Back in August I linked to the Wiki Weapons Project, a group trying to use 3D printers to “print” a fully working gun.
But Wired reports the team has hit a snag:
But last Wednesday, less than a week after receiving the printer, Wilson received an e-mail from Stratasys: The company wanted its printer returned. Wilson wrote back, and said he believed using the printer to manufacture a firearm would not break federal laws regarding at-home weapons manufacturing. For one, the gun wouldn’t be for sale. Wilson added that he didn’t have a firearms manufacturers license.
Stratasys’s legal counsel wrote back: “It is the policy of Stratasys not to knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes. Therefore, please be advised that your lease of the Stratasys uPrint SE is cancelled at this time and Stratasys is making arrangements to pick up the printer,” stated the letter, which Wilson posted to Defense Distributed’s website. The next day, contractors hired by the company arrived at Wilson’s apartment in an Enterprise rental van and took the printer.
Wilson says the ATF has investigated him and determined that although he isn’t technically breaking any laws, the project is in a legal gray area.
Still, it’s only a matter of time before someone figures this out, and not everyone who buys or leases a 3D printer is going to advertise what they are using it for.