26/07/2012 10:53 BST | Updated 25/09/2012 06:12 BST

Gun Enthusiast 'Prints' And Tests .22 Pistol He Downloaded Online

A gun enthusiast has managed to 'print' a weapon at home and successfully fire it for the first time.

The man wrote in a blog post that he printed the lower receiver for a .22 pistol.

Printing 3D objects is usually achieved through an automated machine which builds up objects in layers, often using plastic or another malleable material.

The gun part was made using ABS plastic and a Stratasys 3D printer, the man claimed.

Only the lower receiver was printed, but The Next Web pointed out that this is the part of a weapon which the American Gun Control Act counts as a firearm.

The man, named "HaveBlue" on the website, where he is listed as coming from Wisconsin, built the gun and assembled it, before firing more than 200 rounds.

He then posted the design of the gun part on a publicly available website for 3D objects.

He also tried to build a rifle with the part, but said that "feed and extraction issues" meant he wasn't able to make it work.

"No, it did not blow up into a bazillion tiny plastic shards and maim me for life," the man told the AR15 forum.

"I am sorry to have disappointed those of you who foretold doom and gloom."

The man's project was welcomed by the gun enthusiasts on the forum, who said it would leave no "meaningful way to restrict and infringe on the private civilian ownership of modern firearms".

Another user wondered if the man's project would leave him in trouble with the law.

"Maybe it's just me, but posting pictures of an operational lower reciever that doesn't have a serial number....That just sounds like your asking for the feds to pound on your door," he said.

"Either way, it's still pretty cool."

In a separate development, a man has demonstrated a 3D printer which can fit into a briefcase.

Ben Heck, a famed tech hacker known for his work modifying games consoles, unveiled the project.

The printer is just 5 inches thick and can fit in the overhead compartment of an aeroplane.