By I-Hsien Sherwood (i.sherwood@latinospost.com) | First Posted: May 22, 2013 04:50 PM EDT


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The evolution of the 3D-printed gun continues. A Wisconsin man has improved on the original "Liberator" design released by Defense Distributed, bringing the cost down to $25.

The "Lulz Liberator" requires only a consumer grade 3D printer, in this case a $1,725 Lulzbot A0-101, not the $8,000 industrial 3D printer used to produce the original.

And the Lulz Liberator fires multiple shots. The original gun's barrel could only withstand the stresses of a single bullet fired from the chamber before needing to be replaced. The new design was fired eight times without exploding or breaking, though there were several misfire attempts.

The Lulz model contains more metal than the original, which only had a metal firing pin, and the addition of an extra piece of steel prevents it from slipping through a metal detector, as required by law. The ammunition cartridges also become jammed between shots and must be removed with a hammer, so rapid firing isn't possible.

But the very existence of the Lulz Liberator demonstrates that the technology can advance quickly, and independently of any official authority or oversight.

"Joe," the designer of the Lulz gun, and his partner Michael Guslick didn't have to announce their creation. Over 100,000 people downloaded the original plans before the federal government ordered them taken down, and they are still available through peer-to-peer networks like The Pirate Bay. It's very possible that other modified versions of the Liberator are currently being built around the world.

And in the space of a few weeks, the technology progressed from single shot to multiple shot, and the price dropped exponentially. Very soon, it may be cheaper and easier to print an untraceable, undetectable plastic gun than to purchase a real one, even off the black market.

In addition, new reports say gun enthusiasts are testing 3D-printed bullets. The time of metal detectors and useful gun regulations may be coming to an end.

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