Earlier this year, Defense Distributed proved it was possible to 3D print a gun with the Liberator. It was a single-shot handgun that was made almost entirely out of plastic. Since then, a number of 3D printer aficionados have tweaked the design and made it even better. Even with all the improvements made, plastic guns can’t compare to metal guns; but those can’t be 3D printed, right?
Solid Concepts announced that it is the first manufacturer to make a 3D printed gun completely out of metal. By using a laser sintering process and powdered metals, the manufacturer is able to create a solid metal gun from scratch.
“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.”
Solid Concepts says that the gun has successfully fired 50 rounds thus far. As for the gun itself, it’s a M1911 pistol – a semi-automatic handgun that’s been in production since 1911. The design is in the public domain so Solid Concepts could build it without worrying about legal repercussions.
Here’s a video of a firing test:
So, should you be concerned? As was the case with 3D printed plastic guns, the 3D printed metal gun poses less of a threat than a gun bought off the street. The machines used to build these guns, especially the laser sintering machines, cost thousands of dollars. You can go into a pawn shop today and buy a gun for a few hundred bucks.
In short, criminals aren’t going to be using 3D printers to make guns anytime soon despite what fear mongering politician would have you believe.