Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Technology

Company That Made the First 3D Printed Metal Gun Is Selling Them For $11,900 182

Posted by samzenpus
from the print-and-shoot dept.
Lucas123 writes "Solid Concepts, which last month revealed the first fully-functional, metal 3D gun, announced today that they're putting 100 limited-edition models of the 1911 .45 caliber pistol on sale for $11,900 each. Solid Concept demonstrated the gun by initially firing 50 rounds through it. Since then, the company said it has fired nearly 2,000 rounds through the pistol without a single malfunction. Unlike the very first 3D printed gun — the single-shot, plastic Liberator — Solid Concepts says is not trying to promote the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. Its purpose in printing the firearm was to demonstrate its ability to turn out precision, durable parts that could withstand the massive pressure created by firing a bullet. People who purchase one of the limited-edition guns will also have the chance to tour Solid Concept's Texas facility to see their gun being printed, and to join their lead additive manufacturing engineers on the range for the first test firing of their limited 1911 gun."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Company That Made the First 3D Printed Metal Gun Is Selling Them For $11,900

Comments Filter:
  • by retroworks (652802) on Friday December 20, 2013 @08:09AM (#45744751) Homepage Journal
    by 3d printed guns happens without the firing of a single shot.
    • even in real robberies there is no need to shoot every time, I guess... danger number one is mishandling IMHO.

      Anyway, right to print arms FTW (for the wealthy)

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        I seem to remember reading claims that a large number of guns used in robberies are actually not even loaded; and thus are little more than props. Without bullets it is no more of a weapon than a rock (which is still a formidable weapon... quite an expensive, precision crafted rock)

        • Even unloaded, a gun is much more a weapon than is a rock. The sight of a gun-waving robber will induce people to do all sorts of things a rock-waving robber would not. Imagine the irony of serving a life sentence for felony murder because you brandished an empty gun, and the responding police opened fire, negligently killing a bystander. You then own that murder.
      • by LoRdTAW (99712)

        The gun is there to threaten the victim with death if they do not comply. Sometimes the crook happens to be carrying a gun.

        Many times criminals who shoot someone during a robbery shoot because they are scared. The victim makes a quick unexpected move and the criminal panics and fires. That or the criminal did not expect someone to be at the place of robbery such as a home break-in where they thought the house was empty.

        I was watching that show, First 48. They had an episode where a guy broke into the cab of

    • In what way? By printing a gun from 1911? I'm thinking the patent on that ran out more than a few years ago, which just happens to be why the 1911 is so popular. Anyone can make their own version, even if it is an exact copy of the original.
      • yeah so you can get a machined version much cheaper.

        incidentally, you can by cnc machines and cnc lathes for making it for cheaper than the metal printer used for this.

        but they are making a good point about how it can be used for rapid prototyping of durable parts OR for making parts that can not be machine. I mean, how the fuck would you machine a honeycomb structure inside an object?? which is the real point why 3d printed car parts are going to be a big thing, because you can manufacture parts that have a different structure!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It isn't about the price of the printed gun, it is about exclusivity. This gun is a limited edition, and will be from the set of the first 100 metal guns ever made by using a printer. That is bound to give the gun some value that exceeds the sum of its parts.

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            It isn't about the price of the printed gun, it is about exclusivity. This gun is a limited edition, and will be from the set of the first 100 metal guns ever made by using a printer. That is bound to give the gun some value that exceeds the sum of its parts.

            And yet, what's to stop someone from making a copy of the file and hitting print on their own set of printers?

            Yes, you get to be one of the first 100 to own a 3D printed gun. Too bad someone may extract the model file and be able to print up 100 more co

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          This is what they should really be spending their money and effort on. Printing 3D objects that can't be made in traditional methods. 3D Printing will never be better than traditional methods for items that can be done using traditional methods. And that's not just because we haven't given 3D printing enough time to catch up. It would be like a laser printer catching up with an offset printing press. Impossible. We should instead focus on getting 3D printers to print up objects that can't be produced b
          • I think the initial promise of 3d printing is having something that can produce prototypes or low numbers of items made cheaper.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              I think that was the initial promise, but that's old hat now. Today we want to print final parts, preferably which require no additional finishing, let alone machining.

              It's not that it's not still cool to use 3d printing for prototyping, but now what we really want is to make stuff with it that you can't make any other way, or which would otherwise be cost-prohibitive.

              • Yeah, that's kind of what I meant by " or low numbers of items made cheaper". The quantity of what you want to make often dicates the process. If its a super low quantity you often have to pay a prohibitavly high price per item.

        • incidentally, you can by cnc machines and cnc lathes for making it for cheaper than the metal printer used for this.

          I'd like to see a subtractive-manufacturing machine that's FOSS in the same way that a RepRap is. Does such a thing exist?

          • by idunham (2852899)

            I believe so, try here [reprap.org] or here [reprap.org].
            The first one I linked can be used for both additive and subtractive processes.

      • by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Friday December 20, 2013 @08:41AM (#45744919)

        I think the "highway robbery" in this case comes from charging $11,900 for a pistol. Then again, nobody is putting a gun to anybody's head to buy one.

        If they pistols don't sell, though, maybe they can figure out how to print 3D gold Krugerrands from lead. In fact, maybe that's why they've already got "lead additive manufacturing engineers".

        • Faking gold is tough: It's about twice as dense as lead; but is almost comically unlike tungsten or uranium (more or less your only options on density) in every other respect.
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            I've often wondered about this. Let's say you want a fake gold bar. You could start off with something that's the same density as gold (a cheaper metal alloy of the correct density), and then just coat it in a thin layer of actual gold. Sure there is going to be some real gold there, so it's not completely fake, but it has to be cheaper than making an entire gold brick. Sure they would find out if they every cut the brick in half, or melted it down, but you could be way out of town by the time that happe
            • by Karth (14680)

              There's significant evidence that someone has been injecting tungsten filled "gold bars" into the world gold market. They're the correct weight, they displace the correct amount of water, the only way to tell is that the electrical resistance is something like .01% off. And cutting them in half, of course.

              • Actual link to real facts below. "significant evidence" is one attempt in the past 10 years, detected by the dealer on receipt because of an obvious weight discrepancy? This must be some new definition of significant with which I am unfamiliar; trend identified by a single data point.

                http://www.perthmintbullion.com/us/blog/blog/12-03-26/Fake_Bars_-_The_Facts.aspx
              • by mlts (1038732)

                About a year or two, this was rampant, as there were pictures of people who drilled a hole, had a grey core staring back at them in their 100 ounce gold bars. To boot, the bars were made by a very reliable mint, had assay certificates, and had no obvious marks, so the counterfeiters were very good.

            • It has already been done, mostly at the retail level. Stupid people will have a gold plated lead bar while the smarter ones will cast gold around tungsten. There was a story last about one turning up in New York city and I think there had been a number of other instances of it happening in Europe previously.
          • by TheCarp (96830)

            Except Kurgerands are not pure gold coins, they are coins with an oz of gold in them, but that gold is alloyed to make it less soft and more worthy of use in circulation (as $1000+ coins jingle around in many pockets)

            I would think this gives you some more leeway when it comes to its properties, at least enough to fool many buyers.

          • Who said anything about faking gold? I had assumed that the 3D printer folks would put into practice what we alchemists have known for centuries.

            (sorry, just another lame joke; those of you who didn't get it need not respond.)

      • by jittles (1613415)

        In what way? By printing a gun from 1911? I'm thinking the patent on that ran out more than a few years ago, which just happens to be why the 1911 is so popular. Anyone can make their own version, even if it is an exact copy of the original.

        My guess is the cost of the 1911 itself. You can buy a top of the line 1911 for under $2k. So this 3D printed one for almost $12k should be the golden gun from a Bond movie.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Friday December 20, 2013 @08:38AM (#45744905)

      If someone tried to rob me with a plastic 3D printed gun, part of me would be tempted to resist just on the decent chance that they would blow their own hand off rather than shooting me.

      • by Greyfox (87712) on Friday December 20, 2013 @10:08AM (#45745545) Homepage Journal
        I know what you're thinking. You're thinkiing "His gun's made of plastic! It's going to explode in his hand the moment he pulls the trigger!" Well to be honest, I'm not even sure myself. So the question you have to ask yourself is, do you feel lucky, punk? Well? DO YA?!
      • by Hadlock (143607)

        At the moment, statistically the odds are in their favor that it won't fail. Especially if it's only been fired 0 or 1 times. Not that you could ever get me to hold one, nor should you.

  • I look forward to our factory-free future, despite its many inherent dangers.
    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      Fortunately, you can still buy a factory-made .45 for a few hundred dollars. 3D printing has a long way to go.

      • "A long way to go" does not eliminate the issue that at some point in the future, it could become dangerous. Those who pro-gun will not see it as dangerous but rather benefit from it. Those who anti-gun may already have a panic attack. Those who are in the middle may concern about the issue depending on how far they are between pro and anti.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Friday December 20, 2013 @08:15AM (#45744781) Journal

    If you can print a gun, you can print many other kinds of machinery. The day may not be very far off when you can start with half a ton of aluminum and stainless steel powder, and print yourself a Ferrari with a V-12 engine.

    -jcr

    • by Nimey (114278) on Friday December 20, 2013 @08:29AM (#45744845) Homepage Journal

      Expect new and exciting patent/copyright laws when that starts to become a reality.

      • Considering how much of our cars today already is made of plastic and what ridiculous prices come attached to them, I think that time of some new and exciting patent laws ain't as far away as you might think. Because those parts CAN already be printed by consumer 3d printers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Back in the Top Gear UK series 2 http://www.topgear.com/uk/tv-show/series-2 circa 2003, there is a short spot where they showed a conversion kit for a Toyota MR2 to be changed into a Ferrari 355. The car kit looks stunning and in no way could you tell the donor car was a MR2.

        They go on to state that Ferrari put the shop out of business in less than a month. There are other replica car kits out there but they make such changes as to not infringe copyright, as in http://www.mr2kits.co.uk/kit-packages.html

        If i

        • Ferrari makes more money licensing it's logo then they do making cars.

          By some definitions, they are just copyright trolls.

    • This. As to the initial offering price tags: If only you can wait... The AMPEX-VRX 1000, the first commercially successful video tape recorder, sold for 50,000 dollars in 1956. I remember paying $89 for the movie Platoon on VHS in the 80's.
    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      It's an interesting proof of concept. But costs are going to have to come way down (perhaps with scale) for it to be very practical. 3D printing seems better suited to one-off parts rather than general manufacture. If you're going to build a million copies of something, it's probably always going to be cheaper just to build the traditional custom manufacturing equipment rather than using a general-purpose 3D printer.

    • by HighOrbit (631451)
      IIRC, that was the goal of RepRap: a machine that could replicate itself. That raises some Sci-Fi come true issues. To paraphase an old meme: Image a cluster of self replicating machines :)

      I see some safety issues related to the strength of the metals. I would be interested if somebody put the printed metal material through some metalurigal tests to see how strong it is versus traditionally cast/machined parts.
      • I would be interested if somebody put the printed metal material through some metalurigal tests to see how strong it is versus traditionally cast/machined parts.

        They already did. They fired 2000+ rounds through the gun. Pretty good test. Now, the TFA doesn't mention if they used proof loads (larger amounts of powder used to test guns by giving one the assurance they can handle larger than expected pressures). But 2000 rounds is starting to get you into territory that suggests the gun is reasonably strong and safe.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I would be interested if somebody put the printed metal material through some metalurigal tests to see how strong it is versus traditionally cast/machined parts.

        If all else is equal, sintered metals are inferior to forged. They have a fine grain structure which is not only less resistant to deformation but is more likely to break instead of bending (and staying bent) when you pass the elastic limit.

        If their particular grade of Inconel is sufficiently more amazing than the usual materials used for the important parts then it could be quite good.

    • How are you going to print Naugahyde? Or rich Corinthian leather for that matter?

      • by jcr (53032)

        Well, there are medical researchers printing skin, so leather should be possible.

        -jcr

  • I look forward to buying the first 3D-printed AK47 for $15k. I mean, who the hell would want a normal $30 one: they're so last century...

    • by fl!ptop (902193) on Friday December 20, 2013 @09:53AM (#45745427) Journal

      I mean, who the hell would want a normal $30 one

      I own both a Springfield Arms 1911 and a Romanian AK (it's a 74, not a 47, meaning it takes 5.45x39 ammo instead of 7.62x39 like the 47 does). I paid $900 for my 1911 (brand new in the box) and I saw them at the last gun show I attended for up to $1500. I paid $1000 for the AK, 5 magazines and 1000 rounds of ammo. It is set up just like it would be in theater, and has hardly been used (muzzle wear and throat erosion are very low). The AK's I saw at the last gun show ranged from $650 up to $2000. Where are you getting them for $30?

      • by redmid17 (1217076)
        Probably a third world, war-torn country if I had to guess
      • by hey! (33014)

        The AK's I saw at the last gun show ranged from $650 up to $2000. Where are you getting them for $30?

        You live in rich country full of gun collectors who drive up the price for nice examples. In Africa, AK-47s can be had for around $300 [reference:http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2007/06/12/looking_for_a_deal_on_ak_47s_go_to_africa#sthash.IpUFO50V.dpbs].

        It's also possible that at certain situations (e.g., after a proxy war) markets in very poor countries may be flooded with very cheap weapons, with ak-47s selling for as little as $6 [reference http://archive.is/5gesc%5D [archive.is]. However this is obviously not a

      • The AK's I saw at the last gun show ranged from $650 up to $2000. Where are you getting them for $30?

        Crazy Achmed's Firearm and Shovel Emporium

  • by Hartree (191324) on Friday December 20, 2013 @09:06AM (#45745059)

    We must immediately restrict the availability of this 3D printing technology to prevent $11,900 cheap knockoff copies of firearms from flooding the streets!

  • ...the first fully functionant 3D replica of the Trinity device [wikipedia.org]. When a celebrative limited edition working model will be available ?
  • Just buy yourself a 3D printer and print your own crappy guns.

    • Just buy yourself a CNC mill and print your own real guns.

      FTFY.

      • by wed128 (722152)

        Technically, milling is not the same as printing, but yes, good point.

        • Technically, milling is not the same as printing, but yes, good point.

          Is and isn't.

          Isn't the same, because milling is subtractive, and 3D printing is additive.

          Is the same, because either way you're taking a digital file and sending it to a machine that creates a physical object from said file.

          • by Shagg (99693)

            Isn't the same, because milling is subtractive, and 3D printing is additive.

            So a CNC mill is a 3D eraser.

    • by Valdrax (32670)

      Just how much do you think a direct metal laser sintering printer costs?

      • Just how much do you think a direct metal laser sintering printer costs?

        Well a rip rap cost according to google shopping search anywhere form $150 parts to over a $1000 fully assembled and about two weeks ago a 3d metal printer based on rep rap was developed it cost about 1000 pounds or 1600 dollars to make according to the slashdot summery. Now the cost of the printers would be a one time investment after that each gun only costs as much as the electricity and powdered metal, and abs plastic (for things like grips such). so really not all that much when it comes right down to

  • So 3D printing is reaching critical mass, that much is clear.

    What will this do to our economy, where we no longer need to buy anything but printer supplies?

    E.g. What happens to China's economy, and how will they respond?

    • by jfengel (409917)

      As far as I can tell, we're a long way from that, mostly because "printer supplies" would require such a wide array of materials.

      3D printer can make shapes, but as far as I can see they're not very good with materials. They take what they get. A gun as the advantage of being a block of metal; all it needs to be is strong. But even something as simple as a kitchen spatula or frying pan would prove quite complicated. The spatula head needs to be flexible, while the handle needs to be stiff. A decent frying pa

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        Okay, fine, in the hypothetical (but maybe not so far away future) - wouldn't this be a significant change to how the global economy functions?

        Particularly should the materials recycling concepts gain traction, like this one -

        http://www.appropedia.org/Recyclebot_v2.3 [appropedia.org]

        In that world, you won't even use a whole lot of new plastic. Kid's toy breaks; grind said up and print replacement.

        Seems significant.

        • by jfengel (409917)

          Absolutely, this has the potential to completely redesign the way we look at manufactured products. That goes well beyond China; it would radically disrupt the economy at home, too. A lot of products that are currently shipped could be printed.

          I think the case of books is instructive, though. For a long time we've had the technology to print books at home. DRM was of course an issue, and publishers weren't jumping at the chance to make the book available to print, but even setting that aside I think people

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        As far as I can tell, we're a long way from that, mostly because "printer supplies" would require such a wide array of materials.

        Alternately, when 3d printing finally does take off, you'll see most stuff made out of just a handful of materials, those which are cheapest and most reliably fed through 3d printers. Well into that era you'll be getting a module with the electronics shipped to you, and you'll plug it into something that comes out of your printer, but lots of stuff will be directly printable.

  • "Lead additive manufacturing engineers." What a great title for gun makers.

    Yes, I know they don't mean Pb. But it would be so much funnier if they did.

  • Maybe the price will drop as they print more. I'm fine with them leaving it at $11,900, fewer sales. Google result for "M1911A1 for sale" is a page advertising $419.00. Years ago there was a Bloom County cartoon parodying the scene in the graduate where an adult takes Benjamin Braddock aside and offers him the advice, "Plastics, Ben. Plastics." In the Bloom County cartoon the adult says, "Disposable Handguns." Soon we will have a world with untraceable disposable handguns. Put the pros and cons of this new
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Maybe the price will drop as they print more. I'm fine with them leaving it at $11,900, fewer sales. Google result for "M1911A1 for sale" is a page advertising $419.00.

      Tisas and some TLA beginning with A both sell $400 1911s, obviously not made in the USA. Too bad I can't remember the name of the second one, because their $400 pistol was the nicer one, with a better beavertail. hickok45 has a video for each.

  • I'd be very curious as to how much hand finishing is required on these firearms. While the 1911 is a simple design and commonly produced the difference between a weapon cranked out with CNC and finished by an assembly line gunsmith is notably different than the same parts finished by an accomplished smith who understands the finer points of the firearm.

    I'd also point out that 2,000 rounds is no testament to durability, rather it's just barely out of what most 1911 enthusiasts consider the break-in period.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'd be very curious as to how much hand finishing is required on these firearms. While the 1911 is a simple design and commonly produced the difference between a weapon cranked out with CNC and finished by an assembly line gunsmith is notably different than the same parts finished by an accomplished smith who understands the finer points of the firearm.

      Notable to who? Only to an educated owner who cares about the finer points of the firearm. Most people are not going to have a notably better experience with the Ed Brown than they are with Kimber, the poster child for CNC 1911s. At least, not once you've passed the break-in period. The hand-smithed 1911s still jam if a magazine is sloppy, or its spring is old, or maybe just if a round was tamped .5mm too little into the cartridge, or if you use a .45 ACP that your particular 1911 doesn't like to feed...

      I b

  • Maybe these folks can make spare auto parts for cars? I'd love to roll with a MG, Model F with all the parts working.

    And while we're on the topic of MG's, "down with Lucus Electronics, prince of darkness."
  • A pretty much untested version (2000 rounds is untested) of a 100+ year old design that costs about 10 times what a high quality normally made one costs. Yes, that's just stupid.
  • "If you can print a wrench, you can print a ball."

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten

Working...