The Liberator thumbnail 1
The Liberator thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

The Liberator

Hand Gun
May 2013 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Texan law student Cody Wilson founded Defense Distributed to ‘defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution’. He created designs for guns and gun components that can be downloaded by anyone anywhere in the world and printed out on a 3D printer.

Wilson fired the world’s first 3D-printed gun, The Liberator, on 6 May 2013. The invention of this so-called wiki weapon sparked intense debate. It transforms the way we think about new manufacturing technologies and the unregulated sharing of designs online.

Design drawings for the handgun were downloaded over 100,000 times after they were released online on the day of firing. The files were seized by the US government a few days later and Wilson was ordered to remove them from his website. Wilson says of his work that he ‘never thought of it in terms of design’. The design and distribution of The Liberator is for him a political act.

Object details

Category
Object type
TitleThe Liberator (assigned by artist)
Materials and techniques
ABS - digitally printed
Brief description
The Liberator, first fired prototype, 2013, USA
Physical description
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene barrel and frame with a metal firing pin. The frame has visible impact damage.
Dimensions
  • Height: 88mm (Note: Width = 130mm Depth = 40mm)
Production typeUnique
Gallery label
Former Texan law student Cody Wilson founded Defense Distributed to ‘defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution’. He created designs for guns and gun components that can be downloaded by anyone anywhere in the world and printed out on a 3D printer. Wilson fired the world’s first 3D-printed gun, The Liberator, on 6 May 2013. The invention of this so-called wiki weapon sparked intense debate. It transforms the way we think about new manufacturing technologies and the unregulated sharing of designs online. Design drawings for the handgun were downloaded over 100,000 times after they were released online on the day of firing. The files were seized by the US government a few days later and Wilson was ordered to remove them from his website. Wilson says of his work that he ‘never thought of it in terms of design’. The design and distribution of The Liberator is for him a political act. On display is the gun used is the first successful test of The Liberator. Cody Wilson fired the gun remotely using wire looped through the specially designed hole in the trigger. The frame of the gun exploded whilst Wilson was testing different sizes of bullet. The Liberator, fired 2013 Designed in Austin, USA Designed by Defense Distributed 3D-printed Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic Printed on Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer Purchased by the Design Fund Museum no. CD.40:1 to 2 -2014 (September 2014)
Credit line
Purchased by the Design Fund
Summary
Texan law student Cody Wilson founded Defense Distributed to ‘defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution’. He created designs for guns and gun components that can be downloaded by anyone anywhere in the world and printed out on a 3D printer.

Wilson fired the world’s first 3D-printed gun, The Liberator, on 6 May 2013. The invention of this so-called wiki weapon sparked intense debate. It transforms the way we think about new manufacturing technologies and the unregulated sharing of designs online.

Design drawings for the handgun were downloaded over 100,000 times after they were released online on the day of firing. The files were seized by the US government a few days later and Wilson was ordered to remove them from his website. Wilson says of his work that he ‘never thought of it in terms of design’. The design and distribution of The Liberator is for him a political act.
Collection
Accession number
CD.40-2014

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Record createdSeptember 19, 2014
Record URL
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