Feb 17, 2016 | By Benedict

Kalashnikov Concern, Russia’s key manufacturer of Kalashnikov machine guns and producer of several other arms, technologies, and military vehicles, has employed metal manufacturer Stankoprom to produce 3D printed parts for Kalashnikov submachine guns and advanced pistols.

You don’t have to be a soldier or a gun-lover to recognize the name “Kalashnikov”. The Russian-designed, internationally adopted weapons, first developed by Soviet general and engineer Mikhail Kalashnikov in the mid-twentieth century, have developed a reputation and status greater than that of any other weapon of the last century. The AK-47 assault rifle, designed at the end of World War II and now the most famous of all Kalashnikov arms, has become the most widely used assault rifle in the world thanks to its reliability, affordability, availability, and ease of use.

Although Kalashnikovs are now produced all over the world, Russia remains a dominant force in their manufacture. Most Russian Kalashnikovs are produced by Kalashnikov Concern, a company formed in 2013 as the result of a merger between Izhevsk Mechanical Plant and the bankrupt Izhmash. Seeking to maintain Russian arms dominance in new and innovative ways, Kalashnikov Concern has employed metal manufacturer Stankoprom, part of Russian state corporation Rostec, to produce 3D printed prototype parts for Kalashnikov weapons.

According to Stankoprom, 3D printing has been used to print prototype parts for a range of Kalashnikov weapons. These 3D printed parts can then be tested, refined, and eventually manufactured via traditional means. This common additive manufacturing process could help Kalashnikov Concern to save time and money when designing multiple iterations of a weapon.

“The 3D printed model samples are made in the design of pistols, machine guns and other products,” said a Stankoprom spokesperson. “They can be used for shooting, but their main task is to test various design decisions.” It has not been disclosed which particular weapons have benefited from this 3D printing process.

This latest move by Russian arms manufacturers to incorporate additive manufacturing technology into arms production comes just a week after Electromashina JSC, a manufacturer of armored vehicles for the Russian military, announced that it would be using 3D printing to develop the next generation of Armata tanks. To what extent 3D printing is and will be used by either Kalashnikov Concern or Electromashina is unclear at present, but the connected announcements appear to represent a statement of technological intent from the Russian military.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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