User HaveBlue from the AR-15 gun enthusiast forum has managed to shoot an AR-15 with a 3D-printed lower receiver. He printed the lower on an old Stratasys 3D printer using a slightly modified model from cncguns.com.
Gun manufacturers have been using rapid prototyping for years, and the concept is now making its way to the hobbyist gunsmith. To the best of my knowledge, this has been restricted to mockups (Justin Halford used a stereolithography made frame to test component fit for his fantastic Beretta 92FS project) or less critical parts like furniture (grips, buttstocks and such). It wasn't until I came across an AR-15 magazine follower on Thingiverse that I began to wonder about the feasibility of making more functional parts with a rapid prototyper.
HaveBlue used plastic resin as a material for 3D printing and he estimated that it costed around $30 of resin to create the lower receiver. "Makerbots and the other low cost printers exploding onto the market would bring the cost down to perhaps $10." said HaveBlue.
HaveBlue has uploaded the files for AR-15 lower receiver to Thingiverse. You can find them here.
It's had over 200 rounds of .22 through it so far and runs great! To the best of my knowledge, this is the world's first 3D printed firearm to actually be tested, but I have a hard time believing that it really is the first.
But he didn't stop there. He also assembled a .223 rifle upper and attached it to the lower, but encountered difficulties when passing ammunition through it.
The interesting part is, the Next Web pointed out that a lower receiver (which holds the ammunition clip, trigger and butt stock) is the part of a weapon which the American Gun Control Act counts as a firearm - without a lower receiver, the gun would not work. So, can criminals soon download their own firearm? Nowadays it is easy for anyone to make a weapon by means of a lathe or a 3D printer. And, will government start to restrict 3D printing machine, digital files or carry on strict ammunition control?
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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