Feeds

World's first 3D-printed metal gun 'more accurate' than factory-built cousin

Don't worry, you can’t make one of these at home

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The world's first 3D-printed metal gun has been produced – and we're told it's more accurate than its factory-made counterpart, but also much more expensive to manufacture.

3D metal gun

We come in piece(s) ... the world's first 3D-printed gun

The printed gun – a .45 caliber M1911 designed by legendary gunsmith John Browning and still in use by some US armed forces – was manufactured by 3D-printing specialists Solid Concepts using publicly available plans. The only parts there weren't printed were four small springs and the magazines, the firm's VP of marketing Scott McGowan told The Register.

"It's very accurate indeed," he said. "We gave it to our resident gun expert and after firing a few rounds with it, and a commercially available version, he found the printed firearm was more accurate on the range."

Here's the weapon in action:

Youtube Video

McGowan said his company isn’t trying to tout this as a replacement of traditional manufacturing techniques, merely a showcase to demonstrate what was possible with 3D printing in metal. The cost of the printed firearm is many times that of a traditional model, and the equipment needed to do it is highly specialized.

3D printing in plastics may be simple enough for home use, but metals are something else entirely. Once a design has been completed, four powerful lasers are used to fuse layers of powdered metal in the desired shape, layer by layer. The final object is then heat-treated and polished before use.

This isn’t the kind of kit you can have in your garage. The power requirements alone are well over what is available in residential neighborhoods and the printer itself is very expensive. But the cost is coming down fast, McGowan said.

The company was able to build the gun legally because it has a federal license for the manufacturing of firearms. The US government is getting very strict about such licenses in the wake of the kerfuffle when hobbyists produced a printed plastic gun dubbed "Liberator," and put the plans online.

As El Reg's military expert Lewis Page pointed out at the time, the Liberator isn’t much of a firearm. It's barely accurate, prone to self-destruct, and has to be reloaded after each shot. Solid Concept's model is as good, if not better than the real thing, and does show the potential of 3D metal printing. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
WTF happened to Pac-Man?
In his thirties and still afraid of ghosts
Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics
LightwaveRF and Arduino: Bright ideas for dim DIYers
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Microsoft signs Motorola to Android patent pact – no, not THAT Motorola
The part that Google never got will play ball with Redmond
Apple patent LOCKS drivers out of their OWN PHONES
I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't let you text that
Happy 25th birthday, Game Boy!
Monochrome handset ushered in modern mobile gaming era
Slip your finger in this ring and unlock your backdoor, phone, etc
Take a look at this new NFC jewellery – why, what were you thinking of?
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.