Fabricating 3-D weapons has come a long way

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By Geoffrey Ingersoll, Business Insider

Aside from the Duke's classic Colt six-shooter, no pistol has such a place in American history as the 1911 .45-caliber handgun.

Now the folks at Solid Concepts have successfully produced one of these handguns (pictured), all steel and all 3-D-printed.

Fabricating 3-D weapons has come a long way in a short period.

Just within the past year, a Texas company called Defense Distributed made headlines for creating 3-D-printed weapons. But it had problems producing pieces that could stand the heat and pressure.

From the Solid Concepts press release:

It is composed of 33 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 components, and decked with a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) carbon-fiber filled nylon hand grip. The successful production and functionality of the 1911 3D Printed metal gun proves the viability of 3D Printing for commercial applications. Already, special operations teams out in the middle of who-knows-where have support from "expeditionary labs" that draw and print custom pieces of gear, based entirely on the military operator's specifications.

President Barack Obama has also promised $200 million for a 3-D printing initiative in the Defense Department.

Certainly, the fabrication of stainless-steel pieces is a revolution of sorts, and planners in the military are probably watching closely for what happens next.

As for .45-caliber pistols, Solid Concepts maintains that the pieces are not machined but entirely "grown" in 3-D printers.

From the press release:

Laser sintering is one of the most accurate manufacturing processes available, and more than accurate enough to build the 3-D Metal Printed interchangeable and interfacing parts within our 1911 series gun. The gun proves laser sintering can meet tight tolerances.

3-D Metal Printing has less porosity issues than an investment cast part and better complexities than a machined part. The barrel sees chamber pressure above 20,000 psi every time the gun is fired.

"We're proving this is possible. The technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3-D printing," said Kent Firestone, Solid Concepts' vice president of additive manufacturing. "As far as we know, we're the only 3-D printing service provider with a federal firearms license. Now if a qualifying customer needs a unique gun part in five days, we can deliver."

Mentioning the license is no mistake. Certainly the idea of 3-D printing of small arms has caused a bit of a stir in the weapons-control community. Cody Wilson, the owner of Defense Distributed, ran into this problem, but at the time of his troubles -- last summer and late last year -- he did not yet hold a federal firearms license.

Certainly the implications of this new technology -- both for domestic and federal use, as well as for military and humanitarian use -- are nothing short of staggering.

Reply to
Ray Keller
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And the cost of doing this is ????? per weapon?

Much less expensive to buy your pistol ready-made at a local gun shop.

Reply to
Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names

Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@6ax.com:

Since being a socialist scumbag, clearly you don't grasp how this sort of things. Everything is more expensive at first then gets cheaper.

My first 20 MB drive was like $200. In 1989. The 80 MB vioce coil ran close to $500. At a fairly steep discount.

Recently I bought a 500 GB drive for $50.

What are you going to do legislate against technical progress?

Reply to
Guy Fawkes

The biggest drawback to 3-D printers so far is time. They chug along for hours to produce a reasonably complex part. No problem for one offs but not feasible for production.

Reply to

Plus, contrary to what some people seem to think, you don't click on print and end up with a working gun in your printer. You build each and every part individually then after a couple of days or so you have a pile of parts then you need gunsmithing skills to put it all together. Additionally you need a source for the springs. You're not going to print a functioning spring out on any kind of 3D printer. So unless you can get the proper springs somewhere you will never be able to build a functioning firearm. That makes it somewhat more problematic than downloading the diagrams and clicking on print.

Reply to

Really? Any GI issued an M1911A1 like that printed pistol could completely strip and reassembly the pistol in minutes.

The springs can be easily made from flat spring steel, or printed, then formed and heat treated.

Of course, all the springs for an M1911A1 could be bought for less than $30.

The parts not easily printable are easily fabricated or bought by the adept, but not by the technologically inept like you.


Reply to
David R. Birch

You completely miss the point of course so maybe you should STFU.

Reply to

The point is that what you see as major obstacles are easily solved minor problems. Since you don't have a clue about these issues, why are you discussing them?


Reply to
David R. Birch

The point being, asshat, besides being beyond your ability to grasp, is that not "just anybody" can print out their own guns like is being implied. It takes either a source of the correct springs or a professional machinists skill to be able to fabricate them. And assembing a complete working firearm from scratch is NOT the same as field stripping an M1.

Reply to

Not yet, but soon.

Easy to find and easy to make with only a little skill, more than you have apparently.

I didn't say anything about field stripping an M1, but the M1911A1 is easily detail stripped with a little practice and only slightly more ability than you have.


Reply to
David R. Birch

deep wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:

Try Wolff Springs, for one...less than $30 a set.

or a

The stripping appplied to a 1911, not an M-1.

Reply to
RD Sandman

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