“So I decided to 3D print a gun.”
And from there, the newest entry into the 3D printed firearm lineup began to take shape.
“There’s been a lot of hysteria in the news regarding 3D printed firearms, so I wanted to see what all the fuss is about and see if it will actually work.”
That’s from a recent entry by a Reddit user who posts as “alkali_feldspar,” also known as Tristan, a Canadian national from Alberta who says he’s licensed to own firearms. According to Tristan, he’s a shooting sports enthusiast with a strong scientific background, and that led him to his attempt to 3D print a long gun.
“I got into guns as a way of expanding my interest in the shooting sports,” Tristan told 3DPrint.com. “As for printing the rifle, the toughest challenge was getting the parts to print warp free and limiting overhangs where support material could not reach. I’m into printing all kinds of stuff, and I’ll probably look at printing a quad copter shortly.”
Tristan says this latest firearm is “100% legal” in Canada and that “I can make my own as long as it’s not a prohibited firearm.” But, due to the intricate web of international arms trafficking laws, he decided not to post the models he came up with publicly.
Tristan told us he did take the precaution of contacting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police about the project first, and they told him that as long as he doesn’t decide to sell it, he should avoid problems which would arise due to violations of those laws.
Printed from PLA, the action for the rifle is based on a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic design, a blow-back operated .22 caliber gun with more than 50 years of history behind it. Tristan says the process went like this: he copied – and then modified – the original design to include more material, but didn’t print the bolt, barrel, trigger, or stock until he discovered whether the action itself would be strong enough to handle the pressures involved.
The part was then split in two for the first version, but the initial effort was badly warped and it seems some areas of the part didn’t print well. He split the model in three sections for the second print run, and as a result of fewer “overhangs” in the process, he was satisfied with the result.
The pieces were then glued together, the assembly of the rifle was completed and then it was time for a shooting trip.
On the first test trip, Tristan says the glue he used failed, but after another try, he says “it works great.” Thus far, he says the rifle has performed without incident, and that there’s been no significant damage to the gun after 200+ test rounds have been fired.
He added that he believes the man on the street has nothing to fear from 3D printed guns.
“You have nothing to worry about. 3D printed guns are not going to cause the streets to run red,” Tristan said. “You still need a metal barrel and bolt for it to be reliable and last more than a few shots. It’s easier to just mill one out of metal than 3D print one.”
He’s hardly the only maker working on creating 3D printing processes for making long guns. You can check out a hybrid metal and 3D printed version of a similar firearm here.
What do you think about using 3D printing to build firearms? Weigh in with your opinion on the Canadian High-Tech Gun forum thread on 3DPB.com. If you want to see a video of the weapon in action, filmed in slow-mo at 120 fps to reveal how it functions, you can see it here as it’s being test-fired.