A functional firearm requires many parts that MUST withstand heat and stress. A 3D printer can’t print a firearm 100% from top to bottom including the barrel reliably for long term use or cost effectively.
Most attempts made in the past have found cracks after several shots. Besides the political and legal challenges, the process of printing a fully functional firearm still has a long way to go.
Disclaimer: When we discuss what can be printed or not printed, the context is about end user safety, engineering and durability, NOT legal advice.
Is 3D Printing Firearm Regulated? Or Even Legal?
3D printing a firearm or parts is a hot topic as our technology continues to exceed our reality and definition of laws. (For US residents) Please refer to ATF for more official information.
What Parts Can Be Reliably Printed For Use
Currently the technology is possible to only print polymer firearm parts that aren’t subject to high load stress such as:
What Parts Can’t Be Just Printed (Your Safety)
Barrel (A 3D printed barrel can’t possibly withstand the pressure when a round is fired)
Typically people still have to mix factory parts and printed parts together. As technology improves we are excited to see what advanced 3D printer can do. Stay tuned for more updates.
Here Are Some Successful Attempts:
Solid Concepts, a company in Texas used direct metal laser sintering DMLS method to create a functional 1911 including the rifled barrel. The handgun shot up to 600 rounds without any apparent damage to the gun.
They used the German EOSINT M270 Direct Metal 3D Printer in 2013 and the cost of the printer was near $0.5M to $1M.