US government orders 3D-printed gun blueprints be pulled

The US State Department has ordered that blueprints showing you how to print off your own weapon be taken offline.

Those of us of a nervous disposition can breathe a little easier, as the US government has demanded that blueprints showing how to make your own firearm be taken offline, TechCrunch reports.

The blueprints went up about a week ago. The US State Department has ordered self-styled crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson to remove them under expert laws known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

And the 25-year-old Wilson is playing ball, telling Forbes, "We have to comply."

However, a week is a long time on the Internet. The plans -- which show anyone with a 3D printer how to make their own lethal weapon -- have already been downloaded more than 100,000 times. Kim Dotcom has them on his New Zealand servers, and they're floating around torrent sites like the Pirate Bay, too.

If you were thinking of downloading the files for whatever reason, take heed: one expert has warned such weapons could explode in your hand . The Liberator was made using an industrial printer, giving it a level of precision a home printer can't match. Wilson's blueprints also work on his specific machine using a very specific type of material (ABS plastic). Deviate even slightly from these methods and materials, and your weapon could very well be harmful to the person firing it.

3D printing is still a very young technology, so subjecting products made using it to temperatures of around 200 degrees Celsius really isn't a wise thing to do. Experts estimate a 3D-printed gun could fall apart after just 10 shots.

Maybe best just avoid printing off your own firearms altogether, eh?

Will demanding the plans be pulled make any difference? Should further steps be taken to stop the blueprints being available to anyone? Or should they be allowed to float free in cyberspace, for people to do with what they please? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.


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