Quantcast

3D printed suppresor?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by jamesinalaska, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. jamesinalaska

    jamesinalaska Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    216
    We've all heard about the manufacture of 3D printed rifles, but has anyone at THR heard about 3D printable cans?

    And, ummm, for the record, I would NOT advise manufacturing one. Having the CAD/CAM drawings would be one thing (and legal) but making one...not so much.
     
  2. Odd Job

    Odd Job Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Messages:
    8,590
    Location:
    London (ex SA)
    From a purely technical point of view, and from the global perspective (where some places have no restrictions on suppressors at all):

    1) Yes, I think the technology is at the point or close to the point where it could at least be used to produce an air rifle suppressor (body and baffles)
    2) The threads are going to be the main issue: how do you print precise threads that will withstand on-and-off use?

    I have one really basic suppressor, made in New Zealand, called an RF22 "Phantom."
    It is a small, cheap, suppressor for .22LR only.
    With the right substrate it should be possible to print it, if the threads can be done properly. It may be that a rough set of threads is printed and a metal insert is used for the final threads, almost like an adapter but permanently attached.
     
    Demi-human and JeffG like this.
  3. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2016
    Messages:
    2,046
    Tap them with a tap.

    While not exactly ideal, putting the suppressor in a lathe and using the tailstock as a support and a tapping wrench will get it done. Skip to 3:54

     
  4. Theohazard

    Theohazard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,902
    Location:
    Western PA
    It’s perfectly legal to make your own silencer, all you need is an approved Form 1.
     
  5. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,404
    Location:
    North Alabama
    There have been several 3D printed suppressors made by several companies using various laser sintering based 3D metal printers. General Dynamics new bullpup that will compete for the new Next Generation Squad Weapon utilizes a one piece 3D printed muzzle-device/suppressor. No doubt there are some post printing clean up of the threads. I handled the rifle earlier this week at AUSA.
     
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    15,066
    I have air rifle “moderators” that use plastic internals from the factory. Could likely print the entire thing. If I were expecting repeated on and off use I would use a steel insert. Not unlike I machined for my aluminum form 1 firearm suppressor.
     
  7. Deus Machina

    Deus Machina Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,943
    Location:
    Brandon, Florida
    My first thought: a metal plug, pre-threaded on the inside and cut on the outside to allow printing to trap it.
    Or thread it post-print. Even use appropriate thread-serts, so you're not tapping relatively fine threads into it.
    Another generation and metal-sintering printers may be relatively common to the to the home user. By then, precision will also be much better.
     
  8. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Messages:
    9,165
    Location:
    Middle Tn
    Seems like a milled or even a drilled and screwed together unit would be stronger, cheaper, easier, and quicker. Current technology is too expensive for a durable part, and not enough people are skilled with 3D design to lay out the paths for the printer to lay the layers down with decent accuracy.

    So...
    Buy a printer (expensive, online)
    Buy a program (expensive, online)
    Find a competent designer (expensive, or get training)
    Build the part (and destroy it quickly)

    or...

    drill a bar, (drill press, cheap, common)
    make baffles from washers or bar stock, (Local hardware store, cheap, common)
    cap both ends with stock (drill and tap)
    Thread one end.

    which one is easier?
     
    bearcreek likes this.
  9. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,404
    Location:
    North Alabama
    First up Danial Defense and Sig are already making suppressors using metal 3D printed parts or complete assemblies. The technology is here now they are simply refining it.



    https://danieldefense.com/wave

    I am sure there are others I missed in a very brief Google search.

    You don't need to buy the printer there are many many companies out there that let you upload your 3D data to their site and they will give you a quote for how much it will cost to print from a larger and growing variety of metals including steel, stainless steel, titanium and aluminum alloys along with other more exotic alloys. (not to mention the more established variety of polymers) You can then decide on material and number of parts before paying to have them printed.

    The design software to create the 3D designs is also available for moderate costs and even free for home use. There are free versions of Siemens Solid Edge and AutoCAD's Fusion 360. Fusion 360 includes the post processor to run many of the open source 3D printers (plastic printers) and generate G-code for running most CNC machining centers.

    If you are little more computer savvy there are a lot of open source stuff out there too. I am currently using an open source program called FreeCAD to design parts and generate the G-code torun my little home converted CNC bench-top mill. The mill itself is running on a Linux based CNC controller. I wired the drives and interface it to the PC and setup the LinixCNC software. It would be a relatively simple conversion to make it into a small 3D printer by simply replacing the spindle with a print head and telling teh software it was a printer not a mill.

    Competent designers are slightly harder to come by but easily enough made if you are willing to learn. There is lots and lots of free education out there. And learning by doing is always an option.

    The technology of 3D printed suppressors is already hear and being use, it only going to get cheaper and more accessible as technology continues its steady march forward...
     
    Gordon and wally like this.
  10. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    1,230
    Location:
    Oregon
    Why would you want to 3D print a silencer? Would there be any advantage to a 3D printed silencer?

    If you were foolish enough to want to skirt the law a silencer can be ordered in pieces off the internet for quite cheap. If you wanted to do it right and get a form 1 you could buy all the parts for a silencer off the internet for cheap enough and have a really nice silencer.

    I never understood the big upheaval over 3D printed firearms either. A Glock 80% frame and associated parts are easy enough to finish... without any legal issues... in my state at least. The whole 3D printed arms issue seems like a made up problem for politicians to get all worked up over. I don't believe anyone familiar with firearms actually sees 3D printing technology as any kind of threat at all... it is really just more political garbage.
     
  11. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,404
    Location:
    North Alabama
    Setting the legal issue aside for the moment. From an engineering/design point of view the promise 3D printing technology brings to the suppressor market is potential performance increases by giving manufactures the ability to create internal structures inside the suppressor that would be extremely costly and in some cases impossible to create using traditional subtractive manufacturing processes.

    From a legalistic point of view the 3D printed technology (except for the really high end industrial printers) is more gimmick then actual useful hardware at the moment, BUT that is only at the moment. The technology has come a long way since I played with my first 3D printer in the mid 1990's and it appears that it is far from a mature technology yet with a lot of performance yet to be realized. Despite 3D printing technology being an adolescent technology it has set an interesting table for things to come as the technology gets better, cheaper, and more accessible the line between the 1st amendment and the 2nd amendment will continue to get blurrier. Right now a home-built 3D printer can get you a crappy all plastic pistol that is good for a handful of shots, best case, or some fragile lowers and bump stocks. But it foreshadows the idea that the construction of a firearm (or nearly any gadget) will be something you can download and print and that the idea of making a particular gadget illegal is going to be next to impossible to enforce in reality given how freely information moves about on the internet.
     
    Demi-human likes this.
  12. jamesinalaska

    jamesinalaska Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    216

    MCB. I've come to think you are right. The technology behind 3D printing will only get better. And with nearly all manufacturers adhering to the Just In Time (JIT) theory of inventory, I think it is only a matter of time until all rifles are "printed" and only after they've been purchased.
     
    mcb likes this.
  13. rskent

    rskent Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,747
    Location:
    The land of blue sky and sunshine
    Seems like a very expensive way to manufacture a relatively cheap and easy part. I don’t understand why someone would 3D print production parts, past the testing prototype stage.


    I guess if your selling to the government….. or you have a very low production.
     
  14. Hasaf

    Hasaf Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Messages:
    799
    Location:
    Kansas
    This point is not about the suitability of a 3D printer for a silencer. However, I teach a 3d printing class and I want to point out that 3D printing is not that expensive.

    One of the most popular hobby-grade printers is the CR-10 series. Depending on the model, it will cost between 300-500 dollars. As far as the software, one of the popular software tools is Tinker-Cad, it is free.

    Yes, the purpose of Tinkercad is to push the user to the Auto-Cad tools (it is owned by the same company. However, for something like a silencer, Tinkercad would be entirely adequate.

    Yes, there are more expensive 3D printers, While I have a CR-10, the school I teach at has a much more expensive one. Frankly the schools unit cost about six times as much; however, I don't see it as being six times better (If you are wondering, we got a grant and they chose the printer).

    3d printing does not have to be an expensive hobby.

    All that said, I don't think 3D printing is a good way to make a silencer. The issue is that It will not be as durable as a "metal" silencer and, with the tax issues and laws that regulate silencers, it makes sense to make them out of more durable material.
     
  15. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,404
    Location:
    North Alabama
    Yeah that might just come to be. S&W is/has been making 380 bodyguard barrels with the MIM process and that is a bulk sintering of powdered metals and produces parts strong enough to withstand those stresses. You could not have done that with MIM a decade or two ago. 3D metal printers for the most part are a selective sintering of powder metal process. No reason the material properties will also not be there as the the techniques are refined. As powder metallurgy improves so does MIM and 3D metal printing.

    Go back and re-read my second and third posts in this thread. It's not nearly as expensive as you think it is and getting cheaper all the time. The 3D metal printers are expensive but the parts they produce are not that bad. You can also create designs with additive manufacturing processes like 3D printing that would be prohibitively expensive or outright impossible with traditional manufacturing methods. In the suppressor world this is leading to performance increases not possible before. Lighter, smaller and/or quieter than ever.

    3D printing is becoming one of the better ways to make a suppressors since there are internal geometry that promise better performance that are not possible with tradition manufacturing processes.

    I use big 6-figure 3D printers in my day to day job both an SLS polymer printer and DMLS metal printer, along with two older filament printers. Yes these professional machines are expense investments but they are not terrible expensive to actually operate. The cost saving of being able to rapidly produce usable parts for prototype testing shrinks the design cycle down enough to easily justify their cost and for some industries they are becoming the manufacturing process itself.
     
    Gordon likes this.
  16. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    16,530
    Location:
    Elbert County, CO
    This.

    How useful those features are is another matter, but being able to create impossible to machine features opens up all kinds of possibilities.

    As well, though the equipment is very expensive, the substrate is cheap, and the actual manufacturing almost 100% material efficient. Comparatively, when I machine a baffle from a piece of bar stock, about 90% of the material I started with is turned into chips.

    Delta P design manufactures with DMLS using inconel

    https://www.deltapdesign.com/collections/brevis-ii-supressors
     
    Gordon and mcb like this.
  17. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Messages:
    9,165
    Location:
    Middle Tn
    I am fully aware of printer and software tech. I have been reading about them recently for both work and home. The technology exists to make a durable part, but it is cost prohibitive currently for anybody other than a high volume manufacturer and to that point the printers are so slow it would be hard to do high volume. My post was to the point that (for average joes) for a simple part or simple collection of parts, the far easier, cheaper, more durable option is still to just use power tools and stuff from the local hardware store.
     
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    56,358
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    Already available.

    https://www.hallandpepper.com/

    That's where the real benefit to additive manufactured monolithic baffles comes in. Complex internal geometries can be less expensive when layed up and centered than trying to remove material.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
    mcb likes this.
  19. 748

    748 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,063
    Location:
    clovis, NM
    My gemtech have gm22 cost $200.
    There's no way I could do better than that for $200.

    You could make your own on a 3d printer but I doubt it would be serviceable so when it melts or plugs up you would legally have to pay for another $200 tax stamp before you make another one.
     
    Gordon likes this.
  20. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,429
    could be easily done. people have been shooting 22, even 9/45 for literally decades using plastic bottles. Heli-coil or Timeserts would work for threads, but even easier, print out a hex indent on the inside, and glue a nut. Here in the US, its not really likely to ever take off because the cost of the license is high enough to justify better quality of materials, and those interested in doing it illegally will just keep using things like bottles. Technically speaking metal 3D printing is already in use. https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/hands-on-worlds-first-3d-printed-metal-silencer/
     
  21. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    16,530
    Location:
    Elbert County, CO
    If you had the machines & tooling (or access to them), you absolutely could. My Ocelot takes about $20 worth of material to make and will markedly outperform the monocore GM22, especially on handguns.

    Heck, even if you don't have much tooling, you can do OK for rimfire. I experimented with some of the imported "fuel filter kits" you see on ebay as both a service to the F1 community since I don't have to pay NFA tax to manufacture, and out of my own curiosity, actually got pretty respectable performance out of them using a few of the baffles from a second $9 kit:

    6rWD7ks.jpg

    https://www.ar15.com/forums/Armory/The-cheap-chinese-can-experiment/55-502440/

    To make the alterations I did would take a decent amount of time without a mill and lathe, but you really could pull it off with a small drill press, a vise, hand files and a hack saw.
     
    Gordon likes this.
  22. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    6,574
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    3D printing offers something very different in the industry.
    Instead of being subtractive, the printing technology is additve.
    As MachIV alludes to above, you can create forms that could not be achieved by machining.
    Now, there would have to be a reason, a compelling reason to do so.
    And, right now, the feedstock issues create extra issues with current technology, which redoubles the need for something really unique to warrant the time and effort required.
    The tech for printing is evolving.
    Sadly, the F1 & SOT requirements limit true experimentation in sound suppression.
     
  23. jamesinalaska

    jamesinalaska Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    216

    "3D printing is becoming one of the better ways to make a suppressors since there are internal geometry that promise better performance that are not possible with tradition manufacturing processes." MCB


    Exactly. 3D printing is, in my opinion, a 21st century shortcut, that allows folks to make things without first spending 10 years apprenticed to a machine shop learning how to make things.

    No doubt about it, the technology will increase, and any person who wants a rifle (or a suppressor) for positive reasons or for nefarious is going to have the ability to obtain one.
     
  24. truenorth

    truenorth Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Byron at DeltaP really pioneered 3D cans. Having a .223 silencer the size of a small Red Bull can, really has its benefits.
    What 3D printing offers is complex baffle designs that can not be machined.
     
  25. Gtscotty

    Gtscotty Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Messages:
    3,308
    Location:
    Wyoming
    I've thought about it, I got a 3d printer 8 months ago or so, and have been printing a bunch and getting back into 3D design. There are some good programs online for free, I use Fusion 360 for modeling with a hobbyist/startup license and have found it to be quite powerful and useable. There are good free slicers out there to turn models into G-code Recently as well, Cura is popular and I really like PrusaSlicer 2.1 (an upgraded form of Slic3r) both free. I recently finished a little practice project to design and print a 5/8x24 thread protector for one of my barrels. Threads are really easy to model in Fusion 360, I had to open up the threads a bit to account for the tolerances of my printer, but it fits and works well now.

    I've been thinking about doing a Form 1 for a 3d printed .22 can. I'd buy or have a 1/2x28 to (some larger thread, maybe female) SS adapter made and use that as the serialized part. I could then design a baffle stack that I could print and thread into the adapter, rebuilding or repairing the can would be a matter of reprinting the baffle stack.

    If you can print a good functioning magazine, a tube with internal baffles shouldn't be a problem (you'd have to get the vertical angles on your internal structure correct, you obviously wouldn't be able to use support material inside the can with an FDM printer unless you have a multiple extruder setup):

    IMG_20191012_162316441.jpg

    I found that mag design for a 10 Rd X-Bolt mag on Thingiverse. The guy who designed it did an awesome job... EXCEPT... he designed it with too short of an internal OAL at 3.23" :eek:... Fatal flaw for my uses.

    IMG_20191012_165705747~01.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice