First 3D-Printed Metal Gun! That Addresses Politicians' Detectability Worries, Right?

Solid Concepts gunJust months after the first 3D-printed gun appeared in
un-lovely but very workable plastic, Solid Concepts, an engineering
firm that specialized in rapid prototyping and custom
manufacturing, says it 3D-printed a gun in 17-4 Stainless Steel and
Inconel 625 (a nickel-chromium alloy). Politicians have fretted
since Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed unveiled the first
3D-printed gun that plastic pistols
raised concerns about undetectable firearms
. Do you think the
Solid Concepts announcement will allay their concerns and set them
to worrying over something else? Hmmm…

On the company blog, Solid Concepts’ Alyssa Parkinson

Solid Concepts is a world leader of 3D Printing services, and
our ability to 3D Print the world’s first metal gun solidifies our
standing. The gun is a classic 1911, a model that is at once
timeless and public domain. It functions beautifully: Our resident
gun expert has fired 50 successful rounds and hit a few bull’s eyes
at over 30 yards. The gun is composed of 30+ 3D Printed components
with 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 materials. We completed
it with a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) 3D Printed hand grip,
because we’re kind of crazy about 3D Printing.

I like the combination of old-school 1911 (a model of gun I
enjoy shooting) and new technology, although the century-plus old
design also enabled the company to fashion something that went bang
in a time-proven way without treading on anybody’s intellectual
property rights. Interestingly, the barrel rifling was printed
right into the gun, not machined. In fact, no machining was used,
although there was some hand finishing on the final product.

For Solid Concepts, a California-based with offices in Arizona,
Texas, and Michigan, (the gun was printed in Texaas) the 3D-printed
gun, more than anything else, was an attention-grabbing way of
demonstrating the company’s ability to use new technology to
construct tough and durable products. As Parkinson points out, this
feat isn’t likely to be replicated in the home workshop anytime
soon. “The industrial printer we used costs more than my college
tuition (and I went to a private university) and the engineers who
run our machines are top of the line; they are experts who know
what they’re doing and understand 3D Printing better than anyone in
this business.”

But new technology has a way of coming down in price as it
matures and spreads—a phenomenon that can only be encouraged when

laser-sintering patents expire in a few months
. That won’t
necessarily put laser-sintering printers within range of your
budget in the short term, but it’s certainly a step in that

Somehow, I don’t Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Steve Israel, and
the other politicians who have been publicly rending their garments
over plastic guns being enturely satisfied by this development.

from Hit & Run

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