Well, it’s nice to be back home and I plan on doing some catching up with the blog. So expect a few older stories to pop up mixed with the new. And my first post is about 3D printed weapons.

The area of 3D printed weapons is of interest to me for several reasons. First, it would be a disruptive technology that would take the construction of weapons to a new level of production and innovation.  To be able to dream it up, write up the program for it, and print it out at your local 3D printing shop or at your home printing shop is taking hobby gun manufacturing to the next level. Gun manufacturers take note…

The second reason why this is interesting to me is the legal aspects.  Today’s laws throughout the world have not caught up with the advent of 3D printed weapons.  This of course will create all sorts of controversy and debate, but until the laws do catch up, lots of folks will be experimenting and taking advantage of the concept. Just check out this quote by Solid Concepts:

“We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing,” says Kent Firestone, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at Solid Concepts. “And we’re doing this legally. In fact, as far as we know, we’re the only 3D Printing Service Provider with a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Now, if a qualifying customer needs a unique gun part in five days, we can deliver.”

The third reason why this interests me is how this would impact the global arms industry?  Will revolutions of the future be fought with printed AK-47’s or whatever weapon systems needed? Just look at Syria and the massive DIY effort there to arm themselves?

Will private military and security companies deploy with 3D printing plants and print weapons for contracts, or offer printed weapons to other companies in war zones as a means of fulfilling contracts? Or print out weapons for countries that are raising an army, and having a difficult time obtaining weapons due to embargoes or blockades.

Worse yet, terrorists and criminals will use this technology to create weapons as needed. Weapons with no history or serial numbers to trace, and made cheaply. In the future, forensics will be about figuring out what machine was used to make the things.

And will the arms industry be challenged by this disruptive technology and lash out, or embrace it and try to find where it fits into the whole thing. Who knows and there are many implications that come with this developing technology…. –Matt

 

3D Printed Metal 1911 Pistol

 

World’s First 3D Printed Metal Gun Manufactured by Solid Concepts
November 8, 2013
Solid Concepts, a world leader in 3D Printing services, manufactures the world’s first 3D Printed Metal Gun.
Austin, TX – Solid Concepts, one of the world leaders in 3D Printing services, has manufactured the world’s first 3D Printed Metal Gun using a laser sintering process and powdered metals. The gun, a 1911 classic design, functions beautifully and has already handled 50 rounds of successful firing. 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.
“We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing,” says Kent Firestone, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at Solid Concepts. “And we’re doing this legally. In fact, as far as we know, we’re the only 3D Printing Service Provider with a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Now, if a qualifying customer needs a unique gun part in five days, we can deliver.”
The metal laser sintering process Solid Concepts used to manufacture the 30+ gun components is one of the most accurate additive manufacturing processes available, and more than accurate enough to build the interchangeable and interfacing parts within the 1911 series gun. The gun proves the tight tolerances laser sintering can meet. Plus, 3D Printed Metal has less porosity issues than an investment cast part and better complexities than a machined part. The 3D Printed gun barrel sees chamber pressures above 20,000 psi every time it is fired. Solid Concepts chose to build the 1911 because the design is public domain.
“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 Firestone. “It’s a common misconception that 3D Printing isn’t accurate or strong enough, and we’re working to change people’s perspective.”
The 3D Printed metal gun proves that 3D Printing isn’t just making trinkets and Yoda heads. The gun manufactured by Solid Concepts debunks the idea that 3D Printing isn’t a viable solution or isn’t ready for mainstream manufacturing. With the right materials and a company that knows how to best program and maintain their machines, 3D printing is accurate, powerful and here to stay.

About Solid Concepts
Solid Concepts provides rapid prototyping and custom manufacturing services, with capabilities in PolyJet, Stereolithography (SLA), 3D Color Prints, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), 3D Metal Printing, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), CNC models and patterns, Composites, and QuantumCast™ advanced cast urethanes. Capabilities in tooling and injection molding make Solid Concepts a single source for product development and production efforts from conception to market. Visit www.solidconcepts.com to find your solution.
Link here.

Blog link here.

Tags: , , , , ,