Nov 3, 2015 | By Alec

Few applications of 3D printing technology are more controversial than guns, where the subject can immediately tap into exhausted second amendment arguments. However, that subject usually focuses on the guns themselves – undetectable plastic objects that are dangerous for the gunman and the people around him – rather than the bullets used. It’s a less controversial issue, as they invariably need to be (partially) made of metal, and are therefore always detectable. Can they be 3D printed? Well, a new clip now definitively answers that question: Yes, they can.

In the clip, which you can find below, Jeff and Darren test a remarkable 3D printed creation: 3D printed shotgun slugs, made from PLA. Well, bronze-infused PLA, but still a remarkable concept. Far heavier than plastic slugs, they are also durable enough to travel through the barrel of a shotgun. However, even these are not widely applicable, and the guys actually had to wait to get their hands on a shotgun with some rifling, giving the bullets the best chance for some spin-stabilization and therefore some accuracy.

Having developed a number of different slugs, they tested two different kinds. A 70 caliber, almost two inches long slug that weighs 21 grams – considerably heavier than one made of plastic. Loaded into a twelve gauge shell, the guys expected these to really pack a punch – which they did. They also tested a tear-dropped bronze filled slug called ‘superdart’, with a 3D printed space filler to make travelling through the barrel easier. As you can see for yourself, this particular shell was quite wobbly in their air, but was so effective on impact that it became embedded in a block of wood.

It is thus very obvious: ammo can be 3D printed too, opening a wide range of options for custom bullet fans. ‘3D printing makes bullet-making so easy. It’s terrifying,’ Jeff said upon seeing the results. ‘I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t think these rounds would hold together. The G-shock of accelerating out of a shotgun can be pretty stressful. We are just amazed that every shot that Darren made, was on target.’ While it might be a fun project to work on, of course traditional ammunition continues to have a lot more advantages – not in the least that it is less likely to blow up in your face.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Doyle West wrote at 11/3/2015 4:14:24 PM:

Wrong. They're not 3d printed shotgun SHELLS, they're slugs. The red thing they stuff them into are shells. Big difference.

Doyle West wrote at 11/3/2015 4:03:49 PM:

Wrong. They're not 3d printed shotgun SHELLS, they're slugs. The red thing they stuff them into are shells. Big difference.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive