3D Printing

3D Printed Gun Prisoner's Legacy Lives on in Improved Pistol Design

"This has shown that anyone can illegally manufacture guns with a 3D printer."


Last year, university employee Yoshitomo Imura became the first person sentenced to prison for 3D-printing a firearm. A Japanese judge put him away for two years after noting with particular fury that he'd posted his design online and that "This has shown that anyone can illegally manufacture guns with a 3D printer."

So how did the gun law-flouting 3D printing community respond?

You knew the answer, didn't you? Yes, tinkerers went and improved his zig-zag design, and named the sleeker .22 gun after him.

Behold the Imura!


Below, the original Imura design aces its test-firing.

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  1. Looks like he borrowed a bit from the infamous “mateba”, a wondrous “blade runner-ish semi semi auto pistol.

    1. +1 origami figure

    2. It’s a semi-auto revolver, not a pistol. /pedant

      1. It’s a semi-auto revolver, not a pistol.

        Take that up with Webley.

        Inventor of both the “Webley-Fosbery Autorevolver” and the “Pistol, Revolver, Webley, No. 1 Mk VI”.

        1. Also, Samuel Colt’s ubiquitous revolver, the peacemaker, being originally marketed as “New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol”

        2. I’ve kind of got a thing for the Webley. Something has to said for a revolver that was in solid service from the 19th century through the latter half of the 20th.

  2. It’s amazing watching the speed at which these things advance. I remember a year and a half ago when Cody Wilson couldn’t shoot more than two rounds before it exploded on him.

    1. You know who else flouted international law and built illegal weapons?

      1. Cobra Commander and Destro?

      2. Kane?

      3. Hydra?

      4. Me?

        1. Your so-called penispult is still not confirmed as a viable weapon design.

          1. Look, I’m a consultant on the DOOMCOCK project, and there are a lot of similar concepts between the two!

          2. How many times do you have to cock it before it goes off?

            1. Depends on whether he’s eaten a lot of salmon lately.

        2. You literally are worse than Hitler.

          1. Bun not worse than Nicole.

      5. Moist von Lipwig?

      6. Dr. Evil?

      7. Persians?

      8. Kim Jong-Il?

        1. I flipped a coin: Persians or NORKS.

          The gods were with me.

      9. U. Portia Hoechst of the ReMastered?

      10. The Centers for Disease Control?

        1. I demand an explanation!

      11. The Grand Duchy of Fenwick?

      12. Israel?

    2. This is one of those revolutions that’s happening while it’s actually recognized as a revolution. Amazing things are coming, many that will disrupt society and economies in ways we don’t fully anticipate. Just like happened with the Internet.

      1. “many that will disrupt society and economies in ways we don’t fully anticipate. Just like happened with the Internet.”

        So what you’re saying is we need some sort of 3d printing neutrality regulations.

        1. Yes, but only after the 3D printing revolution has proven successful despite the government’s best efforts to destroy it. At which time the government will lay claim to having invented it and fostered its growth, then will attempt to regulate it into stasis.

          The National Industrialization Infrastructure or the Manufacturing Superhighway.

      2. This is one of those revolutions that’s happening while it’s actually recognized as a revolution in people’s minds.


        Cody’s company is mired in litigation (meanwhile CA residents bought more guns from traditional manufacturers) and the focus on 3D printing in no appreciable way advances either the manufacturing or the firearms.

        Not that I’m against it, but it’s giving people who have no business making firearms the ability to make firearms.

        Wake me when Cody 3D prints a plasma rifle and I’ll watch the video. I’ll get out of bed when the Chinese then figure out how to stamp it out of sheet metal at 1/5 the price.

        1. I wasn’t talking about guns so much as the technology in general.

          1. Massive deflationary pressure.

          2. Such asSpaceX using 3d printing technology to manufacture rocket engine parts.

            The real revolution will come as engineers begin designing parts that would have been impossible to manufacture before this technology. Things like internally trussed hollow titanium parts sintered as a single piece of metal.

            We are way, way at the beginning of this technology. As it continues to improve, there is no telling what amazing things people will come up with.

            1. I’ll be impressed when they make Escher’s house.

            2. SpaceX on why printing the super-draco combustion chamber makes a difference:

              The chamber is regeneratively cooled and printed in Inconel, a high performance superalloy. Printing the chamber resulted in an order of magnitude reduction in lead-time compared with traditional machining ? the path from the initial concept to the first hotfire was just over three months.

              So if they are to be believed, a new combustion chamber would have taken over 2 years to develop before 3d printing. With 3d printing it was in testing in 3 months. Pretty significant leap in development.

              1. So if they are to be believed, a new combustion chamber would have taken over 2 years to develop before 3d printing. With 3d printing it was in testing in 3 months. Pretty significant leap in development.

                I think a big part of this order of magnitude reduction had very little to do with the printer. Not that the printer isn’t significant, but I’m certain that a good portion of the 2 yrs. has been explained in “The Mythical Man-Month”.

                1. It’s definitely greatly accelerating the prototyping process.

            3. I knew this playboy business type who was caught by terrorists in Afghanistan. He didn’t have a 3D printer, but he was able to build a self-powered weaponized exoskeleton using an acetylene torch and some tweezers. If he could do that, who needs a 3D printer?

              1. If he could do that, who needs a 3D printer?

                Webley, Colt, Browning… all made magnificent firearms well before electricity was common.

                I’ll be impressed in 2015 2115 when we’re talking about the world-renowned 3D printed Browning 1911 Imura 2011.

                Until then, it’s a plastic .22 cal. bolt-action pistol with a rotating magazine.

        2. So lathe and press control?

      3. Driving to work and heard on NPR that 3d printing is satan’s new spawn that needs to be nuked to save everyone’s essential fluids.

        They outlawed firggin magnetic balls…you really think they will not outlaw 3d printers?

        1. They’ll try if some dumbass kid scalds himself on hot ABS.

          1. By “hot ABS”, you mean “the business end of a 3d printed gun”?

        2. “Driving to work and heard on NPR that 3d printing is satan’s new spawn that needs to be nuked to save everyone’s essential fluids.”

          J.C., as a friend, I can’t let you keep listening to NPR. I quit a year ago, and now look at me! Let’s call this an intervention.

          1. Pointless to try. Hell Robby gets $25 and a blow job for every link to Gawker he posts here on reason…NPR is moderate compared to what I get here.

    3. me?

  3. Seem to anyone else like a lot of kick for a .22 handgun?

    1. Haven’t watched the vid. Are they firing mags? It’s a plastic gun, remember.

      1. It’s a plastic gun, remember.

        Kinda my point.

        I’d rather ad hoc a home defense shotgun made from a lead pipe, black powder, and rock salt than a 3D printed one… or carry a ‘conventionally manufactured’ .45 rather than an invisible 3D-printed plastic one.

        But I can’t tell with the little Japanese guy’s flinching.

        1. “But I can’t tell with the little Japanese guy’s flinching.”


          I dunno what the answer is to 3d printed guns, but imagine firing a 45 through one.

          I’m guessing at some point, a place for lead weights will have to be added.

          1. I’m guessing at some point, a place for lead weights will have to be added.

            I’m guessing somebody told Glock their pistols had to be X% detectable metal and they obliged.

            1. Nope. Any functioning semi-auto handgun following Browning’s (PBUH) basic design requires enough mass in the reciprocating parts to retard rearward movement long enough to allow chamber pressure to drop before unlocking happens. Glock’s design doesn’t get around this principle.

              1. I do remember the Undetectable Firearms Act of ’88 and that the NRA basically opposed it down to half the metal mass of whatever the top-of-the-line Glock was at the time.

                So, your statement doesn’t exactly preclude mine (no obligation to conform to Browning one way or the other), but I admit, through the fog of history, having bought in to the ‘Glock 7’ myth.

        2. His elbows are weak. He doesn’t look like a frequent shooter. Geek who thought it would be cool, maybe?

      2. They sound like High Velocity .22lr. I little sharper and more pop than the standard stuff.

        1. And uh, where in Hades did he buy it. Can .22 even be had right now?

          1. Yes.

    2. I think he’s acting a little bit.

    3. It probably doesn’t weigh shit. My P3AT doesn’t weigh shit either and it visibly kicks.

      1. Most likely the weight.

        I have a P32 and it kicks decently hard – but that’s because, despite the low power round, the gun and a full magazine only weigh 16 oz.

      2. It’s also got a very high bore, which increases felt recoil.

  4. Cody Wilson to sue State Department: http://www.wired.com/2015/05/3…..ee-speech/

    1. Could work. Didn’t some guy who wrote a manual for hit men win a similar case a few years ago?

      1. It was ruled unprotected by the First Amendment and the publisher’s insurer settled with the families of the victims.


    2. Alan Gura and SAF joined with DefDist. ACLU or NRA getting involved? I doubt it.

      1. Wilson says that he’s been receiving additional legal advice from the civil liberties group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) since not long after receiving the State Department’s ITAR letter.

        Whoa! The EFF’s on DefDist’s side? Black is white. Up is down.

        1. Not really all the way on their side. EFF supports the free speech via Internet argument. Not unlicensed guns.

  5. I saw that Wired article, earlier. I like how they went out of their way to describe Wilson as a OMFG! radical libertarian.

    1. It’s Wired, Brooks…

      1. Is this an homage to the end of Chinatown?

  6. No “Hat Tip.”


    Entropy Void|5.7.15 @ 11:39AM|#

    It’s still morning somewhere, right?


    reply to this

    1. Hat tips are now like government largesse. Winners and losers are picked for reasons we couldn’t begin to understand.

    2. Huh – I see SOMEONE doesn’t understand the first rule of Hat Tip Club….

      *pulls out copy of own Hat Tip from awhile back – chuckles – places back in pocket*

      1. I’ma gonna print me one of them 3D guns … just for you, Almanian!

        1. But, once 3D printing technology catches on, everyone will be able to print their own custom hat tips to their hearts content!

          1. I want to print a 2chili robot android overlord to fetch me links and hat tips every morning!

            Libertopia Lives!

            1. I want a 2 chilly robot to insult me. For lulz. Like people used to demand Rickles do.

    3. I feel your pain, EV. I’ve never had a hat tip. [sobs]

      1. Yup.

        Makes me want to go down to the salt mines and kick an orphan or two …

        1. What are you, poor? I send my robot butler to the salt mines to kick orphans for me.

          1. What are you, poor?

            Well, that Nigerian Prince has not followed up on his email and its been six damn months …

            I send my robot butler to the salt mines to kick orphans for me.

            There are some things one must do for one’s self, X.

            1. Exactly.

              I mean what are the orphans in the salt mine *for* if not to be kicked. I’m certainly not making money on the salt.

  7. Cute. Like the idea. But we gotta “print” some quality barrels, at the least. Otherwise, this is just a novelty.
    I’m just gonna mill out my 80% finished receiver and make a REAL motherfucking gun…

    1. That’s why God invented CNC machines. A bit pricier than your 3d printed at Frys though.

      1. Wish I knew how those worked, too…

        1. They’re pretty simple to run, but good ones are not cheap.

    2. They are actually coming out with automated home milling machines that will do all the work for you from scratch. I think it is Cody Wilson’s company that’s making them

      I think these plastic guns are more of a test of concept, obviously a plastic barrel isnt really gonna work for very long

      1. They found a shipper and just started mailing out the first orders. Right now it only mills 5.56 but reportedly they can retro to 7.62 once the software’s ironed out (and you buy new end mills).

    3. You could probably do more by making the barrel and cylinder out of metal – neither is too hard to do at home with a ‘cheap’ milling machine (ebay for $500-$2000)and the frame and everything else 3d printed to reduce costs.

      Hmm, realistically you could broach cut rifling with a lathe. Get a fat piece of solid stock and drill out your holes for the rounds.

      eh – it just goes back to people overhyping 3d printed guns. Sure, they’re neat and all and will certainly reduce the costs of a firearm, but you’ve been able to make serious firearms with a lathe, a hammer, and a lot of sweat for centuries.


  8. “This has shown that anyone can illegally manufacture guns with a 3D printer.”

    This ought to make Battle Royale 3 a short film.


      With closeups of each layer being formed, and dramatic scenes of reloading the cartridge – but it slips!

      And just when you think you have it – PC LOAD LETTER

      1. Or the poor sap that plugged his device in first before installing the drivers…

        1. “Turn it off and on again!”
          “No, we don’t have time – call tech support!”
          “hello, this is Rajiv. Did you try turning it off and on again?”

          Spoiler: guy with rock wins.

          1. “hello, this is Rajiv. Did you try turning it off and on again?”

            This isn’t your first rodeo, is it?

            1. Man, I WORKED tech support. I know what it’s like in the trenches.

              And it was at a university, so while people are notionally smarter (scientists), you could get a call and the problem is, their instrument-driving 486 lost the ISA card that interfaces with the instrument.

  9. I’m wondering if things like this are a factor in the progs going all-out on ammo?

    1. The answer is: YES

    2. Yup.

    3. The 2A only protects arms, not ammo…

    4. It *will* be interesting when they realize that its about as easy to make homemade ammo as it is to 3d print a gun.

      1. not foreseeing that discovery…ammo aint easy to make. not if they outlaw primers…

        1. Sandwich a match head between two copper plates. Boom, instant primer.

    5. I was wondering where this person got the ammo in Japan in the first place. they are very strict about where they can be used and by whom.

  10. This type of distributive manufacturing will certainly change the world. Where will we be when you can print any item you might need right at your kitchen table? i see home 3d printing as a huge market disruption when we no longer need chinese labor and manufacturing to make all our little knicknacks and shit

    Need dinner plates? print em
    need a new toy for your kid? print it
    see some cool sunglasses you want? print em
    need a new case for your cell phone? guess what, print it

    and so on and so forth, etc

    1. +1 first step towards replicator technology

    2. This is a household item in Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. Also in one of Stross’ books too.

      1. And yet haves and have-nots dull existed in that book.

        That used to be one of my favorite books… And authors, but my love for Stevenson was waned a bit over the years.

        1. Still… Fucking Swype

        2. That’s because it wasn’t post-scarcity. You need to go with Banks for that.

        3. I wasn’t interested in all his historical stuff but then Anathem came out and it’s fantastic. Still love Diamond Age too.

        4. Why the fuck would you hate Stevenson when you can hate Stross?

          1. Whoa… If that’s a response to me, I don’t hate Stephenson… I just don’t worship the ground he walks on any more.

            1. YOU MUST HATE STROSS!!!

              1. What’s stross written?

                1. Accelerando, Laundry Series, Singularity Sky.

                  All good books – but he’s a hardocre socialist alongside Ken McLeod and the late Iain Banks.

                  Apparently socialism and state worship are the modern Scotland’s national pastimes.

                  I guess its better than their previous national sport – holding grudges.

                  1. “Laundry Series, Singularity Sky.

                    All good books”

                    You are dead to me.

    3. I want one that can print a Philly Cheesesteak.

  11. Meanwhile, in Texas

    Kilt-wearing, gun-toting activists mobbed a Texas police station to protest comments made by the chief against proposed open carry legislation.

    Austin police Chief Art Acevado recently criticized a bill that appears likely to pass the GOP legislature to allow the open carry of firearms, saying the legislation sounds like something drafted by “criminals, drug cartels, and extremists.”

    Fucking civilians.

    1. Fucking Austin. Men in skirts toting rifles is just another Thursday.

  12. They should have named it after the judge.

    1. You mean, “the judge”?

      Already taken, N00b.

    2. The ‘Roy Bean’?

  13. Nice design. I need to hurry up and get a 3d printer already.

    1. If you already had a 3D printer you could print yourself a 3D printer.

      1. “Whoa.”

      2. Or even print a 3d printer printer.

  14. My Aunty Kayla recently got a stunning green Dodge Caliber Wagon just by working online with a pc.
    look at this site ????????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

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