Remember Defense Distributed? These are the guys who started the WikiWeapon Project that sought to create a 3D printed gun after HaveBlue, a gunsmith, proved it was technically possible by successfully firing a gun that had a 3D printed lower receiver. The group successfully replicated the original experiment, but it only kind of succeeded.
On the WikiWeapon dev blog, the creators detail their experience in crafting a gun from HaveBlue's original reinforced AR-15 lower receiver blueprint. The team combined the plastic lower receiver with a standard AR five seven upper for the complete rifle below:
The team noted that the gun looked sturdy enough, but were concerned with the dexterity of the buffer ring. In the end, it was the offending piece that led to the 3D printed lower fracturing after six shots.
This was just the first of many tests as Defense Distributed works towards its goal of making an entire gun with only a 3D printer. Is it possible? Probably not at the moment, but it's one of the most intriguing 3D printing projects in recent memory. It's already attracted a fair bit of criticism, and it will force people to rethink gun laws if the project proves successful in the future.
Isn't that point of 3D printers though - to challenge our preconceptions of what can and can not be made? You may not agree with the idea behind Defense Distributed's ambitions, but it's an important piece in the ever evolving puzzle of 3D printing.[h/t: Wired]