News: the world's first 3D-printed plastic gun has been successfully fired in Texas, USA.
The handgun, named The Liberator, was assembled from separate printed components made from ABS plastic, with the exception of a metal nail used as a firing pin.
The makers of the gun, who belong to Austin-based libertarian activist group Defense Distributed, now plan to publish the blueprints for the gun on the group's Pirate Bay-style file-sharing site Defcad.
A video published online initially showed the gun being fired remotely by pulling a string attached to its trigger.
The BBC later filmed the gun being fired by Cody Wilson, Defense Distributed's 25-year-old leader, who said that gun control laws had become outdated in the face of new technology.
"I'm seeing a world where technology says you can pretty much have whatever you want. It's not up to the political players any more," he said.
The successful test firing came after a year of development by Defense Distributed, which a few months ago launched Defcad to host 3D printing blueprints for illicit items including weapons, drugs and medical equipment.
In other 3D printing news this week, US office supplies retailer Staples is to become the first major US chain to sell 3D printers, with the $1300 Cube 3D Printer arriving in its stores by the end of June.
Last year designer Ronen Kadushin, a pioneer of the open design movement that calls for designs to be shared freely without copyright, warned that advances in 3D printing could allow people to "print ammunition for an army".
In our earlier report on Defense Distributed, the founder of collaborative design practice Superflux, Anab Jain, suggested that democratised access to blueprints is "about making sure there is a possibility to debate these things instead of just becoming passive consumers and saying, ‘tomorrow I can order a 3D-printed gun if I want’."
We report on the rise of 3D-printed weaponry in our recently launched print-on-demand publication Print Shift, which also looks at how the technology is being adapted to architecture, design, food, fashion and other fields.
Read more about 3D printing on Dezeen, including the race to 3D-print a house and a proposal for a moon base that would be 3D-printed by spider robots using lunar dust.
Photographs are by Defense Distributed.