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,” engadget.com 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?