too is illegal.”

      Look inside the bore of this 3-D printed .45 ACP gun barrel, and see the rifling printed into it :

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

        Look at this pic of the close-up of the rifling in that barrel, they printed the words “I WAS 3D PRINTED” on the rifling lands *in* the 3D printed barrel :

  16. avatar A Deplorable says:

    One that apparently works was designed and printed/assembled in the U.S. in 2015. The PM255 Washbear.
    also: from the designer/builder

    Note he specifies the six round version is made from certain plastic only with rifled barrel printed and the eight round version has rifled steel barrel tubes implanted in the cylinder. Also the grip handle contains sufficient added metal to insure it is detectable, as, theoretically, does Cody Wilson’s 3D printed Liberator.

  17. avatar barnbwt says:

    “It took 36-hours and $10 worth of plastic”

    Oh, and like $3000-$10000 worth of printer. Criminals will be printing full dozens for their idiotic impulse-crimes, I’m sure /sarc


  18. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I look forward to many more TV “experts” printing guns and using they on Air. This is the best defense we have. Exploding guns made by anti gun fools. Let the show begin.

  19. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

    The gun control people are gonna love it when ubiquitous nanotechnology makes it possible to make ANY military grade weapon out of whatever spare steel you happen to have laying around and maybe a few meters of dirt for the chemicals needed…

    Not to mention nano-sized biological and chemical weapons which will be nearly invisible, self-replicating and capable of killing millions of people once released…unless you have the requisite nano-protection.

    Might take a few more decades but as they say, you can’t stop the signal.

  20. avatar robert powell says:

    as i have said many times “you can fix broke but you can not fix stupid” if you do not know the difference between a smooth bore and a rifle you better stick to a bow and arrow. when you build a firearm, you had better take some intensive classes in metallurgy,physics,and hydraulics. then take up gunsmithing..the average breech pressure of a hand gun is in the vicinity of 80,000pounds per square inch. that is with a barrel of the proper diameter inside. two thousands too small and you have a very good hand grenade .you better stick to plastic ww2 models…

  21. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

    Look who has chimed in on 3D printed guns :

    “Maura Healey: Printing 3D guns in Massachusetts is illegal”

    “The warning, issued jointly by Healey and a number of the Commonwealth’s law enforcement lobby groups, holds that “creation, transfer, or possession” of a gun made with a 3D printer can open an individual to both criminal and civil liability under Massachusetts law. “These 3D-printed weapons will be used to evade Massachusetts’ strong gun laws, and my office and our law enforcement partners will do everything we can to keep deadly homemade weapons off our streets and out of our schools,” said Healey in a statement.”

  22. avatar Jaque says:

    THE MASS HYSTERIA by lawmakers, judges. and police over 3D printed gun plans and gun blueprints being available to citizens via the internet says only one thing to me.
    And that is these judges and lawmakers and police have exposed not only their ignorance of current federal firearm laws but an overall ignorance of the what information is publically available via the internet, US patent office, public libraries, and the US government and military agencies.
    Their ignorance demonstrates to me these people lack the most basic qualifications of their jobs. They do not deserve to possess the power and authority they hold over citizens.
    Of note is that those who lawmakers and judges and police have created the biggest noise over Home made plastic guns all are from the communist states and cities who deny their citizens the most basic of natural human rights, the right to the unrestricted bearance of arms.

  23. avatar LordSega says:

    In the news video, I didn’t see them add the Federally required 3.7 oz (105 g) of steel to be within the Undetectable Firearms Act. Looks like they broke Federal law, that’s up to 5 years.

  24. avatar enuf says:

    Yeah, there is no such thing as a 3D printed plastic gun. It’s all hype, fear mongering and bullturds.

    Even the Liberator needs a metal firing pin and a metal cartridge. Metal continues to be mandatory and you cannot print it. I’ve heard it claimed that a Liberator has been made that could fire more than once, but it was a rimfire cartridge no centerfire and id did eventually split the plastic.

    Plstic AR lowers and pistol frames do not count. Everyone here knows why, but people making wild claims on YouTube or news media do not have to care about if a part of a gun sees high or low pressures, high or low temperatures. Just has to look like a scary thing.

    Far cheaper and more reliable to buy or make a gun the old fashioned way.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email