While 3D printing has quite a bit to offer in terms of the consumer and medical industry, it also brings to light some potentially contentious problems. One of the most-discussed of those issues being 3D printed guns. So far, no one has really figured out a way to 3D print every part of a gun, but that hasn’t stopped people from coming up with some creative designs.
Engineering student James Patrick is the most recent person to make news (and inevitable waves) with his 3D printed design. It’s a working revolver that can hold six or eight .22 bullets and uses a rubber band and a nail to fire them from a rotating cylinder.
Patrick has made the design plans for the PM522 Washbear .22LR Revolver publically available, and all the parts are 3D printed except for the firing pin (roofing nail), and the elastic bands acting as springs. He also notes that the required amount of detectable metal in the form of steel rods–so the gun will set off a metal detector–is in the grip.
The six and eight shot versions of the cylinder are made using different materials, but can be used interchangeably in the same frame. To provide the frame the most strength, it was printed laying flat on its side to strengthen the connection between individual layers of material. The cylinder was printed standing up, so the frame and the cylinder work together against the forces created when the gun is fired.
The gun has a few hiccups, like a sticky trigger, but the gun is also designed not to go off if it’s dropped.
He does note that you need to use heavy-duty materials for a job like this, and to be aware of all federal, state, and local laws concerning firearms and 3D printing.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense