World’s first 3D-printed metal
gun successfully fired

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Worlds first 3D-printed metal gun 1911 successfully fired Solid Concepts

News: an American company has built and successfully fired the world's first metal 3D-printed gun.

Worlds first 3D-printed metal gun 1911 successfully fired Solid Concepts

American additive manufacturing firm Solid Concepts successfully fired 50 rounds using the handgun, which looks a lot closer to traditional firearms than the plastic Liberator 3D-printed gun that was first fired in May this year.

The design was based on a classic design from 1911 and manufactured using laser-sintered powdered metals. The firm says the gun "functions beautifully and has already handled 50 rounds of successful firing."

It's made from over 30 components printed in stainless steel and an alloy called Inconel 625, and has a selective laser sintered (SLS) carbon-fibre and nylon hand grip.

Worlds first 3D-printed metal gun 1911 successfully fired Solid Concepts

"We're proving this is possible," said Kent Firestone, vice president of additive manufacturing at Solid Concepts. "The technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing."

Firestone said the point of the project was to prove to quality and suitability of 3D-printed parts for real-world applications, and even its superiority over traditional techniques: the printed parts are less porous than cast parts and could be made more made complex than machined parts.

"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," said Firestone. "It's a common misconception that 3D Printing isn't accurate or strong enough, and we're working to change people's perspective."

Worlds first 3D-printed metal gun 1911 successfully fired Solid Concepts
Image courtesy of Solid Concepts Inc.

The firm chose to build the 1911 45ACP firearm because the design is in the public domain and says it is licensed to produce firearms parts.

"We're doing this legally," said Firestone. "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."

Here's some more information from Solid Concepts:


Solid Concepts, a world leader in 3D Printing services, manufactures the world's first 3D Printed Metal Gun.

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.

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 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.

  • dcp59190

    Worst idea ever.

    • angel

      Agreed.

    • Flechette

      Wrong.

  • Peter

    Why don’t constructive, positive 3D printed products get the same, or preferably more coverage than destructive products like weapons? I am really not interested in guns manufactured in any other way, so I’m no more interested in one produced this way either.

    • boooo!

      Because this touches on the much larger issue of free speech / sharing of ideas over the internet.

    • still not down

      They do. There so far have only been two 3d printed gun projects on here, while there have been a billion 3d printed everything else projects on here.

    • Flechette

      Guns are legal tools. Why get so uptight about making one?

  • Tripsy

    Awesome! Thanks for posting Dezeen.

  • Ralph

    But Obama secretly allowing Iran to enrich uranium is perfectly fine I would assume…

  • http://www.libertydisciple.com/ The Liberty Disciple

    Aside from all the fear-mongering by those who do not understand why printing a metal firearm is astounding, this is incredible.

    This not only proves that 3D printing is capable of prototyping, but of actual products that require high tolerances for stress. If you can print ALL the components to make an accurate, fully functional and reliable handgun, you can create just about anything.

    In 20 years, with a computer and a printer, just about ANY company, organization or person could create nearly anything they could dream of object-wise. This opens up practical customization of a nearly infinite number of products by the consumer themselves.

  • james

    You’re gonna shoot your 3D printed eye out with that thing!

  • Mick

    Hurray! If we need something on this planet, then it’s more guns… 3D printed guns. Paranoid Americans.

    • Ruy Jorje

      Who is paranoid now?

  • generalpopulation

    ”an American company has ”… of course it has. If they can’t destroy the world through the war on terrorism they’ll destroy the world through 3D printing.

    • brotho

      Hey, I’m all for America bashing, but define “destroy the world” please.

      • AB

        Every single war since 1945 that they have been involved in. There is your answer brotho.

        • brotho

          That would be “destroy humanity”, the world is safe :p

        • Ruy Jorje

          Yeah, forget about Soviet Union pulling the strings.

  • generalpopulation

    There are other products that require high tolerances of stress other than guns. Why not choose something that’s main purpose isn’t to kill?

    • posss

      generalpopulation, the crucial word there is “choose”, that’s the great thing about choice, it’s personal :)

    • mwigle

      I watched the video. Maybe I’m missing something. When did the gun kill someone/something?

    • Flechette

      Because killing, in and of itself, is not wrong.

      “Murder” is. That’s why we have a different word for it.

      If a gun’s only use was to “murder” then our police would not be able to carry them.

  • r2d2

    Perhaps Dezeen should stop promoting guns. Just because something is 3D printed, should not always be a reason to post it. Please stop acting like 3D printing is something holy, it’s just one of many production methods (like 2D printing is for 2D). I would like to go as far as suggesting for Dezeen to make an apology about all their gun posts. Guns are for killing, so stop promoting them!

    • cliched but true

      Guns don’t kill people. Technically guns are not “for killing” anymore than bows are, they are for throwing small projectiles at speed. This comes from someone who doesn’t own nor would like to own one by the way.

  • borum

    I don’t have moral issues with 3D guns, but I do think it’s silly that a 3D gun would mimic the design of a traditional one, whose shape is the result of steel machining and stamping. A missed opportunity from a design standpoint.

  • RedorDead

    Thank you Dezeen for understanding, yet again, the importance of this design.

  • pickname

    Parts used in Formula One cars prove that too. It is just sad that the capabilities of 3D printing are introduced to the wider public by guns.

    • xwing

      A Formula 1 car is made of parts. They’re not 3D printing entire cars. This is the entire “machine” and produces a very visible result of firing which is basically a controlled explosion. It’s more impressive than a piece of a Formula 1 car that probably isn’t a key function to it competing.

  • hans

    The most interesting point in the comments here.

  • ghea

    I know nothing about guns but I imagine it would take a hell of a lot more time, effort and money to design a gun from the ground up than to reproduce a model that has been around for a hundred years. Still a good point though, and I’m sure it won’t take long for people to start creating their own designs.

  • xwing

    True enough, but they aren’t a design company. To drastically alter parts there may be other issues that crop up effecting the function of the gun. By going with the existing design they know it should work and be safe. There’s also no copyright concerns.

  • Sara

    Can´t believe that people are still so stupid to believe guns are a good idea! I am quite disappointed Dezeen…

    • Jane Edgar

      Sure, us beings have created far more benefitting utilities than hand held life eradicators. However, I will have to say that this technology should be given way more credit than your vague obnoxious comment citing that “it’s stupid”.

      Since when was liberation deemed as a negative feat for humanity? Really, would you prefer it if the state only had the right to bear arms, whilst the citizens had no chance to protect their own from the likelihood of a future totalitarian state?

    • Jane Edgar

      Sure, us beings have created far more benefitting utilities than hand held life eradicators. However, I will have to say that this technology should be given way more credit than your vague obnoxious comment citing that “it’s stupid”. Since when was liberation deemed as a negative feat for humanity?
      Really, would you prefer it if the state only had the right to bear arms, whilst the citizens had no chance to protect their own from the likelihood of a future totalitarian state?

  • Rudy Haugeneder

    I just love playing devil’s advocate: 3D will make Canada and Australia super rich. No matter how large or smaller orders are for goods. Nothing happens without the raw resource(s), something these countries have in huge abundance.

    Unfortunately, 3D cannot manufacture water, the generally speaking worldwide resource that is increasingly scarce and that world wars will be fought over this century, perhaps beginning as soon as a decade from now.

    And those world wars will use new and powerful 3D weaponry of almost unimaginable destructive ability, created at will and used as fast as it is manufactured – within minutes.

    Then there’s lethal pandemics, speeded by 3D wars, and climate change that is further accelerated by these wars, all of which could cull our global population to a small and manageable level, whatever that means and cause the survivors to collectively say “enough is enough” and work as a collective to save what is left and perhaps even reverse a small proportion of the damage.

    So there you have it – the future in a nutshell, emphasis on what many of you will say “nut”.

  • mwigle

    Seeing that this is a company that specialises in REPLACEMENT parts, it looks like they just marketed themselves as being able to print any part missing from a traditionally manufactured firearm.

    It will be fascinating to see the actual exploration of 3D printed objects. You could physically sculpt out the stress lines in an object, and just print the required material for the stresses, making an extremely minimal based design.

  • LOW

    That is very very unfortunate…

  • ave

    Why would you use a very expensive machine and highly skilled engineers to manufacture a totally useless piece of sh*t, that you, if you really want one, can buy around the corner for a couple of hundred bucks?

    • Borum

      You are wildly missing the point. I don’t have your connections and your street cred, so I don’t think i could buy a gun “around the corner”. The issue is that you can print one at home, thus bypassing the gun control laws which we cherish in Europe.

      Plus, you make it sound like a bad business, but you wouldn’t even need the “highly skilled engineers” just the data, and If your local gangster mate can get his hands on the 3D data for several models of guns, then he can manufacture just in time and doesn’t have to run the risk of being caught with the stock of unsold “pieces”.

      • ave

        I think there is (and will be) a crucial difference between the “normal” 3D printing at home and the possibilities of an industrial 3D metal printer using metal laser sintering.

        It’s like comparing your own car with a Bugatti Veyron and claiming that they are the same, because they both have four wheels and a steer.

        Furthermore, I think that the fuzz about printing a working gun isn’t worth all the attention it is getting now.

        I am well aware that almost every new scientific development can (and will) be misused for warfare or other criminal purposes; but that doesn’t mean that I’m cheering the “milestone” above. The news in the Dezeen article about 3D-printed noses and ears is of a much greater value to me.

        In my opinion is that a much greater achievement than printing a gun.

  • rudiger

    Sounds a little paranoid. We also should arm teachers and pupils to prevent school massacres. good thinking.

  • ave

    Absolutely.

  • happycamper

    I’m no expert but I’m not sure this is worth getting worked up about – SLS has been around for 30 years as a way of making complex parts and prototypes. Unless the technology has changed, I can’t see how the average person is going to be able to use a high-powered laser to melt steel (@1500 degrees C) in their garage, not to mention getting the alloys right and achieving the close tolerances between parts etc.

    They don’t even say in the article that this is now a consumer technology, this seems to be Solid Concepts advertising their capabilities by latching onto the controversial and newsworthy topic of printed guns. Surely the technology could have produced this many years ago…

  • acatcalledlemon

    This is not interesting.

  • Cristian Montero

    Don’t like weapons, but this is really revolutionary. Future is coming quickly…

  • manu

    Best comment here by a long shot.

  • Flechette

    Owning guns is a RIGHT.

    Making guns cheaper makes it easier to exercise your rights.

    This 3D-printed gun is equivalent to the printing press.