Mikhail Kalashnikov was a “self-taught tinkerer” who used his mechanical skills and a study of weaponry to design and build the gun that changed the way wars are fought. His AK-47, also known around the world as the “Kalashnikov” in honor of its creator, is a 7.62×39mm assault rifle renowned for its deadly reliability and ubiquity as a military tool.
And now, six decades after Kalashnikov built the first of his prototypes, it is the most popular and widely used assault rifle in the world. Its reliability under harsh conditions, low production cost, and ease of use has led various AK-derived rifles to be the most-produced assault rifle type in history.
As a result, the AK-47 has become a sort of talisman, an icon which represents everything from gun-rights freedom to the power of revolutionary forces around the globe. And it’s also becoming more and more common to see 3D printed guns.
Now a reddit user, EasilyUsed, has created a full-sized toy replica of this most infamous piece of military hardware.
Modeled in Blender and 3D printed on a MakerBot Replicator 1 and Flashforge Creator II in ABS at .3mm layer height with a 10% infill, EasilyUsed says a total of six print jobs were need to print the nine pieces that make up the replica. He adds that the replica took a total print time of some 35 hours.
The resulting piece weighs 1 pound, and the parts were permanently ‘welded’ together with acetone. The ‘welding’ was done using an ABS slurry first which was made up of color-matched bits of ABS dissolved in acetone.
“I prefer just using a paintbrush to apply plain acetone to my parts, let them melt a bit, then press them together,” he says. “I feel it’s easier to work with raw acetone than the thick abs slurry, as well as not needing to have slurry color matched to every filament I use.”
While he says he did have “some trouble with warping and splitting on the largest parts despite enclosed printers,” he solved that by making corrections after printing with acetone and clamps.
“None of the parts are moving, but I’d like to redesign so the trigger functions, the clip is removable and the bolt cycles,” he says. “I’d also probably break the parts down to smaller sizes and different orientations to decrease warping and splitting and make them fit in my acetone vapor bath.”
He says the entire piece took just 1/2 of a 1kg roll of filament and cost around $10-15 to complete, depending, of course, on the prices your supplier charges. If you’d like to check out the laws regarding toys like this, you can find some useful information here.
“Yeah, it’s kind of an art piece on its own since it doesn’t have any function to it; the frozen treats (in the photo) are just an unrelated painting in my studio that had good lighting,” he says.
What do you think about the 3D printing of guns, either as working firearms or as toys? You can weigh in with your opinion in the 3D Printed Kalashnikov forum thread on 3DPB.com.