A Canadian man has successfully fired the world’s first 3D printed rifle, but the test was not a complete success as the firing caused a 2 inch crack on both sides of the barrel.
After Defense Distributed posted plans for the Liberator pistol online in May they were downloaded thousands of times before being taken down. Its creators hoped that other firearms enthusiasts would improve on their design, and this was indeed the case with an improved version of the pistol created on a desktop 3D printer firing 9 shots without failure.
Now YouTube user ‘ThreeD Ukulele’ has modified the pistol design to produce a rifle with a long barrel which fires a small-calibre .22 rimfire round. As with the original Liberator weapon this rifle was printed on an expensive industrial level Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D printer worth around $25,000. All of the rifle’s parts are 3D printed in plastic apart from the metal firing pin, which is a roofing nail.
As his username suggests ‘ThreeD Ukulele’ has already used his 3D printing knowledge to create a much less lethal weapon, a 3D printed ukelele.
The rifle is named “the Grizzly” after the Canadian built M4 Sherman tanks that were used during the Second World War. Anticipating potential safety issues the rifle was held tightly in a vise and the trigger is actuated by pulling on a string so that the shooter can stand a safe distance away. This proved to be a shrewd move as the rifle barrel failed under the stress of the firing, as did the top part of the receiver.
‘Some changes will need to be made on the next,’ ThreeD Ukulele wrote on his YouTube posting.
Despite the barrel’s failure ThreeD Ukulele is going to continue to refine his weapon’s design.