Texas Gun Dealer 3D Prints a Plastic Silencer

IMTS

Share this Article

Call them what you will — a silencer, a suppressor, a moderator, a muffler, or a can — but they’re all devices to reduce the sound of a round being discharged from a firearm. For our purposes, we’ll call them silencers, and now a Texas gun dealer has 3D printed one from plastic material.

So why a silencer? Firing a gun without one makes a very loud noise, produced as the bullet breaks the sound barrier. Propellant gases exiting the bore of a gun at supersonic speeds disrupt the surrounding air, causing the noise, and a silencer is designed to contain those burning propellant gases and dissipate the energy they contain. For the most part, silencers are made up of a series of chambers and baffles which allow the propellant gases to spread out. Imagine a tube filled with a series of washers attached at the end of a rifle barrel and you have the general idea.

West Texas Armory 3D printed suppressor

Correctly designed, a silencer can reduce the sound of a gunshot from 180 or so decibels (depending on the caliber of the firearm in question) by up to 40 decibels or more. As a general rule, the larger the silencer, the better it will work. They’re typically made, due to the pressures and forces they have to contain, from metals like various alloys or even aluminum.

1517728_10206043711996394_1603656351787800066_nSilencer designs range from the simple to the sublime, and a top of the line silencer model can cost $1300 or more.

In the United States, silencers are regulated by the National Firearms Act. To own one, you need find out if they’re legal in your jurisdiction (and they are in 39 states), fill out a form with some personal information, and submit it to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives. After a few months, the BATFE returns a stamp that allows the silencer to be purchased from a dealer who possesses a federal firearms license.

Now a Texas firearms dealer, West Fork Armory, has 3D printed what they call a suppressor for a .22LR rifle from plastic. They say printing the device took around 3 hours and 20 minutes and resulted in what’s essentially a disposable .22 suppressor. Why would this be useful? It’s because the inexpensive nature of the device means it won’t require cleaning, and cleaning a silencer is difficult due to the design, and the many chambers, involved.

Of course, the key components are plastic, so it’s this isn’t necessarily a practical device as they would melt quickly under continued use, but it does appear to do the job.

As West Fork Armory applied for a Special Occupational Tax Class license (SOT) before printing their suppressor, they should avoid the felony charges which would result had they failed to follow the laws restricting the manufacture of silencer or suppressor devices.

There have been, of course, a number of silencers already built with various laser sintering metal processes, but the West Fork Armory device is the first we’ve seen made with plastic baffles.

Silencer design

Silencer design

If you want to see – and hear — what the 3D printed West Fork Armory silencer looks and sounds like in action, you can check it out below. What do you think about the West Fork Armory 3D printed gun silencer? Let us know in the Gun Dealer 3D Prints a Plastic Silencer forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Systems Brings 3D Printed PEEK Cranial Implant to the U.S. with FDA Clearance

Relativity Space Lands $8.7M Air Force Contract for Real-time Flaw Detection in 3D Printing



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Air Force Awards Fortius Metals $1.25M to Qualify 3D Printing Wire for Hypersonic Applications

AFWERX, part of the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), awarded a Direct-to-Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract worth $1.25 million to Colorado’s Fortius Metals, to accelerate qualification...

US Air Force Awards JuggerBot $4M for Large-format Hybrid 3D Printing

Large-format 3D printer manufacturer JuggerBot has received a $4 million grant to develop a large format 3D printer, courtesy of the Under Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering Manufacturing Technology...

Where Have All AM’s Unicorns Gone?

In the rapidly evolving world of 3D printing, startups valued at over a billion dollars, known as unicorns, once seemed as fantastical as the mythical creatures themselves. While a few...

Sponsored

How My Childhood Fascination with Planes Led to Investing in 3D Printing

My fascination with aerospace started young, and I started studying planes–identifying them in the sky and learning everything I could about how they work.  Fast forward to my first week...