Although it may strike a nerve with some of you out there, members of the Free Open Source Software & Computer Aided Design (FOSSCAD) group are at it again, creating yet another 3D printable firearm. If you recall, back in May a university official, named Yoshitomo Imura, was arrested in Kawasaki, Japan after he was found to be in possession of five 3D printed firearms. Although two of these weapons were able to be loaded with metal ammunition and fired, Imura claims to have only ever fired blanks with the weapons. The arrest took place after Japanese authorities found a video online with Imura firing one of his 3D printed guns, called a Zig-Zag Revolver.
Since his arrest, several members of the FOSSCAD community have decided to use the basic design of the .38-caliber Zig-Zag, but make several key changes to the weapon prior to printing it out. To commemorate Imura’s accomplishments, the team has decided to name the firearm the ‘Imura Revolver’, at least for now. FOSSCAD members, Wayfairy, Frostbyte and others are leading this design push, which has already seen the basic CAD model completed. The team has since begun printing out test parts, and will certainly continue to improve some of the aspects of the design until they feel it is able to fire without blowing up in one’s face.
Like the Zig-Zag, the new gun will fire from the bottom of the cylinder, but include several hybrid features, such as a steel barrel liner, and chamber sleeves. Unlike the Zig-Zag, this weapon will be double action. For those of you unfamiliar with the workings of a gun, this means that one pull of the trigger does it all. It rotates the cylinder, and then cocks and releases the striker, firing the weapon. A gun like this can be repeatedly fired without major pause between shots.
The team has released several interesting photos, both of the design, as well as a prototype of the components of the gun, which have been printed apparently on a desktop 3D printer. As Dean Weingarten points out on Gun Watch, there may be a few flaws to the design, which need to be reexamined prior to ever attempting to fire this weapon. He writes:
“There is very little tensile strength in the proposed design. Convention revolvers use a metal frame to contain the forces generated by firing a charge. The chambers contain the pressure at right angles to the barrel, but the frame, chamber, and case, if one is used, must contain the pressure to the rear. The projectile contains the pressure to the front, where the force is used to propel it out the end of the barrel.”
It will be interesting to see how this design develops over the coming weeks ahead. Whether you feel that such production of firearms should be illegal or not, there is no denying that there is not much any regulatory authority can do to stop the development of these weapons.