Songbird, A Mostly 3D Printed Pistol That Appears To Actually Work

[Guy in a garage] has made a 3D printed gun that not only appears to fire in the direction pointed, it can also do it multiple times. Which, by the standard of 3D printed guns, is an astounding feat. He started with .22 rifle cartridges but has since upgraded and tested the gun with .357 rounds. The link above is a playlist which starts of with an in-depth explanation of the .22 version and moves through design iterations

This gun prints on a standard FDM printer. Other 3D printable guns such as the infamous Liberator or the 3D printed metal gun need more exotic or precise 3D printing to work effectively. The secret to this gun’s ability is the barrel, which can be printed in nylon for .22 cartridges, or in ABS plus a barrel liner for .22 and .357 caliber.

A barrel liner is one way to repair a gun that has aged and is no longer shooting properly. Simply put, it is a long hardened metal tube with rifling on the inside. Some guns come out of the factory with one, and a gunsmith simply has to remove the old one and replace it. Other guns need to be bored out before a liner can be installed.

The metal liner surrounded by plastic offers enough mechanical strength for repeat firings without anyone losing a hand or an eye; though we’re not sure if we recommend firing any 3D printed gun as it’s still risky business. It’s basically like old stories of wrapping a cracked cannon in twine. The metal tries to expand out under the force of firing, but the twine, which would seem like a terrible material for cannon making, is good in tension and when wrapped tightly offers more than enough strength to hold it all together.

This is also how he got the .357 version to work. The barrel slots into the gun frame and locates itself with a rounded end. However, with the higher energy from a .357 round, this rounded end would act as a wedge and split the 3D printed frame. The fix for this was simple. Glue it back together with ABS glue, and then wrap the end of the assembly with a cable tie.

This is the first 3D printed gun we’ve seen that doesn’t look like a fantastic way to instantly lose your hand. It’s a clever trick that took some knowledge of guns and gunsmithing to put together. Despite the inevitable ethical, moral, and political debate that will ensue as this sort of thing becomes more prevalent, it is a pretty solid hack and a sign that 3D printing is starting to work with more formidable engineering challenges.

[Clinton] Builds A Better Handgun

A few months ago, we caught wind of someone doing something remarkable. [Clinton Westwood] built a pistol from plans he found on the Internet. You can find plans to build anything on the web, from houses to four-stroke engines to perpetual motion machines. Most of the time these plans are incomplete and many of these devices have never been built at all. [Clinton]’s pistol was one of these never-built designs. After months of work, he’s ready to call this project done, and managed to build an awesome rig to rifle the barrel.

Before [Clinton] set out to build this gun from scratch, the only other example these plans could build a gun-shaped object were a few terrible pictures of what appears to be a gun that was thrown into a garbage disposal, then into a creek, then forgotten for several years. There is a distinct lack of workmanship in this one exemplar, but [Clinton]’s attempt at replication is far more professional.

Although this gun is designed to be built using simple tools, there is one aspect of amateur gunsmithing that requires some specialized equipment. The barrel must be rifled if you want any accuracy at all, and for this [Clinton] has come up with a very simple jig made out of a broken bicycle and some threaded rod.

If homebrew gunsmithery is your thing, but you’re looking for something with a little more punch than a .25 ACP, you can beat plowshares into an AK-47. All hail the shovel AK, defender of the motherland and digger of holes.

DIY Cast AR-15 Receivers Are More Interesting Than Expected

For some reason the US News media decided on the AR-15 as the poster child of guns that should not be allowed to be made for, or sold to, the consumer. The words still out on the regulation, but, in a very American response, a whole market sprang up around people saying, “Well, then we’ll just make our own AR-15.”

Ordinarily, we wouldn’t cover this sort of thing, but the work [AR-15Mold] is doing is just so dang interesting. They sell a product that enables the home user to cast an AR-15 receiver out of high performance resin. In the process they made a really informative three part video on the casting process.

A lot of people are interested in the product, and having fun with it. In this two part video series, [Liberty Marksman] cast their receivers and test them to destruction. In one video they see how many rounds they can fire out of the gun before it breaks. When it breaks, they excitedly tear down the gun to see where it failed.

It’s quite a bit of fun to watch. Videos after the break.

Continue reading “DIY Cast AR-15 Receivers Are More Interesting Than Expected”

Building a Sheet Metal Pistol

Floating around the Internet are plans for a semi-automatic pistol constructed out of sheet metal. Like so many plans for 3D printed guns, it appears no one has actually built one of these pistols. It exists only as a technological construct, with diagrams you can photocopy, trace onto a few bits of metal, and presumably assemble into a gun. The only proof these parts can be turned into a gun-shaped object are a few random blog posts from two years ago showing a very ugly pistol spray painted matte black.

[Clinton Westwood] decided to take up the challenge of turning these plans into a real, working gun. He’s documented his efforts on YouTube and put a bunch of pictures up of the entire build process. The gun doesn’t work quite yet, but it almost does, and he’s doing this entirely in a garage shop, with tools anyone can pick up from Home Depot.

Most of the construction of this gun is simple enough – it’s just sheet metal, after all. The magazine was constructed by tracing the pattern onto a piece of metal, wrapping it around a mandrel, and welding it together. The side plates of the gun, again, were created with a jigsaw. Rifling the barrel – the thing that makes this gun both accurate and legal – required the construction of a few interesting tools. The rifling tool is just a piece of round bar that fits through the barrel. A small piece of a hacksaw blade was cut to fit inside this round bar, and the barrel was cut very slowly with a shop-built tool.

The finished result is something that looks like it came from the finest post-apocalyptic craftsman. A gun that looks cool is useless if it doesn’t work, and here the DIY pistol falls short. The spent casings don’t eject. It’s still a step up from the first build of this gun that was only rumored to fire blanks.

Recently, the world of gunsmithing has been inundated with 3D printed pistols that don’t work, and 3D printed guns that do work, but are somehow 200 years behind the state of the art. We’re happy to see some people are still building things with their hands, and hope [Clinton] can eventually get this gun to work.

Continue reading “Building a Sheet Metal Pistol”

Beating a plowshare into an AK-47

[Boris] must have been a little bored over Thanksgiving. We’re guessing that’s the case; why else would he build an AK-47 out of a common garden shovel?

After buying an old shovel from an antique barn in Vermont, [Boris] cut off the handle an attached it to an old Bulgarian AK he had just lying around. The new stock proved to be very comfortable, and not wanting to waste the iron in the shovel head, decided to make an AK out of the remainder of his purchase.

After tossing the shovel head into the furnace and pounding it flat, [Boris] had a respectable piece of metal to construct an AK receiver from. A bit of plasma cutting, grinding, and drilling turned this former shovel into a future gun, and with the help of a blank barrel the shovel became an AK receiver that is twice as thick and twice as heavy as a ‘normal’ AK receiver. Yes, [Boris]’s new gun is even more indestructible than a stock AK – something that really shouldn’t be possible.

In the end, [Boris] spent $2 on a shovel, $30 on a barrel, and $200 on a Romanian AK kit. The result is an actual, working gun that is legal for him to own (but not sell – see the comments for that discussion).