The overall response on our 3D Printed Metal 1911 gun has been generally good feedback. The hobbyist and expert alike have come together to comment and congratulate our engineers, programmers & finishers and we appreciate your support during this whirlwind of technological advancements. As a tip of the hat to the stronger gun enthusiasts out there, our engineers took the 1911 3D Printed Metal gun out onto the range once more, this time for a 500 round torture test. In an effort to officially prove the strength and capability of our 1911 series pistol, we submitted the gun to a high volume of pressure, force and heat in the form of over 500 continuous rounds. To date, the 1911 3D Printed gun has been subjected to 600+ rounds with zero part failures.
The 1911 is functioning very well, but the real benefits are in the metal sintering process itself which includes fast replacement components should anything function at less than optimal levels by simply re-printing a component with proper design corrections. It’s a spectacular feat that Solid Concepts’ engineers were able to assemble and take the gun out for immediate firing. This is uncommon in product development and further showcases the effectiveness of 3D Printing at an industrial scale. Even a small issue with the 1911 returning to battery was fixed immediately without any problems by simply improving the mating surface where the back of the shell rides up the breach face upon lockup and running a 15lb spring instead of a 14lb main spring. The return to battery is now smooth.
Our 1911 pistol was created via a metal laser sintering process and then stress relieved. The gun was not post heat treated in order to prove 3D Printed metal could perform phenomenally at a raw level. “The 17-4 Stainless Steel has not been post heat treated because that would further strengthen it and we wanted to test our least strong option first,” says Eric Mutchler, Project Engineer at Solid Concepts. Mutchler explained testing the material without reinforcing material properties before testing out Solid Concepts’ super alloys or using heat treatment processes would reveal more information about the process as well as better prove what it can accomplish.
The 1911 3D Printed metal gun was manufactured 40 micron layer by layer with 3D Printing; it was not machined via conventional CNC methods. “The barrel was cleaned up with our hand tools only,” says Mutchler. The rifling was sintered into the barrel layer by layer, just like the rest of the gun components (save the springs, as mentioned before, which were store bought). Our 1911 has a unique serial number as ATF requires.
The 500 rounds used 230 Grain Winchester White Box and was sponsored by Red’s Indoor Range in Pflugerville, TX.