Solid Concepts has successfully produced what it claims to be the world’s first 3D printed metal gun. And unlike the Liberator before it, this one looks a whole lot closer to the traditional firearms you’re used to seeing. According to its creators, the metal gun functions without issue and has already fired off over 50 rounds. Building it involved the process of laser sintering — which helped them manufacture over 30 individual components for the gun — and various powdered metals. The point of all of this, Solid Concepts says, is to provide yet more evidence of 3D printing’s potential; that the technology of far more than making “trinkets and Yoda heads.”
But to be clear, and likely to the relief of law enforcement, this isn’t something you can run out and do yourself. “There are barriers to entry that will keep the public away from this technology for years,” said Scott McGowan, the company’s VP of marketing, In a statement to The Verge. Those include a prohibitively high cost for the equipment involved and the expertise required to actually pull off the printing.
“We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D metal printing,” says Kent Firestone, Sound Concepts’ VP of additive manufacturing. And to quell any concerns that it’s a haphazard or reckless project, Firestone claims that his company is currently “the only 3D printing service provider with a federal firearms license.”