My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Defense Distributed's Cody Wilson's 3D Plastic Gun, the Liberator - 3D Printer Arms Race heralds the coming of IKEA DIY Design for Consumer Electronics

Friday, May 24, 2013

Defense Distributed's Cody Wilson's 3D Plastic Gun, the Liberator - 3D Printer Arms Race heralds the coming of IKEA DIY Design for Consumer Electronics

“You can print a lethal device. It’s kind of scary, but that’s what we’re aiming to show. Anywhere there’s a computer and an Internet connection, there would be the promise of a Gun.”

Cody Williams, founder of Defense Distributed in an interview with Forbes Magazine on Sunday May 5th 2013

It’s bad enough that there are so many guns in the hands of criminals. But imagine being able to print you own Gun. This is exactly what the Liberator is a 3D printed Plastic Gun made by 25-year old founder Cody Williams of Defense Distributed located in Austin ,Texas, is doing with the development of this weapon. 

Cody Wilson, a Law student at the University of Texas and a radical libertarian and anarchist named the Gun in honour of the cheap, one-shot pistols designed by the Allies to be air-dropped to the French Resistance during Nazi occupation in World War II. Cody Wilson had been working on a design for the Liberator since August 2012.

They’d first made the 3D printed Plastic Gun, the Liberator using a rented US$8000 second-hand Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer in 2013. More significantly, the Liberator passed a successful test-firing on Sunday May 5th 2013 according to the article “Meet The 'Liberator': Test-Firing The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Gun”, published 5/05/2013 @ 5:30PM by Andy Greenberg, Forbes Magazine

The following slideshow of pictures from CNET News shows the Test Firing and the  Liberator’s sixteen (16) components. These pictures should give some insight into the Liberator’s design and what it says for the development for 3D Printing:

It survived a few test firings of standard .38 caliber rounds before exploding when testing higher-charge 5.7×28 rifle cartridge, as the pressure of the recoil proved too much for the ABS Plastic Gun. Also the Liberator can only be fire about eleven (11) more times with a .38 Caliber round before exploding. It’s also got poor and is only good for grosse point blank shooting, as with each shot, its accuracy decreases due to effects of heating on the ABS plastic.

But the fact this Open Source Gun worked at all is pretty impressive, from an engineering and Material Sciences point of view. It has even persons such as me amazed, as I’d never imagined ABS plastic could withstand the pressure of any Recoil. The 3D printed Liberator Gun is made of a total of sixteen (16) pieces, which includes a single metal piece, the firing pin.

I personally knew that 3D Printing technology had the potential to do more as stated in my blog article entitled “MakerBot 3D Replicator Printer debuts at CES 2012 - Evanescence Brings Star Trek to Life”. It appeared to many to be a Star Trek Geeks equivalent of a Replicator, but it’s live up to more than that already as hoped in my future looking blog article entitled “Tech Predictions of 2013 - 3D Printing and smaller smartphones”.

Its main uses thus far have revolved around printing realistic models that can be used as-is. This is in essence a forward reaching concept of a Quantum Teleportation device as predicted in my Geezam article entitled “3D Printers, the next big Revolution in Printing, heralds the coming of Quantum Teleportation”. 

Even Cody Wilson’s own words back in August 2012 reflects the purpose of his project and this idea, which are really a challenge to the American Legal system as relates to access to firearms by making one that’s easily printable, once you have a 3D Printer, quote:  “Call me crazy, but I see a world where contraband will pass underground through the data cables to be printed in our homes as the drones move overhead. I see a kind of poetry there…I dream of this very weird future and I’d like to be a part of it.”.

Since the Liberator was designed, Cody Wilson purposely uploaded the 3D Image files online and has since then faced a great deal of controversy. The company that loaned Defense Distributed the Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer has taken it back, having now discovered what the printer’s use.

They’ve been taken down of course and Makerbot’s Thingyverse website has refused to host the files. They’ve had IndieGogo Funding cut since last year. But Defense Distributed’s latest opponents surfaced on the same days as their Test firing on Sunday May 5th 2013 in the form of New York Congressman Steve Israel calling for a revamp of the Undetectable Firearms Act, quote: “Security checkpoints, background checks, and Gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser”.

He’s been joined by New York Senator Charles Schumer calling for new legislation to ban the production and distribution of 3D Guns, quote: “A terrorist, someone who’s mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon can essentially open a Gun factory in their garage”.

By Friday May 5th 2013, the State Department had issued a takedown order for 3D files that would enable anyone to print the Liberator once they had a suitable 3D Printer as stated in the article “3D-printed Gun blueprints pulled from Internet, at request of State Department”, published May 10, 2013 8:27 AM, CBS News.

But Cody Wilson’s design have found their way on The Pirate Bay and have been downloaded more than 100,000 times thus far as stated in the article “3D-Printed Gun's Blueprints Downloaded 100,000 Times In Two Days (With Some Help From Kim Dotcom)”, published 5/08/2013 @ 5:12PM by Andy Greenberg, Forbes Magazine and “The Pirate Bay now offering banned 3D-printed Gun files”, published May 10, 2013 9:40 AM PDT by Daniel Terdiman, CNET News.

Granted, there’s little chance they’ll be printed by the many who’ve downloaded the files for the Liberator as argued in the article “Why fear of 3D-printed guns is overblown”, published May 9, 2013 6:08 PM PDT by Daniel Terdiman, CNET News. Worse however, if printed, there’s very little chance it’ll have a 6 oz metallic plate installed to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act to make the Liberator detectable by metal scanners. 

Already a pair of reporters from the Mail had done just that, disassembling the Liberator and carrying it through customer on a weekend Rush hour travel from London to Paris via the Chunnel as stated in “The Liberator 3D Printed Gun Successfully Smuggled Through International Transport Security”, published 5/12/2013 @ 9:03AM by Tim Worstall, Forbes Magazine.

But there’s a good side to this and I’ll explain via a series of predictions:

1.      Accelerate the desire for small business people, ordinary Americans and citizens worldwide to get a 3D Printer
2.      Sales of 3D Printers will increase
3.      Development of 3D Printers Capable of printing in other Materials will accelerate
4.      Quantum Teleportation of physical objects will soon be possible

After all, if a plastic Gun why not a metal one carved from recycled molten metal? Eventually 3D Printers will improve and be used to print components and parts in the original material of the item in question.

I’ll even go out on a limb and bat for the idea of 3D Printers being the forerunners of Quantum Teleportation once faster 100TB/s Fiber Optic Networks and cheaper sources of energy become commonplace as stated in my blog article entitled “Scientists demonstrate Quantum Teleportation over 90 miles on Canary Islands - Telecom Providers become Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as FLORA Networks are feasible”.

Best of all, it’ll be the ultimate form of automation in the hands of ordinary citizens, like your own personal worker robot only for the masses, that can make you anything you desire as opined in “The Economics Of The 3-D Printed Gun”, published 5/04/2013 @ 9:59AM by Tim Worstall, Forbes Magazine
Thus this development is bigger than just the right to Bear Arms and Freedom of Information being challenged by Cody Wilson’s Defense Distributed clone of the WWII Liberator. It’s about the coming of a DIY (Do It Yourself) future where anything can be printed and made at home at a fraction of the cost of manufacturers.

Need a part for your blender but can’t find it anywhere? In the future, the manufacturer, for a fee, may allow you to print the component required for their product via downloading the 3D files for that product. Even making the entire product by printing the components may soon be possible; the Liberator Plastic Gun is merely an accelerant for this coming IKEA DIY Design Future for Consumer Electronics future.

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