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3D printed AR lower receiver doesn't meet expectations

One of the more interesting technologies for creating rapid prototypes and other items is 3D printing. 3D printing is capable of producing just about anything you can imagine from implantable cartilage for medical uses, to prototype parts and even weapons.

A project called Defense Distributed has been working on 3D printer files that allow users to create components to build their own guns using a 3D printer. A group of testers used a 3D printed gun part design from creator HaveBlue to produce an AR lower receiver (the lower receiver is a key component of the weapon that receives the rifle cartridge from the magazine) and headed to the gun range.

Unfortunately, it appears that recoil pressure in the completed weapon was too much for the buffer section of the 3D printed lower. The buffer is a section that separates the stock from the upper receiver reports NBC News. The part failed after firing only six shots. To make the failure even more embarrassing, the testers were using ammunition specifically designed for lower recoil.
The creator of the part claims to have printed his own and used it to fire hundreds of rounds.
While the firearm breaking in half while in operation seems to offer the potential for harm to the shooter and those nearby, the testers say that the only damage the operator faces is that of ego. When the weapon failed, the spring and buffer popped out of the tube and fell to the ground according to the testers.

Sources: NBC News, WikiWep DevBlog

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RE: Ummmmm......
By DuctTapeAvenger on 12/4/2012 12:38:50 PM , Rating: 3
1) This was a rifle, not a handgun.

2) The component printed was only the part that holds the magazine and all the trigger components. They did not print the springs, guide rods, bolt, barrel, firing pin, trigger, etc. Basically all the parts that make it function had to be purchased. Think of the part they printed as the shell of a mouse (computer, not furry). It's completely useless without all the parts inside that make it work.

RE: Ummmmm......
By Schrag4 on 12/5/2012 10:22:58 AM , Rating: 4
Correct. To put it simplistically, the rifle in the test has 2 main parts: the "upper" which consists of the barrel and bolt (keeping it simple) and the "lower" which basically just holds the magazine in place and has the trigger and hammer. The stock attaches to the lower. On this particular rifle, the recoiling bolt stays in the upper but pushes a buffer into the stock, against a spring, and when the buffer is pushed back foward, the bolt obviously is pushed forward, chambering another round. Like others, I'm not surprised that the part of the lower that the buffer tube (in the stock) connects to is where it failed.

The reason I explained all that is to emphasize that the part that was printed basically just holds the magazine in place and contains the trigger and hammer (and the stock and pistol grip hang off of it too). It's a very mundane part of the rifle, but it's considered THE rifle by our government. In most states, you can buy every other part of the rifle, including the parts that go into the lower, and have them shipped to your house. You have to buy the lower itself from an FFL dealer. Being able to build your own lower would mean you can build a complete rifle without going through an FFL.

Oh, and as others have said, you can build your own lower out of aluminum without very much equipment, and it will last pretty much forever. I've never done it but the proess looks pretty straightfoward. It's also technically legal as long as the lower is never transferred to anyone else (Disclaimer: I've never done it).

RE: Ummmmm......
By patronanejo on 12/5/2012 1:27:57 PM , Rating: 2
The receiver is the gun. If you can print that, you can buy everything else off-the-shelf without identifying yourself, registering your ownership, or asking your mom.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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