3D Printed AR-15 isn’t as durable as designers had hoped…
The 3D printed assault rifle, printed first by gunsmith Micheal Guslick, a.k.a. Haveblue, has been shown to only last 6 shots before breaking.
The tests, conducted by a team of gunsmiths involved in the Wiki Weapons project, were only carried out on a partially printed rifle – the lower receiver, or the gun’s trigger and grip being printed, the remain parts were off-the shelf parts – whereas Haveblue’s original design, which didn’t work, was fully made from printed parts.
The AR-15 assault rifle was the second gun printed by Haveblue – the 1st was a .22 caliber pistol that apparently fired 200 shots before breaking – and although there was always kinks to be ironed out, Cody Wilson, who heads the Wiki Weapon project, thought the weapon would last at least 20 shots.
“We knew it would break, probably… But I don’t think we thought it’d break within six [rounds]. We thought it’d break within 20.” [Danger Room]
Although the tests were showed that the plastic lower receiver was not strong enough to with stand the force of the recoil, it did prove that the design is technically sound.
Wilson theorizes that reinforcing the O-ring would fix this problem, and are now looking into way to thicken the plastic without interfering with other parts.
Not content with simply printing guns, Wilson and his team plan to expanding on Haveblue’s work to develop the world’s first 3D printed gun and create a clearinghouse for sharing weapons blue prints over the Internet.
To print the rifle, Wilson leased a 3-D printer form Stratasys, however that company revoked the license for infringing on the ‘Undetectable Firearms Act”. But that hasn’t stopped the team, who is now employing the help of two unnamed companies based in Austin and San Antonio.
The team is also seeking a federal firearms manufactures license that will allow them to print the guns under the classification of ‘plastic toy gun prototypes’