Two years ago, the online open-source weapons design company Defense Distributed released plans for the world’s first 3D printed handgun.
The prototype was difficult to reproduce, generally unreliable, and probably posed more of a threat to the shooter than whatever he happened to be facing at the business end of the barrel.
Perhaps the greatest drawback of the weapon, however, was that it required a new barrel every time it was fired. Legislators quickly put the kibosh on the weapon’s distribution, but it seemed it would only be a matter of time before another intrepid engineer would take a crack at making a 3D printed firearm.
Now, a mechanical engineering student has designed and demonstrated a 3D printed double-action revolver that appears to be far more practical than its predecessors.
It’s called the PM522 Washbear, and it’s capable of holding either a six or eight shot pepperbox. The gun’s chambers are reinforced with stainless steel tubes to prevent the gun from self-destructing each time it’s fired.
The Washbear’s designer, James Patrick, has also specified that the revolver should be printed in a high-grade ABS polymer rather than the typical PLA materials used in 3D printing.
According to online publication 3DPrint.com, “Patrick used epoxy to hold everything together and to hold the stainless steel tubing in place so his gun meets legal requirements.” In spite of his efforts at compliance, the gun is still likely to occupy a legal gray area in the eyes of many legislators.
Patrick is also careful to note that the design is not intended to be used repeatedly. You can watch him test fire the Washbear in the video below.
Legal considerations aside, it’s an impressive piece of engineering.