World's First 3D Printed Metal Gun
When it comes to 3D printed guns we’ve had a tumultuous time of late; after the lunacy of Cody Wilson’s Liberator and then the downright disgraceful reporting of the “3D printing gun factory” raided by police in Manchester.
The sensationalising by the press and resulting moral panic of plastic guns that tend to only fire once if at all seems downright insane. We’ve banged this drum many a time but as Chris Anderson of Wired once said: "3D printing is a terrible technology for the working components of a gun. There is no tensile strength. It would blow up in your face. You can buy guns in Walmart -- they are not a scarce product. And if you want a good barrel you can go and get a bit of plumbing from the store."
Though this statement will be true for printers in the home for some time, Solid Concepts are proving that Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) –3D printing in metal – has the accuracy and tensile strength to print 99% of the parts of a proper firearm, not a shoot once plastic toy gun, a proper real-life gun.
“The whole concept of using a laser sintering process to 3D Print a metal gun revolves around proving the reliability, accuracy and usability of metal 3D Printing as functional prototypes and end use products,” says Kent Firestone, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at Solid Concepts. “It’s a common misconception that 3D Printing isn’t accurate or strong enough, and we’re working to change people’s perspective.”
The gun itself is the classic John Browning designed 1911, made up of 33 3D printed parts. The spring was the only part of the gun that is not 3D printed and Solid Concepts say that the 3D printed parts are so accurate that they are interchangeable with pre-existing models.
As you can see in the video the gun went through rigorous testing and has already handled 50 rounds of successful firing. This gun debunks the theory that 3D printing is not as accurate traditional manufacturing but before the Daily Mail picks up on this story and goes ballistic a DMLS machine will cost you in excess of $600,000.