Sure it's a bit of a pricey publicity gimmick, but it's a cool one—and a wild example of fast-moving technological progress. What am I speaking of? Why, surely you've heard that Solid Concepts, the company that developed a 3D-printed, metal, semiautomatic pistol just months after Defense Distributed unveiled the first working 3D-printed firearm of any sort, will be selling a limited number of guns made the politician-scaring way.
The Solid Concepts announcement is almost literally a blast from the past, since the guns it's making and selling through the high-tech process are Model 1911s, developed by John Browning a century ago. It's a good design and, importantly, now in the public domain, which is why it's produced by many companies through traditional means, as well as, now, by 3D printing.
From Solid Concepts:
Solid Concepts will release a limited run of 1911 3D Printed metal guns for purchase; we will only manufacture 100 of these limited edition 3D Printed metal guns. The limited run 1911 3D Printed metal guns will be built and serialized with the option of unique customization using our Additive Metal Manufacturing technology. Each 3D Printed gun will be manufactured with Inconel 625 and Stainless Steel components. Post machining and hand polishing will complete the manufacturing process and each assembled pistol will undergo 100 rounds of test firing. We are offering buyers the chance to tour our Texas facility and watch their gun being printed with the added benefit of joining our lead additive manufacturing engineers on the range for the first test firing of the buyers' limited 1911 gun.
The company says the first pistol manufactured through this process has fired nearly 2,000 rounds so far, so you can expect yours to last. That's a good thing, because a 3D-printed Model 1911 will set you back $11,900. That's just a tad—a big tad—more than you'll pay for similar pistols made the traditional way.
But think of the cool factor.
Of course, it's even cooler to make your own guns at home.