Defense Distributed was born in the Summer of 2012 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Founders Ben Denio and Cody Wilson sought to create a political and legal vehicle for demonstrating and promoting the subversive potential of publicly-available 3D Printing technologies. On July 27th, 2012 they launched the Wiki Weapon Project- the effort to create and release the files for the world’s first printable handgun.
In August 2012, Indiegogo.com removed DD’s inaugural fundraising campaign from its website, citing a terms of service violation. This removal prompted stirrings in the 3DP and tech blogs, and led DD to court the Bitcoin community to help fund the Wiki Weapon. By September 2012, DD had raised enough money to set to prototyping and experimentation, when industry player Stratasys scandalously revoked its lease with the company and quickly repossessed its printer. This repossession, one of the first of its kind, made world news, and the Wiki Weapon found commensurate support.
By December 2012, DD began prototyping more durable rifle receivers for the popular AR-15, a fact not missed in American gun politics after that month’s Sandy Hook Massacre. By January 2013, DD had created the gun file repository DEFCAD and released the files for the first printable AR-15 standard capacity magazines. DD followed these achievements in March with the files for the first durable printed AR-15 rifle receiver.
On May 5, 2013, DD released the files for the Liberator pistol- the culmination of the Wiki Weapon Project. This release was met by a flurry of US governmental censures and investigations, and DD is still involved in a conflict with the US State Department over whether there is a requirement to seek government approval before releasing privately generated gun files into the public domain.