One of the more controversial issues surrounding 3D printing, that of guns, seems to be a popular headline as of late. Just yesterday it was revealed that Cody Wilson’s Defense Distributed filed a lawsuit against the US State Department claiming that Wilson’s rights to free speech were violated. It’s not only in the United states where 3D printed guns are concerning authorities. In fact, in Japan there has actually been an arrest and conviction related to the topic.
Back in May of last year we reported on the arrest of 27-year-old university official Yoshitomo Imura in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan. Imura was found in possession of 5 3D printed firearms, after authorities were tipped off by a video he had posted online firing one such weapon. In October, the Yokohama District Court handed down a sentence of 2 years for Imura, who claimed he had no idea that such laws applied to guns printed at home. As we all know, however, ignorance to the law is not an excuse for violating it.
In the wake of Imura’s arrest, he has become a bit of a hero to some, especially within the FOSSCAD community, a decentralized community of designers and gun enthusiasts who are known for releasing numerous 3D models of gun parts and entire weapons. One particular member of the community, known as ‘Wayfairy,’ has taken a particular interest in the Imura story. In fact he has set out to create a 3D printable gun honoring the incarcerated gun manufacturer, called the ‘Imura Pistol.’ Basically what he has done is take the original .38-caliber Zig-Zag revolver that had led to Imura’s arrest and revised it, making several key changes, designing a new gun from the ground up.
“Turns out that making a double action revolver function with steel pipe, a steel pin, a handful of steel weights, rubber bands, and printed parts is more difficult than I’d imagined,” Wayfairy explained. “Add onto that the fact that I’m designing in the blind without any way to do test fittings and such.”
Recently Wayfairy revealed the Imura Pistol v2.0, and says he’s working on the third version. When that version is complete and a verified firing design is in place, the files will allegedly be posted online for free, for anyone in the world to download.
“We’re getting close,” he explained. “The driving system for the striker has been solved and the cylinder advancing system works like a charm. Its just a matter of putting the fixes together into a coherent design for Version 3 that’s taking some time while working around my actual profession.”
The gun itself uses .22 long rifle ammunition, and a .225″ ID 316 or 308 stainless tubing from McMaster. As for its appearance, just take a look at some of the images above and below. It’s a masterpiece in our opinion, and the only question left to be answered is whether or not it will actually fire a bullet without exploding in one’s hand.
Certainly there is progress rapidly being made within the 3D printed gun space, whether authorities like it or not. Although I personally find it hard to take sides in this matter, I do believe that it will be incredibly difficult for any sort of worthwhile regulation to be put into place to prevent the distribution of such files. Let’s hear your thoughts in the Imura Pistol Version 2 in the 3D Printed Imura Gun forum thread on 3DPB.com.