Solid Concepts 3D Prints First Metal Gun

First 3D Printed Metal 1911 Gun

World’s first 3D-printed metal 1911 gun. Credit: Solid Concepts

Using a laser sintering process and powdered metals, Solid Concepts manufactures the world’s first 3D-printed metal gun.

Austin, TX – Solid Concepts, one of the world leaders in 3D Printing services, has manufactured the world’s first 3D Printed Metal Gun using a laser sintering process and powdered metals. The gun, a 1911 classic design, functions beautifully and has already handled 50 rounds of successful firing. It is composed of 33 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 components, and decked with a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) carbon-fiber filled nylon hand grip. The successful production and functionality of the 1911 3D Printed metal gun proves the viability of 3D Printing for commercial applications.

“We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing,” says Kent Firestone, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at Solid Concepts. “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 Solid Concepts used to manufacture the 30+ gun components is one of the most accurate additive manufacturing processes available, and more than accurate enough to build the interchangeable and interfacing parts within the 1911 series gun. The gun proves the tight tolerances laser sintering can meet. Plus, 3D Printed Metal has less porosity issues than an investment cast part and better complexities than a machined part. The 3D Printed gun barrel sees chamber pressures above 20,000 psi every time it is fired. Solid Concepts chose to build the 1911 because the design is public domain.

“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.”

The 3D Printed metal gun proves that 3D Printing isn’t just making trinkets and Yoda heads. The gun manufactured by Solid Concepts debunks the idea that 3D Printing isn’t a viable solution or isn’t ready for mainstream manufacturing. With the right materials and a company that knows how to best program and maintain their machines, 3D printing is accurate, powerful, and here to stay.


9 Comments on "Solid Concepts 3D Prints First Metal Gun"

  1. Hot damn! M1911’s today, Dixon round actions tomorrow. Y’gotta love technology!

  2. You could have a really custom made handgun using the dimensions of a customer’s hand and altering the blue print of the handgun grip accordingly. You’d get a perfectly matched gun for the individual buying it. 3-D printing would make it possible.

    • There is already a person 3D printing custom grips for Olympic style air pistols and .22 pistols. He’s using a wood-like filament so the grips will have the same feel as current carved wood grips. You can send him a photocopy of your hand on the copier or a set of dimensions.

  3. Russell Nielsen | November 9, 2013 at 7:54 am | Reply

    This indeed is awesome, but my big question is this. How much does this new 3D Printed gun cost? Is it cheaper, or comparable with traditionally made firearms?

  4. I wonder why the ammo description was not included? Is special ammo required?
    Why the complexity of having a laser and powdered metals?
    The water jet mini mill which was long anticipated seems to have taken a detour into big business instead of the small business boon it was anticipated to be.
    If I was a small business I would opt to purchase a water jet mini mill using standard metals.

    • If it’s truly a 1911 pistol (looks more like a current Colt’s Patent Government Model)
      it would be in 45 ACP. There are some variations in other calibers like 9mm Luger or Parabellum.
      I would think that the smoothness of the chamber and the rifling inside the barrel would be the hardest to get right. Surface finish is important there as it also is in the sear engagement surfaces.

  5. Nelson Simonson | November 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Reply

    Think how much safer we will all feel when we can fabricate our own conversion kit to turn that encumbered semi-auto AR-15 into a true full-auto M16 killing machine — for defensive purposes only, of course!

    • Anyone can google this and do it easily with basic tools from a hardware store. 3D printing not required.

    • Having fired many rounds from both versions, I’ve found that full auto is a good way to miss a lot. But faster.

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