The first 3D-printed metal gun has been fabricated and it works frighteningly well. Solid Concepts, an Austin based 3D printing specialist, assembled the weapon using more than 30 parts created with a metal 3D printer. After assembling the 1911 replica in about seven minutes, the group demonstrated how the gun successfully fires right away. They claim the weapon has already successfully fired 50 rounds.
Unlike the plastic Liberator 3D-printed gun we wrote about previously, this one is made almost entirely out of stainless steel using a laser sintering process that melts metal using a high-powered laser. Luckily for the general public’s safety, this laser sintering 3D printing process is still prohibitively expensive for every consumer to own. One of Solid Concept’s metal 3D printers costs around $850,000, but 3D printing technology is becoming more accessible everyday along with alternative ways of producing metal objects.
According to the group’s technology manager, they did not develop the gun to make a cheaper, mass-produced weapon. Instead the project was developed as a marketing ploy to dispel the notion that 3D printed metal parts are not strong or accurate enough for real world applications – even though Solid Concepts already uses Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) to manufacture custom medical instruments and automotive tools. However, the idea that you can produce your own working, metal firearm at home without any restrictions is still a very real concern.
Via Fast Company
Images © Solid Concepts