3D Printed .50 Cal?


Not firing, but yes. The AK-50 V3 is currently in 3D printed prototype for real world interactive testing. There is nothing like building the parts out to scale to get things fit right (or at least close) and make sure there aren’t any snags, usually literally, on part fitment.

This is also the easiest avenue to try new combinations and layouts in the real world. It is often referred to as rapid prototyping. Do the thing, print it. See a change you want to make, change it, print it. Repeat until satisfactory. Material sciences are well known at this point so picking things like aluminums and steels isn’t so much an issue, making sure the dimensions on the parts interact properly is. Also putting something together that can interact with real world 3rd party parts has merit for compatibility. Need to test a source for grips? Put a grip on your prototype. Need to test and see if there is enough clearance for M-LOK? Put M-LOK accessories in the slots, they’re proper dimension.

None of these parts are meant to exist in their load bearing format. They won’t take firing pressure, they may not survive manual operation of real parts without cracking even. But the rapid prototyping reduces the amount of machining redos needed to put together a final technical data package on a firearm. Print it in real space. Make changes. Re-print. Make final revisions and send it to be made in a firing configuration.

I love that Brandon is continuing to do this online. Nobody understands what this takes in turn around, and revisions, and time. The time is everything, because time is money. Diverting time that is securing your continued revenue stream for known and stable products and services to run prototyping is hard. None of that time and money could make a single cent back.

I remember a recent post from a friend, where a small upstart little company thought they could bring a gun to market and made several promises that didn’t end up being kept in the projects final form… This company is well regarded in the industry but they, like the naive little go getters they were at the time, didn’t know what building a rifle from scratch meant… and their neighbors, who did know, smiled with that, “Oh, you’re going to learn kids.” attitude.

That knowing company’s rifle is still on the market doing well, and the small upstart doesn’t do firearms. IYKYK.

Keith Finch
Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009, he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.