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This Metal Gun Was 3D-Printed

By Alexis Kleinman

A 3D-printing company called Solid Concepts has created and tested the first-ever metal 3D-printed gun, it announced.

It’s a 1911 pistol made of more than 30 3D-printed parts, and as the video below demonstrates, it seems to work pretty well. Solid Concepts’ “resident gun expert” has fired 50 rounds successfully so far, according to the company’s blog.

Every part of the gun except for the springs is made with “direct metal laser sintering,” or DMLS, a technology that constructs metal parts from a 3D design by blasting powdered metal with a laser.

Solid Concepts already uses DMLS to manufacture custom medical instruments and automotive tools. So why make a gun?

“When we decided to go ahead and make this gun, we weren’t trying to figure out a cheaper, easier, better way to make a gun. That wasn’t the point at all,” Solid Concepts’ Phillip Conner explained in a video. “What we were trying to do was dispel the commonly-held notion that DMLS parts are not strong enough or accurate enough for real world applications.”

Yes, people have made 3D-printed guns in the past and they have been successfully fired, but those guns were all made of plastic, and were therefore significantly less dangerous than a regular gun.

Here’s the good news: You can’t make a 3D-printed gun with your run-of-the-mill 3D printer. You need a DMLS machine, which costs around $850,000.

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