TORONTO – A U.S.-based engineering firm that built the world’s first 3D-printed gun out of metal has successfully fired over 500 continuous rounds of ammunition from the device to show its durability.
In a YouTube video posted Tuesday, the gun is put through a “500-round torture test” in order to test the strength of its metal parts.
“In an effort to officially prove the strength and capability of our 1911 series pistol, we submitted the gun to a high volume of pressure, force and heat in the form of over 500 continuous rounds,” read Solid Concept’s blog post about the test.
“To date, the 1911 3D Printed gun has been subjected to 600+ rounds with zero part failures.”
Watch: 3D Printed Metal Gun 500 Round Torture Test
The gun, revealed by the Texas-based company Friday, is described as a “classic 1911” pistol made up of over 30 3D-printed components made of Stainless Steel and Inconel materials. The gun’s grip was intricately carved using a technique called selective laser sintering – a process Solid Concepts says makes the gun more accurate.
“The whole concept of using a laser sintering process to 3D Print a metal gun revolves around proving the reliability, accuracy and usability of 3D Metal Printing as functional prototypes and end use products,” said the company’s vice president of additive manufacturing Kent Firestone in a blog post.
Solid Concepts notes that a benefit of 3D-printed guns means that any components that need replacing can simply be re-printed.
But the company is quick to note that this isn’t a gun that the average desktop 3D printer could cook up – the gun was printed on an industrial 3D printer and designed by engineers that specialize in 3D printing.
In August, a B.C. man designed and printed a single-shot .22 calibre 3D-printed rifle, successfully firing 14 rounds before the barrel cracked.
The designer of the rifle – who would only identify himself as “Matt” – told Global News in May that he was inspired to create the weapon after seeing what was believed to be the world’s first 3D-printed plastic handgun, designed by Cody Wilson.
Wilson’s gun – called the ‘Liberator’ – was capable of firing eight to nine rounds for only $60, provided you had access to a 3D printer. Wilson later released the blueprints to the gun online, stirring up controversy over the easy access to arms. The gun’s blueprints have since been removed from the website Defcad.org at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense Trade Controls.
Unlike Solid Concept’s design, both Wilson’s gun and the 3D-printed rifle only contained one metal part, allowing for the device to be printed on a consumer-level 3D printer.
Consumer-grade 3D-printed guns have been known to suffer cracks and breakage after firing rounds because they are made with plastic instead of metal.