Rose Eveleth in Smithsonian Magazine:
Earlier this year, someone took 3D printing to the logical, if extreme, next step: weapons. The 3D printing gun idea has taken off, but Stratasys, the company that makes the printers being used, isn’t exactly happy about it. They want their printers back.
A few months ago, on a gun forum, someone with the username HaveBlue posted pictures of an AR lower that he printed using a Stratasys 3D printer. Eventually he assembled a .22 caliber pistol using that lower. Not only did he print it, he shot it. And it worked. He writes, “No, it did not blow up into a bazillion tiny plastic shards and maim me for life – I am sorry to have disappointed those of you who foretold doom and gloom.”
The plans for that lower are freely available online, and a few months later Cody Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas, formed a group “Defense Distributed” and planned to launch a “Wiki Weapon Project.” The premise was to come up with a design that anyone could download and print. They tried to raise money on IndiGogo, a site for crowd-sourced funding, but the site quickly shut them down and returned the money to their supporters.
But the project has still gained a lot of money from investors.