By now we've had a few months to come to terms with the fact that, yes, 3D printed guns exist; yes, they generally work; and no, they're not about to herald in an age of obsolete metal detectors and lawlessness—at least not in their current form. But the newest incarnation of the weapon is bound to re-ignite the conversation. A new YouTube video has confirmed the existence of what seems to be the first fully functioning, one-shot, 3D printed rifle.
First posted several days ago, the video shows a .22-caliber rifle, dubbed the Grizzly, which its uploaders claim was made using a Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D printer. The Stratasys is a pro machine that runs somewhere in the market of $8,000 for a second-hand model, so this is in no way something a typical person could go cooking up at a whim.
The gun has to be fired using a string, which makes sense considering that, once it's actually used, the entire thing basically splits in half. So while this rifle could certainly do some damage to the person facing the barrel, the same goes for anyone actually holding the gun.
And Defense Distributed, the group behind the original 3D printed gun, The Liberator, certainly seemed to approve of the upgrade, since as The Verge notes, they posted on the video on their Tumblr yesterday. What's more, the Grizzly actually makes use of the same coiled (metal) springs as the Liberator. Which is more good news! This thing probably won't be making it past any metal detectors anytime soon.
But immediate danger or not, the fact exists that these weapons are becoming increasingly advanced. And officials need to address the potential problem before it moves out of the hypothetical and becomes a reality. [The Verge]