View Full Version : 3-D printer gun test fired

12-04-2012, 10:34 AM


The idea of using a 3-D printer to create a gun is controversial and interesting, but it seems to still be a ways off from equaling the quality of machined parts. A gun with a major part printed that way failed after just six shots when some enthusiasts decided to give the tech a try.
Creating a printable gun is the project of Defense Distributed, which is working on what it calls the WikiWeapon. But the effort isn't far enough along to create a working firearm, so Defense Distributed used a design created by another printed-gun creator who goes by the name HaveBlue.
HaveBlue claimed in July to have fired his printed gun hundreds of times, which doesn't seem impossible given the quality of the printing. The part printed by the group is called the lower receiver, which is where a round is received from the magazine. Pictures show it to be very well made, and it appears to fit exactly to the other parts in the gun kit they used.
But the pressure of the recoil appears to have been too much for the "buffer ring," which separates the stock from the upper receiver. After firing just six shots, the gun split in two. It's a serious setback, especially considering they were firing a lower-caliber cartridge than the gun would normally shoot.
The legality of all this is unknown, not to say in dispute. It is legal to create your own firearms, but not to distribute them and in the case of printed guns there's a bit of both going on. The ATF is looking at the subject, but for now it's all something of a grey area.
The technical aspects of the part, the failure, and the team's plans to improve it can be found at Defense Distributed's blog. You can watch the video of the test below.


12-04-2012, 10:56 AM
I see this as a good start for printable firearms.
Lets be honest when the first model for this platform came out it most likely had lots of trails and errors, upgrades changes etc, just those didn't end up on youtube (cause it wasn't around at the time)
I'd say its progress, and I look forward to it.

and really if it fails BAH just print off another one ;)

12-04-2012, 07:11 PM
We're a LONG ways from the resins which can be printed and heat fused into a plastic being strong enough to make into gun parts.

Anybody that understands the issues of tensile and compressive yield points for materials and elastic properties will easily understand why firearm parts that need to be able to strong yet have a controled amount of flex will not be possible without a major breakthrough in plastics technology or some other "printable" material.

The reason we can have plastic rifle stocks and plastic handgun frames and even plastic AR style frames is due to the miracle of Glass Fiber Reinforced plastic, sometimes seen as GRP plastic. In these materials relatively long strand chopped glass fibers are mixed in with the resin before being injected into molds. The resulting product is greatly stronger than the resin on it's own. Then we also see highly flexible and resilient resins such as nylon being mixed with these same chopped glass strands and producing highly resiliient yet reasonably rigid plastic composites. Even Lexan resins have been mixed with chopped stranding and the result, as I understand it, is the Glock and M&P frames along with many other polymer handguns and better rifle stocks.

But we can't send chopped glass fiber through a print head. So printable guns or other highly stressed parts are not about to see the light of day any time soon.

I understand that there is now printable metallic powder and binder that can then be post print fused to produce a good MIM style of part. But that sort of thing is beyond the average home computer geek unless they are into pottery and have their own kiln.

So yeah, we're a ways from a "Print N' Go Gun".

12-04-2012, 10:22 PM
Well I think it is promising but not for firearms but more of another releam that I see as a major issue in the world witch this can also be used for good. It was during the 90's when I was growing up that I remeber I seen something similar;
But the ability to use metallic powder is a game changer. Even more so for use in North America.
I say this cause China has a huge labour market but extremely low creativity. We in North America have extremley high creativity but a low labour market. Enter in this porduct and China's short stop at the top will soon sub-side quickley.
All in all this is the next great invention since the computer.
Oh ya on a side note...
The first computer was invented just before the 2nd word war. So 100 years later now enter in this gaint leep forward.