Kyle Chayka writes: The first ever firearm to be made with a three-dimensional printer looks less like a deadly weapon and more like a Fisher-Price toy. Just slightly larger than the human hand, it has a triangular white plastic body with innocuously rounded edges. There’s a bright blue, ridged grip extending off one side and a short, removable cylinder at the other for the barrel. Its innocent outward appearance belies its inherent threat. The plastic printed gun was designed to fire bullets just as effectively as the standard metal version, yet it has no serial number and requires no permit. It also works.
In May 2013 at a nondescript location in a scrubby portion of the Texas desert, the first printed gun was mounted on a metal stand and a rope looped around the trigger. When the rope was pulled, a bullet flew out of the squat barrel with an explosive flash, leaving the plastic singed but unharmed. Read the rest of this entry »