Over the weekend the Texas-based group Defense Distributed conducted their first test on the road to creating a functional 3D-printed gun design. As for the results, you might say the gun tore it up -- literally.
Last week, TheBlaze brought you the story of "Wiki-Weapons," a Defense Distributed project that seeks to "[facilitate] global access to [...] information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms." Founder Cody Wilson told Wired the gun only survived six rounds of bullets, but generally it's still what the group was hoping for, which is a starting point for improvements.
Defense Distributed put together a gun with a 3D printed piece. (Photo: WikiWed DevBlog)
“We knew it would break, probably,” Wilson told Wired, continuing that they expected it to go a little further -- maybe 20 rounds -- before breaking.
The gun was only partially 3D printed -- trigger and grip, according to Wired -- with other parts being metal. From the test of the design by Michael Guslick from Wisconsin, Wired reported Wilson saying he thought recoil was the root of the problem for the plastic pieces:
Wilson first fired one round to see if the gun worked, and then handed it to another member of the group. With 10 rounds in the magazine, the shooter managed to unload five. The recoil “pushes the ring back and down,” Wilson says, referring to the o-shaped ring attached to the gun’s upper receiver — which cycles the bullet — and shoulder stock, creating tremendous stresses.
One potential solution is reinforcing the o-ring, which the group detailed in a blog post. This might be done by just making it thicker, with more plastic material added to the ring’s sides where it won’t interfere with other components. The group also wants to reshape the trigger guard, boost the strength of interior pins and bolt bosses, and include custom markings — such as whether the gun is in the “safe” position — along with the printed product instead of laser-printing the markings afterward.
Here the group shows the break after testing. (Photo: WikiWep DevBlog)
Watch the test:
This is the piece the team printed from an existing design. (Photo: WikiWep DevBlog)
In addition to making improvements to the design, the group is waiting for an official firearms license. Two anonymous companies have donated printing capabilities and space for Defense Distributed to test its designs, which when perfected it plans to post on its website for anyone with a 3D printer to use.
With this first test by the group, Wired stated "printed guns are becoming a reality, and they’re likely only to get better."