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The era of the 3D printed gun is here. Cody Wilson’s Defense Distributed kicked it off by creating the world’s first 3D-printed handgun: the Liberator. “The following year, they unveiled an AR-15 receiver capable of firing hundreds of 5.56mm rounds without fail,” reports. “This year, designers from FOSSCAD has (sic) raised the bar yet again. They’ve successfully crafted and test fired the receiver for a Colt CM109 modular battle rifle — the AR-15’s badass big brother.” Badass? I don’t think they’re using that word in a complimentary fashion . . .

The article is headlined Great, now 3D-printed rifles can fire larger, deadlier rounds. Call me a cynic but I reckon the editors mean “great” in the sense that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! You know: to stop the signal. Good luck with that. Meanwhile, here’s their take . . .

The CM109 is larger and heavier than the AR-15 as it is built to accommodate a larger caliber round: the 7.62 x 51mm NATO. The 7.62mm rounds fly farther and strike with much more force than the 5.56mm, making them far more deadly. It also means that the lower receiver (the bit that holds the firearm’s moving parts) has to be both heavier and sturdier in order to handle the increased mechanical stresses and harder recoil associated with using a bigger bullet.

Sturdiness, however, isn’t typically the first thing that comes to mind when talking about 3D-printed items. The first few iterations of both the AR-15 receiver and the Liberator failed after squeezing off just a few rounds. [Note: the Liberator was designed as a single shot pistol.] Getting them to stand up to the rigors of repeated use has required a lot of trial and error. From the image above, the group has obviously cleared that hurdle with the CM109 components (at least for the first few seconds of rapid firing). “It has been fired with little to no issues,” the group said in a statement. Reportedly, the CM109 team crafted the component using a commercially available $500 DaVinci 3D printer.

This weekend our man Leghorn fired the world’s first 3D-printed suppressors. [Report to follow.] How ’bout them apples?

[h/t Pascal]

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  1. First guns. Then magazines. Now suppressors. Will wonders never cease? 😉

    You can’t stop the signal, folks. The gun-grabbers either haven’t yet realized this or are simply just going to continue sticking their fingers in their ears and keep their heads buried squarely up their asses.

    Either way, we will get our vote. From the rooftops!

  2. We will likely see regulations on 3-D printing or 3-D printing relatin to firearms. Too bad. It seems to have a promising future.

    • Those regulations will only be just as totally toothless and utterly unenforceable as current gun control laws are. Mass civil disobedience will be the order of the day, and there is little to nothing the State can do about it.

      • They want to regulate 3d printing to make it possible to put controls in to protect IP. They don’t want us making our own stuff. It won’t work.

      • >> Mass civil disobedience will be the order of the day, and there is little to nothing the State can do about it.

        They can start running SWAT raids and jailing people for 10+ years. Even if it only ends up affecting 1% of those doing this, the other 99% will be too scared to continue, especially when the immediate gains are dubious (i.e. not like drugs and the instant gratification they provide).

    • Only way to regulate is to order confenscation and destruction of every 3d printer and all products that can be turned into 3d printers.

  3. Both Democrats and Republicans can take a philosophy that’s insane on the face of it, and make it work—for a while, anyway.

    Put the fear of losing their elections to them. Vote for somebody else!

    Let either party get only 1/3 of the popular election numbers and they’ll eventually change or be out of work!

  4. So the 5.56 is deadly and the 7.62 is deadlier. It’s only a matter of time before somebody makes the deadliest — the DEADLIEST! — a 3D printed phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range.

    Hoplophobes all over America are already soiling their panties. Not because of fear, but because it’s Saturday night. Again.

  5. I’m actively involved with FOSSCAD and the group of designers and printers that make these kinds of things happen. It’s pretty fascinating work, though I don’t have a printer or really know that much about printing myself. We all had a good laugh about the Engadget article, its continual copy-paste misuse of “CM109” and their half-baked attempts to credit the correct person for the design. They originally credited PrintedFirearm, a blog unaffiliated with the group, then Defense Distributed for a brief time and finally edited it to FOSSCAD. The actual guy who designed and printed the LE901 lower simply goes by “JT”.

    For the record, FOSSCAD has no official spokesperson and members that contribute typically post to the IRC channel and twitter with news about new designs or revisions. Any claimed “statement” is kind of laughable. Their claim of “hundreds of rounds without fail” is grossly understated, as a couple of lowers are still being knocked around after 2000+ rounds live fire and counting.

    I’d encourage anyone interested in the subject to stop by the IRC chat and talk shop with some of the print wizards, they’re usually pretty cool guys, even to the obvious journalists trying to get a rise out of them for an article.

  6. While I agree that the atfe can go to he** especially seeing as I do not believe there job is constitutional. However, these 3D printed firearms are going to do damage to the case of closeing down the atf. In my personal opinion.

    • When, not if, the BATFE over(goose)steps their constitutional authority in regards to these printed firearms components, violating both the First Amendment (Freedom of the press) and the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms), the advantage will be to the side of freedom and liberty, not the sort of tyranny we are currently tolerating.

      “The tree of liberty must be occasionally watered with the blood of patriots, and tyrants.”

      If this is the trigger that causes them to show their true colors it can only be to the best.

    • Well, they have designs for 3D printed lowers for the .50 bolt action/single shot uppers designed to go on an AR lower. It hasn’t been tested yet, (as far as I know,) probably mostly because of a lack of one of those afore mentioned uppers. Are you volunteering?

  7. If this is a 3D printed lower receiver for an AR10/15 type design, then Ho-Hum. Okay, credit points for the larger round.

    But the lower receiver is not a stress bearing component, with the exception of the buffer tube ring. AR-15 type lowers have been made from polymers before, as well as DIY jobs made from materials such as wood and leggo bricks. 3D printed AR-15 receivers have been around for a while. You still need a metal barrel, BCG, upper receivers, springs, and pins.

    • Yes, but those parts are really available and not tracked. Print out the lower receiver and get the rest of the parts from your local shop and you have a complete firearm. That’s what the ATF is soiling themselves over, if they even keep up with firearm news that is. The ATF went all bonkers over 80% lowers, these are 100% lowers with no storefront to even track the lowers.

      • Ah but if you’re printing them yourself they’re not anywhere near 100% lowers. Comes from a block, right?

      • “Yes, but those parts are really available and not tracked. ”

        Sad thing is, I can envision barrels being serialized and treated like firearms in the future.

  8. There is a Da Vinci printer with a built in scanner. Looks like I might need to start saving, I have some ideas!

  9. If a gun is used in self-defense, how is law enforcement going to know if it was printed in a 3D printer or not? 3D printers can work with lots of different materials, from plastics to metals. An AR-15 lower for example could be made from an 80% lower, raw metal and CNC machine tools (essentially a 0% lower), raw metal and manual machine tools (no electrical power), or even just raw metal and files (which is what were used to make firearms, mechanisms, clocks, locks, etc…prior to the invention of the first precision machine tool by Henry Maudsley). Files are still used to this day for manufacturing firearms in areas of the Third World. That’s how for example they make AK-47s in Afghanistan and so forth. They get an AK-47 and give it to a skilled machinist who can use nothing but files and scrap metal to make all the individual parts.

  10. In 10 years 3d printing will be the most practical and useful method of fabrication for the hobbyist. Until then I will be saving my pennies for that 5k machine that will print a material as strong as mild steel in a 2’x2’x4′ configuration.

  11. Foghorn shot the first 3d printed can? Must have been sitting on that story for a while. What with the TE Titan can from Tronrud Engineering in Norway having made those suckers for over a year now.

  12. The Liberal Media has their panties in a twist on this one. Of course, a table top CNC can make lowers as well.

  13. I guess I don’t see the fuss. People have been using mills or even just drill presses to make lower receivers out of HDPE for a good while. I see nothing inventive or new here. What I do see is a bunch of flashy headlines that will get national attention and get stupid shit like serialized barrels as real proposals. This doesn’t help us.

    • This article really doesn’t even begin to address what is about to explode in the world of 3d printing as soon as the patents run out in the next few years. To address your comment. what’s better, press a button, have a few beers and come back to a finished lower or spend 2 – 3 hours plus equipment and tooling plus the 80%? Think composite.

      • ease of use? 3d printer probably wins.
        Investment cost matters too though and there the printer loses. Utility of the tool also matters and I see much more use in store for a mill or drill on hand than a 3d printer.

        I get that 3d printers are cool. The metal ones even more so, very useful applications for those. The plastic ones? I don’t see much utility in them. Very cool. Not very useful.

  14. This report has to be false because we all know that the AR-15 is the deadliest weapon ever devised. After all, haven’t we been told that over and over ever since Sandy Hook?

  15. “the lower receiver (the bit that holds the firearm’s moving parts)” ummmm…. while there are moving parts in the lower and it needs to be more robust than an AR15 lower, the upper is the one that really has the moving parts and I believe that one has not been successfully 3d printed, yet. My hat is off to all the developers, keep up the good work. I want a 3d printer, would love one of the 3d metal printers (oh the fun I could have with that).


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