The first-ever 3D printed gun was made in May, but it was a plastic version. Now for the first time in history a real metal gun is made using 3D printing techniques. Company Solid Concepts is responsible for manufacturing the first 3D printed metal gun. Kent Firestone, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at Solid Concepts is very excited about this: ”we’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing.”
“And we’re doing this legally,” he continues. “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 gun has already proven to be successful, because it has already handled 50 rounds of firing without failing even once. It’s a classic design from 1911 and it is composed of 33 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 components as well as it’s decked with a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) carbon-river filled nylon hand grib.
Solid Concepts thinks the 3D Printed metal gun has proven that 3D Printing isn’t just making trinkets and Yoda heads. “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.”
However, 3D printing guns also has a dark side and – understandably – there is a lot of controversy about this. The big question is: what happens when these data will fall into the wrong hands? Unfortunately, it seems like this thing is already happening, because last month police officers found what appeared to be illegally 3D printed gun parts in a house in Manchester. In addition, a 3D printer was found in the same house.
If 3D printers are being sold worldwide – which is happening, more and more criminals will find ways to create their own guns. Of course they will need the right programs to create them, but the Manchester incident proves they’ve come a long way already. Will 3D printing unintentionally help criminals to achieve their goals? It’s probably too early to tell, but companies that work in the field of 3D printing guns will have to remain thinking about this subject very carefully and do everything they can to keep their data away from hackers.