3D-printing is a technology which is rapidly becoming popular and very common. 3D-printers are also growing more common as a household appliance. The technology has almost limitless possibilities in terms of what can be made using these printers. Solid Concepts, a leader in 3D-printing technology, has produced a gun using their 3D-printers. What makes this different from other 3D-printed weapons is that it is made of metal and actually looks like a traditional firearm as compared to the plastic versions that can be produced using domestic 3D-printers.
Located in Austin, Texas, Solid Concepts created the gun using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) which is a 3D-printing process used to make aerospace components and surgical implants. The process was used to create each component of the gun except the springs (which were made separately). The creator’s claim that they did not make the gun to show that it is cheaper to produce a gun using 3D-printing, but rather to put to rest the myths that said that products made using DMLS were not strong or precise enough to be used in real-world scenarios.
The pistol has proven to be as accurate as a conventionally-made firearm and has shot more than 500 rounds to date. The video below shows the gun in action:
The people at Solid Concepts claim that they can make any gun part for a qualified customer within five days. This is made possible by the fact that the company owns a Federal Firearms License. Most officials are concerned that technology like this will allow people to make guns in their own homes (which has been an issue with homemade plastic 3D-printed gun). The people at Solid Concepts, however, reassure us that the machines capable of making a metal firearm are too expensive to be in the reach of a single individual for quite some time. The technical handling required to produce the gun is also very advanced and no average user can produce a firearm using the DMLS machine.
The technology is theoretically out of reach of the common citizen and proves to be less of a concern for government officials than the plastic pistol blueprints that are easily available online, making it easy to make at home. But with this, Solid Concepts has proven that objects made using DMLS are just as reliable as their conventional counterparts. A major win for the 3D-printing industry.