There’s been much attention paid to controversies about 3D printing guns, as people grapple with the unlimited creative potential that 3D printing brings to the already complex world of firearms manufacturing. Here, we consider 3D printed ballistics. Are you curious how a brass arrowhead with a 3D printed base and sabot (a “mini-arrow”) will do being shot from a shotgun at 15 yard and 30 yard ranges? Well, you don’t need to wonder anymore. Jeff (and Tim) from Taofledermaus have gone ahead and done all of the work on this one, and uploaded a video of the experiment onto Youtube, which has already received over 25,000 views since May 19, 2015. The verdict? The fact that the arrow’s base and sabot are 3D printed makes it that much more accurate at the shooting range.
Only a few of these mini-arrow prototypes were ever made, but after the video, gun enthusiasts will wish they could acquire some for their own shooting range experiements. The 3D printed arrow base is designed to evenly distribute energy across the back of the arrow flights. The sabot is also 3D printed and its purpose is to fill the space inside the gun’s barrel and then guide the assembly straight down the barrel for a clean shot. The brass arrowhead’s g-shock is quite strong, so the 3D printed parts are also there to support it; without the sabot, the shaft of the arrow is likely to break apart upon firing.
For the first two shots, the target — a gel block reinforced with wood behind it — was set about 15 yards away. With the first shot, a 1 ounce load target shotgun shell was used. For the second shot, a high brass round with even more power was utilized. Both shots delivered great force, penetrating the wood behind the gel block.
For the last shot, a round wooden children’s table was used at 30 yards away. This was the set up Taofledermaus was looking for, as the distance gave the mini-arrow the ability to function perfectly and do its thing. The 3D printed base piece smacked into the table wood and shattered, while the dart piece with the arrowhead went straight through the table ending up in the sand behind it. Quite a powerful shot, I would say.
Taofledermaus’ one regret about this 3D printed mini-arrow shooting experiment is that so many of the parts were black that it was hard to tell exactly where parts were going once the arrow hit its target. They were, however, able to review the shots on high-def video after the fact. Taofledermaus has a solution to this problem for next time though: he’ll paint the parts different colors so it’s easy to decipher where parts end up on impact.
What do you think about the potential the 3D printing provides for making custom bullets like this one? Discuss in the 3D Printed Mini Arrows forum thread on 3DPB.com. You can watch the exciting video below to see the firing of these bullets.
You May Also Like
NIST Grants $1.4 Million to America Makes for 3D Printed PPE
As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the world and changed life as we know it in many ways—along with opening up many questions for the future—makers, researchers, and medical inventors...
French Army Deploys Massive Military Print Farm for Spare Parts
The French Army has recently partnered with HAVA3D, a prominent distributor and integrator of additive manufacturing solutions based out of Le Mans, France, to deploy one of the largest 3D...
The Value Proposition of 3D Printed Airplane Parts, via Stratasys Aerospace
In the wee hours of the morning of July 2, I attended the last segment of the Stratasys Aerospace Webinar Series, “Value Proposition of AM to Airlines,” enjoying a presentation...
SLA 3D Printing: Formlabs Offers Six New Resins for the Form 3, Form 3B & Form 2
Centered around the miracles of 3D printing, Formlabs tends to have the magic touch—whether individual users or companies are seeking new products like an SLA printer or choosing from a...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.