Solid Concepts 3D-printed 1911 gets version 2.0

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Solid Concept announced the first stainless steel 3D-printed firearm just a few days ago and head spun. The firm destroyed any notions that the technology of 3D printing was not mature enough to build a real gun.

Without missing a beat they’ve moved on to updating their blueprints.

The first gun was printed using converted CAD drawings intended for CNC milling machines. While 3D printers can use these plans they’re not ideal. So Solid Concepts modified the plans for the second gun to reduce the amount of hand-fitting required to assemble the finished product.

Solid Concepts wan’t entirely certain how the first design would fare. Composed of sintered stainless steel they built the gun without any heat-treating, which would improve the strength of the parts. With version 1.0 still doing just fine through the first 700 rounds, Solid Concepts is doing something a little different for version 2.0.

The Solid Concepts 1911 2.0 includes the same 34 3D-printed components, but for the second gun they will not be made out of stainless steel. Solid Concepts is building the second gun out of Inconel 625, a “superalloy” of chromium and nickel. The material is denser and stronger than steel and using traditional machining methods, very hard to work with.

But with 3D printing, things are considerably different.

“Inconel 625 is a harder, stronger alloy than 17-4 Stainless Steel. We modified the geometry for this second iteration to incorporate different tolerances in order to make hand finishing sufficiently easier. With our first prototype, we had to hand sand to perfect a few tolerances, but our tweaks to the design should remove the need for such sanding.

“We’re thoroughly enjoying this research-development-improvement process for an internal project. The implications of its success for our customers’ future projects — from aerospace to medical — are very uplifting! Thanks to our followers for their support and enthusiasm, it has been quite the ride.”

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