Wiki Weapon Project Dreams of Creating a Functional Print-it-Yourself Firearm

The group known as Defense Distributed has a three-fold mission plan:  1)  Create the world’s first 100% 3D printable gun, 2) Adapt the design down to cheaper 3D printers and 3) Become The Web’s Printable Gun Wiki Redoubt.  What does that mean?  It means they want their project to result in a scenario where you can download formatted CAD blueprint files, feed them into a 3-D printer (see “additive manufacturing”) and end up with a firearm.

Sound like science fiction?  Having visions of a Star Trek-esque replicator device?  The idea isn’t quite so far-fetched.  The use of 3-D printing for rapid prototyping has exploded over the past decade and, as the technology continues to mature, costs continue to fall.  This could make the prospect of a D.I.Y print-at-home firearm a reality before you think.

One example of how this idea could come to fruition is the printable AR15 lower receiver by Michael Guslick.  Although the majority of the complete firearm’s parts are existing off-the-shelf parts, the lower receiver (which is the usually-serial-numbered part considered by the ATF to be “the firearm”) is created on a 3D printer using additive manufacturing.  While not quite there, this appears to be a pretty good step toward their first goal of a “100% 3D printable gun.”  The website also details two printable firearms dubbed WikiWep A and B, which have varying degrees of moving parts and “printableness.”

Those involved in manufacturing and prototyping or those capable of critical though might see several flaws in this model of procuring personal firearms.  “Inexpensive” or “prevalent” probably aren’t words that many people would use to describe many of the tools used in additive manufacturing.  Aside from being addressed by the groups #2 goal, their project transcends the idea of being able to print guns to save money.  The Defense Distributed website, whose “manifesto” section includes quotes from the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry and H.L. Mencken, reads:

WikiWep is about challenging gun control and regulation. Economic or reliability advantages vs. traditional guns or gun production aren’t even at issue.  We look to inspire and defend those who live (and are threatened to live) under politically oppressive regimes. Firearm Rights are Human Rights.

As far as the legal side of things goes, we can go straight to the horses mouth to answer the concerns of some who might question the legality of manufacturing your own firearm for personal possession and use.  The ATF website reads:

Q: Does the GCA prohibit anyone from making a handgun, shotgun or rifle?
With certain exceptions a firearm may be made by a non-licensee provided it is not for sale and the maker is not prohibited from possessing firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a non-sporting semi-automatic rifle or non-sporting shotgun from imported parts.

Note that, despite the legality of a DIY firearm build, NFA and other regulations may still apply.  Make sure to be aware of and follow applicable laws before undertaking such an endeavor.

The Wiki Weapon Project has been soliciting donations to help with the project through “crowd funding.”  Recently, one source of their crowd funding, IndieGoGo, has shut down their funding drive, which led to concerns about the fate of funds already donated through that source.  The project continues, however, with other avenues of contribution available to help reach their goal of $20,000.


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