Thank you for all of the comments and excitement about the world’s first 3D printed metal gun. Solid Concepts is proud to announce that we’ve successfully fired 500+ additional rounds during our second test of the 1911 gun. With the second round of testing completed, the 3D printed metal gun has fired over 600 rounds successfully. The gun has no visible signs of deterioration and functioned beautifully with the exception of minor extractor issues that we did not want to try and tweak at the range. We will make an adjustment and test fire again.
Solid Concepts has received many questions in regards to the 3D Printed metal 1911 and we would like to address as many as possible. We will continue to release information on the progress of the 1911 as we are able.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: Are you selling the 3D printed metal gun?
A: Currently we are not selling the 1911 gun and are weighing our options for the future. Should we decide to sell the gun, the cost of the 1911 would be in the five-figures. The whole concept of the metal sintered gun was not to produce a cheap gun, our intent revolved around proving the reliability, usability, durability and accuracy of metal 3D Printing.
Q: Is this legal?
A: Yes, Solid Concepts holds a Type 7 Federal Firearms License (FFL) so the manufacturing of this and any other 1911 by Solid Concepts’ Austin facility is legal.
Q: How much of the gun was 3D Printed?
A: The gun is almost fully 3D printed. 34 parts were created with metal sintering, 2 parts were created with laser sintering of Nylon 12 CF (carbon filled Nylon), and only 6 springs were retail purchased. There was zero machining or milling involved.
Q: Who is Solid Concepts and what do you do?
A: Solid Concepts Inc. is a supplier of custom manufacturing and rapid prototyping services. We do not sell equipment, rather we are a service bureau. Founded in 1991, Solid Concepts has grown steadily to a seven-facility, multiple technology company known to be a solutions provider with project management and engineering expertise. Our custom manufacturing technology capabilities include: PolyJet, Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), QuantumCast™ Cast Urethanes, CNC machining and composites. We provide manufacturing solutions for prototypes and low-volume production of plastic, urethane, and metal components directly from CAD design data. We also offer Tooling and Injection Molding services for full scale production to bring your project through to completion. Solid Concepts holds ISO 9001 and AS9100 certifications as well as a Type 7 Federal Firearms License (FFL) and a 2014 SOT from the ATF.
Q: Is Solid Concepts a public company?
A: Solid Concepts is a privately held company.
Q: Is the gun having issues returning to battery?
A: We have seen comments on the return to battery. Since the filming of the original video, we have corrected this concern by improving the mating surface where the back of the shell rides up the breach face upon lockup. We initially ran a 14 lb. main spring and now are running a 15 lb. spring and seem to have corrected this concern.
Q: Why is the gun staying open after the last shot is fired?
A: The 1911 was designed to stay open after the last shot is fired. The 3d printed gun is not sticking, it is functioning as designed.
Q: Was the material stress relieved or heat treated?
A: The majority of the gun was created with Stainless Steel 17-4 that was stress relieved. We did not heat treat it because we wanted to test our option with the least strength first. We have heat treatment options as well as more robust materials available should we decide to further strengthen the gun.
Q: How many times was the gun fired?
A: To date, we have run over 600 rounds through it.
Q: Can anyone print this metal gun with a hobbyist 3D Printer?
A: No. A metal printed gun requires commercial equipment that costs anywhere from $400,000 to $1,000,000+. The metal sintering printers need to be supported in a commercial environment with power exceeding that available in residential areas. The equipment requires the use of inert gasses not commonly available to the public, as well as the expertise needed to run the equipment.
Q: Are you working with other firearm manufacturers?
Q: Why did you build a gun?
A: The story we want to communicate is not about the gun. The story is about what the gun demonstrates in regards to the manufacturing technology and the intricacies that are possible with this metal sintering technology. Again, the concept of the gun revolved around proving the reliability, usability, durability, heat tolerance and accuracy of metal 3D Printing and the advancements of this manufacturing method. Solid Concepts has been using metal sintering for some time now to successfully create parts for a wide array of products. The 1911 gun is well known and people can relate to it in respect to its power and need for precise components. This story is about how additive manufacturing can be used to produce real, accurate parts in your industry whether it’s aerospace, transportation, medical, energy, consumer products, etc.