When I saw the name, I thought of the rolling papers with the iconic Dude on the package. But no…
This Zig Zag isn’t for “rolling one”.
Yoshitomo Imura was arrested by police recently for taking his interest in firearms too far. He made a 3D-printed six shooter called the Zig Zag with his own 3D printer.
Imura has taken it as a sign of success that the police regarded his creations as real enough to take him into custody. However, in fact the plastic revolver may have been as much a danger to Imura as to others, since plastic guns can misfire, backfire and cause injuries to the user. On the other side, they can be brought onto planes and past metal detectors much more easily.
We expect this latest development will mean it is only be a short time until the authorities lock in legislation controlling 3D printers and 3D-printing services, as some lawmakers are indeed already threatening.
So what’s next, legislation restricting access to files and drills? I think it is worth pointing out that guns are a 1500’s era technological base and even “modern” guns need nothing more than a bicycle repair shop level of tooling to make. (The “grease gun” STEN submachine gun was designed to be made by anyone in England making bicycles or doing auto repair… it is not “new” to be able to make a gun…)
(Warning: This site gave me a giant pop up ad when I downloaded their PDF of a ‘how to’ for making a STEN with limited tools. I’ve not vetted the site and I have no idea if it is safe. That’s why I use disposable systems… this is a ‘random link’ chosen by web search…)
The DIY STEN Gun is a simplified 1:1 copy of the British STEN MKIII submachine gun. The main differences however include the number of components having been greatly reduced and it’s overall construction made even cruder. Using the simple techniques described, the need for a milling machine or lathe is eliminated making it ideal for production in the home environment with very limited tools.
For obvious legal reasons, the demonstration example pictured was built as a non-firing display replica. It’s dummy barrel consists of a hardened steel spike welded and pinned in place at the chamber end and […]
It goes on about ways to use cheap angle grinders and such to make parts and not needing any expensive machine tools.
My point isn’t to show how you can DIY to make a submachine gun, but to point out how easy it is with much cheaper tools than a 3D printer. In many ways the plastic gun is more like a “zip gun” that are easily made from stock plumbing supplies with little skill. Any cop can tell you about how fast cons can whip up a zip gun from not much in the way of materials.
BTW, if you really want to hurt folks, it is far easier to do it with chemistry. “Poison gas” is as close as every single cleaning supply section of every grocery store and the classic “Molotov cocktail” is just an empty beer or wine bottle, flammable liquid, and a scrap of cloth. Chuck a large chunk of wood or metal in a tank tread and shower it with enough of those and you can take out a tank, so this is not a ‘light-weight’ weapon. I watched film of this being done during the fall of the USSR. It is very real.
That is why it is just sooo stupid to pass laws about 3D printers and making things. And just as stupid to pass laws about weapons. Anything and everything can be a weapon, when, where, and as needed. Give me a home repair kit and I’m lethal. Give me a bit of fishing line and I’m lethal. Put me naked in a field of bare dirt and I’m an embarrassment to look at, but lethal. (Thanks to several years of martial arts training). It is the person and what they know that makes something a weapon. Not some machine tool or other.
BTW, if you have access to a body shop you can do sheet metal stamped guns too. Here’s one from W.W.II:
The KP m/44 (Konepistooli malli 1944, English: Submachine gun, model 1944), nicknamed “Peltiheikki” or “Pelti-kp”, which could be translated as “sheet-metal Henrik” and “sheet-metal machine pistol”/”sheet-metal submachine gun” respectively, was a Finnish 9mm copy and modification of the Soviet mass-produced 7.62 mm submachine gun PPS-43.
It doesn’t matter much if you are using 1500s tech, 1800s, the 1940’s W.W.II, or 2000s plastics. Making a gun is just not very hard. (Making a really good one is, though…)
But back at the Zig Zag gun…
It does look like there is a wiki on it, even if way too short:
The Zig Zag revolver is a 3D printed .38-caliber pepperbox type revolver made public in May 2014. It was created using a $500 plastic 3D-printer, however the name of the printer was not revealed by the creator. It was created by a Japanese citizen from Kawasaki named Yoshitomo Imura He was arrested in May 2014 after he had posted a video online of himself firing a 3D printed Zig Zag revolver. It is the first known 3D printed gun design from Japan.
It holds a capacity of 6 bullets and can fire .38 caliber bullets. The grip of the weapon is based on the Mauser C96 and the fact that the weapon fires from the bottom of the barrel is based on the Mateba Autorevolver.
After Imura’s arrest a gun called the Imura Revolver was designed and printed by FOSSCAD members and was named in honor of Yoshitomo Imura.
These folks have a nice picture of the Imura in black plastic with a blue cylinder:
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.
The reality is that our soft bodied “bags of mostly water” are very fragile and easy to break. It doesn’t take much to make a ‘lethal weapon’, and no amount of legislation will change that. Prior to handguns being common, the use of poison was much more frequent. Effectively ban guns, you will just get a lot more “sugar of lead” in the common coffee pot and “special mushroom sauce” on the pasta. A hand sprayer of the “right stuff” will kill more people faster and more effectively than a “combat handgun”. The Nazi used Zyklon B in their death camps not from a shortage of guns but because it was cheaper, easier, and more effective.
Looks like even Wired beat me to it on this one:
Andy Greenberg Security
Date of Publication: 05.15.14. 05.15.14
Time of Publication: 6:30 am. 6:30 am
How 3-D Printed Guns Evolved Into Serious Weapons in Just One Year
A burgeoning subculture of 3-D printed gun enthusiasts dreams of the day when a lethal firearm can be downloaded or copied by anyone, anywhere, as easily as a pirated episode of Game of Thrones. But the 27-year-old Japanese man arrested last week for allegedly owning illegal 3-D printed firearms did more than simply download and print other enthusiasts’ designs. He appears to have created some of his own.
Among the half-dozen plastic guns seized from Yoshitomo Imura’s home in Kawasaki was a revolver designed to fire six .38-caliber bullets–five more than the Liberator printed pistol that inspired Imura’s experiments. He called it the ZigZag, after its ratcheted barrel modeled on the German Mauser Zig-Zag. In a video he posted online six months ago, Imura assembles the handgun from plastic 3-D printed pieces, a few metal pins, screws and rubber bands, then test fires it with blanks.
Though they seem to not “get it” that not only is that day already here, and has been for a while, but “lethal firearm”s have been “copied by anyone, anywhere” and easily pirated since their inception. Maybe I have a warped POV on this, since I am from a family of historical “working smiths”, but making things out of metal is just not hard, and has been going on for a few thousand years. In some ways plastics are more of a mess to work with. Frankly, I’d be more inclined to make cast bronze gun parts than 3D printed plastic ones. Any decent art shop or school can teach you how. (The psi tensile strength of bronze is about the same as mild steel. What it lacks is high heat strength and low cost. But it is very easy to cast and machine…)
Then that article goes on:
Despite that legal ambiguity, it took only weeks for digital gunsmiths to improve upon the first fully 3-D printed gun. Defense Distributed printed the first Liberator in May, 2013, using a second-hand refrigerator-sized Stratasys 3-D printer it bought for $8,000. Later that month, a gun enthusiast in Wisconsin riffed on the Liberator to produce a working firearm for far less, using a $1,725 Lulzbot printer with less than $25 in plastic. It fired eight .38-caliber bullets without damage.
Which sounds like a fun toy. But further down is a more interesting approach. Just print the “regulated” part:
Aside from the Reprringer, the anonymous FOSSCAD member noted another new, proven design that may be far more practical–and have far more serious implications–than fully-printed guns: a key part of a semi-automatic weapon called the lower receiver. That part, which comprises most of the body of a gun, is the most regulated element of a firearm. Print a lower receiver, and you can buy the rest of a gun’s components off the shelf without an ID or waiting period.
FOSSCAD members have printed and test fired AR-15 lower receivers, including one designed to be the lightest available, another that includes a printed stock and grip, one designed for a Czechoslovakian semi-automatic pistol called the Skorpion, and another designed for the SKS, a semi-automatic rifle that fires the same ammunition as an AK-47. The last two of those designs are test fired in the videos below.
Which makes for a very interesting brave new world. I’d not mind at all having an AR-15. That the lower receiver can be 3D printed is a very interesting development. As they say, all the rest is just OTC and mail order… Then again, so is chlorine bleach and ammonia…