3D Printed Suppressor

3D-Printed-Suppressor

The people at West Fork Armory, used their Class 2 SOT license, to legally make a suppressor using a 3D printer. It took 3 hours and 20 minutes to print this out.

 

According to Fishgame.com:

The idea behind it is to have a .22 suppressor that does not require cleaning.  Instead you just send it in every couple thousand rounds for a replacement baffle stack inside an aluminum tube.

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Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • the_duck

    Prebanned in CA by the thought police!

  • Scott Tuttle

    lets see, clean it or mail it off for new baffles…. tough one.

  • Dan

    Anybody know the material they used? I would think it has to be polycarb.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Seems polycarb would melt…

      • BryanS

        Thats kinda the point of FDM additive manufacturing. You melt the material and lay it down. You can do polycarbonate in a 3D printer if it can handle the temp.

        • Phillip Cooper

          I was referring to the part in use, not production.

  • mosinman

    First 3D printed glock 7s and now 3D printed ghost suppressors?!?! Someone ban 3D printing before its too late!1!!1!!!!!

  • Phillip Cooper

    So, if it’s a felony to even possess the components, say, to make an AR15 fully automatic, if one has a weapon they can go into- is it a crime to possess the file to make a suppressor on a 3d printer?

    • David Sharpe

      Knowledge is not illegal. There are instructions to make Luty Sub Machine Guns and those instructions aren’t illegal.

      • Phillip Cooper

        I agree with you, and yet there are politicos that will make their career on exactly what I’ve postulated. Hell, they’ve already done similar things!

  • Don Ward

    Whether it should be legal or not is one thing. But the craze over the 3D printing fad seems pretty stupid. Just learn basic gunsmithing or metal working.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Obviously you haven’t given this much thought. Keep thinking, we’ll wait…

      • Don Ward

        What’s there to think out? They took longer and used a more expensive piece of machinery to do something that anyone with a basic level of handworking skills could do with more readily available tools. Color me unimpressed.

        • Phillip Cooper

          So we’ll be seeing an exact replica of a Glock slide carved by your hand with files and maybe a drill…tomorrow?

          • Don Ward

            There have been articles here at TFB showing Filipino gunsmiths making 1911s by hand. We’ve seen articles about Pashtun gunsmiths in Pakistan doing the same with AKs and SMLE Enfields. My local NAPA store probably has the tools and equipment that would enable the right person to build a STEN gun or a close enough facsimile. My high school in the 1970s had a teacher that taught kids to make muzzleloaders for goodness sakes.

            For the amount of time these gentlemen are putting into perfecting a 3D printer capable of “microwaving” up a gun which can withstand the tolerances of firing it, they could just learn how to do it the “old fashioned” way and have a better product while learning a useful skill to boot. Let’s stop pretending the whole gimmick with 3D printing is anything other than a fad because some people think they can microwave up guns that can’t be traced by the government.

          • sianmink

            I think the point is, the Filipino and Pashtun gunsmiths making working firearms out of pipe and springs and sheet steel are pretty skilled. Once these designs are perfected, anyone with a 3d printer can make one.
            It’s the difference between knowing how to make a pizza from scratch and knowing how to microwave pizza rolls.

          • Alucard

            Not exactly a suppressor isn’t a complex thing to make like a gun,anyone can make a suppressor out of sheet metal and frost plugs if they have an idea of what they are doing.I have a buddy who makes his own,he’s made a good portion of them by hand and could have one built by hand in less than 1 hour.He doesn’t like paying the price of a suppressor and the tax stamp as well,so he just pays the tax stamp.

          • sianmink

            Sure you can make a suppressor out of a pipe, some washers and steel wool.

          • dan citizen

            I saw recently where someone was slipping a disc with the file for printing an AR receiver into the walmart 3D printers they sell for $600

          • anon

            Certified CNC machinist (vertical mill, horizontal mill, wire EDM, sinker EDM, and turning)/ Certified CNC programmer/ Certified manual machinist (vertical mill, horizontal mill, turning, surface grinding, etc) reporting in.

            If you really do not see the value in a new technology that can produce some things SIGNIFICANTLY quicker/cheaper/and with significantly less setup time, setup fixture cost, and an overall reduction in number of processes needed than anything else before in the history of mankind, then you are missing the point.

            3D printing technology (or back when i was in the mfg field it was referred to as rapid prototyping) is something that will be a very big deal for a long long time to stay.

            Take many of these baffle designs that you see in modern suppressors that have an OD, going into a taper or sometimes even a radius that then has a precision bore in it (sometimes non concentric to center, too), in addition to milling cuts often on more than one axis.

            Unless you have a manual bridgeport mill, indexing head, and custom made jigs in addition to a manual lathe with a 4-jaw chuck, turning tool, part off tool, boring bar, center drill, step drills, and a radiusing tool, not to mention DRO’s, micrometers, calipers, gage blocks, vises, clamps, and all of the other incidentals in your garage (Protip that is easily $50,000 worth of equipment there if and only if you buy used stuff from the 80s), then making complex modern suppressors is a bit more than you can do with a file and a drill press.

            Is this to say that current day 3d printing tech can yield as good of results as current day traditional manufacturing techniques? No, but it is great for not only testing and evaluation purposes when not everything needs to be machined out if inconel or waspalloy, and allowing an emerging technology to grow. Look into 3d laser metal sintering where you end up with a finished product made of metal that is sintered from metal powder. One company has a mil spec 1911 made that way with several hundred rounds through it if i remember correctly.

            Embrace the modern techniques bro. 3d printing is as much as of a fad as computers were in the 1960s.

          • Alucard

            You don’t expensive tools to make a suppressor,all you need is sheet metal or pvc pipe,frost plugs,and basic tools.

          • Phillip Cooper

            You forgot “and some idiot to pull the trigger the first couple magazines’ worth of rounds…”

          • Alucard

            That’s what we have you for Phil.

          • Michel_T

            The expensive part is the “OK” from your local big-brother representative…

          • nobody

            >SIGNIFICANTLY quicker/cheaper

            Yeah, 3D printers are neither currently. Stuff produced on them is also not as durable. 3D printers are good for rapid prototyping a few items, they aren’t good for (at least not currently) producing larger amount of heavy use items like suppressors and guns like a lot of people seem to want to use them for. Something tells me you don’t actually know what you’re talking about.

          • dan citizen

            3D printers are $500 and the price is dropping fast.

          • Phillip Cooper

            Actually, Amazon has one for less than $400 right now…

            Remember, barely 15 years ago a decent digital camera cost $800. Now they come in every single $100 cellphone- and give MUCH better pics, to boot!

          • anon

            >significantly quicker/cheaper
            >implying that its not
            >implying i can’t have a part printing by the time it takes you to load your tooling and set your offsets
            >implying you know what tooling offsets are
            >implying i can’t have a part printing by the time you get your feed and speed rates figured out
            >implying that you even know what g&m codes are
            >implying implications

            “Is this to say that current day 3d printing tech can yield as good of results as current day traditional manufacturing techniques? No”

            as far as being significantly quicker and cheaper, those are plain facts. If you don’t like them, I’m sorry but they are still facts.

          • Phillip Cooper

            Something tells me you certainly don’t.
            Oh, wait- it’s the “anon” you’re posting from.

          • Tierlieb

            @anon Obviously you are CNC-vertified, judging from the numbers you quote 😉

            I am way more old-school and would like to point out that there are many designs for silencers that only require a turning lathe xor a drill press. That is equipment that costs less than $500 used. Moreover, since we are comparing self-service stuff, horrible backwoods machinists have turned aluminum on wood working lathes (don’t try steel…), which are even cheaper.

            If you use those numbers, 3D printing is not just slower but more expensive to set up and to use. But that is not why it is awesome. The beauty of 3D printing is that it requires little knowledge and skill. 3D printing gives capabilities to people who could not be bothered to learn machining.

            If you were allowed to self-service your silencer, everyone with a printer could do it. That is a significantly larger number of people than those who know how to use a lathe.

          • Phillip Cooper

            Very well said. It’s nice to see someone in the field come in with a well-reasoned reply.
            The analogy to computers is very much on-point. Look where we were then- rooms full of equipment, which could only solve a handful of equations at a time (if that) and had to be literally rewired to solve each new equation… now consider that you quite literally have more processing power in your cellphone (and not even a high-end cellphone, at that!) a short half-century later (and let’s not even talk about costs. Tens of millions of dollars, hundreds even- down to a few hundred dollars.)

          • dan citizen

            That new shotgun that looks like a pankor is 3d printed.

          • LetsTryLibertyAgain

            “My high school in the 1970s had a teacher that taught kids to make muzzleloaders for goodness sakes.”

            I can’t help but think that much of what’s gone wrong lately in this country is directly related to the fact that no high school shop class would ever teach anything remotely related to gunsmithing today.

            Guns are bad. Mmmkay?

        • dan citizen

          “used a more expensive piece of machinery”

          A decent 3d printer can be had for $500, load it with a $10 reel of plastic feedstock and it could turn out 7 of these a day without supervision.

          • Don Ward

            Dan. It’s a piece of PVC pipe with baffles inside used to suppress a .22LR. And pretty crudely made at that by the looks of those jagged edges. Let’s not pretend that this is a feat of engineering that rivals Grand Coulee. Guys have been doing this for decades. Once you have all the jigs in place, a guy can turn out seven of these in an hour if he were so inclined with tools you can find in most men’s garages.

          • dan citizen

            I do agree that this one does seem to be rather simple baffles, but one could 3D print one with much more complex and (hopefully) effective designs.

            I myself feel that a simpler suppressor with greater volume, is a better overall design, and that can so easily be made via standard machine tools.

            The fact that they are only making a baffle stack eliminates most of the advantage as an exterior can is still needed.

          • Alucard

            Or someone could use some basic tools,sheet metal,and frost plugs and turn out a suppressor every 30 minutes or so.Suppressors aren’t hard to make if you have an idea of what your doing,my friend has made quite a bit on his own,mainly because he didn’t want to pay the price of suppressor and the $200 tax stamp,he would rather just pay the $200 tax stamp.

    • BryanS

      What if we can do both, and happen to have a 3D printer? Its just another tool, usually to test out a design or to make a small part that is not worth the time to make out of metal. Or would be cost prohibitive to make out of metal.

      I could make a baffle stack from freeze plugs in my shop, or make this one. Or do both. I wont do either yet, because Im not paying $200 for the privilege right now. I have better things to spend money on than more taxes.

      • Don Ward

        What sort of madness is this? We’re the gun community. It has to be one way or the other with no room for nuance!!!

  • echelon

    3D printing…making NFA and other “laws” more ridiculous every day…

  • nobody

    For what purpose? That’s sending it in every few range trips when .22lr ammo becomes common again. I would also like evidence that this would even last 1000 rounds if one was firing rapidly like they generally would with a pistol. Also in the context of making one yourself using a 3d printer, you can build one using freeze plugs that would be many times more durable (people have built 5.56 suppressors using freeze plugs before) and can be made with hand tools (with the cost of the entire project with the hand tools necessary being only slightly over $100, if you don’t already have tools like a hacksaw and a power drill) instead of using an expensive piece of equipment, and yes 3d printers are expensive currently when they still cost about as much as a high quality .22 suppressor or a decent pistol.

    • Jake Barnes

      Over here in New Zealand you can get plastic slip over suppressors for your 22 rifle. They sell for about $50 NZ ($35-$40 US) and some of them have lasted for almost 20 years.

      • nobody

        Neat, any idea what kind of plastic they use and how they stand up on a shorter barrel?

      • nova3930

        Unfortunately we don’t have the sane and sensible suppressor regulations you Kiwis do. A suppressor should be a cheap disposable item. The absolute only reason US manufacturers make ultra-durable suppressors out of super alloys is because nobody wants to pay the stupid $200 tax more than they have too.

      • nobody

        Looked them, they are apparently made out of PVC (which has a melting point twice as high as the ABS that 3d printers use, PLA has an even lower melting point) and are only rated to be used with subsonic ammunition (if this is due to heat generated by the larger amount of powder in supersonic ammunition then one of these probably wouldn’t last very long on a pistol). Given this information, I wouldn’t trust this 3d printed suppressor to last long at all on a .22 pistol.

    • Geoffry K

      I built one from the MagLite Flashlight tube and freeze plugs. I took 33 weeks for the ATF to approve my Form 1 and return it with the $200 Tax Stamp. Including the flashlight for $20 from Walmart and freeze plugs from auto parts stores, plus a couple 3rd party pieces, it was $70 and about an hour on my drill press to drill the baffles and another hour to assemble it. Built it for my 5.56 AR and it does work.

  • nova3930

    Now imagine where this goes when laser sintered metal 3D printers because affordable for the average individual.

    • Phillip Cooper

      And don’t think they won’t, either. Not too long ago, laser printers were unaffordable for home use- and now I can buy one for $100 at Walmart.

  • Southpaw89

    $200 in taxes for $5 worth of plastic, no. If the NFA act didn’t exist I might try it for the novelty, but as it is, just not worth it.

  • Tierlieb

    Obviously, the concept as presented here is useless: Having a silencer refurbished roughly every other range session is BS. But I guess one has to read between the lines:
    What they are offering for a small amount is a tube that carries a serial number and that is associated with a tax stamp where someone can insert a 3D-printed set of baffles.

    Obviously the manufacturer would have to insert them, something else might be illegal in your jurisdiction. But it is really hard to distinguish one 3D-printed set from another isn’t it?

    • MR

      Like it’s hard to distinguish pre-’82 DIAS from post-’82. Doesn’t work out so well, IMO.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    “What’s the big deal? Learn to use metalworking tools and make a good suppressor.”

    Well, HERE’S the big deal:

    3D printing technology is just now starting to make its way into manufacturing, but it’s been a boon to prototyping for over ten years, and now, engineers like me can 3D print stuff at home. It’s a pain to prototype complex parts but it’s easy to 3D print complicated parts. Got a new theory about how suppressors work? Transient supersonic flow still defies modern computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software. Abandon the math (the Tesla method) and embrace the experiment (the Edison method). Build and test complicated baffle designs by drawing them in 3D parametric CAD and print your prototypes on your 3D printer. Test to see which baffle shapes in which configurations work best. Converge on an optimal solution. Design tooling such as stamping dies to make the complex baffles you need to manufacture in stainless steel, titanium, Inconel, etc.

    If you’re still interested in the math, use the results of your testing to mathematically describe the observations. Fit an equation to the data and you might advance the understanding of transient supersonic flow.

    When designing, there is great value in being able to quickly test, evaluate and retest. 3D printing is rapidly developing in the manufacturing sector and it may be feasible to manufacture products such as suppressors using 3D printing in the near future, but 3D printing is a huge asset today for quickly and efficiently designing new products that work better and are less expensive.