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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More on my latest project...

So I have printed a AR15 lower, but not quite ready to start my build. There are are a few types of 3D printing, one is direct filament that the first functional AR was made from ( and the other is sometimes called the candy machine which is a laser that sinters the the "sugar" in layers and then a hard coating is sprayed or brushed on the surface. I only have access to the latter, so this is what I have to work with. Even though this part may work, it is still costly, so here is what I decided to do, use my 3D printed part to build mold, a polyurethane mold. This opens up a whole slew of options such as wide choice of materials (for example some polymer AR lowers are made with nylon6, I can use a similar and stronger polymer that isn't restricted by what's best for injection molding), choice of colors that are easy to mix where you are not stymied by cost of investment to change colors on a whim and last but not least is cost (as in the cost to build a mold for a injection molding machine). The versatility doesn't stop there because one thing I have noticed is that most of the people buying and using 3D printers are hampered by the fact that they lack CAD skills and more importantly 3D CAD skills. I have been in the CAD/CAM CNC industry for 20 years now and know a couple things about manufacturing. So for example, I can design a logo, cool quotes in any font or a 3D rendering of a deer for those that want to throw on a 300 blackout upper for a dedicated deer rifle or even make it so that it can accept glock mags for 9mm uppers.

So where am I going with this..... Well since it is polymer and easy to machine, I want to make and distribute 80% polymer lowers that will be strong and reliable. I have beefed up some of the areas that are prone to breakage with the polymer lowers on the market, so this could be a real viable endeavor that offers a strong and reliable lower that will pass muster once testing is all done.

So if any of you want to send me a buffer tube or some upper parts, I would be more than happy to make it worth your while. I cannot and will not send you a completed lower because that's not legal and I value my freedom, but a 80% lower with the tooling to make it into a real part with your drill press isn't that far away.

So that's what I got going on, I would like some feedback from you guys to tell me what you think.