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Thread: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

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    News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    Solid Concepts printed a Browning 1911 and “it functions beautifully”.
    Read more.

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    I expect to see this story on the Daily Mail website in a few days.

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by fatguy666 View Post
    I expect to see this story on the Daily Mail website in a few days.
    No doubt with an editorial claiming that DMLS machines will shortly be available to all benefit claimants, or some other ridiculous nonsense...

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    The 3D printed Browning 1911 pistol was made of more than 30 parts produced by the DMLS printer using stainless steel and Inconel metal powders.
    Cue the reclassification of these powders as "weapons materials" and corresponding sale/export controls*.

    (* unless you live in Texas of course, where you'll be able to pick 'em up from your local Walmart along with your Fruit Loops, Smuckers, etc)

    Hopefully there's going to be some access controls on these machines as I'm thinking that an easy source of untraceable firearms is going to be very welcome in some circles. Apologies if this is all Daily Mail of me.

    Shame they couldn't have used it for something a bit more useful than a handgun - e.g. coffee machine, etc.

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    With the cost of the equipment to do this it would be far easier and cheaper to buy the gun in the first place. As an exercise to show 'printing' of a complex object in metal and prove it's durability I have to say I am impressed.

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    Hopefully there's going to be some access controls on these machines as I'm thinking that an easy source of untraceable firearms is going to be very welcome in some circles. Apologies if this is all Daily Mail of me.
    Well, the huge cost and the technical expertise to operate one are going to be significant stumbling blocks without any formal control. I suspect, given they're industrial scale machines, that the company that builds them will keep extensive records of who owns them. The metal powders required to feed them are almost certainly controlled, as pretty much all powdered materials are exposive, and powdered metals are almost certainly highly toxic. And I wouldn't call painstakingly fabricating more than 30 separate components then hand-finishing and hand-assembling them easy. Plus I suspect that printed devices like this have more significant minor variation than factory-built weapons would, so they'd have a much more individual forensic "fingerprint". We're not quite at the perfect/cheap replication stage yet (and read John Scalzi's "The Android's Dream" for a very interesting insight into just how untraceable that would be even if we did get there).

    I'm pretty sure it's currently far easier to source firearms then using state of the art technological methods: a couple of well placed bribes or a small scale casting plant would be just as hard to trace and effective.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    Shame they couldn't have used it for something a bit more useful than a handgun - e.g. coffee machine, etc.
    That would hardly be a test of the materials and process though, would it? For demonstrating strength and consistency in manufacturing, firearms are actually a perfect choice. Any weak sections or deviations from design and the gun either blows up or shoots crooked.

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    Man shoots himself with 3d printed gun will be in the Mail then
    Old puter - still good enuff till I save some pennies!

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    We're not quite at the perfect/cheap replication stage yet (and read John Scalzi's "The Android's Dream" for a very interesting insight into just how untraceable that would be even if we did get there).
    I remember some techno thriller where the manufacturer of explosives deliberately "doped" the mix with a specific mix of chemicals to provide a fingerprint. Law enforcement were then able to use that to trace suppliers etc. I guess something similar could be done with the metal powders in thls. Oh, and I remember reading a Star Trek Voyager novel that had a similar fingerprint tech included in replicated objects.

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    I'm pretty sure it's currently far easier to source firearms then using state of the art technological methods: a couple of well placed bribes or a small scale casting plant would be just as hard to trace and effective. That would hardly be a test of the materials and process though, would it? For demonstrating strength and consistency in manufacturing, firearms are actually a perfect choice. Any weak sections or deviations from design and the gun either blows up or shoots crooked.
    I was actually thinking of an espresso machine at the time - that also has to take pressure (although no where near what a firearm has to). But has the advantage that no approvals are needed from the ATF.

    Is it just me or are the recent stories about these 3D printers either about how the prices are tumbling, or how they can be used for nefarious purposes? Still as saracen has said on an earlier article, maybe in home uses (which this isn't) it's a tech looking for use cases?
    Last edited by crossy; 11-11-2013 at 02:58 PM.

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by fatguy666 View Post
    I expect to see this story on the Daily Mail website in a few days.
    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    No doubt with an editorial claiming that DMLS machines will shortly be available to all benefit claimants, or some other ridiculous nonsense...
    Lol I had the same thoughts, gotta "love" the Daily Mail...

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    I'm pretty sure it's currently far easier to source firearms then using state of the art technological methods: a couple of well placed bribes or a small scale casting plant would be just as hard to trace and effective.
    .
    You have to wonder at what point do the economies of scale make 3d print guns viable and what value would organised crime put on something that is potentially an un-traceable fire arm; risk of dodgy lawyer costs vs. up front capital expenditure. The people in control of the powders etc. could always just be bribed as in your casting plant example.

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    I remember some techno thriller where the manufacturer of explosives deliberately "doped" the mix with a specific mix of chemicals to provide a fingerprint.
    The Android's Dream has a similar thing where the powders for replicators are chemically keyed to the specific model (although in that case it's to force you to buy your replacement powder from the original manufacturer, of course). Someone gets traced using an unregistered replicator because they have to source the specific powder for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    I was actually thinking of an espresso machine at the time - that also has to take pressure (although no where near what a firearm has to). But has the advantage that no approvals are needed from the ATF.
    I considered that, but I suspect the manufacturing tolerance is very high (i.e. parts could be much further out of shape and still making a working espresso machine). I think it's the accuracy as much as the strength that they were trying to demonstrate.

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    Is it just me or are the recent stories about these 3D printers either about how the prices are tumbling, or how they can be used for nefarious purposes? Still as saracen has said on an earlier article, maybe in home uses (which this isn't) it's a tech looking for use cases?
    I think at home it will always be a tech looking for a use case, because manufacture will always be cheaper in bulk due to economies of scale. It's all about prototyping or producing non-mass-market components: so while a few geeks will have them at home to do cool making and hacking, I can't see a mass-market appeal for home 3D printing. In industry it's already demonstrating its worth in prototyping and small-scale production runs. But that's not really a home use. The only reason to make something at home (IMNSHO, anyway) is that you don't want to be seen/traced buying it. As the mandatory XKCD says:


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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by crossy View Post
    Hopefully there's going to be some access controls on these machines as I'm thinking that an easy source of untraceable firearms is going to be very welcome in some circles. Apologies if this is all Daily Mail of me.

    Shame they couldn't have used it for something a bit more useful than a handgun - e.g. coffee machine, etc.
    I think the streets are no less safe, most of the street 'gangsters' lack the knowledge to even speak properly never mind using a 3D printer that requires an engineering degree. As for the more serious organised crime gangs who could maybe kidnap a science boffin and force him to work or kill his family (Daily Fail enough scenario?), I'm sure those people have already got all the suitable firearms they need. Aside from that knives and other weapons can be just as dangerous anyway... hell Dale Cregan had grenades, and he didn't use a 3D printer.

    Guns are quite precision engineered high tolerance mechanisms, it's the perfect object to demonstrate that it is *possible* to make something high quality and strong with a 3D printer, maybe the actual gun manufacturers would be interested in some re-tooling...

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    The truth is that with a few good quality DIY tools as sold in DIY stores & a bit of technical know how, it is quite possible to knock up a gun which would at close quarters fire a projectile at a target. The weapon may not be as clever in design as the metal 3D printed one, but should have the capability to fire a projectile or explode in the hand of the user! Metal or plastic 3D printer equipment not required!
    This does not include the ease of obtaining a weapon from the back of a pub, reactivation of deactivated ornamental weapons or modification of metal toy guns!

    Unfortunately, the world is flooded with Guns!

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    This could be used to make an awesome custom protection helmet for the Moose.

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    This could be used to make an awesome custom protection helmet for the Moose.
    That was a late night thought I had - that this particular device makes a lot of sense for some kind of "copy shop" application. Email them the description file, along with payment, and then pick up the finished article a couple of days later.

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    I had one thought which is 'it's no longer who's quick on the draw! but who's quick on the 3D print!'

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    Re: News - Direct metal laser sintering used to 3D-print working metal pistol

    I wonder how much a full set of cartridges will cost for the printer?!

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