You may have seen and heard about the Liberator, a fully 3D-printed gun that earned the "world's first" moniker and was created by law student. However, one of the setbacks was that it could only fire one shot before the plastic destroyed itself. However, a new modified version of the Liberator has appeared, and it was able to fire off a full clip without skipping a beat -- eight bullets in total before parts were replaced.
The surprising part is that the gun was made on a cheaper 3D printer than what the original Liberator was made on. The "Lulz Liberator," as its known, was made on a $1,725 Lulzbot A0-101 consumer-grade 3D printer, which is cheaper than most of MakerBot's own consumer-grade 3D printers. The gun was eventually loaded with .380 rounds and fired off nine times over the course of an evening.
The first Liberator that we saw earlier this month was printed on an industrial-sized $8,000 Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer, and the barrel had to be replaced after every shot was fired off. The new Lulz Liberator was able to withstand eight shots before the barrel was replaced in order to get a ninth shot off.
However, "Joe" says that he could've shot more with the gun, and the only reason he stopped was because the sun went down. So what's the difference between the Lulz Liberator and the original model? Joe says he used generic Polylac PA-747 ABS plastic, which is actually stronger than the more expensive ABS plastic used in a Stratasys printer that the first Liberator was equipped with.
Both models still have bits of metal inside in order to actually fire a bullet, including a metal firing pin as well as a small chunk of steel in order for the gun to be detected by metal detectors and to comply with the Undetectable Firearms act. Of course, though 3D-printed guns have a long way to go before they're actually useful, as they're not as reliable as an actual gun, so those who are worried about the controversy over such weapons, it'll still be a few more years before you need to actually be concerned. For the time being, 3D-printed guns still aren't all that great to use as a reliable weapon.