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The Face of Printable Firearms: A Conversation with Cody Wilson

3D Printing & Imaging
The Face of Printable Firearms: A Conversation with Cody Wilson

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3D Thursday is a new feature about CNC machining, 3D printing, 3D scanning, and 3D design that appears in MAKE every Thursday morning.

Cody R. Wilson with AR-15.  The gun has a 3D-printed lower receiver. (Photo: Marisa Vasquez / The Daily Texan)
Cody Wilson with AR-15. The gun has a 3D-printed lower receiver. (Photo: Marisa Vasquez / The Daily Texan)

For months, controversy has been building around 24-year-old Austinite Cody Wilson, full-time law student and part-time director of Defense Distributed, a non-profit working to develop and freely distribute designs for working 3D-printable firearms.

Even before Sandy Hook, their “WikiWeapon” project was controversial, placing the group squarely at the intersection of emerging debates over the uses and abuses of both crowdfunding and 3D printing. After the tragedy, that controversy assumed a sudden urgency on the national stage and Wilson became an even hotter media commodity. Since June, he has been interviewed by NPR, the BBC, the AP, The National Review, The Guardian, Forbes, Popular Science, PC Magazine, and a half-dozen more. Strangers recognize him on the street. He’s received private death threats—including one he describes as “really ominous”—and public excoriations, like this one from an angry commenter at Defense Distributed’s website:

You represent everything that is wrong with the world. You have no empathy and value money over life. You are scum of the lowest kind, utter cowardly scum of the Earth. If god did exist she would send you straight to hell, which would be full of your f***ing weapons. Not only are you a disgrace to humanity, you are a disgrace to your mother.

Back in December, Blink magazine asked Wilson what sort of interference he expects from the U.S. government. He answered:

I expect any number of overreactions, censures, and hectoring. I expect to be enormously burdened, bothered, and threatened. But I will follow their petty rules where I am subject to their jurisdiction and threats of violence. And when they will no longer offer me shelter, I will go somewhere that does.

When I finally catch up to Wilson, on Jan. 16, President Obama had just unveiled the most sweeping package of gun-control proposals the U.S. has seen in decades. There is some urgency to our interview because, Wilson e-mails, “Today is all I’ve got before I leave for Europe.”

I dial the number he’s given, leave a message, and in about a minute he returns the call.

First thing I want to know: Is he planning on coming back?

“Good question,” he laughs. “Famous last words, but, yeah, I intend to come back.”

When I joke about “fleeing the country,” he laughs again and says: “Nope. They need to flee me, man.”

Wilson is affable, calm, and articulate. An Arkansas native, he speaks in measured phrases that accelerate as he becomes enthusiastic. He has no accent that I can hear, and does not conform to my “gun nut” stereotype. I tell him as much.

I don’t know where they find these guys. This German video crew came down awhile back, asking some of us for interviews. Eventually they actually found some guy and got footage of him saying, well “the only way you get my gun from me is when you pry it from my cold dead hands.”

I am curious about Wilson’s background, about how he came to be so passionate about gun rights.

“Have you served in the military?”

Wilson: “No.”

“Do you hunt?”

Wilson: “No. I’ve never been hunting actually. It’s not like I’m against it, but I don’t know man. I feel like I couldn’t do it.”

“Do you enjoy shooting?”

Wilson: “Lately, yeah. I’m doing a whole lot more of it so I’m kind of getting better at it.”

“So you really are mostly a political animal?”

Wilson: “Oh, hell yes.  But like politics in the real sense, right? Influencing people. I don’t believe that politics is process. I believe it can be more.”


On July 1, engineer Michael “HaveBlue” Guslick reported having assembled a working AR-15 from spare parts and a fully 3D-printed plastic lower receiver. Because the lower receiver is the only numbered, regulated part of the common AR-15, Guslick’s design can be built using over-the-counter spare parts—parts that are not numbered, are not tracked, and are legally salable to anyone regardless of age or background. Per the U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968, in the eyes of the state, the receiver itself is the firearm.

"To the best of my knowledge, this is the first 3D printed firearm (as per the definition in the GCA) in the world to actually be tested.  However, I have a very hard time believing that it actually is." - HaveBlue
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first 3D printed firearm (as per the definition in the GCA) in the world to actually be tested. However, I have a very hard time believing that it actually is.” – Michael Guslick

Guslick started with a high-quality CAD model of an AR-15 lower, reinforced it strategically, here and there, in software, and printed it in fused ABS on his second-hand Stratasys FDM 1600. Then he assembled the rifle, fitting an aftermarket conversion kit that allows it to fire lower-powered .22LR ammunition through a shortened “pistol length” barrel. Guslick reports having put almost 100 rounds through this weapon without mechanical failure.

Wilson discovered Guslick’s work about a month later:

HaveBlue, and a guy named turomar, working from the summer until about October, definitely proved that you can print and build these and basically put as much .22 through them as you want. Actually it was, like, the weekend we first planned to launch that we saw his news. It was just a few days later that we put our video out.

YouTube player

That video was created to support Defense Distributed’s crowdfunding campaign, launched on Indiegogo at the end of July. Around the five-minute mark, Wilson starts laying out their plan to develop prototypes using Stratasys’ prosumer-grade Mojo brand 3D printer, which retails for just under $10,000:

[The Mojo] is not a hobby-level printer—to the contrary, it’s a professional-grade machine—but, unlike fabulously expensive commercial printers, this one is “entry-level enough” in terms of price, and allows a leasing option, and we think we can get the best of both worlds. And then port our design down to RepRap or MakerBot standards.

The campaign was scheduled to run until the end of September, but on the evening of August 21, Indiegogo pulled the plug and refunded all contributions, claiming terms-of-service violations. The clock stopped $18,000 short of the group’s $20,000 goal.

“It only ran for 22 or 23 days before it was shut down,” says Wilson. “Fortunately, that got us coverage in Forbes. And that drove enough traffic to our site to meet our goal anyway.”

Now fully funded, Wilson proceeded to sign a lease with Stratasys for, not the Mojo, after all, but the uPrint SE, a more expensive FDM printer with a larger build capacity.

Stratasys Mojo, left, vs. uPrint.
Stratasys Mojo, left, vs. uPrint.

The system was delivered to Wilson’s Austin apartment in late September. But before it was even unpacked, the phone rang.

They had just sent it out to me. I got a call from the distributor, just a day or two after I got it, asking for it back. I was like, tell corporate to call me. There’s no way I’m giving it back to you. I just got it.

Stratasys Cancellation Notice A tense e-mail exchange with Stratasys’ lawyers followed. Wilson admitted he did not have a Federal Firearms License, but believed his activities with Defense Distributed were legal under a well-known provision of the GCA allowing that “an unlicensed individual may make a firearm as defined in the GCA for his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution.”

Stratasys was having none of it.

Their lawyer asked me, what are you going to do with it? I said, I just have to follow the law. They’re like, we don’t want to debate about it. I think the fix was in from the beginning.

The next day, September 27, Stratasys sent a team to seize the machine from Wilson’s home. He describes the event dismissively.

Yeah, they sent a real crack team out. It was just some dudes that had been told they were going to pick up some machine parts. They didn’t know. I helped them load it up in the truck.

I make an ironic remark about “come and take it,” and Wilson lights up.

I know, right?! We were actually using that expression. We were using it and now we can’t anymore because, as it turns out, they will come and take it. And pretty fast.

Defense Distributed's RepRap / Gadsden Flag mash-up, offered as a poster on their Indiegogo campaign to any backer pledging $1,776.
Poster from Defense Distributed’s Indiegogo campaign, offered to backers pledging $1,776.

When speaking about Defense Distributed, Wilson freely mixes first person pronouns, and I try to pin him down about it. Behind the scenes, is it really “we?” Or just “I?”

I’ve got guys that help me build guns, and print, and all that stuff, and though I consider them friends, I’m not sure I’d consider them Defense Distributed. We have many engineers involved in the project, now, too. Some, I would’ve been intimidated if I had met them just a few months ago. Really talented people.

Whomever Wilson’s silent partners may be, it became clear, in early December, that among them was a person or organization with regular access to some top-of-the-line 3D printing gear. On the 2nd, Defense Distributed published a video demonstration of an AR-15 with a 3D-printed lower receiver successfully firing and cycling six rounds of FN 5.7×28mm ammo before breaking. The “five-seven” cartridge develops about twice as much chamber pressure as .22LR, but still about 10% less than the .223 Remington the AR-15 is designed for. The receiver was printed from Guslick’s original model, using Objet’s propriety photopolymer jetting process, in an “ABS-like” photopolymer blend that is only available on Objet’s high-end Connex-series multi-material printers.

In an accompanying blog post, Wilson mentions that the print took seven hours to complete, describes the test-firing process and the receiver’s eventual failure modes, and lists almost a dozen ideas for improvements in the next-generation model.  At its conclusion, Wilson seems tired but pleased.

He writes:  “And that’s really it for now. Let’s talk more after I finish my exams.”

Twelve days later, on December 14, UT Law’s Fall 2012 examinations were in full swing.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, Adam Lanza went on a rampage.


Within a week of the Newtown killings, 3D-model sharing website Thingiverse exercised a terms-of-service clause prohibiting content that “contributes to the creation of weapons,” in place since 2011, to remove a number of firearms-related models, including Guslick’s reinforced AR-15 lower receiver, from their site.

Thingiverse moderation screen.

In response, Defense Distributed created an online repository of the purged files called DEFCAD, a deliberate play on “DEFCON,” the familiar Cold War-era acronym used to indicate the U.S. military’s readiness for war.

There was, like, a 12-hour period where we were scrambling and getting help from other people to round up files, and we got them all before they were taken down, and also files from other sites like GrabCAD that people kind of feel uneasy about.  We’ve got well over thirty now, gun-related 3D-printable files.  I’ve set up an official Pirate Bay account for us, too, but haven’t actually used it yet.  But other people are already seeding our files like crazy.

Defense Distributed's six printed AR-15 lower receiver prototypes.
Defense Distributed’s six printed AR-15 lower receiver prototypes.

Through the rest of December, Wilson and Defense Distributed continued to refine and develop their printable lower receiver design. As of Christmas day, they had printed six different lowers using three different technologies—photopolymer jetting, stereolithography, and fused deposition modeling—and had dramatically increased performance of the design. One of their stereolithographs fired and cycled more than eighty rounds of full-power .223 Remington before failure.

YouTube player

So far, in 2013, Defense Distributed’s public efforts have largely shifted to focus on 3D-printed magazines. On January 12, they released this video demonstrating a DIY high-capacity AR-15 magazine made from a 3D-printed housing, a 3D-printed follower, and a commercial magazine spring.

“We’re even designing magazines to work using rubber bands,” Wilson tells me, “just in case someone decides to get cheeky and add springs to the law.”

On the afternoon of the 16th, just a few minutes before I speak to Wilson on the phone, congressman Steve Israel (D-NY 3rd District) publicly calls for a renewal of 1988’s Undetectable Firearms Act, now set to expire in December, updated with provisions specifically prohibiting 3D-printed high-capacity magazines. His press release calls out Defense Distributed by name, and quotes Israel, himself, to wit:

Background checks and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print high-capacity magazines at home. 3-D printing is a new technology that shows great promise, but also requires new guidelines. Law enforcement officials should have the power to stop high-capacity magazines from proliferating with a Google search.

Wilson’s public response: “Good f***ing luck.”

Since that afternoon, Wilson has redacted the F-bomb, but when I speak to him he still seems a bit hot under the collar:

Israel, I think, is just trying to kind of hitch a ride as well. I don’t think he got much play with it. I can’t tell if he just wants to stay relevant or if it’s just a prime opportunity to make what he’s doing seem important or related intentionally or something. These congresscritters, man, I can’t really decipher them.

I stop him at “congresscritter,” chuckling a bit, and suggest that the word marks him as a libertarian. Is that accurate? Does he identify as left, right, or center?

Well, see I don’t really accept the right/left distinction, but yeah. I came to the Liberty Movement through post-Marxist thought and French social theory, but though I share a lot with the right-leaning individuals, the anarchists, I consider myself more of a leftist, but only in the kind of discouraged sense of that word.

The Future

In spite of all the buzz surrounding Wilson and Defense Distributed, they’re still not actually printing or testing their original “WikiWeapon” designs. Not yet, anyway.

Under U.S. law, firearms are classified as Title I or Title II. Title II firearms include machineguns, short-barrelled or sawed-off rifles and shotguns, grenade and rocket launchers, large-bore guns, and silencers. These must be registered with the federal government, and legally cannot be manufactured without an FFL and a tax stamp. There’s also a catch-all “any other weapon” category that, generally speaking, covers disguised firearms and firearms intended to be concealed about the person. Here the ATF has authority to make administrative rulings in unusual cases, and the subject gets complicated.

Regarding Title II questions, I have a lawyer, who works with us and can send us written opinions. Everything else, I’m my own lawyer. I have access to the LexisNexis database as part of my student account so I don’t have to pay for legal research. I spend a lot of time hanging out at the library.

Since the Stratasys incident, Defense Distributed has adopted a more cautious approach to the legal question of 3D printed guns.

We got opinions from, you know, smarter people with connections, that an actual printable gun, especially with a plastic receiver, would be considered “any other weapon,” which is a category under the National Firearms Act, not the Gun Control Act. So technically a Title II weapon, illegal to make unless you’re a licensed manufacturer with a Class Two tax stamp. We didn’t want to have to ask the firearms technology branch of the ATF, because then they would rule, and there’d be an opinion, and we would possibly chill, you know, all 3D printing innovation in firearms.

Defense Distributed has applied for the appropriate Federal Firearms License, but apparently there are some snags:

Oh yeah. I’m on hold. Everything was clear. Everything still is clear on my end, but I’m on hold until February because I have to get my lease situation figured out. I mean I rent this warehouse downtown, as an address for the license, and my sub lessor’s leaving and so now I’ve got…like it’s all indeterminate right now, so really I’m just kind of stuck until we work all the paperwork out, before they’ll grant the license. After that, it should be maybe another like 15 to 20 days. I was told it would be either February or March. Who knows? But then I’ve got to get the Special Occupational Taxpayer stamp, as well, which I hear takes about three weeks right now. I’m kind of worried that Congress is going to have time before then to pass their law, perhaps make it illegal to manufacture at all. I don’t know. I’ve got some anxiety about it.

Which seems like a good opportunity to bring the conversation back to Wilson, himself.

“And you personally? What are your plans for the future?”

Wilson: “I don’t know, really. I think I’ll finish law school, but I never really thought I’d be an attorney. I’m in my second year, and I’ve got at least one more full year. May have to do a few classes this summer.”

“Has your public role with Defense Distributed brought you any attention from your peers, and if so, what is it like?”

Wilson: “Yeah, I hate it too, you know. They’re like…” He stops himself. “Anyway. But I’ve got friends who are supportive: Yeah dude! They love it. Some teachers bring it up in class.”

“Has it cost you much, personally, being out in front of this issue?

Wilson: “Nah, not really. But that’s because I don’t, I didn’t have much to lose personally, anyway. Basically it’s, like, my head out of the tall grass. You know what I’m saying? Like everybody else is kind of happy to work unknown and unseen.”

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80 thoughts on “The Face of Printable Firearms: A Conversation with Cody Wilson

  1. rndm(mod) » The Face of Printable Firearms: A Conversation with Cody Wilson says:

    […] Read the full article on MAKE […]

  2. goobering says:

    There are very few Maker enterprises I would like to see fail. This tops my list. Creative, innovative and interesting for exploring burgeoning new technologies. Also deeply stupid and incredibly socially irresponsible for applying all of those positive qualities to a project with the potential for so much harm. Should 3D printing become available in every home the odds that nobody will ever print an automatic rifle for the purposes of shooting other people are, sadly, vanishingly small. I sincerely hope that Mr Wilson reconsiders his position and the likelihood that, should his project achieve all of its goals over the next few years, he will be responsible for providing access to a murder weapon.

    1. Alan S. Blue says:

      The exact same things can be said about most drone projects. Even without specifically adding a weapon.

      Except drones can be anonymous. And autonomous.

    2. Christopher Gosnell says:

      Would you feel the same for 3D printed knives, scissors, etc… It all comes down to the intent of the user. Bad people will always find a way.

      1. vintagenovascotia says:

        Dear Christopher
        Although they can be used as weapons, scissors and knives have another purpose for their existence, the cutting and shaping of objects. Assault type weapons have only one purpose, the mass killing of human beings!

        1. Christopher Gosnell says:

          The ‘assault weapon’ as you call it also has various other uses than killing people. It is the intent of the user that matters.
          As another person has said, you could create all sorts of objects on a 3D printer, or 3D milling machine, etc… that can have uses that are injurious to humans. We humans are very clever in figuring out ways to injure each other. How about a ban on slingshots and rocks when 3D printed, for example?

          1. goobering says:

            Christopher, I’m based in the UK and my experience of recreational gun use is limited to clay pigeon shooting with a double barreled shotgun. With no sarcasm intended, what are the other legitimate uses of an assault rifle with an extended magazine?
            On your other point, it’s true that slingshots and rocks can cause injuries, as can almost any projectile weapon or heavy blunt object. On the other hand their range, lethality and ease of use in combat is not sufficient to allow one normally built, relatively unskilled person to cause serious injury or death to large numbers of people should someone with a mental health problem decide to go on a rampage with them. If the scenes at some of the more recent killing sprees in the US were repeated, but the perpetrators weapons were replaced with rocks and slingshots, the resulting tragedy would be on a far smaller scale.

          2. Christopher Gosnell says:

            The base issue is ‘who decides’ if I am ‘allowed’ to make something, anything myself, for my own use.
            I dread having to ask permission of some authoritarian higher power to permit me to exercise my free will. We have the ridiculous action now of kids with nail files or pictures of guns being suspended from schools over this hysteria. The fact that the parts are for a workable weapon (of any kind) for me are secondary. The primary issue is my free will to do as I like with my own tools, and ALSO take the consequences of my actions as well.

    3. jammit says:

      I understand you want this to fail, and I don’t mind that you wish it too happen. The only thing I would like to explain to you is this printing of a gun is in no way different than me using a machine shop to make one from crap metal. The lower receiver is the only part that’s got a serial number on it. It’s not illegal to make your own lower receiver. Many people make their own lower receivers. Nothing illegal is being done here. If you want something to be done, you should try to change the laws. Just making it illegal to print a gun doesn’t mean it’s illegal to make it in another way.

      1. Angus says:

        I would say that it is rather different. The material used for the 3D print will be the same for all 3D prints, but another thing that 3D printers allows its users to do is make items, whether or not they would have the skills and tools to create them in the standard way, out of metal, wood, etc. the measures, skill, patience, are all handled by the machine. And said machine would ideally be made for everyone. Meaning everyone would have a gun-making machine, and only need to press a button or two.

        1. Andrew Brannan says:

          Yes, because certainly there aren’t automated metal machining tools out there at a hobbyist price point. Nobody has attached CNC control systems to home mills, lathes, and the like. The technology is already there, and is already being used. In fact, it’s far cheaper to go to Harbor Freight and buy the tools needed to make a CNC machining system, and go online to buy the hardware to run it, than to get a 3D printer that can run the sorts of materials that they’ve used to make theses lower receivers that fail after 8 shots. And with that setup you can “carve” your own guns that won’t fail nearly as easily.

          It’s the same failed logic of trying to deny the thing’s existence that has failed time and time again. Which has been more effective, denying that working birth control methods exist while advocating abstinence, or teaching children how to explore their sexuality responsibly? Cracking down on drug supply, or educating individuals on the effects and risks of drug use? Banning the distribution of the DVD decoding software, or working to create a simpler, cheaper source for people to get their entertainment conveniently?

          What do you think will be more effective: Making guns illegal, or teaching people how to deal with their problems without resorting to violence?

    4. jammitweapon says:

      I meant to say “scrap metal”, and not “crap metal”. Please accept my apology for accidentally using a dirty word.

    5. moofie74 says:

      Surely, if this project fails, the genie will head immediately and forever back into the bottle.

      1. goobering says:

        Futile, probably. Wouldn’t it be nice though, if we could just put the capability to print assault rifles at home where it belongs: in the same mental space as leaving a toddler in the same room as half a dozen open bottles of bleach, whisky and sleeping tablets?

        1. chuck says:

          Yeah, but we don’t ban bleach, whiskey and sleeping pills, we just use them responsibly.

          1. goobering says:

            We don’t ban them, but we do *regulate* them. Age limits, quantity limits, efficacy limits. Open sourcing firearm designs and releasing them to a general populace with no regard for how they’ll be used is misguided. If I worked in a pharmacy I wouldn’t sell anyone 1000 sleeping pills. If I worked in a bar I wouldn’t give the guy picking fights another bottle of Jack. And we shouldn’t give anyone with a 3D printer and an index finger access to as many high capacity firearms as they can carry.

    6. Rich says:

      Goobering – Presumably you also advocate stopping people being taught to use lathes and machine tools, and want all engineering advice purged from the internet.

      3D printing is just one way of making a firearm, and (unless you have access to very exotic compounds) it only really applies to the non pressure-bearing parts. You still need to source ammunition and a barrel (which will need turning on a lathe, etc) and other parts of the upper. Okay, maybe getting maker files online for a handful of components gives you a marginal headstart, but there are already CNC files floating around, and anyone with any semi-serious intent could figure out how a rifle works just by floating round the internet for a bit, to the point they could produce one with a lathe and a few basic tools.

      A 3D Printer can’t do the whole job. A lathe can. So why the upset and outcry over printers?

      1. Sean Ragan says:

        One place where this article falls short is in clearing up some of the confusion concerning the Defense Distributed “WikiWeapon” project. I’ve seen headlines around the web that link to the magazine video or the AR-15 lower receiver videos and describe those projects as the “WikiWeapon.” In point of fact, you really need to watch their original crowdfunding pitch video to understand their plan in the long term.

        The “WikiWeapon,” as they envision it, is one or more entirely 3D printable plastic pistols. It, or they, will likely be single-shot, and, as Wilson himself says in the video “it only needs to be lethal once.” So the project envions an entirely or almost entirely 3D printed, entirely or almost entirely plastic pistol, that will likely fire a single round and then be disposed of. They want a design that prints on a hobby-size printer and is safe for the operator to use, if only that one time. Something like the WWII-era “Liberator” pistol or the CIA “Deer Gun” from the 60s, but for a RepRap scale 3D printer.

        I think this is an achievable goal. And I think people are right to be, at the very least, a bit alarmed at the prospect.

        1. Andrew Brannan says:

          If that’s their goal, the they need look no father than the movie “In the Line of Fire” for their design. The little plastic “pistol” that malkovich’s character uses ought to be an easy design to copy. Something to hold the bullet, and something spring loaded to strike the firing pin, and viola! Keychain portable self defense.

  3. Aviana Knochel (@AvianaKnochel) says:

    This is so awesome! Granted, I’d rather wait for printed metal to become higher resolution so I don’t have to deal with a trash receiver every 4 magazines, but it’s still pretty cool.

  4. Donnie Barnes says:

    You can want it to fail, but it will not fail. Whether it’s this guy or the next one, people will figure this out. Information wants to be free, and it always ends up that way. Technology always trickles down, and we’re seeing it happen. But for every destructive item made at home, thousands more things that make this world a better place will trickle out. It’s the price of progress, and how we treat it socially is all that’s left to answer. Technically, the genie is out of the bottle.

  5. Greg says:

    People are really getting too worked up over this. For decades it has been possible to upload that same 3D file into a cnc milling machine and make a “real” AR15 (or any other gun for that matter) just as easily as printing one. And many people have done it. I have even seen AR15’s made with hand tools out of plywood or cutting boards. It’s not that hard. If someone wants to make a gun, they will; regardless of the available technology. The streets weren’t flooded with homemade guns before 3D printing, and they won’t be after either.

    1. goobering says:

      I think you’re right that if someone really really really wants a gun then they’ll find a way to manufacture it. I’m more worried about the bell curve that represents the people who might want a gun. At the moment, as you say, you can upload a design to a CNC miller or spend some time researching, hand tooling and refining a weapon. These are currently relatively expensive in financial and logistical terms, providing a barrier to those who are just casually interested. With so many teams working to reduce the cost and expand the availability of 3D printers, however, it gets more and more likely that Joe Public will have access to one. This substantially lowers the barriers to producing a weapon and starts to introduce ‘red button syndrome’ – leave a big button labelled ‘Do Not Touch – Dangerous’ somewhere and I’ll give you good odds that the stupid and incautious among us will hit it just to see what it does. Can you imagine the temptation to teenage kids to print off an assault rifle and stash it in the back of a wardrobe because it’s a cool thing to have?

      1. Mac says:

        As you no doubt read in the long news piece above, these people aren’t printing out guns. They are printing out the only tracked piece of a gun. Odds that a kid could then gather the other parts of the weapon, the ammo, and the magazine are fairly low. Most homes where those would be available would probably have a gun safe, and parents who have (hopefully) taught their child gun safety.

    2. Pierce Nichols says:

      Machining an AR-15 lower takes at least a couple of different setups and the workholding is moderately tricky. It takes substantial skill and care to machine an AR-15 lower in your garage. See for details… it’s the parts where you have to remove the part from the machine and re-orient it that require the most skill in order to get a usable part out. Workholding and part locating are enormous issues in machining… and they are non-issues with 3D printers.

      If you’ve got a 3D printer that has the resolution and material quality to make the part, it’s just pushing a button. It’s a difference in degree big enough to be effectively a difference in kind. Personally, I think the most useful part of this is that it partially eviscerates the gun nut argument that people have to have lots of guns on hand to defend themselves against the government.

  6. Nick Normal says:

    This is a great piece, Sean. I’m still wholly on the fence though, albeit from a social, not legal perspective. Legally, I agree with Donnie above that information does want to be free and there’s no stopping that. It baffles me that lawmakers even think they can regulate this space. Cody’s ability to navigate (and spend time navigating) the legal jargon jungle is something unto itself. But I question his desire to push the political envelope instead of empowering people: e.g. I’m way more interested in the ability to hack a receiver with rubber bands rather than hacking receivers with rubber bands only because politicians might include springs in legislation. Tough space to navigate, but thanks.

    1. Sean Ragan says:

      Thanks, Nick. I’m on the fence, myself, honestly. I am generally frustrated with gun control measures because they don’t work, and I don’t see the point spending a lot of time and energy and agony on stuff that doesn’t work. I see people grandstanding on both sides of the issue, for the sake of grandstanding, over small details that, in the long run, will have very little real social impact. I think people who really want to change society operate at a cultural rather than a legal level.

      1. Alan S. Blue says:

        How would you feel about a firearm safety/maintenance/rangetime class as a standard piece of the highschool curriculum? Or, at least, as supported as Driver’s Ed is.

        1. Sean Ragan says:

          I think that’d be ideal, honestly. I think that education needs to realistically prepare children for all kind of real-world hazards, and using an objective approach that isn’t irrational, fear-based, deterrence on the DARE model. Because kids see right through attempts to manipulate their behavior like that.

        2. Semper Why says:

          I fully support a firearms safety class in school. I’m on the fence about making it mandatory, but I definitely think it should be offered.

          Maryland tried to add it to their curriculum a few years back. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence raised enough hell about it that the Maryland School Board (or just the school, I forget which) nixed it.

          As someone above said: Grandstanding on all sides.

      2. cAlmond says:

        ” I think people who really want to change society operate at a cultural rather than a legal level.”

        I agree. This applies for good and bad changes.
        Extreme example for bad: Hitler and his cultural belief system. Many because of the fear of dying did not oppose but knew in their hearts the negativity of his regime.
        Extreme example for good: Jesus Christ; many because of the fear of dying to their satisfactions (they always lack something over time, and we seek deeper pleasures in those areas becoming worst than before) oppose.

        1. Sean Ragan says:

          Well, I was thinking of artists, honestly. I’m comfortable encouraging people to try to bring about cultural change through art. Less so with encouraging them to think on the scale of Hitler or Christ.

  7. Ryan Biggs says:

    Read the whole article hoping you would ask him “why”?!?!? Such a weird, ugly thing to be so passionate about.

    1. James Patrick says:

      What makes it ugly?

      1. Paresh Mathur says:

        The fact that it is designed to kill human beings. I know you can think up several “other uses” of guns, but they are not primarily designed to do that. They are designed to kill vast amounts of human beings. I do not really have a opinion in this matter, and I know how passionate people are about this thing, I just find it amazing that people can be passionate about something which is literally a killing machine. That my friend makes it pretty ugly thing in my book.

        1. Semper Why says:


          Your focus on the purpose of firearms to “kill vast amounts of human beings” makes me highly suspicious of your claim to not have strong opinions on the matter.

          There are roughly 300 million firearms just in the USA. 70 million households own firearms of some form. Out of all those weapons, a tiny fraction are used to commit crimes. For something whose purpose is to kill a large number of human beings, we’re spectacularly bad at using firearms for this purpose.

          The printing of a receiver in your home workshops is and probably forever will be the purview of hobbyists, enthusiasts, tinkerers and creative types. These are not the people you need to worry about. As a class, they don’t kill a lot of people. Much like people who own $5,000 .50 caliber rifles, they’re too successful to engage in violent behavior in any significant numbers.

          I do have to wonder: Do you worry about amateur blacksmiths crafting swords in their back yards?

  8. cRobot says:

    If guns are banned then the good citizens will not get them. The bad citizens with their evil intentions will obtain what they need. They break the rules, making them obviously bad citizens.
    This issue is truly one about restricting the protection available to law abiding citizens and not from criminal-minded people.
    This process in printing guns just as good as high-end factories is a process in its time. We discuss the possibilities of the usage by people but it is exactly the same as if this technology was not around.
    My only fear is that our generation is a generation that has turned its back on the teachings and true-love-producing ways of Jesus Christ. Without the fear of the Lord, love your brethren as you love yourself, people will always be selfish, thinking that you should not care for others and that no one cares for you. We can become blind.
    Embrace the cross that Jesus carried and follow Him. The cross represents everything that is good for others. Do what is best for others and everything else that you need will be taken cared of. Follow Christ because he made the path to heaven and thus only in His footsteps can you as well achieve full goodness.

    1. Gunther says:

      Determining whether or not a citizen is “good” by whether or not they follow a law is a very dangerous statement, The morality of a law should be determined by the citizen, not the other way around. Same goes for assuming someone is bad for obtaining illegal guns. As is solely basing your moral code on a religion/book. I don’t (and I’m sure many others) need a religion to tell me killing people is bad or stealing something is wrong, Its self evident, sure jesus/god holds a similar disposition, but its still self evident. I’m not trying to bash your beliefs at all, I respect them greatly and your right to practice them. But bashing other peoples morality without knowing who they are is how very bad things happen. Regardless I don’t think this discussion of gun control/manufacturing will benefit greatly by promoting christianity/religion, especially since the bible mentions nothing about gun control.

      1. cAlmond says:

        Hello Gunther.
        No offense taken. I would like to expand on what I said with respect to what you responded to.
        Everything shared has a bias to it. You took what I wrote as a “bash” to your person. You replied to my comment. I offered a solution to the problems we face in society. I do not call my following of Jesus Christ a religion. The Bible is first and second hand accounts of historical moments. It has the accounts of people who walked on earth with God-in-the-flesh.
        “The morality of a law should be determined by the citizen, not the other way around.” True and we will always have opposition in this case, no matter what.
        The citizens that I consider bad are those who break the law and in turn do harm. Like in the recent cases in the U.S. of shoot-outs. The mentally of these people is that they become lost in their hearts, believing that nothing on earth is worth to live for. They forget that there are people that love them. Family, friends, etc. Our generation of citizens are losing what we learn to appreciate by the teachings of Jesus Christ. People that become focused on evolution come to believe that since everything is because of an accident, life has no value. End a life by killing and nothing will be wrong.
        If there is a God, who wants us to follow Him, showing us a better way, we need to go and find Him. God-in-the-flesh came to die for us because of His love. His message is one of love. He will do what He needs to do to fix you if you allow Him to do so, like a good loving father.
        Thank you.
        This message is for those who want it.

        1. Gunther says:

          Your elaboration was greatly appreciated! I believe we see far more eye to eye than I originally suspected. Thanks for the patience, I love that differing opinions (however slightly) can be discussed civilly here in the realms of MAKE. Very refreshing.

          Thank you

  9. crgintx says: You don’t need a CNC machine. 3D printer or any other overpriced computer/digital device to make a ‘machine gun’ or high capacity magazine. This is the worst kind of fearmongering, yellow journalism I’ve seen in my life.

    1. Sean Ragan says:


      That site is well known to us.

      >You don’t need a CNC machine. 3D printer or any other overpriced computer/digital device to make a ‘machine gun’ or high capacity magazine.

      That is not news to us, and no one here is suggesting otherwise.

      >This is the worst kind of fearmongering, yellow journalism I’ve seen in my life.

      Then you’ve seen very little of it.

  10. RCONNORIII says:


  11. Jordan says:

    The part about the AOWs and Title II firearms is a bit misinformed. A 3D printed lower receiver would not be a AOW, a lower receiver doesn’t meet the criteria. The only reason I see for Defense Distributed a Type 07 FFL(Manufacture of firearms other than destructive devices), is a business entity (I assume its a LLC or Corp) it doesn’t fall under the provision for personal use because it’s not an individual. There would also be no need for a Class 2 SOT, if all they made was lower receivers. The only thing that may really be a legal road block is the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, a law banning firearms not detectable by x-ray machines or metal detectors, lower receivers being only a part of a firearm may not fall under this. About me: I am product designer for a small arms manufacturer, I have a 3D printer and I’ve made far more restricted devices with our printer. Based on my experience designing firearms and 3D printing I believe a 100% 3D printed(sans a stout rubber band) firearm is possible with today FDM technology. It’s something I’d like to try in the future.

    1. Sean Ragan says:

      Thanks, Jordan. The original “WikiWeapon” project that DefDist undertook envisioned one or more entirely 3D-printed pistols. I think it is in the context of that project, rather than the 3D-printed AR-15 lowers they’ve been messing around with, that DefDist is concerned about an AOW ruling. I think they know they’re in the clear with their printed lower receivers.

  12. chuck says:

    A hammer can be used to build a house for a family. It can also be used to smash kittens. The important question isn’t ‘How do we limit people’s access to hammers?’ The question we really have to ask is ‘Why do we produce so many kitten smashers?’ .

    1. cAlmond says:

      That is the question!

    2. Matt says:

      Following along with your argument via analogy, off the top of my head I would say that there are many nails that need to be hammered and houses for families that need to be built (based on the high levels of homelessness in this country) which would provide great social utility. The fact that a crazed kitten smasher could harm kittens with a tool designed for hammering nails doesn’t obviate that fact.

      Assuming that your clumsy analogy is actually referring to gun use and gun control laws, I would argue that the analogy is weak at best because there aren’t many people/items that need to be shot by normal citizens in order to accomplish a goal, with the exception of hunting. The other reason, which I feel compelled to mention since it is so popular among the truly fanatic supporters of gun rights, might be revolution, but if that is your goal than you have given up on peaceful means of change, which our political system allows for (albiet slowly), rewarding the persistent and patient. If you would advocate violent revolution, then I am decidedly against you.

      Personally, I am on the fence (along with many others here) about gun control as I think there are some legitimately good arguments for gun rights mostly based around personal liberty…not some false equivalence in ways other items can be used. This particular argument is intellectually lazy and casts a bad light on the person who trots it out.

      Finally, to tie this long-winded post back to the article at hand, I think fighting the spread of information is a Sisyphean task that will only serve to distract from approaches that might actually have a real effect in reducing gun violence in this country, since that should be the real goal. After all, if no one ever got shot, I wouldn’t care if everyone carried a gun or stockpiled arsenals.

      1. chuck says:

        I think you’ve got me wrong. My statement wasn’t meant to be pro gun so much as pro personal responsibility. We need to take care of our families and those around us. We need to build real communities so no one has to face mental illness, depression or desperate poverty without support. We need to instill confidence in our kids so they don’t turn to bullying and alienation of the weak. We need to turn off the media sometimes and stop being afraid. You say if we lived in a world where no one gets shot you wouldn’t care if folks had guns, well this is the way to get to that world.
        I don’t currently own any guns and I don’t feel a particular need to. My family hunts but I realized that I hate the cold weather in deer season more than I like fresh venison, so I sold my guns to a dealer. As a designer and maker I love the history and technology of modern guns (especially the Stoner/Kalishnikov design dichotomy- Every maker should study these two successful yet completely opposite approaches to design). I was on the rifle team in high school where I shot competitively but I’ve never supported the NRA. I’m not a gun nut, I’m a realist. Prohibition doesn’t work.
        BTW- I was just making an analogy for conversational expedience. I wasn’t writing my doctoral thesis, professor internet:)

        1. Matt says:

          I completely agree with everything you posted in your follow up. You just ended up falling in my crosshairs (timely metaphor!) because of where your post fell in the thread. I am just tired of the simple sound bytes and lazy thinking, and I didn’t get all of what you said in your follow up post from your original post. Thank you for the follow up and raising the bar a bit in the larger discussion.

      2. TJ says:

        “I would argue that the analogy is weak at best because there aren’t many people/items that need to be shot by normal citizens in order to accomplish a goal”

        It is a more than reasonable means of defense from the “non-normal” citizen or wild animals. There are many criminals out there and many defensive uses of firearms that actually save lives.

        I think far too many people are concerned with “gun violence”, which includes silly statistics, and they aren’t nearly concerned with “violence” itself. I believe we should work to reduce overall violence, as that is the true issue underneath it all. If we take away guns, the people that would have used a gun will just find something else to use. Violence is still a large issue in countries that have highly restricted access to guns.

        I just wish people would focus on reducing people’s wont to resort to violence.

  13. TL says:

    Some men just want to watch the world burn.

  14. Simon Jester says:

    One problem we have is that society as a whole has been conditioned to remain children and many react as children, in an irrational, emotional way. We get these “you have to do something!” reactions, even when it is know that the thing being suggested will have no impact whatsoever.

    ANYTHING can bee weaponized. Weapons will always be with us. To have this type of reaction to an inanimate object puts your reasoning capacity in to question.

    1. Sean Ragan says:

      “Won’t somebody please think of the children?!”

      I get that. On the other hand, I think tragedies *do* oblige us to do something. Where I think the process sometimes goes wrong is where that reaction, that we need to fix this problem, gets exploited by politicians who want, mostly, to get elected or re-elected.

      I don’t doubt that politicians often have truly good intentions, but I think the law of the jungle is that you first do whatever you have to do to obtain and secure power. Then, once you’ve got it, if you can still remember who you are and what you’re really supposed to be about, you try to do some good. Where it’s possible without undermining the power base you worked so hard to set up.

      1. Simon Jester says:

        ” Then, once you’ve got it, if you can still remember who you are and what you’re really supposed to be about, you try to do some good.”

        I think that part rarely happens. Actually I think the process is quite the reverse. Some people go into politics with good intentions, but once there get into the struggle to keep and grow power.

        The government acts in its own best interest, not that of the people it is supposed to represent. If the government takes an action, it is to increase power & control, not protect the “little people’s” lives

  15. Ramshackle Days (@ramshackledays) says:

    Thank you for this interview. I’d read some other stuff about Cody Wilson, but none that highlighted how completely clueless, unfeeling, and uncaring this guy is about what he’s doing as your piece did.

  16. HowardC says:

    I think what a lot of people aren’t getting is how irresponsible these types of projects are. So he’s designed a gun, that can be printed on site, with minimal tools out of non-metallic materials.

    In other words he’s devised the prefect method for TERRORISTS AND CRIMINALS TO SMUGGLE FIREARMS.

    Printing a gun on the fly serves no useful purpose besides this and THAT is why people are so angry.

    Guns are not toys and anybody that likes to play with guns is an irresponsible lunatic. They are machines designed for the sole purpose of killing, they are quite literally death machines. When you see somebody treating a gun like a toy then you should stop them, it’s as simple as that.

    1. Gunther says:

      “terrorists” have far cheaper, quicker and more efficient means of obtaining firearms (In large quantity) than 3D printing them. I think this just gives everyone the right to a firearm if they desire one, that doesn’t mean their an irresponsible lunatic, sure there will be some, but small in comparison to people like “Jordan” who posted above. There will always be lunatics, we shouldn’t let that possibility ruin our rights to gun ownership (which have continually degraded over time). Yes guns are obviously killing machines that is there sole purpose (along with recreational use like targeting). The whole purpose of the second amendment is not for protection against burgles or for hunting, but protection against tyranny (which is a very real and possible threat). If I’m going to protect myself against the government, I want a fricken big-fast-shooting-machine-gun with a heavy caliber. Needless to say they will always have bigger and badder weapons but that shouldn’t stop me from trying to match them. Overall i would say this new revolution in printing weapons is a direct result of a distribution problem existing in the firearms market, the situation could be closely compared to the “problem” with pirating media.

  17. The Crossed Pond » Can’t stop the signal says:

    […] Good luck trying to control gun sales and ownership in an era of 3D printing. […]

  18. DN says:

    When I saw his first video, I already knew that the magazine would be the next thing to come. Also, I did recently see an article that was saying that it would be a much wiser decision for those opposing this to direct their attention on gunpowder instead of the printed gun. Great technology.

  19. Bear says:

    I did not read all the comments here but has anyone considered the fact that a firearm still needs a METAL barrel and METAL firing and loading components? Unless 3D printers can print in ultra-high density reinforced materials. And even then, it still requires final machining for fit and finish. This technology only really allows the construction of grips, stocks, receivers and magazines. You would either need to purchase the firing mechanisms, barrel, ect. from an existing design. Or obtain the tooling to machine the rest of the components from metal.
    While I believe that if more GOOD HONEST people had weapons there would be less crime and more people prepared to protect their family, friends and country from any enemies.
    Look at Switzerland where every male and female is required to be government trained with fully automatic weapons and after they serve for a couple years in the military they are sent home with their weapons. They have the lowest gun related crime in the world. It seems so simple. But nobody considers this.

    Do you want to know the REAL REASON for so called ‘assault type’ weapons?
    It is to keep our own government AT BAY. So that they cannot crush us under their thumb. So that they cannot hold us down and make themselves rulers over us and steal our rights and freedoms. Consider the following quotes and who they are from.

    “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
    ― James Madison, The Constitution of the United States of America

    “The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson

    “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson

    “A free people ought…to be armed”
    ― George Washington

    “The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.”
    ― Jeff Cooper, Art of the Rifle

    “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
    ― Thomas Jefferson, Complete Jefferson

    “Disarm the people- that is the best and most effective
    way to enslave them.”
    ― James Madison

    “The constitution shall never be construed…to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
    ― Alexander Hamilton

    “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.”
    ― Noah Webster

    “If a responsible, mentally sound American wants to own and AR-15, that’s their right. Besides, when the zombies come…okay, you don’t like the zombie thing. When the Chinese invade our country, who do you want to depend on? The over-extended police force and the National Guard? Or the next door neighbor who’s a former Marine and has enough guns and ammunition for your entire block?”
    ― Aaron B. Powell

    “Gun control? My wife had a job for three years before she found out that her boss was a convicted sex offender—a child molester. She used to take our son to work with her. When we found out, she quit her job and filed for unemployment, but was denied because she didn’t have to quit. That’s a true story. I wonder what would happen if a young child walked into a room full of child molesters and executed them with an AR-15? What would congress have to say about gun control then?”
    ― Aaron B. Powell

    The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, … or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.
    – Thomas Jefferson

    Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.
    – Patrick Henry

    “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
    George Mason
    Co-author of the Second Amendment
    during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

    “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …”
    Richard Henry Lee

    “And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …”
    Samuel Adams

    “Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
    George Washington
    First President of the United States

    “The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.”
    Thomas Paine

    “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
    Richard Henry Lee
    American Statesman, 1788

    “The great object is that every man be armed.” and “Everyone who is able may have a gun.”
    Patrick Henry
    American Patriot

    “Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?”
    Patrick Henry
    American Patriot

    “The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution.”
    Thomas Jefferson
    Third President of the United States

    “The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.”
    Edmund Burke
    British Statesman, 1784

    “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.”
    Thomas Jefferson
    to James Madison

    “They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    Ben Franklin
    American Statesman

    ……..Now, consider what the following statements say……..

    “If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things.”
    Adolph Hitler
    Chancellor, Germany, 1933

    “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”
    Adolph Hitler
    Chancellor, Germany, 1933

    “Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn’t matter if you have to distort the facts or even lie. Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed.”
    Sara Brady
    Chairman, Handgun Control Inc, to Senator Howard Metzenbaum

    …..See the problem?……

  20. Sean Ragan says:

    I didn’t read all your comment, but have you considered that your assumptions about what is required to make a firearm might be incorrect? What about a gun that fires once and then is useless? Can you say for certain that such a gun cannot be made from mostly 3D printed parts? Cody Wilson himself has said “it only has to be lethal once.” Developing such a gun is exactly the project Defense Distributed was conceived for and is directed at. They’re just waiting on an FFL.

    And if you think I’m advocating gun control here, you’re mistaken. I think Wilson should be free to do this under the law. But I’d appreciate it if you’d take the time to read carefully before jumping to conclusions about what’s going on here.

  21. Bear says:

    Sean Ragan,
    I will agree with you there. I failed to mention that.

    However, if a man comes into a place with a single shot firearm and is met with arms citizens, will he not certainly fail? And would a man with a machete or even a small knife be so much less dangerous if his intent is to commit violence towards a single person?

    However, while most states have laws that require firearms manufacturers to be registered and licensed, some states such as Montana have no such law and under their state rules and regulations any citizen of that state may manufacture and sell any firearm or weapon that does not fall under the federal description of a military class weapon. So, couldn’t someone just move there and do whatever they want?

    Yet, I see the point and worry of providing even a one time use weapon to anyone for a few bucks. THAT is dangerous. But we cannot just jump up and say “ban this or that” as you say, we need to be cautious and careful in how we go about containing or defending against this type of technology.

  22. Bear says:

    I didn’t mean to say that you said to “ban this or that” that wasnt what I was trying to say at all. I meant to say . We cannot just jump up and ban this or that, but, as you say, we need to me cautious….

  23. Futures says:

    Nice article! This is a very interesting technology.

  24. In The Beginning: Printable Gun Can Spew Hundreds of Bullets | FreakOutNation says:

    […] The Face of Printable Firearms: A Conversation with Cody Wilson […]

  25. Ben Klebe says:

    Why are people making up all these “other uses” for guns? And even if a small fraction is used to commit crimes, that fraction is WAY too many. Europe has near 0 amounts of gun crime. We had three mass shootings in the past year, but apparently that’s not REALLY a problem, because it doesn’t happen that often. BUT WE HAVE THE MEANS TO MAKE IT NOT HAPPEN AT ALL!

    1. Semper Why says:

      They aren’t “making them up”, that’s actually they way we use guns in the USA. Target shooting, competitions, hunting, collecting and self defense. A fraction are used to commit crimes. That’s not “making it up”, that’s describing reality.

      But do tell – what is your “means” to make firearm homicides happen “not at all”? And didn’t your try that in Europe already?

  26. Let’s start controversial : 3d Printing firearms | TheStack Desk says:

    […] Cody Wilson : the face of printable firearms. […]

  27. 3D Printers = Ability to print your own gun, how can they stop people now? Read on... - Page 2 says:

    […] lefty professors can imagine. I've read about this guy's politics and they're pretty strange: MAKE | The Face of Printable Firearms: A Conversation with Cody Wilson Well, see I don’t really accept the right/left distinction, but yeah. I came to the […]

  28. 3D Printing of guns-beyond the hysteria - Handguns, shotguns, rifles, etc. - City-Data Forum says:

    […] just as much as big government. Here is an excerpt from an interview (in it's entirety here: MAKE | The Face of Printable Firearms: A Conversation with Cody Wilson ) […]

  29. Andrew Brannan says:

    Falky, please explain to me how this is any different than a “zip gun”, who’s instructions have been around and are well known for quite some time. Both are reusable, both are single shot, both can be made almost entirely out of non-metal components (save for a nail to strike the primer).

  30. Semper Why says:

    Falky, gun crime in the US has been falling since the 1990s. Since that time, we have added over 30 million new firearms in civilian hands. We currently have over 300 million firearms in the USA. The addition of a single shot, homemade pistol manufactured by an expensive 3D printer to that total is going to be negligible.

    You really don’t understand the purpose of the Liberator. Read up a bit on the original Liberator.I should prove illuminating.

  31. hamptonhistory says:

    He sounds foreign, any idea where he’s really from?

  32. [麒逢教室] 「茶,伯爵,熱的」— 在家就開始 3D 列印 | 有物報告 says:

    […] 印刷的槍已經不是新聞。在 Cody Wilson 列印出 AR15 的同時,美國與加拿大的法律都已經出台,對抗所謂的 3D […]

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  34. 有物報告 | [騏逢教室] 「茶,伯爵,熱的」— 在家就開始 3D 列印 says:

    […] 印刷的槍已經不是新聞。在 Cody Wilson 列印出 AR15 的同時,美國與加拿大的法律都已經出台,對抗所謂的 3D […]

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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