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Tech by VICE

The First 3D-Printed Rifle Broke Apart After Its First Shot

With demonstrations like these, and DIY gun enthusiasts coming out of the woodwork, access to 3D-printable designs makes it hard to believe in an authority's ability to stand in the way.

by Daniel Stuckey
Jul 25 2013, 10:15pm
Video via ThreeD Ukulele

A Canadian has just fired the first shot from his creation, "The Grizzly," an entirely 3D-printed rifle. In that single shot, CanadianGunNut (his name on the DefCad forum), or "Matthew," has advanced 3D-printed firearms to yet another level. Sort of: According to his video's description, the rifle's barrel and receiver were both damaged in that single shot.

Although it needs some structural improvements, The Grizzly's very creation indicates 3D-printed guns are only to become more widely available. While this example comes from outside of the US, some elements of its design were directly influenced by Cody Wilson's Defense Distributed, as the creator explained:

I call it The Grizzly after the Canadian-built Sherman Tanks of WWII. It is a single shot .22LR incorporating the coiled mainsprings of the Liberator by Defence Distributed. Like the Liberator the only metal is a 1" roofing nail.

Earlier this year, Wilson posited a simplistic—and thoroughly flummoxing—argument in Motherboard's Click Print Gun; essentially shooting a national gun debate dead in the water. A few weeks after the documentary aired, Wilson tested "The Liberator," his first entirely 3D-printed handgun. 

The Grizzly. Image via

With demonstrations like these, and DIY gun enthusiasts coming out of the woodwork, access to 3D-printable designs makes it hard to believe in an authority's ability to stand in the way. By February 2014, some key patents for 3D-printing technology are due to expire, which should increase competition in printer-manufacturing and help drop prices for hobbyists and the 3D-curious. The Grizzly, like the Liberator, raises the bleak but important question: if it's so hard to stop criminals from getting mass-manufactured guns, how will these guys be stopped from printing their guns? 

One option, according to Danish 3D printer maker Create It Real: ensure that printers can't print a gun. If users try to load a file for a 3D gun its “smart software scans the model and tries to match its characteristics with the characteristics of a firearm. If certain features align, the software will not allow the user to view and print the model.” That doesn't sound terribly effective, but it also threatens the liberating premise of independent 3d-printing operations.

But CanadianGunNut's inventions aren't all sinister-sounding: a beautiful 3D-printed ukelele, anyone?


gun control
print free or die