Solid Concepts has used laser sintering to create the world’s first functional metal handgun using 3D printing.
Solid Conecpts, one of the world’s leaders in 3D printing technologies, has created the world’s first 3D printed handgun made from metal. While printed guns have made the news before, this is the first time a pistol has been created using a laser sintering technique and powdered metal. The gun is a classic 1911, a model chosen because its design is public domain, and has already undergone a test firing of 50 rounds of ammunition. It was created from 33 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 components, and has a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) carbon-fiber filled nylon hand grip.
The gun proves the viability of 3D printing metal for commercial purposes: We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing,” says Solid Concepts’ Vice President of Additive Manufacturing, Kent Firestone. “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 used is one of the most accurate forms of additive manufacturing available and has several advantages. It’s more than precise enough to work interchangeably with regular 1911 parts. It is also porous than an investment cast part and can be more complex than a part created using traditional machining:
“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.”