Defense Distributed, the project that aims to release an open-source, print-it-yourself assault rifle, has succeeded in 3D-printing a high-capacity AR-15 magazine, dubbed Cuomo. The magazine has so far survived the firing of 342 rounds — 227 of which were in full auto mode.
You might think that Cuomo is an odd name for a gun magazine, but in actual fact it’s DefDist’s way of attacking the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, who supports gun control. In January, a law was passed in New York that restricts magazines to seven bullets — and thus a 30-bullet magazine called Cuomo is DefDist’s way of sticking it to the man. January also saw New York congressman Steve Israel stating that he wanted to add a provision to the Undetectable Firearms Act that outlaws 3D-printed gun parts.
The Cuomo magazine comes a few weeks after DefDist released its first high-capacity AR15 magazine. The first magazine started to warp from the heat after 50 shots, though, and according to the project leader, Cody Wilson, it was “just not a good build.” Speaking to TPM, Wilson says that the previous magazine was simply downloaded from the web, while Cuomo was designed from the ground up. With six times the longevity, it would seem that DefDist is getting the hang of 3D printing gun parts.
DefDist has now successfully built a 3D-printed AR-15 lower receiver and magazine. There are a few more components that can be printed using DefDist’s Stratasys ABS plastic 3D printer, but at some point Wilson and co will need to obtain some kind of selective laser sintering/melting 3D printer to produce the gun’s barrel. Speaking to TPM, Wilson says that DefDist’s receiver and magazine models have already been downloaded more than 100,000 times. “Our idea is to facilitate a community around what we’re doing,” Wilson says. “Defense Distributed is just about proving concepts and releasing snippets of basic information so others can learn. I think we’re a software organization, primarily.”
The eventual goal, if everything goes to plan, is to produce a Wiki Weapon – a collection of 3D models that can be printed out, and a guide on how to assemble them into a weapon. For now we can soothe ourselves in the knowledge that metal 3D printers haven’t entered the mainstream — but really, it’s only a matter of time until everyone and anyone can print whatever they like, whenever they like, without oversight. May we live in interesting times.