By Robert Farago
Instead of removing bits of metal from metal to create gun parts (the standard production process) SC’s printer adds material in successive layers to build up the parts.
The computer-controlled manufacturing technique allows for relatively easy, rapid and inexpensive gun making. In the real world, plastic proves the point (e.g. Cody Wilson’s single shot Liberator). But an all-metal 3D printed firearm? Not so much . . .
The German EOS Direct Metal 3D Printer that created the all-metal 1911 cost Solid Concepts $600k. Argon and nitrogen gas, cutting and hand tools added another $400k to the bill. The printer disgorged the 1911′s parts in 34 hours using stainless steel, Inconel (extractor, firing pin, hammer, hammer strut, grip safety, main spring guide rod, sear and disconnector) and SLS Nylon 12 Powder (grips). (The main spring, grip screws and bushings, and trigger stirrup are the only pieces that weren’t 3D printed.) The completed gun required about a week-and-a-half (part time) to hand finish and assemble.
The Solid Concepts 1911 DMLS may cost a bomb —the prototype is priceless— but it signals a sea-change in the way guns are made. The 3D printing process will make metal firearms prototyping and manufacture simpler, faster, cheaper and better. High-quality gun making will become more available to more people more easily.
The trend could democratize gun manufacturing, spelling the end of gun control as we know it. Or signal the beginning of ever more draconian anti-gun persecution.
Which brings us back to New York, whose newly enacted seven-round limit on pistols symbolizes government’s desire to rob Americans of their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. As much as Solid Concepts’ Eric Mutchler seeks to distance his handiwork from political ramifications, the 1911 DMLS is a slap in the face of Empire State statists; a technological warning shot across the bow of gun grabbers everywhere. [Click here for an interview with the gun's creator.]
The best part of holding the SC 1911 DMLS: it feels completely normal. There’s no indication that it’s anything other than a bog-standard 1911. Like all full-length 1911s, the DMLS feels perfect in the hand.
The grip safety moves forward with predictable ease. The magazine (not 3D printed) slips into the mag well without complaint. The slide slides satisfyingly, chambering the first round with chunky satisfaction.
The safety snicks off as expected. A gentle trigger squeeze and the DMLS throws lead downrange. Wash, rinse, repeat, done.
Read the rest of TTAG’s Solid Concepts 3D Printed 1911 DMLS Review at The Truth About Guns Blog: http://tiny.cc/4ldw7w
About The Truth About Guns :
Robert Farago founded The Truth About Guns in February of 2010 to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns. The TTAG team’s been at it ever since. We’ve built the site on word-of-mouth, strong writing, and a no-holds-barred attitude. Visit:www.thetruthaboutguns.com