Need a last minute Christmas gift? How about a $12,000 3D printed gun?

I'm not sure if people are champing at the bit for this deal, but if you're a gun collector and you want to be the only one on the proverbial block, here's your chance. 

The first company to produce a working version of a metal semi-automatic pistol with a 3D printer is offering to sell them as a collector's piece for $11,900.

Solid Concepts, a 3D printing services company, first unveiled the gun last month. The pistol is a replica of the storied .45-caliber, M1911 semi-automatic that served as the U.S. military's standard-issue sidearm for more than 70 years. Solid Concepts demonstrated the gun by initially firing 50 rounds with it. Since then, the company said it has fired nearly 2,000 rounds through the pistola without a single malfunction.

3D printed gun

(The 1911 .45 semi-automatic pistol fresh off the 3D printer)

Accuracy? In the first 50-round test fire, several of the bullets struck the bullseye at about 30 yards. 

Unlike the very first company to make a 3D printed gun -- the single-shot, plastic Liberator -- Solid Concepts is not trying to promote the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. Its purpose in printing the firearm was to demonstrate its ability to turn out precision, durable parts that could withstand the massive pressure created by firing a bullet. 

Solid Concept's pistol is made with industrial-grade 3D printers using the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering techniques (DMLS). Both DMLS and SLS use lasers to melt metals, even titanium, at temperatures exceeding 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The 3D printers work by laying down a fine layer of powder and then using a laser to fuse granules together, building an object layer by layer from the ground up.

The difference between the two techniques is that DMLS tends to be used with alloys.

(A demonstration of DMLS 3D printing)

Solid Concepts will print out 100 limited edition 1911 3D Printed metal guns with serial numbers and the option of unique customization using the company's additive metal manufacturing technology (also known as 3D printing). Each 3D Printed gun will be manufactured using Inconel 625 (a Nickel-Chromium-Molybdenum alloy ) and stainless steel components. Engineers will complete the gun with some fine tuning through post-printing machining and hand polishing. Each assembled pistol will undergo 100 rounds of test firing.

Additionally, Solid Concepts is offering people who purcahse one of the limited edition pistols the chance to tour their Texas facility to see their gun being printed, and to join their lead additive manufacturing engineers on the range for the first test firing of their limited 1911 gun. “This is a chance to own a piece of history,” Solid Concept's vice president of marketing, Scott McGowan, said.

The gun will arrive in a wooden showcase box with a 3D Printed metal plaque describing the unique qualities of the pistol and a certificate of authenticity. The gun went on sale today. If you're interested in purchasing one of the limited edition 1911 pistols, email Solid Concepts at:


(The finished gun)

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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