First it was a pistol, now it's a rifle. Over the past year we've seen deeper and more complex experiments into the possibilities of 3D printing, some remarkable and others simply pose difficult questions.
One of the challenging experiments was the first 3D printed gun, a pistol designed by Defense Distributed. While the pistol was successfully fired, the design posed safety concerns as well as significant controversy. The end result? Defense Distributed's web site and content were seized by an arm of the US government to prevent export of prohibited weapons to enemy countries.
That's the end of the story, right? No, it isn't.
We're watching a video of some inventive folks experimenting with a 3D printed rifle. Identified only by the YouTube handle "ThreeD Ukulele", the apparently Canadian designer calls it "The Grizzly". The design appears suspiciously similar to the Liberator, the pistol first designed by Defense Distributed. It seems that the rifle makers obtained the Liberator design files before they were taken down by the US government and modified them slightly to create the rifle design.
The rifle is a 22cal, single shot weapon, printed on a Stratasys Dimension 1200 3D printer - much the same as the original Liberator. The only metal involved in the weapon is a one inch roofing nail acting as the firing pin.
The weapon actually fires, which is no surprise, as the design seems to merely lengthen the barrel (which split on the video test) and add a stock. The business parts in the middle appear to be a Liberator, which has been known to fire successfully.
Where is this going? ThreeD Ukulele says he's going to improve the barrel design and try again.
While the US government doesn't have jurisdiction in ThreeD Ukulele's Canada, we suspect they do have the phone number of their counterpart governmental organization.