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HaveBlue
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:12:08 PM
Back in the discussion of 3D printing an AR lower, AmericanLoki requested that I start a new thread once it came time to actually test my printed lower. Well, I finally got around to the testing phase over the past few weeks.

To recap, I have an old Stratasys 3D printer (mid-to-late 90s machine, but works fine) and early last summer I printed a modified version of the lower from cncguns.com (I beefed up the front takedown lugs, bolt hold lugs, and added an integral trigger guard):


(the white one was a 75% scale version of the unmodified lower done as a feasibility test)

I assembled it first into a .22 pistol:


It's had over 200 rounds of .22 through it so far and runs great! To the best of my knowledge, this is the world's first 3D printed firearm to actually be tested, but I have a hard time believing that it really is the first (if anyone can point me to earlier work, it would be much appreciated).

But you guys want more than rimfire, I'm sure. Last weekend I finally re-assembled a .223 upper and gave it a go:



No, it did not blow up into a bazillion tiny plastic shards and maim me for life - I am sorry to have disappointed those of you who foretold doom and gloom.



However, it is giving me feed and extraction issues. As these issues persisted when I switched over to a standard aluminum lower, my problems appear to be with the upper. I'll give it a good cleaning/oiling and try it with some brass cartridges instead. Nevertheless, yes - a 3D printed lower is entirely usable. My model could stand to have a little more material on the buffer tower, but I'm extremely pleased with how well it's working so far. Further details on the construction and intial .22 testing are on my blog:
http://haveblue.org/?p=1041
http://haveblue.org/?p=1321

Also, keep an eye on oryhara's work on printing AR lowers - I think he may soon become the leading authority on the matter: http://rommie.digitalcrowbar.net/wordpress/
Riddle
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:15:02 PM
Very cool. What is the media made out of? Do all 3d printers use the same media or is it product dependent?
MPD142
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:18:55 PM
This is very cool. Can you give a rough price on what it cost to make? I'm sure there can't be more than a few dollars in actual material in it. I know the machine to make it can't be the cheapest though.
"If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."
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phurba
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:19:01 PM
Very cool. Are the pins showing any signs of stressing the receiver? Or are there any other points wearing visibly?
This post should not be construed as an indication that I would like to murder people.

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ledesma132000
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:20:52 PM
Thats pretty cool
cms81586
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:24:42 PM
Looks good. If your pin holes start to egg consider using bushings.

CMS
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LoneStarZombieHunter
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:29:57 PM
Congratulations on your successful test. I could see this as a way to test new lower designs among other applications. Well done...
FortyFiveAutomatic
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:30:30 PM
amazing
Wangstang
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:38:24 PM
Do you have a direct link to the file you used to print your lower?

Thanks
Wes
fatkid35
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:46:03 PM
pretty slick! not sure i'd trust it for a full size centerfire rifle but a .22 i'd do for sure. i'm assuming it's delrin your using? that stuff is pretty tough.
TheRedGoat
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:50:39 PM
How long until a 3D printer is considered constructive intent?

TRG
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Rogue-Sasquatch
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Posted: 7/22/2012 4:52:04 PM
[Last Edit: 7/22/2012 4:54:14 PM by Rogue-Sasquatch]
This is the future.

If we can spread this core technology to every kitchen tabletop, there will no longer be a meaningful way to restrict and infringe on the private civilian ownership of modern firearms.

Thread is oh-so-tagged. Nice work, OP.

Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
How long until a 3D printer is considered constructive intent?

TRG


It won't be. The technology is so wide-spectrum in application and so abstract in essence that it would be like the FDA declaring tapwater to be tightly regulated as a medical substance. People, groups, and industries from all walks of life would descend upon them in wrath and fury and nothing would be left behind except maybe a warning to other parts of the bureaucracy to not be as foolish.
You know, I've been here for aqua-bumpers, shower cookies, goose fuckers, doll shows, fire on airplanes, and the attempted theft of an AR by Shitty McBritches, and this post is the one that's finally made me say, "This place is getting weird." -53
HaveBlue
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Posted: 7/22/2012 5:53:52 PM
Riddle - the material is ABS plastic. Unfortunately, I don't know which specific resin, but it's similar to SABIC MG47 or Stratasys P400. It is not as strong/durable as a composite lower made of glass filled Nylon 66, but I'm seeing what other materials I might be able to use.

MPD142 - I believe I paid about $100 for the spool of material this was printed from (closeout price), and I used perhaps a tihird to half of the spool. The cheaper (yet more finnicky) PA-747 based material used in RepRaps, Makerbots and the other low cost printers exploding onto the market would bring the cost down to perhaps $10 each worth of material. It will only get cheaper.

phurba and cms81586 - my original idea was to sleeve the holes with brass tubing to act as bushings, but the pins fit in quite nicely, so I'm running it as-is for now. The only wear I'm seeing is a little bit of back-and-forth movement on the hammer pin, only perhaps 10 thou. I'll keep running it and see if it wears further, or if that's the extent of the break-in.

Wangstang - I posted the .STL file on Thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:11770

fatkid35 - I don't believe I've seen acetal (Delrin) available in filament form that could be run through a 3D printer, but it is certainly up to the task of serving as a lower when machined.
Aspp
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Posted: 7/22/2012 6:09:48 PM
That is awesome! I have a friend with a 3D printer, I never thought to ask him if this was possible... I have to grab a 12 pack and go talk to him!
rDigital
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Posted: 7/22/2012 6:15:48 PM
I can't wait to see how this develops. What other receivers would be feasible to print in such a machine?
bajavader
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Posted: 7/22/2012 6:18:08 PM
very cool!

I have a MakerBot, but have yet to print anything...having calibration issues. While I'm glad the printed lower worked fine with your testing, I would be very scared to use a printed lower myself. The plastic is like the plastic used to make LEGOs, so cracking is a very high possibility over time. Printed parts are great for test-fitting new designs or changes to existing designs, and seeing an actual functional printed lower is very exciting indeed...just be safe! Keep us updated on how things go!
hotdog250j
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Posted: 7/22/2012 7:21:49 PM
how does it compare, weight wise, to a standard aluminum lower?
Obo2
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Posted: 7/22/2012 7:31:27 PM
i know a lot of the resins that were the laser sensitve resins used in many 3d printers would break down over time.

very cool that it works
Ben762
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Posted: 7/22/2012 9:03:03 PM
Wow!

I once had the chance to see a small company's "rapid prototype" machine and it gave me ideas along these lines. Very cool, keep us posted.
phurba
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Posted: 7/22/2012 9:05:46 PM
Originally Posted By bajavader:
very cool!

I have a MakerBot, but have yet to print anything...having calibration issues. While I'm glad the printed lower worked fine with your testing, I would be very scared to use a printed lower myself. The plastic is like the plastic used to make LEGOs, so cracking is a very high possibility over time. Printed parts are great for test-fitting new designs or changes to existing designs, and seeing an actual functional printed lower is very exciting indeed...just be safe! Keep us updated on how things go!


It depends on the resin, and there are a number to choose from. Even if a printed lower fails, it's unlikely to be a catastrophic failure in the sense of injuring the shooter. Since the kerplosion is entirely contained in the chamber, it is possible that the lower would splinter (and possibly be dangerous in that respect) but it's not like its trying to contain the pressure of the round going off.
This post should not be construed as an indication that I would like to murder people.

ugh. you get caught in ONE furpile, ONE time and this is what happens...... - SouthEndXGF
ultramagbrion
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Posted: 7/22/2012 9:17:15 PM
Incredible
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GENESMITH
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Posted: 7/22/2012 9:35:44 PM
Where will we be in 10 years?


Neat stuff ! ! !
Originally Posted By swingset:
I feel like printing this thread out on some quality paper, so I can go wipe my ass with it.
Caboose314
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Posted: 7/22/2012 9:56:31 PM
Nice! Did you print the threads for the buffer tube, or undersize them and tap yourself?

If so, did you have to play with the toolpaths/raster thickness to get them to come out right?

We just got a pallet of black ABS at work... I might have to... uhh... get the machine set up to use it
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DrMark
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Posted: 7/22/2012 10:08:42 PM
Very cool.


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kcobean
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Posted: 7/22/2012 10:33:16 PM
Originally Posted By Rogue-Sasquatch:
This is the future.

If we can spread this core technology to every kitchen tabletop, there will no longer be a meaningful way to restrict and infringe on the private civilian ownership of modern firearms.

Thread is oh-so-tagged. Nice work, OP.

Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
How long until a 3D printer is considered constructive intent?

TRG


It won't be. The technology is so wide-spectrum in application and so abstract in essence that it would be like the FDA declaring tapwater to be tightly regulated as a medical substance. People, groups, and industries from all walks of life would descend upon them in wrath and fury and nothing would be left behind except maybe a warning to other parts of the bureaucracy to not be as foolish.



Your post makes no sense to me. Are you arguing that because it will become easier to manufacture a firearm that the ATF will no longer try to regulate it? I call BS, and I can see them taking great interest in this thread.
phurba
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Posted: 7/22/2012 10:40:52 PM
Originally Posted By kcobean:
Originally Posted By Rogue-Sasquatch:
This is the future.

If we can spread this core technology to every kitchen tabletop, there will no longer be a meaningful way to restrict and infringe on the private civilian ownership of modern firearms.

Thread is oh-so-tagged. Nice work, OP.

Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
How long until a 3D printer is considered constructive intent?

TRG


It won't be. The technology is so wide-spectrum in application and so abstract in essence that it would be like the FDA declaring tapwater to be tightly regulated as a medical substance. People, groups, and industries from all walks of life would descend upon them in wrath and fury and nothing would be left behind except maybe a warning to other parts of the bureaucracy to not be as foolish.



Your post makes no sense to me. Are you arguing that because it will become easier to manufacture a firearm that the ATF will no longer try to regulate it? I call BS, and I can see them taking great interest in this thread.


This is a hot topic on the 3D printer forums. Some people want to make plans for gun parts readily available, either to prove gun laws irrelevant or to circumvent them; while others feel that guns are icky and no such thing should happen.

Anyone who knows me here knows that I am hardly an advocate for gun control, however it is simple for an ineligible person to print a gun and buy the non-gun parts online. Is that something that could be regulated? Not really, unless you regulated the printers. The easiest way to control that is to stop the plans from being posted on public forums. But lets be honest here: anyone who wants to circumvent these laws could go learn machining and mill their own AR receiver, and the same thing goes for learning CAD software and running a polymer printer. Does that mean that machinists classes and forums should be regulated? Certainly not. I really feel the same argument applied to 3D printers: basically, there's nothing that anyone can nor should do.
This post should not be construed as an indication that I would like to murder people.

ugh. you get caught in ONE furpile, ONE time and this is what happens...... - SouthEndXGF
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