By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
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Photo(s) Credit: Defense Distributed
February 5, 2013
Last updated on 2/05/13.
Since we're on a bit of a 30-round mag kick, lately, we should probably just keep it going a little longer and cover the Defense Distributed (DefDist) 3D-printed translucent polymer 30-round 5.56mm NATO/.223 Rem. AR mag (AR-15 rifle magazine). This thing’s really gotta’ have the anti-gunners in meltdown mode. They’re probably experiencing a veritable conniption, over it, actually, and it's pretty funny. Basically, Defense Distributed's 3D-printed magazine and 3D-printing/additive manufacturing hardware/technology represent the future democratization of firearms and related components, parts and accessories manufacturing. That’s pretty cool. Even better, this appears to be striking abject fear into the hearts of liberal nanny-state-loving gun-grabbers, everywhere.
It would appear that all you need to make your own 30-round mag is a 3D printer, the blueprint and a CAD program. I guess this is just one kind of democracy the libs aren't all that crazy about. After all, you can't have the proletariat arming themselves and fighting their benevolent government masters, effectively rebelling/revolting against their liberal utopian overloards, with homemade, high-tech tactical weaponry, no less, right? I mean, what kind of New-World-Order (NWO) utopia would that be? Not one they want to live in, apparently.
Anyway, if 3D-printed mags, 3D-printed AR lower receivers and DefDist's complete "Wiki Weapon" concept are harbingers of the future, then it's definitely going to be a brave new world. If you're pro-second amendment/anti-gun control, a technology geek, a conservative, a libertarian, a post-internet anarchist, or just a Star Trek fan, and/or if you despise neo-fascist leftist-socialists bent on controlling you, telling you what to do, and infringing on your Constitutional (and natural) right to bear arms, then you may want to eventually acquire a 3D printer and start making your own stuff, even if it's just to piss the opposition off. Never underestimate the satisfaction one can derive from tormenting the political opposition, especially if they're a bunch of neo-fascist totalitarian control freaks.
Look, if you think the fun police (gun grabbers) are going crazy now, just wait until they see Josephine Soccer Mom pumping out her own tactical AR(s) and mags in her living room (and reloading her own ammo in her garage). Female empowerment taken too far? I don’t think so. We like armed women here at DR, provided they like us.
Unfortunately, the technology is somewhat embryonic at present, so Josephine may have to wait. But Cody Wilson, one of the guys behind the DefDist 3D-printed AR mag project, told DefenseReview (DR) on the phone that as the additive manufacturing hardware/technology matures and the deposit materials become more advanced and durable, the above scenario can actually become a reality with regard to small-batch runs for personal use. Mass production and high-quality, highly-durability metal components/parts (upper receiver, barrels, bolt carriers, bolts, etc.) would still require standard machinery to produce, one would think, but a signficant portion of a real firearm will be manufacturable right in the comfort of your own home. By the way, the aforementioned "Wiki Weapon" is DefDist's term for a complete downloadable 3D-printed firearm. Catchy.
DefDist's translucent polymer 30-round AR mag was printed out/additive-manufactured on an Objet Connex26 Compact Multi-Material 3D Printing System using Objet VeroClear transparent "printing material", according to ExtremeTech. Since DefDist didn't quite have the magazine's specs dialed in, they had to do some shaving. Still, they reportedly weren't able to fire all 30 rounds without a hitch. However, a little graphite powder inside, a modified mag catch and sanding allowed the magazine to go about 50 rounds and remain intact. DefDist stated that the prototype mag could have easily made it past 100 rounds, despite some heat-caused warpage. Not bad for a first 3D-printed prototype.
Assuming these Defense Distributed guys are legit (and that remains to be seen), DR likes 'em…A LOT.
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