All the gun parts except part of the hammer were produced by a 3D printer. The material used was ABS plastic. It took a veteran gunsmith a little over an hour to assemble the 9mm gun.
Once fired, the barrel of the gun split in half. The cartridge case cracked and the gun's frame fell apart.
The gun was printed at Aalto University with a printer costing some 15,000 euros. The manager of the facility, Kivi Sotamaa, believes that printing high-quality plastic will become considerably cheaper within the next few years.
This plastic gun broke after a single shot, but more durable 'instant' weapons could become available soon. The next big step for home 3D printing is the ability to print metal. Sotamaa believes that printing metal objects at home will become a reality within a few years.
Finnish researcher and 3D-printing entrepreneur Jarkko Moilanen says there is no way to stop gun instructions from circulating on the internet.
"You can't stop piracy, just slow it down," Moilanen says.
Finnish police officials expressed shock at the results of the test.
"Legislators should be concerned now," said Inspector Ossi Kujanpää of the Tampere Police. "Producing these should not be allowed under any circumstances."
The gun test was performed in a controlled testing facility in Ikaalinen, near Tampere, for the Yle TV investigative programme Ajankohtainen kakkonen. Police were notified of the test in advance.
Instructions for producing the 'Liberator' plastic handgun were removed from their original website two days after being released. By then, though the instructions had been downloaded more than 100,000 times.
Defense Distributed, a Texas nonprofit that promotes the open-source development of firearms using 3D printers, withdrew the files needed to make the single-shot Liberator at the behest of the US State Department on May 9.