PLASTIC guns made using a 3D printer have the potential to kill, New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione has warned.

Com Scipione said NSW police made two of the guns, known as The Liberator, using a "base entry level", $1700 3D printer and plans downloaded from the internet.

More than 100,000 people from around the world have downloaded the plans from file-sharing networks since the United States Government ordered the inventor, Cody Wilson, to take his how-to guide down from the internet earlier this month.

It took NSW police about 27 hours to make the guns at a cost of $35, with each weapon containing 16 parts.

And as the police demonstration showed, the guns pose a potentially double-pronged threat.

"The results of the demonstration were disturbing and our worst fears were realised because it showed the effect it can have on the gun handler and the victim," Com Scipione said.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione

"The message goes out to anyone with the resources to purchase a 3D printer. Don't attempt to use a 3D printer to produce a weapon. A 3D-printed gun is not potentially dangerous, it is dangerous."

The NSW police warning came after the Department of Homeland Security in the United States warned that stopping the 3D-printed guns being made, as well as detecting them at security check points, was "impossible".

It was a point picked up on by Com Scipione, who said the weapons were "undetectable, untraceable and easy to manufacture".

"3D guns are made of thermo-plastic or synthetic material which makes them undetectable in airport X-ray machines. The terrorism implications of such a weapon are huge," he said.

Com Scipione said 3D printing technology, when used for "good, not evil" in fields like science and medicine, was important and "should be encouraged".

But he stressed producing weapons on a 3D printer was a crime on two fronts - manufacturing and possessing a firearm.

"Make no mistake they will kill at both ends," Com Scipione said.

"It is an offence to make, an offence to possess and an offence to use."

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