Less than two weeks after Defense Distributed released the digital files for their Liberator 3D printed gun a Wisconsin engineer called “Joe” has created a version of the gun on a $1,700 LulzBot A0-101 3D printer. His “Lulz Liberator” successfully fired nine times before requiring a new barrel, compared with the single firing of the original.
The original Liberator was created using a $8,000 used Stratasys Dimension SST industrial grade 3D printer, and many thought that it was not possible to create a fireable weapon using a cheap home desktop machine. However, Joe has proved the critics wrong and not only produced a weapon that can fire, but one that improves on the original version and can fire multiple times.
“People think this takes an $8,000 machine and that it blows up on the first shot. I want to dispel that,” says Joe. “This does work, and I want that to be known.”
According to Forbes.com the Lulz Liberator took 48 hours to print and used around $25 worth of plastic filament, using a consumer level 3D printer that many people own.
Joe was able to fire eight shots, using a string to pull the trigger from a safe distance, before swapping the barrel for a new one. All the weapon’s main components survived the test firings and the spiraled rifling inside of the barrel remained intact.
The reason the Lulz Liberator survived more shots than the original is open for debate, but Joe thinks that the plastic he used, the common Polyac PA-747 ABS, is actually stronger than the expensive material Stratasys uses. The Lulz version also is put together with a few more metal parts than the original, including metal screws to hold the hammer into the body.
After the original Defense Distributed plans were downloaded over 100,000 times it was inevitable that gun enthusiasts and engineers would improve on the design and test their weapons to create a better 3D printed gun. After the gun’s plans were pulled from DefCad.org after State Department intervention there is some doubt as to whether Joe will publish the plans for his improved version.