Just Printed: Solid Concepts 3D-Printer Metal 1911
Solid Concepts of Austin, TX has apparently manufactured what they describe as the “world’s first 3D Printed Metal Gun.” Admirers of John Moses Browning will be happy to see they chose to build a 1911 frame semi-automatic pistol, chambered in .45 ACP.
As explained in the video, the parts are made of various kinds of stainless steel and the goal was to dispel myths that a 3D printed gun wasn’t strong enough for real world applications.
“Solid Concepts has been a service provider since 1991, doing mostly aerospace work, medical work and production runs,” say Solid Concepts Alyssa Parkinson. “Part of us building this gun was to prove that it could be done–that it’s ready to handle these kinds of pressures, the heat, etc.”
The weapon, built from open-source 1911 pistol design specs, hasn’t been named yet – they haven’t gotten that far. They are considering a limited edition run of these 3D printed pistols for sale, however they have not made any firm decisions and do not yet have any estimate what the cost would be assuming such an eventuality occurs. Solid Concepts seems understandably hesitant to make any pronouncements about their long-term plans. After all they just announced it. It’s still early.
“Our expertise is manufacture,” Alyssa laughs, deflecting politely, “we’d need to look at some things, talk to someone who knows more about pricing one of a kind guns before setting a price.”
The pistol’s 30+ gun components were manufactured with a laser sintering process. The grip is an SLS (Selective Laser Sintered) carbon-fiber filled nylon hand grip. So far it has had over 50 rounds through it without incident. Magazines used were commercially purchased (I don’t know what brand).
“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.”
I’ll be following up with Eric Mutchler, Solid Concepts’ point man on the project (he’s the one who tested the gun). I’m also hoping to arrange for RECOIL to T&E this or a future Solid Concepts 3D printed 1911 (or at least visit their facility in Austin). More on that to follow later.
For more information, read their press release. You can also check them out on Facebook, where there’s an ongoing conversation about the weapon.
If you have questions you want me to ask in my follow-up please let me know in the comments below.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the anti-gun, anti- Second Amendment crowd reacts to this. I’m betting on apoplexy, but we’ll see.
That’s it for this morning. Go forth and conquer.