German police test
3D-printed gun


German police to test 3D printed gun

News: police in Germany plan to 3D print a gun to test whether the weapon can pass through security checks undetected.

According to a report on GigaOM, police officers have bought a 3D printer and will also explore whether printed weapons could be used by the police themselves.

The news emerged in response to a question posed in parliament by Die Linke (The Left Party), the technology website reported.

"The government said the police wanted to see whether ne’er-do-wells could actually make plastic guns that could be smuggled onto planes, and also whether the police might find a use for such technology themselves," GigaOM said.

German police to test 3D printed gun
Cody Wilson's 3D printed Liberator gun - CAD designs for the gun were downloaded over 100,000 times whilst available online.

The news follows reports that Australian police downloaded and 3D printed their own handgun earlier this year, using materials worth $35. Officers in the Australian state of New South Wales found that the gun fired a bullet 17 centimetres into a standard firing block, but it exploded when it was discharged.

New South Wales police commissioner Andrew Scipione made the announcement at a press conference on 24 May and warned the public about the threat posed by 3D printed weaponry.

"Make no mistake, not only are these things undetectable, untraceable, cheap and easy to make, but they will kill," said Scipione at the time. Here's the full speech:

3D printed guns have been making headlines since May 2013, when Cody Wilson, founder of Texas-based Defence Distributed made the CAD designs of a 3D printable handgun available online. The blueprints for the gun, called Liberator, were downloaded over 100,000 times in the two days after they were uploaded to the organisation's website.

Two days after the first 3D printed plastic gun was successfully fired in Texas, the US Department of Defense Trade Controls removed the files from online public access.

In October last year, open-source design expert Ronen Kadushin warned Dezeen that affordable 3D printers could one day "print ammunition for an army". He added: "This is a very, very dangerous situation."

Dezeen has reported on the rise of 3D-printed weaponry in our print-on-demand publication Print Shift, which also looks at how the technology is being adapted to architecture, design, food, fashion and other fields.

See all our stories about 3D printing »

  • Ronen Kadushin

    My quote in the above piece is out of its context, making me sound as if I am against this so significant 3DP handgun project. I fully support it!

    Here is a fuller in context quote: “Kadushin said open-source design and the “maker” movement risked being tainted by misuse of new technologies. “All you need is one person that makes a 3D printed weapon, kills somebody with it, and then it goes to the press and the same bad press that hackers have will project onto makers,” he said. “This is a very, very dangerous situation.”

  • Shame on you for writing this nonsense! The US government and (ahem) “gun lobby” are up in arms (sorry) about the possibility that 3D printers could allow people to print their own guns without regulation. They are proposing regulation to limit 3D printer use.

    The US makes 6.5 million guns per year and imports (yes, imports) a further 3.25 million. 47% of US adults say they have a gun.

    Of the annual 14.5k homicides in the US (population 309 million), 8.3k (57%) are by gun. Of the 724 homicides in the UK (population 62 million), 27 (3.7%) are by gun. Guns are a good at killing people.

    The industry provides the US economy 33 billion a year and provides 220k jobs (that’s twice the payroll of General Motors). The Second amendment was a law passed in 1791 giving everyone the right to bear arms. In 1865 the US abolished slavery, until then slave owners had the right to cut off a runaway slaves foot or penis to make a point.

    Guns are good for killing people and making a lot of money in the US. Justifying profit through a 300 year-old law and pretending to care about danger to people from 3D printing when you allow yours to be sold for a few hundred bucks on every street corner!

    Apologies for the rant. But they can get their grubby hands off our 3D printing!

    • Chill

      Chill out dude.

  • Rolf

    Dezeen should be more sensitive and take up some social responsibility. Stop promoting all these self-made guns!

  • stupid

    This is ridiculous. You can make a gun out of parts bought from any hardware store. Much cheaper and easier to get hold of than a 3D printer.

  • JayCee

    It’s also quite easy and safer to machine a lower receiver – the only part of a gun that requires registration – using CAM technology that’s been around. All the other parts are readily available for purchase. Some assembly required. Ammunition for an army has always been ‘3D-printed’ using a standard press. This is also not regulated.

  • ErnieB

    When I was in high school, a long time ago, any kid who took a machine shop class had the skill to make a proper gun, but anybody could make a “zip gun” from wood, a broken off car antenna, a nail and a jar rubber.