Friday, November 8, 2013

World's First Metal Gun Printed by 3D Printer 

Introducing metal 3D printing to the world as a viable solution for fully functional firearm prototypes.

At you can learn more about the reliability, usability, durability and accuracy of DMLS as a functioning prototype or product, and this gun is a successful demonstration of each of those attributes.

Its chamber sees pressure above 20,000 psi every time it is fired proving the material integrity provided by DMLS technology.

The small components needed for the 1911 series gun proves DMLS can meet tolerances and accuracy.

They say "We're changing people's perspective about what 3D Printing can do and showing the technology is at a place where we can do this kind of thing and succeed. This technology is capable of fully functioning assemblies at full scale."

Over the past year, reports of guns being printed using relatively inexpensive 3D printers have raised concerns regarding a new way for people to gain access to weapons.

Such concerns have died down, however, as newer reports have pointed out the weaknesses of plastic guns—they don't last more than one or two firings. That's not the case with the gun printed by Solid Concepts—engineers there fired their weapon over 50 times, with no apparent problems.

Printing with metal instead of plastic requires a whole new level of printer—one so expensive that most could not afford to buy or even rent one, thus, news of a printed metal gun isn't like to spark much if any controversy.

It does however, as the company that printed the gun points out, highlight just how far 3D printing has come. In this case, the printer uses what is known as a direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) process—metal powder is heated to create a type of ink that can be used for printing.

In the past, the process has been used to create surgical implant and aerospace parts. The newly printed gun, created using blueprints of a real handgun formerly used by the US military, was made by printing almost all of the parts—it was finished by assembling by hand.

No machining was necessary, just some hand tooling. The process even included rifling (grooves inside the barrel that cause the bullet to spin as it's ejected) to ensure accuracy.

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