Military Review

Weapon from printer

After the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that the 3D seal had entered the Iron Age, experts in the field of additive manufacturing began to develop a variety of new concepts for the 3D seal. One of the most interesting concepts of using three-dimensional printing was demonstrated by the American company Solid Concepts (Austin, Texas), which produced the world's first metal pistol made using an 3D printer. To create a fully functional rifle weapon, the engineers at Solid Concepts have applied “laser sintering technology.” Printed using 3D printers weapons appeared before, but before that, all models were made of plastic, not metals. Models made on consumer 3D printers were not reliable and could rarely make more 10 shots.

Today, Solid Concepts is one of the largest companies in the United States that uses 3D printing for the production of parts and industrial prototyping for customers from a wide variety of areas, including space and aviation industry. However, this was not unusual, something that other companies with the same equipment could not afford. The design of the pistol is one in one repetition of the American classic - M1911 developed by John Browning, who created this model at the beginning of the 100th century. Since then, the pistol was released in a multi-million circulation, many companies were involved in its production in various versions. For 1911 years of being in operation, the MXNUMX has been thoroughly studied and tested. Solid Concepts completely manufactured the gun, including the rifled barrel, from steel and inconel (an alloy of chromium and nickel) using the DMLS method - direct laser sintering. This technology is very popular and involves the process of layer-by-layer "growing" of the finished product sample from metal dust, which is melted in the right places using a laser beam.

According to representatives of the Texas company, they wanted to show the world what metal is capable of, and also to find a way that would ensure high accuracy of shooting and coped with high temperature. What the company really was ahead of the rest, is in the manufacture of an active pistol entirely using DMLS technology. This required from them not only engineering talents, but also a certain level of courage. More than 500 shots from the produced pistols were made from the hands of the company employees themselves in the shooting range. Pretty good company advertising, because the company is not planning to seriously engage in the production of weapons. Production of printed M1911 took Solid Concepts in order to most clearly dispel the myth that exists around 3D-printing - supposedly it can be used to produce only a variety of plastic trinkets.

Weapon from printer

The complete gun manufacturing process takes from 25 to 35 hours of time. The duration of the work depends on the materials used and the printer. Today, many 3D printers are priced at less than 1 thousands of dollars, but Solid Concepts experts say that amateurs will not be able to make a steel gun that they have turned out to be. In the future, the company expects to conduct in this direction another series of experiments.

Produced with an 3D printer, the gun is an automatic M1911 pistol designed by the famous gunsmith John Moses Browning. Until 1985, this weapon was actively used in the American army, and today it is the most popular model of small arms, not only among all fans of shooting sports in the shooting range, but also among Hollywood directors.

It is noteworthy that John Browning himself, in the process of creating his famous pistol, first made a mock-up of his working parts out of cardboard, drawing an 2D-drawing and simply cutting it along the contour. Thus, it is safe to say that thanks to Solid Concepts, the weapon has moved into a new dimension. As American engineers told reporters, more than the 30 components of the M1911 pistol were made using laser sintering technology, in which powdered metals using a laser melt and fit tightly together in accordance with a given computer model. After the metal powder melts, the industrial 3D printer superimposes the next layer over the previous one, repeating the whole process until the computer redirects the nozzle of the device. At the final stage of production, the remaining powder is removed from the product, and the printed product is cooled and gradually hardens.

The M1911 pistol includes the 33 component, which is manufactured from stainless steel and a new nickel-chrome heat resistant alloy called Inconel-625. Even the pistol grip, which is made of carbon fiber with nylon coating, is also fully printed using an 3D printer. Unlike most M1911 pistols, printed in plastic, it was possible to make its barrel rifled. According to the engineers of the company Solid Concepts, a number of final stages of production were made in manual mode, while the weapon was not machined. In order to assemble a pistol from molded parts, it took the company specialists about 7 minutes.

A press release published by the company states that the purpose of the experiment was not to reduce the cost of the production process. The American company has tried to prove to everyone that, to date, metal objects printed on an 3D printer can be simpler to manufacture and more high-quality than those produced using traditional methods. For example, 3D printing technology provides much lower porosity of parts than common casting. For the same reason, printed products and designs are more durable and durable, if no errors were made during their release.

The barrel of the M1911 pistol is able to withstand the pressure in 14000 kg per square centimeter at the time of the shot. As part of the test, the printed gun fired 50 in a row and was left intact. Solid Concepts engineers were able to prove that modern 3D metal weapon printing is possible. "At present, our company is the only one in the United States that holds a federal license for firearms and can produce parts and pistols to order," said Kent Firestone, who holds the position of vice president of additive manufacturing. At the same time, the approximate cost of the gun made by this method was not announced.

As modern practice shows, almost every technology has a downside. For example, we all were delighted with mobile phones, the Internet, social networks and e-mail, until we learned that personal information could be easily tracked using these modern technologies. The capabilities of modern 3D printers, which are already amazing, are no secret to anyone. Over time, when they become everyday household appliances, the same as a microwave oven or an LCD TV, it will be difficult for the government to control what people will print using these devices at home.

At the same time, representatives of Solid Concepts say that the technology for manufacturing metal weapons on the 3D printer is unlikely to fall into the hands of criminals and smugglers, as today there is a huge difference between desktop printers for additive manufacturing and industrial models. The use of the latter requires large financial costs and high professionalism, they are available only to large companies. In order not to disturb the public, the company announced that an 3D printer suitable for providing this quality DMLS printing costs hundreds of thousands of dollars in the market.

At the same time, judging by the latest statements by experts, the main reason for possible alarm is that from now on a person will be able to make a weapon that does not look like a weapon. He gets into the hands the ability to create things of any form that will not succumb to the well-established methods of defining weapons and the principles of weapons legislation. And the control of such handicrafts at the present time is an uncharted area.

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  1. PSih2097
    PSih2097 5 December 2013 07: 54
    N yes, progress does not stand still, soon the tanks will print with an assembly kit ...
    1. Serg 122
      Serg 122 5 December 2013 12: 45
      Deny! Prohibit immediately !! laughing They thought up Ato .... Nafih then went to the shops - he sat at the computer, printed what he wanted .... But in our country there are some shops. By all go broke, especially if the delivery of consumables to this printer at home will be .... laughing
  2. Denis
    Denis 5 December 2013 08: 12
    From theory to practice, you yourself know how much ...
    It’s clear that this is possible, but the whole question is HOW?
    Leonardo da Vinci designed helicopters and tanks, and maybe someone before. How much time has passed before the first ones, not to mention how many are viable?
    1. fisherman
      fisherman 5 December 2013 09: 57
      not to mention how many are up to viable, has passed?

      yes, most likely not soon

      in addition :
      Using the latter requires high financial costs and high professionalism, they are available only to large companies.
      it's not cheap
      1. tilovaykrisa
        tilovaykrisa 5 December 2013 10: 08
        A year has not passed since the first plastic from a private trader and now in metal, this is a very rapidly developing technology, the only thing that will slow down is, of course, the cost of such a product and the printer itself capable of "sintering" metal, but everything will be like with the first 3D printers they used to cost space, too, and right now, at times cheaper.
  3. makarov
    makarov 5 December 2013 08: 42
    how much granny paid for hidden and explicit advertising ???
    This is the third time this month that this infa is published. The only difference in the number of shots: first 50, then 500, and now again 50.
    1. Apollo
      Apollo 5 December 2013 08: 51
      Video footage in the subject
  4. La-5
    La-5 5 December 2013 09: 21
    So this is not a 3D printer, but a whole automatic CNC welding machine of some kind, and its price is not small.
    1. realist
      realist 5 December 2013 09: 51
      Well, the first computers were also the size of a gym and cost like a spaceship, so in a short time all this will change, it’s just scary to imagine that it will be available not only to terrorists and gangs - those and so everything is there, it’s scary that it will be available to all sorts of thugs , morons and maniacs - sectarians - it's worse than monkeys with a grenade.
      1. Nayhas
        Nayhas 5 December 2013 10: 20
        Quote: Realist
        it’s scary to imagine that it will become accessible not only to terrorists and gangs - those and so have everything, it’s scary that it will be available to all scumbags, morons and maniacs - sectarians - it’s worse than monkeys with a grenade.

        C'mon, making weapons is now quite possible in artisanal conditions. Former dekhan in Afghanistan without any technical education is doing AK and not only there.
  5. Kostyanich
    Kostyanich 5 December 2013 09: 37
    waiting for the first printed tank
    1. makarov
      makarov 5 December 2013 11: 54
      I will succumb to the general mood, open the refrigerator, and print home-made sausages ...
    2. unclevad
      unclevad 5 December 2013 12: 21
      "In principle, a living being can be sent by telegraph. But the difficulties currently exceed our capabilities." :-)
      I don’t remember who said it, but it’s close to printing the tank. The question is economic and technological feasibility.
  6. kafa
    kafa 5 December 2013 10: 16
    the main thing is not to sleep with ours. the tank doesn’t make sense to print completely, but individual details in the field
  7. USNik
    USNik 5 December 2013 11: 49
    Well done guys, they came up with a good toy. At this pace, it will soon be possible to print a plane for yourself and fly somewhere to the warmer climes. winked But in fact, the resource and cost of this jet pistol raises great doubts. And the printer itself is more expensive than a real CNC machine. It is much simpler to take a pipe from a neighboring stove, charge it with a RPG-7 grenade and you're done, and you don’t have any tricky technologies.
    1. Alexandr_n
      Alexandr_n 5 December 2013 14: 57
      So after all, the article noted several times that the manufacturers of this gun produced it only to demonstrate the capabilities of the printer itself. Obviously, the choice fell on the gun, and not on any printed alarm clock or film camera just because the printed functioning gun attracts clearly more public attention, and therefore makes it an excellent advertisement. There was no talk of any serial or small-scale or even piece production of weapons in the future.
    2. Assistant
      Assistant 5 December 2013 20: 00
      It is much simpler to take a pipe from a neighboring stove, charge it with a RPG-7 grenade and you're done, and you don’t have any tricky technologies.

      But what if this very grenade from RPG-7 is printed on a cheap Chinese 3d printer (when they spread and become cheaper)? It’s a maximum of 500 meters, and if they use a grenade launcher
      a pipe from a neighbor's stove
      , then, most likely, they will shoot at point blank range. Moreover, such a grenade will not be stored in warehouses, it is not necessary to ensure its reliability for the storage period.
      And also call into the enemy’s territory and print several tens / hundreds of thousands of shells for petal mines or cartridge mines on a 3D plastic printer ... Of course, now it’s absolutely not profitable, but here’s how it will be next ...
      1. Kir
        Kir 5 December 2013 20: 10
        While the so-called 3D printers will not be able to work with composite materials, they will still be in massive demand, but whether they are generally capable of "printing" such materials is still a question. Yes, and even in the previous article, it was shown that there is also refinement, which means there is one more disadvantage. Then let's not forget such as in what temperature and humidity mode they should work, otherwise it was the same with the boring Swiss, they have a temperature with an annual fluctuation of +/- 2 degrees, and they should ideally be installed on a "floating" concrete slab, and what happened in reality? So I had to every day, but what day in the summer I had to expose and after dinner.
        1. anomalocaris
          anomalocaris 8 December 2013 15: 53
          The chamber itself is filled with inert gas. In principle, nothing particularly complicated.
  8. bazilio
    bazilio 5 December 2013 11: 49
    Very entertaining. Of course, such printers are unlikely to appear at home so far, so the price is high, plus power consumption. Laser sintering, it seems to me, will require a lot more voltage than 220V, and even more so the US 120V
  9. Fobos-grunt
    Fobos-grunt 5 December 2013 11: 56
    Quote: Realist
    ... will be available to all sorts of scumbags, morons and maniacs ...

    While the shooters themselves should be afraid, Well, they will print a gun (automatic grenade launcher) and it will turn out as Sholokhov wrote:
    ... ... at the shooting range, a rifle was torn in Alexey’s hands, a piece of the shutter mutilated his cheek. The left hand was torn off to the elbow, but Alexey also plays the tsigarki skillfully and without a miss ...
    Quiet Don T I
  10. reality
    reality 5 December 2013 12: 02
    Enlighten me please! Does the 3D printer blow dust, then melt it with a laser so that it hardens? and so layer by layer?
    And what is the name of a machine that processes a blank disc with a laser from all sides? So do expensive alloy wheels for am, for example.
    Is it the same machine, are the settings just different or not?
    1. vanaheym
      vanaheym 5 December 2013 12: 20
      Alloy wheels are made on milling machines.
      Here's something like this:
      1. cdrt
        cdrt 5 December 2013 23: 19
        Quote: vanaheym
        Alloy wheels are made on milling machines.
        Here's something like this:

        And the signature to the clip says that the forged wheels are forged. Apparently they first make forgings, then they mill
    2. Canep
      Canep 5 December 2013 14: 42
      Quote: reality
      Enlighten me please! Does the 3D printer blow dust, then melt it with a laser so that it hardens?
      Look at a bunch of videos on the Internet, and on the wiki there is an article about a 3D printer. For instance:
      finished goods
      The 3D printer is very convenient for making investment castings in small batch foundries. In 99% of cases, products made on a 3D printer are plastic.
      Quote: reality
      And what is the name of the machine, which processes a blank disc with a laser from all sides
      Laser cutting machine It doesn’t process from all sides, but mainly cuts sheet metal.

      In general, these are completely different machines. Laser for laser cutting of metal have a power of tens of kilowatts. A laser 3D printer is much less power.
  11. sergey32
    sergey32 5 December 2013 12: 03
    I read a couple of years ago that amers worked to ensure that 3d printers were installed on aircraft carriers, so as not to carry a bunch of spare parts.
  12. alex-kon
    alex-kon 5 December 2013 12: 40
    I believe that from an economic point of view this is not justified. 3D printing is mainly used in development because it is the fastest and cheapest way to get parts of a given shape. But in the production itself, different metals are used for different parts. Moreover, the metal structure is often very important, and in this process it is rather difficult to manage. Therefore, I believe that this is just an advertising move.
  13. abrakadabre
    abrakadabre 5 December 2013 12: 53
    For such a household printer, there will still be a problem. Perhaps a little. Namely:
    consumables, that is, alloy powders with highly non-domestic and stable properties. And many varieties. This is not in every convenience store.
    Who knows how much cheaper or more expensive is 1 kg of high-quality steel powder in comparison with 1 kg of blank or rolled metal? All else being equal.
  14. vinni
    vinni 5 December 2013 13: 18
    Guys, don’t you think that we are standing on the eve of a grand schucher ??? Serious hemorrhoids await our society as these technologies develop and spread, I mean the printing of various weapons, and almost uncontrollably ...
  15. Penek
    Penek 5 December 2013 13: 24
    Quote: makarov
    I will succumb to the general mood, open the refrigerator, and print home-made sausages ...

    And another bottle of the capital ..
    Printing a gun is a worthy application of high-tech and super-expensive equipment. When color copier printers appeared, people rushed to copy rubles and dollars. I had to modify the copier software so that they ignore the bills.

    That would be the power to send to print food products for the people (from sawdust, for example), the Nobel Prize would be provided.
    1. abrakadabre
      abrakadabre 5 December 2013 13: 29
      They have already tried to create grub from sawdust. Consumer properties are those.
  16. abrakadabre
    abrakadabre 5 December 2013 13: 27
    Something is missing from the group photo of the printed parts. And it is stated that the design is 100% printed.
    1. Kir
      Kir 5 December 2013 17: 24
      So in the previous article it was pointed out that the springs did not do this way, as they say, an extra reason to think about the quality and capabilities of this miracle.
      It's another matter when the technology of "growing" materials with predetermined properties becomes seriously cheaper, then we will see a product made from scratch, and so ...
      So, honestly, I’m interested in something else, that they began to write about it so actively? obviously some kind of catch.
  17. pensioner
    pensioner 5 December 2013 14: 11
    Weapon from printer
    At this pace, soon in order to buy a printer, you will need to go to a psychiatrist. For help ...
    1. Canep
      Canep 5 December 2013 14: 39
      With the union, the typewriter had to be registered with the police. God forbid you start printing flyers.
      1. pensioner
        pensioner 5 December 2013 14: 59
        Quote: Canep
        With the union, the typewriter had to be registered with the police.

        And all the replicating equipment was registered with the KGB. At least to me so the head. the department said.
  18. Letnab
    Letnab 5 December 2013 17: 13
    a start! the technology for manufacturing metal parts will still be improved ... for now, in the near future, our children will be entertained by the manufacture of plastic parts, such as a children's designer, to build houses there, cars, including pistols and automatics ...! the future is behind this, and we won’t push back from it, but we must take it into our arsenal, and the powers that be will have to be brother, all this under certain control
  19. Alex_T
    Alex_T 5 December 2013 18: 45
    3D printing technology is most relevant for single and small-scale production of parts of complex shapes for serious companies and enterprises, because one printer replaces metal-cutting machines and additional technological equipment (fixtures, special tools, press and injection molds, etc.). But not every metal or alloy is suitable for welding even in an argon atmosphere (no one has canceled the need to protect the molten metal from oxidation). With the print shown in the video, it is impossible to achieve a material structure similar to the structure of a forged product (increased strength with mechanical work hardening). Therefore, a cold-forged barrel will be many times more tenacious and durable than a simple chiseled one, just like a leaf spring or a torsion bar with technological work hardening work many times longer than without hardening. As for the widely advertised "weapon printing" in the media, this technology will not sink to the level of everyday life, it is too expensive equipment. You can make a "barrel" on any, the simplest lathe and milling machine, which in total will cost much cheaper than a printer for metal, and that all gun lovers have these machines in their basements ???
    1. Kir
      Kir 5 December 2013 20: 00
      By the way, even under the Soviet Union, a portable "gun" was developed for diffusion welding in outer space, and so they cooked something that was not cooked by other welding methods. It remains only to understand what happened to the development.
    2. cdrt
      cdrt 5 December 2013 23: 26
      So, after all, the majority (in the number of enterprises, and, probably, in the number of employees) in mechanical engineering are medium-sized enterprises. Especially in Europe. 300-500 workers, about 1000 employees in total. Parties are small, clearly on order.
      For them, this technology is probably the future. It is clear that if the same type of product is produced in large batches (auto components for example), then such a technology will lose the traditional one, but for others, the future is quite so cheap.
  20. Kir
    Kir 6 December 2013 02: 32
    [media = http: //]
    Although it’s not quite a topic, I’m wondering if it’s customary to paint production facilities and equipment either in blue or light green, then in Portugal it’s red, their psyche is different, because the colors are chosen with a certain calculation, Yes by the way, although the video is of an advertising nature, it is all the more interesting because it contains an advertisement for Free CAD, or rather Power SHAPE, I’d like to blurt it out for free, because this software jumps from paid to free, then again to paid, then again ...., at least after registration, they will send you the key and give you the opportunity to download the 2014 version.
  21. Nikita63
    Nikita63 8 January 2014 15: 03
    well, what progress has come to) now the 21st century is felt wink .