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In Canada, a 3D-Printed Rifle Breaks On First Firing 204

Posted by timothy
from the moose-and-wolves-unimpressed dept.
Not all 3-D printed guns can encounter the smooth, uneventful success of Cody Wilson's Liberator; Daniel_Stuckey writes with this excerpt: "A Canadian has just fired the first shot from his creation, 'The Grizzly,' an entirely 3D-printed rifle. In that single shot, CanadianGunNut (his name on the DefCad forum), or "Matthew," has advanced 3D-printed firearms to yet another level. Sort of: According to his video's description, the rifle's barrel and receiver were both damaged in that single shot."
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In Canada, a 3D-Printed Rifle Breaks On First Firing

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  • by therealkevinkretz (1585825) * on Saturday July 27, 2013 @05:18PM (#44402025)

    ACME firearms, supplying evil coyotes for decades

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @05:34PM (#44402113) Journal

      Heh - what else did they expect? Rifles keep pressure for longer periods of time (as the bullet travels down the longer barrel), increasing the chance for materials failure. Cheap plastic is not an option here, campers.

      7,000+ psi for a .22LR is nothing to screw around with for the relatively sustained period of time the bullet travels down the barrel (let alone the 65,000+ psi you can generate in, oh, a .338 Win Mag.)

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        If nobody has managed to make a plastic (or any material other than heavy metals) gun using industrial processes, then I seriously doubt that you could ever get more than a few shots out of something you could print at home. Sure it's fun to do "just because you can" but I don't think that it's actually feasible to make a gun that's going to last hundreds of shots out of something like plastic.
        • by Penguinisto (415985) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @05:47PM (#44402197) Journal

          That's the thing - I doubt there's a 3D-printable plastic out there now which could last for one rifle shot, at least outside of sheer luck.

          The length of the rifle barrel is what'll kill it. A pistol dumps its internal pressures quickly - the short muzzle doesn't have to hold the pressure for more than a millisecond or two at most. A rifle on the other hand? The longer the barrel, the longer that period of time which the barrel has to hold the higher pressures. Most rifle cartridges also contain a slower-burning powder (to keep pressures at least somewhat constant as the bullet travels down the barrel), which only exacerbates things from a design perspective.

          From an industrial perspective, any plastic barrel that doesn't hold up to insane tolerances (at least 3x max pressure) and do so for a very long time? Begging for a lawsuit that'll bankrupt your company, guaranteed. Also, there's no real economic incentive to make plastic barrels commercially - steel is way cheaper to acquire, machine, and temper. Now there are some specialized and niche applications (spies, special ops/forces, whatever), but they don't justify the costs.

          Hobbyists OTOH don't have that kind of pressure or limitation - they're just doing it because they can.

          • by D1G1T (1136467)
            I suspect Matthew built a rifle because making a plastic pistol in Canada would get him into very serious trouble. The laws governing Hunting "long-guns" are significantly more relaxed.
          • by Lennie (16154)

            You are looking at what is going on now, not what will happen in a few maybe 5 or 10 years.

            3D printers currently exists for wood, carbon fiber, ceramic, bronze, steel, iron, cellulose and human tissue and prices of these devices will keep dropping like what we are used to from Moore's law.

            Forget these pee shooters, expect change.

          • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Sunday July 28, 2013 @05:50AM (#44405031)

            The cheapness of the plastic isn't really an issue - trying to pretend it has the same properties as steel is. You could make a fairly workable rifle with 3D printing but you'd have to adjust the design to match the materials used, in other words it would have to be bulky enough to make a WH40k Space Marine's double bolter look like a flimsy toy in comparison. Two to three inch thick walls on the barrel would make it a lot more durable, although melting becomes your problem then.

          • by swillden (191260)

            The length of the rifle barrel is what'll kill it. A pistol dumps its internal pressures quickly - the short muzzle doesn't have to hold the pressure for more than a millisecond or two at most. A rifle on the other hand? The longer the barrel, the longer that period of time which the barrel has to hold the higher pressures. Most rifle cartridges also contain a slower-burning powder (to keep pressures at least somewhat constant as the bullet travels down the barrel), which only exacerbates things from a design perspective.

            I think the duration of the high pressures is a second-order issue, behind the fact that most rifle rounds generate much higher pressures, period. A few examples:

            Handgun rounds:

            .380 ACP: 21,500 PSI
            9mm: 34,800 PSI
            .357 magnum: 35,000 PSI
            .40: 35,000 PSI
            .45 ACP: 21,000 PSI

            Rifle rounds:

            5.56mm: 62,366 PSI
            .270: 65,000 PSI
            .308: 62,000 PSI
            .30-05: 60,200 PSI

            I'm not aware of a single handgun round that is designed for more than 40,000 PSI, while most modern rifle rounds are in the 60,000+ PSI range. The

        • by Sique (173459)
          You can also 3D print metal, it's a slightly different process, but nevertheless, there are metal 3D printers out there.
          • You can also 3D print metal, it's a slightly different process, but nevertheless, there are metal 3D printers out there.

            And if you look at the pains that the gun foundries go through to get _exactly_ the right metal properties for their gun barrels, you'd be leery of ever firing a 3D-printed gun (in 2013).

            But, as I understand it, nobody actually wants a 3D printed gun - they're just trying to bait the gun-grabbers into attempting to restrain free trade and stifle free speech for their agenda, to make the gu

            • by EmperorArthur (1113223) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @07:00PM (#44402645)

              But, as I understand it, nobody actually wants a 3D printed gun - they're just trying to bait the gun-grabbers into attempting to restrain free trade and stifle free speech for their agenda, to make the gun-grabbers look even worse.

              And it's working quite well. Here in the United States home made firearms are mostly legal as long as you don't sell them. Mainly because it's too hard to regulate, and most of them blow up anyways. The only restriction is an old law saying guns have to be detected by metal detectors.

              Now you have all these states and cities that are passing laws banning 3d printed weapons. Side note, I can't wait until someone is arrested because they used a 3d printed toy as a "weapon." Then the US said it might be an export violation and told Defense Distributed to pull all the files. Boom, instant free speech violation.

              What I'm curious about is the correlation between gun-grabbers and people who want to Censor the internet. Since they both use the same language about "protecting children" or for "public safety" I imagine it's the same people. Has anyone done a study on this?

              • Depends on the type of censors. There are probably some people who honestly think the entire world needs to be nerfed to protect kids against accidents. There are some censors who simply hate sex due to religious reasons aren't concerned about guns, they're clearly more concerned about preventing sex than violence. And the professionals are paid by the RIAA and MPAA. They do use that language, but only because it's an effective way to kill the internet that threatens their business.
              • by Type44Q (1233630)

                Here in the United States home made firearms are mostly legal as long as you don't sell them. Mainly because it's too hard to regulate

                That is certainly not why they're legal.

            • by timeOday (582209)

              as I understand it, nobody actually wants a 3D printed gun

              At the very, VERY least you would use a prefab metal pipe for the barrel, if you goal were really just to make a gun. (Even a prefab plastic pipe would make a better barrel than a printed plastic barrel.)

        • by Hadlock (143607)

          Most people only fire their gun about 100 times - ammo is expensive, and people have better things to do with their time. 30 shots per rifle, especially if you can print it at home, is an acceptable amount. You don't buy a $4 disposable camera and expect to win a photography contest.

          • "Most people only fire their gun about 100 times"

            Maybe an absolute novice with only a passing interest in firearms. I consider myself a low level gun enthusiast and I just fired probably close to 100 rounds TODAY (a mixture of 7.62x51 and 22lr) "plinking", and watched another person go through dialing in a new scope fire at least 150 rounds. Now all of these guns were semi-auto clip fed, which tends to encourage a bit of excessive/unproductive firing. But even shooting a lever action Winchester I'll usual

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @05:56PM (#44402241) Journal

        If it were purely a matter of pressure, you could probably get away with expensive plastic. I wouldn't want to be the person in charge of 3d-printing such a beast; but fiber-reinforced polymers are pretty tough (even better results, and markedly higher fabrication costs, if the fiber structures are correctly oriented to ensure that pressures on the barrel are mostly applied as tensile stress on the reinforcing fibers). At that point, though, you are probably talking a production process more difficult, possibly even more expensive, than the one used to produce normal metal barrels.

        Even more vexingly, you still have heat and barrel erosion to deal with. If you don't mind a smoothbore with suitably low rate of fire, that's survivable; but 'rifle' more or less requires modestly complex barrel geometry tough enough to survive having a bullet rammed through it at alarming speeds. Plus, if you are using chemical propellants, the tendency of plastics to either start breaking down, or go into glass transition and send all their structural properties screaming through the floor, at fairly low temperatures combines beautifully with their relatively low thermal conductivity....

        • At that point, though, you are probably talking a production process more difficult, possibly even more expensive, than the one used to produce normal metal barrels.

          One could imagine a polymer mixture that would contain chemicals that would cross-link randomly (or even preferentially), and at certain ratios form long chains, which would act as reinforcing fibers.

          The orientation would be random unless possibly cured in a magnetic field with the right chemical components, but even randomly oriented reinforcem

          • Oh, and prior art, future bitches.

            Bakelite and other thermosetting phenolic resins called from the 1920s and before called and would like their prior art back.

        • There are several commercial .22 LR carbines with nylon or other non-metal barrels. Aside from being light weight, some have some interesting properties, like being either straight or broken but never bent.

          I doubt it would be hard to build a receiver massive enough to handle .22 LR pressures.

          But I doubt you could get a printed barrel that could handle the corrosive effects for more than a couple of rounds. The nylon barrels do it somehow, but I believe it took some fancy chemical research to come up wit

        • You would have to find a way for the reinforcing fiber to follow the lands and grooves of the rifling. The jacket drag causes visible twisting ( with slow motion cameras ) of lighter steel barrels simply from the bullet having a proper fit while in travel.

          Unless they come up with a plastic that can be printed out easily and then work hardened ( through firing ) to a specific point I don't think they will have much luck with 3D printed rifles.

          • I'd be amazed to see somebody print such a beast; but (if one simply had to prove that a rifled polymer barrel could be constructed) getting the fiber reinforcements in a polymer structure to follow the rifling might actually be doable.

            For textile purposes (socks, shoelaces, ropes, pantihose, that sort of thing) circular weaving machines, capable of pumping out seamless woven tubes, of varying complexity, are ancient. More recently, with the enthusiasm for carbon fiber composites, there has been some work a

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        It survived the shot, wouldn't have harmed the shooter, and appears to have been accurate, though nobody has demonstrated the accuracy of the printed firearms.
      • You make some valid points.

        For the purposes of demonstrating the possibilities, the same gun should be printed again, with the barrel cut down to 6 inches and the powder load reduced by firing .22 short ammunition. Such a gun would survive a couple of firings, probably. Probably literally burning out the bore would be its demise.

        I doubt if any printed gun could ever last for more than a few rounds before its barrel was shot out so bad that the bullet would fall out the end. The muzzle blast might be impr

  • For a spy all you need is 1 shot

    • With a .22 LR rimfilre, it had better be an extremely accurate shot if you intend to kill anything bigger than a rabbit with it.

      • Not true at all. My father grew up on a subsistence farm. He'd hunt elk with a .22lr or sometimes a bow. He brought down many elk with that .22

      • Native Alaskans have been known to kill moose with a single shot from a .22.

        But it takes a very good shot, from a position most people would rather not be in.
        • by iggymanz (596061)

          and many animals have been maimed and suffered for a long time because of stupid hunters using inadequate round for the game they're hunting. Sure a 22 LR in head or other vital area *might* kill human or deer or larger animal, but it also might not.

          It is ILLEGAL in Alaska to hunt deer or any larger game with a 22 LR, for the reason I just gave. All rimfiire ammunition, which includes 22LR, is illegal for that. Illegal in my state of Illinois too and most (maybe all?) states.

          • by sumdumass (711423)

            It somewhat legal in Alaska. The Alaska hunting regs specifically say you can take caribou from a boat using a .22 rimfire in certain districts.

            Page 21 I think.

            http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/regulations/wildliferegulations/pdfs/general.pdf [alaska.gov]

            In Ohio, guns other then certain handguns and shotguns are illegal to hunt with during deer season except muzzle loaders of a certain type or larger. (actually, I think it's a period of months- after a certain date they aren't allowed unless that just happens to be how

          • by Culture20 (968837)

            many animals have been maimed and suffered for a long time because of stupid hunters using inadequate round for the game they're hunting.

            That's how humans hunted for all of prehistory. Minor wound, then track the animal for miles until it bleeds out or exhausts itself.

            • by gl4ss (559668)

              many animals have been maimed and suffered for a long time because of stupid hunters using inadequate round for the game they're hunting.

              That's how humans hunted for all of prehistory. Minor wound, then track the animal for miles until it bleeds out or exhausts itself.

              you can just track without wounding too. some tribes in africa use that.. humans have surprisingly good tenacity compared to antelopes.
              but still, it's risky, the crazed animal might run into a freeway or whatever - of course you can take down a big thing with a 22lr if you happen to hit the right spot, it's more probable that you will not though.

              good luck doing that shot with something shot out of a thing with plastic rifling...

      • by interval1066 (668936) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @06:20PM (#44402379) Homepage Journal
        Quite wrong. the .22 Long Rifle with hollow point, frangible, high velocity AND subsonic loads are all favored by assassins. The subsonic is especially accurate and if you're not shooting through armor or a helmet is going to take your target out if placed right. The load used by the Jackal (in the origiinal 1964 film) was a .22 LR exploder.
        • "Quite wrong. the .22 Long Rifle with hollow point, frangible, high velocity AND subsonic loads are all favored by assassins."

          More people in non-military situations are killed by .22 caliber rounds than any other.

          • by iggymanz (596061)

            bullshit. in USA, larger calibers are more frequently used, look it up.

            • Bullshit yourself. That's a different number.

              I didn't say .22 was used "more than larger calibers". I stated that it was used more than any other caliber. Those are two different things. Look it up yourself.
              • I also did nott say just U.S., or any particular year.
              • by iggymanz (596061)

                No, that's not true either. either of the .355 (9mm ) and .357" diameter bullet (.38 special and .357 magnum) is used more often the .22 LR in the USA.

                • "No, that's not true either. either of the .355 (9mm ) and .357" diameter bullet (.38 special and .357 magnum) is used more often the .22 LR in the USA."

                  Used for what? See, everybody here is getting their figures all jumbled up.

                  First, I didn't say just U.S.

                  Second, again, I was referring to particular calibers, not .22 vs. everything else.

                  Third, I didn't say "used in crime" (which is what just about everybody is citing). I said "killed people".

                  Fourth, even those U.S. figures are woefully inconclusive. Most sources will give you figures that came from a single survey of Philadelphia crime (not killings) in 1985. There is another report from Philly

        • by iggymanz (596061)

          No, false. And citing Hollywood movies doesn't bolster the case. Most successful assassinations are carried out by heavier and/or higher velocity rounds.

          22 LR *might* kill someone (sometimes a day later, as a relative of mine died), or not.

          For example, some Navy SEALS were issued sound suppressed 22LR pistols, for killing patrol DOGS. They have heavier ammo for people.

          • You're talking about a completely different scenario. A combat situation IS NOT an assassination. Turns out that .22 LRs are perfect for assassinations by gun.
    • Not with a shotgun.
    • For a spy all you need is 1 shot

      If you are planning to do something wildly illicit and clandestine, you might have better luck with (depending on whether you need Absolutely No Metal/searches at the entrance resistance or plausible deniability) either the cheapest, nastiest, most ridiculously common on the civilian grey market, gun in that jurisdiction, which is blatantly obvious; but indistinguishable from the background gun violence of the area or some much lower pressure pneumatic dart system with a chemical payload (Georgi Markov styl

    • by EdZ (755139)
      This was the plot of a Golgo 13 episode. Walk into a stadium with a 'toy' pistol robust enough to fire a single shot, then attach it to a large balloon to get rid of the evidence.
    • I was pondering the same, though my logic was "I only need 1 shot. After that, I'll have a real rifle".

  • In Canada? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @05:31PM (#44402101)

    What happens if you try it somewhere else?

  • Big surprise (Score:5, Informative)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @05:41PM (#44402171)

    Rifle cartridges tend to have quite a bit more power than pistol cartridges.

    Chamber pressure:

    Rifle: 7.62x51mm maximum pressure 415 MPa / 60,191 psi
    Rifle: 5.56x54mm maximum pressure 430 MPa / 62,366 psi
    Pistol: .45 ACP maximum pressure 140 MPa / 21,000 psi
    Pistol: 9x19mm maximum pressure 235 MPa / 34,084 psi
    Pistol: 9x17mm maximum pressure 148 MPa / 21,500 psi

    IIRC, the 9x17mm (.380) was used in some earlier 3D printed pistol tests with limited success.

    Most people receiving medical treatment after being shot by a pistol will live. Mortality is much higher for those shot by a rifle.

    • Pistols are usually designed to stop an assailant rather than outright kill someone.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      But note even those pistol pressure are too huge for any plastic, even a wimpy .380 ACP (9mm Kurtz) is 21,500 CPU (roughly same as PSI)

      if you value your life or use of your hand, don't use a 3D printed barrel/chamber unless there is some kind of materials breakthrough that give plastic the strength of iron.

      steel is used for a reason.....

      • by swalve (1980968)
        Playing Devil's Advocate, and just for the sake of argument, I would rather have a plastic gun that might explode in my face than none at all, if I am facing a life and death situation and my government won't allow me a proper gun. It raises my odds of survival from nothing to something.
    • A 5.56mm, rifle round is much smaller than a 9mm pistol round, as the number would imply. About 3.5mm less diameter. It is also lighter, of course. However the case for a 5.56 round is as big around as a 9mm case, it is just necked down at the very end to hold the bullet. It is also much longer, as the second number implies (that is cartridge length). It is over twice as long, 45mm (5.56x45mm is the spec). So what fills that extra space? More propellant. The reason for the large case, small bullet, is to ha

    • by swillden (191260)

      IIRC, the 9x17mm (.380) was used in some earlier 3D printed pistol tests with limited success.

      I'd say with good success, rather than "limited" success.

      Also, it occurs to me that if you'd like a more powerful plastic gun, you should perhaps consider the .45 ACP, which has max pressures slightly lower than the .380. Even better might be a .44 special, which has max pressures of around 14,000 PSI.

  • Except this one is only able to fire one shot. Call me back when they can fire multiple shows using an actual "rifle" round like .308 Winchester.

    • by dbIII (701233)

      Call me back when they can fire multiple shows using an actual "rifle" round

      Multiple shows? Isn't one session at the movies enough?
      You have the right to shout "fire" in a crowed theatre.


      Too soon?

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @05:59PM (#44402259)

    I keep wondering why all these guys keep trying to produce a gunpowder based gun. There are some incredible air rifles out there now... .50cal, 1000fps awesome guns. Why not try an air rifle and avoid all issues involved with powder?

  • My father once carved a longbow out of a large piece of cedar. It looked magnificent, exactly how a longbow should look. He carefully strung it, notched an arrow, and drew it back. It snapped in half. I thus concluded that a longbow will never work and it's pointless to ever use one. I'm assuming that's the same conclusion we should make from this article. I'm glad this random Canadian could save us all so much time.

    • Making a zip gun out of black pipe gets ignored or you get arrested.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      One difference, those with gunsmithing skills will tell you plastic is an inappropriate material to make firearm chambers and barrels.

      Cedar is an appropriate material; your father just lacked some very basic knowledge - which he can now get the internet if he still is alive and still is interested.

  • by MpVpRb (1423381) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @06:05PM (#44402283)

    Anybody with the right knowledge and some basic tools has been able to make a gun for a long time

    Convicts do it in prison

    People in underdeveloped countries do it using the most crude equipment imaginable

    3D printing a gun, in plastic, is nothing more than an attention grabbing headline

    • There is a big difference. Almost nobody knows how to make a gun. Put all the professional gunsmiths and all the amateur gun-makers that you mention together and they make a tiny fraction of 1% of the population.

      With 3D printing, everybody knows how to make a gun. Download the plan, load it up in your 3D printer and press a button and you got a gun. Its a game changer, especially in areas where buying/selling guns is illegal or difficult.

      • by lxs (131946)

        There is a big difference. Almost nobody knows how to make a gun. Put all the professional gunsmiths and all the amateur gun-makers that you mention together and they make a tiny fraction of 1% of the population.

        Suddenly those "we are the 99%" protests are getting scary.

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @06:29PM (#44402443) Journal

    OMG! Crazy conspiracy theorists can build bad guns with printers!

    BOLLOCKS

    Anybody can go to their local hardware store and build a zip gun [wikipedia.org] for as little as $10.

    Quote: Keep in mind this should only be used in extreme situations, survival situations, or simply having fun. This homemade 12 guage is simply awesome! [youtube.com]

  • Really? This is news? Given the newness of 3d printing and the materials used getting something like a firearm right on the first go and failing is not news at all.
  • The Liberator "pistol" fired a .380 ACP round which has been shown to be a decent self defense round.

    The Grizzly "rifle" fires a 22LR round which is useless in self defense situations.

    Regardless of it's external shape, this is probably a regression in development of 3D printed firearms. Especially considering the load pressures, both the 380 ACP and the 22 LR are around 20,000 PSI to 25,000 PSI.

    A real rifle round? Well your looking at anywhere from 50,000 PSI (such as the 7.62x51mm NATO aka M14/M24/SR
  • I wonder how the Grizzly would work if the barrel had vacuum formed kevlar composite added to it. I would imagine that it would definitely help hold it together from cracking in the first place along with protecting the person holding the thing if it were to break.

  • Prototype designs don't always go well, regardless of what they are made of or their intended use...

    Success is often built on top of many failures.

  • If making a gun out of ABS plastic worked, someone would be punching them out by the millions on injection-molding machines. Any material you can run through a hot-nozzle 3D printer will make a lousy gun barrel. If you want a cheap gun, buy a cheap mass-produced gun. There are plenty of them around.

    Selective laser sintering, though... With that, you can make parts out of steel and titanium.

    • by dbIII (701233)

      Selective laser sintering, though

      There's still porosity problems with that and as cannon casters over the centuries have found you don't want a gun barrel made of metal that is full of little holes. The stuff made of metal powder that ends up in places like jet engines in also lightly forged to get rid of those holes - so if you heat it up a bit and squash it after laser sintering that will do the job.
      Cutting it out of something already forged with a lathe, mill (or for extra geek points electrochemical ma

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        using a lathe is more noisier and messy. otherwise I'd have one at home.
        cnc lathe is more expensive in the electronics parts as well than a 3d printer and takes way more effort in learning the cutting bits etc.

        titanium might work with sls. but those machines cost way, way way more than decent home cnc mills.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      yea cause a 100 watt laser is totally going to weld titanium directly off the bed

      there is a reason its called sintering and not welding

  • the remarkable thing about all this 3d-printed-gun excitement is that it's such a non-story. anyone with minimal motivation and dexterity could always have made their own, better guns. the only news is that a complete clutz can push "print".

    so, why don't we control ammo? (actually, we do here in .ca - at least on Ontario, you need a firearms license to buy it.)

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      in america if some dumbass wants to blow their face off we let them for the greater good

  • ^-- enough said.
  • Considering that it's not as strong as wood the outcome is not unexpected.
    Come on guys, just get a cheap hobby lathe to go with your expensive 3D printer, spend a couple of weekends learning how to use the thing, and then you can use materials that make a bit more sense for your hobby guns. Making gun shaped plastic hand grenades without a timer is a bit silly.
  • Oh, just wait for 3D laser sintering printers and then there'll be people printing metal gun parts. I do NOT look forward to that day.

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