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World's First 3D Printed Metal Gun

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  • World's First 3D Printed Metal Gun

    This is great on so many levels.If you can make a 1911,you can make anything.The possibilities are endless.and the good thing is that the world's poorest and most lacking in infrastructure and industrial capabilities will be able to increase their well being tremendously. Me,I'll be happy to print myself a few classic guns,which otherwise would cost me a kidney to buy.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  • #2
    That's great except it will cost 10x the mass produced stamped metal guns.

    It takes a lot of $$$$ to melt particles of solid metal together bit by bit with a high powered, computer driven, industrial laser. Even more to do it right so the gun won't explode in your hand.

    What many people don't understand about 3D printing is that it will never be a mass production process. Instead, for the mass consumer market, it will be valuable as a tool for mass customization.

    Meaning you'll be able to get things that are custom made for you at higher prices than a mass manufactured product, but much more cheaply than what custom manufactured items would traditionally cost. I actually think we are at the start of a new economic transformation where a new generation of craftsmen will emerge, empowered by computerized manufacturing tools and 3D printing, to enrich our lives with customized diversity in the products we use. It will make us richer, but it won't make things cheaper.

    So for your custom guns, they will no longer cost $15,000, but it won't cost $200 either. Instead it will cost something like $2500, and you will cringe, you will think, my god this costs a fortune, but it will be so tantalizing, and they'll be able to put your own custom pattern on it, and it will fit your hand just so, with the exact sight that you like, and maybe a little tag saying you are a senior contributor on WAB, and after several sleepless nights you'll give in, assuming you can convince the wife (probably by buying her something nice and spending even more money).

    What just happened there? Economic growth just happened. :)
    Last edited by citanon; 10 Nov 13,, 00:36.

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    • #3
      Moore's law also applies to the price of things.Every cycle,products become better,faster,smaller,simpler to operate to some extent and cheaper.
      Right now it's half a million a printer plus whatever the cost of powder metal and energy is.In ten years we'll have the same performance or better in a 5000 bucks rig.
      Those who know don't speak
      He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mihais View Post
        Moore's law also applies to the price of things.Every cycle,products become better,faster,smaller,simpler to operate to some extent and cheaper.
        Right now it's half a million a printer plus whatever the cost of powder metal and energy is.In ten years we'll have the same performance or better in a 5000 bucks rig.
        Moore's law applies to things that can be made on a massively parallel scale using less and less material. Neither is true with 3D printing. The printing process is inherently serial. The materials stay the same with minor savings.

        The cost of 3D printing will come down, but not to an extent where it beats traditional mass manufacturing unless you are talking about very specific and specialized things.

        That said for developed economies looking for new growth, it will be a godsend.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by citanon View Post
          Moore's law applies to things that can be made on a massively parallel scale using less and less material. Neither is true with 3D printing. The printing process is inherently serial. The materials stay the same with minor savings.

          The cost of 3D printing will come down, but not to an extent where it beats traditional mass manufacturing unless you are talking about very specific and specialized things.

          That said for developed economies looking for new growth, it will be a godsend.
          I don't follow you.The cost of additive manufacturing are the printer+the material,metal/plastic+energy+intellectual property rights,if it's the case.Energy and property rights are pretty stable,but the printers and consumables will be mass produced,thus subjected to Moore's law.
          The notion of mass will be altered a bit.At an individual level,which is what this tech is about,you use or could use a huge amount of things.You use a door knob,a screwdriver,a component for your lawn mower in quick succesion. The cost of things depends on the number of items you build during the lifetme of the printer,not on their usage.
          Those who know don't speak
          He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mihais View Post
            I don't follow you.The cost of additive manufacturing are the printer+the material,metal/plastic+energy+intellectual property rights,if it's the case.Energy and property rights are pretty stable,but the printers and consumables will be mass produced,thus subjected to Moore's law.
            The notion of mass will be altered a bit.At an individual level,which is what this tech is about,you use or could use a huge amount of things.You use a door knob,a screwdriver,a component for your lawn mower in quick succesion. The cost of things depends on the number of items you build during the lifetme of the printer,not on their usage.
            Moore's law didn't happen because microchips are mass produced. Moore's law happened because it has been possible to produce exponentially more circuit elements on literally the same mass of material, which still is a big determining factor in the cost of the microchip.

            The 3D printer will not be subject to Moore's law any more than the automobile, which is to say that they will get cheaper and better but not exponentially so.

            A 3D printer that takes 30 min to print a single part by expending huge amounts of energy to melt metal powder together will never be able to make a part cheaper than a factory machine that takes 0.1 seconds to stamp out a metal shape using metal formed using thermodynamically optimal processes. Instead the value of the printer is on doing things the big factory machine cannot possibly do. For consumers this will most likely mean making a custom something. For some other applications like aerospace it may mean making a part that's too complicated to make otherwise. The latter is manufacturing, but is only for high value parts.

            You can see the difference with normal printers today. Ask yourself this: what is cheaper? Buying a magazine off the shelf or trying to achieve the same quality using your own ink jet printer? If you can't beat mass production even with ink and paper, what makes you think you will be able to with plastic and metal?
            Last edited by citanon; 11 Nov 13,, 01:30. Reason: Spelling, typos, typos galore.

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            • #7
              I was just thinking about the paper analogy when I saw what you added about them.:)

              And it's both Yes and No.I can make a book and beat mass production price wise, but it's a too trivial task.The new printers are capable of amazing things.All you need is good quality paper.
              I don't disagree with you for the sport of it.Obviously,there will be a need for some mass production,so it won't go away completely.But there is bit more than mere manufacturing efficiency.We have lots of middlemen and transportation involved in our system.The model served us well so far.But it could get better.
              Sticking to guns,we have a Glock being priced at ~600 euro.An AK variant is ~1000 euro for a ''civilian'' model.But the manufacturing costs are ~100 euro each.I have no idea how much it will cost to make the same firearms with 3D.But assuming the quality will be reasonable and will cost you thrice the mass produced version,you still get a deal.Even if you don't own a printer yourself and you have to walk to ''Eddie's Manufacturing'' a block away,you'll deal with fewer guys than today.
              Those who know don't speak
              He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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              • #8
                Its technology like this that anyone with the right machines can create that will guarentee that those that already own guns legally will never give them up.
                Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mihais View Post
                  I was just thinking about the paper analogy when I saw what you added about them.:)

                  And it's both Yes and No.I can make a book and beat mass production price wise, but it's a too trivial task.The new printers are capable of amazing things.All you need is good quality paper.
                  Which costs money, and lots of ink, which costs money, and time, which kind of costs money if you think about it. Forget time if it's your hobby. Add up the former two. Try to print something like Time Magazine. It's not going to cost you the $1 to buy it off the shelf.

                  ...
                  Sticking to guns,we have a Glock being priced at ~600 euro.An AK variant is ~1000 euro for a ''civilian'' model.But the manufacturing costs are ~100 euro each.I have no idea how much it will cost to make the same firearms with 3D.But assuming the quality will be reasonable and will cost you thrice the mass produced version,you still get a deal.Even if you don't own a printer yourself and you have to walk to ''Eddie's Manufacturing'' a block away,you'll deal with fewer guys than today.
                  Try making it yourself. It won't cost 100 eu. It won't cost 600 eu. It will cost way more. I've seen those machines and been in those shops. It takes a lot of skill, machinery and patience to print a quality item using 3D printing that needs to be at all functional. It's not trivial at all. First of all you need a very fancy machine to print something like the pieces you use in a fire arm and the laser needs to be a very high quality laser. You need high quality starting powder (way more expensive than ink). You need to precisely optimize the beam dwell time to make sure the finished material is of sufficiently high quality for functional use (so it doesn't blow up in your hand). And you need to wait for a long time. Meaning that you're taking up that very expensive machine's time while expending a lot of energy. Then when the thing comes out of the printer. It doesn't look like the finished piece. The printers cannot print with sufficient fidelity to give you perfectly smooth surfaces. You then need to go in and machine, polish or chemically treat to finish them. Some times you need to do all of the above for a part. Finally you need to test the parts to make sure they are up to spec. You may not need test every piece in a factory continuously making the darn things 24/7, but you will certainly need to test and inspect very carefully if you are a 3D printing shop making something different every day.

                  All in all it takes a lot of skill, a lot of expensive technology, a lot of high quality (expensive) materials.

                  I guarantee you that 3D printing will not beat polymer injection molded mass manufactured Glocks on cost or price.

                  On the other hand, if you want a custom grip for the Glock that fits your hand just so, then you have something to talk about.
                  Last edited by citanon; 12 Nov 13,, 01:04.

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                  • #10
                    Well,yes,i can still beat mass production printing a book.I don't know about a magazine with lots of pictures in it.I see your point,though.

                    But this whole 3D printing is much bigger wrt potential than printing paper.It will create even more attention than today and likely what we have today won't resemble much what we'll have in 10 years beside the broad concepts.We have only started the research into 3d printing graphene.But even if we only make what we have now more cost effective and it's still a great progress.Everything takes skill,but the tech is only in its infancy.All else will come down.Energy need will come down.See how the cars evolved.Materials will cost less due to mass production and,probably,better technological processing.

                    We also need to consider outside factors.If you're a guy in the middle of Africa you need to consider investing in a 1000 miles highway that will bring you Chinese imports sometime in the future.Or shouldyou invest in 3D infrastructure?Of course,you'll need the road to travel to the Somalian beach resort ,but you need a wrench faster.

                    And the most important thing is this affair does not evolve alone.It's significant as it is,but we have the internet+3D printing+robotics advancing at the same time.We have a synergy here.
                    Those who know don't speak
                    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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                    • #11
                      Very interesting, it would be good to see sustained performance tests, not just a few rounds. Very nice clean looking 1911 too (though still not as good as my SR1911 :) )
                      "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

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