Welcome to Homebuild History, a new segment on 3D Gun Builder’s website where we focus on the history of some of the most iconic homebuilt firearms, their contributions to the world, and most importantly, how YOU AT HOME can get your hands on these classic arms and armaments!
What’s the Story?
This week, we’ll be discussing an oft-forgotten part of the history of 3D printed guns: the first revolver produced in .38 Special, and the guns that came after it. Additionally, we’ll take a look at the story of a person who risked their life and freedom to exercise their right to bear arms.
Playing with Rigged Dice
In 2014, an otherwise unremarkable event was reported by news outlets both reliable and spurious. Niche sites like 3dprint.com and even trashy gamer rags like Kotaku reported on the arrest of one Yoshitomo Imura. Apparently, Imura had done the unthinkable in Japan: he had built his own weapon.
The “Marvel” revolver was as brute force as it came. Built around the “zig zag” operating system of Mauser revolvers nearly 150 years old, the Marvel’s cylinder was the size of a fist. It had no barrel as such and was massively overbuilt to withstand the pressure of .38 Special. Back then, no printed gun had been made in the caliber.
The “Marvel” was tested and worked without issue. Imura had single-handedly destroyed the entirety of Japanese gun control. Unfortunately, Japan was more stringent towards mere curiosity, and Imura ended up spending 2 years in prison for his efforts. The story, however, did not end there.
Tribute to the Machine
Developers within the FOSSCAD circle that had formed after the start of Defense Distributed’s legal battles with the US government sympathized with Imura. Had he been living in America, nothing would’ve happened to him. As a result, Warfairy, preeminent designer of early AR-15s, created the Imura.
Conceptually based on the “Marvel,” the Imura was far more refined. Designed for .22LR, the gun was based more on the unrealized “Vanguard” design Imura had been working on. Unfortunately, when Warfairy left the guncad community, the Imura was left unfinished in its v3 state.
Many years later, the Imura would be taken up by WeightForward/GunCadIdeas, a group splintered off from Deterrence Dispensed. Noted designer Zipdic, a cooperator with Mustafa “Mussy” Khudairi and Darren “Derwood” Booth, took the design and finished it, making the ImuraZip.
Ironically, the Marvel would outlast it.
The Second Coming
Rarely seen after being released from prison, Imura made a resurgence in the guncad community shortly before the Hong Kong protests. As a statement of solidarity, Imura made a variant of the original “Marvel” design. Functionally there were very few differences, but Imura’s return was a welcome surprise.
In December of 2022, Mr. Imura, as we knew him, disappeared from the internet and was never seen again. In his place, and taking over his legacy, was Shion Shidou. Shion had, interestingly enough, just as much experience as Imura in guncad, and continued development of 3D printable guns and other items.
While surpassed by newer designs, the Imura revolvers were a rare item. Very few 3D printed designs were wholly developed and tested outside the US, let alone survived to the present day. Perhaps sometime in the future, Shion will make a new variation of one of the old designs, but for now, we’ll have to wait.
How do I make it?
Building* an Imura derivative depends on the model. Warfairy’s Imura isn’t recommended as it was never fully tested. The “Marvel” is the only Imura design that was tested in PLA and will likely work with most current plastics. The ImuraZip design was also tested and proven to work. Any others are hit or miss.
Files for the various designs can be found on print2a and the Gatalog, among others. Notably, most versions of the FOSSCAD repo lack Imura’s designs as well as the Warfairy Imura. Regardless, the gun is highly experimental, so build one at your own risk.
As always, tune in next week for more Homebuild History!
*Legally, of course. Laws don’t stop you from building this, but we at 3DGunBuilder encourage readers to follow all legal guidelines. If you can’t make this in your state or country, please don’t try to. Just remember that this is here for educational and research purposes only.