The gun was made from more than thirty 3D-printed components using 17-4 stainless steel and Inconel 625 materials. This isn’t the first time a company made a gun using the new technology. However, it is the first time the weapon was made using metal parts. Previous versions were made with plastic instead.
Solid Concepts’ Vice President of Additive Manufacturing, Ken Firestone, commented of the weapon, “The whole concept of using a laser sintering process to 3D Print a metal gun revolves around proving the reliability, accuracy and usability of 3D Metal Printing as functional prototypes and end use products.”
In a press release after the blog was written, Firestone went on to praise the 3D metal-printed gun, saying, “We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing. And we’re doing this legally.”
The claim is true. Solid Concepts has a Federal Firearms License (FFL), meaning the company can legally manufacture and sell guns to customers. The metal laser sintering process used by the specialty company is one of the most accurate additive manufacturing processes available and the company assures it is “more than accurate enough” to build the parts needed for the gun.
3D-printed metal is also less porous than an investment cast part and has better complexities than a machined part. The gun barrel has pressures over 20,000 psi every time it fires. The 1911 design was chosen because it is in the public domain, making it legal to build without copyright infringement.
Check out the video below to see the world’s first 3D metal-printed gun firing.
[Image by Solid Concepts]