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Designing & Printing a futuristic Airsoft Rifle from Scratch - Video

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Hey guys,

I thought I would share my latest project with you. In this video I show you how I succesfully designed and 3D printed a working airsoft rifle, the M-1 Enforcer.

It features a commercially available gearbox in a bulky bullpup design and does take Standard M4 Airsoft Magazines. Moreover, it also has a fire-selector, rail space, a light module, seperable lower- and upper receiver and much more!

Note: This is 100% my own design and I had no previous CAD experience before working on this!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjSJtZwYtdI

 

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Thank you!

My Ultimaker 2 is also finally back in working order. Received the new print bed and it prints flawlessly again. By the way I took the inspiration for the LED strip in the gun from you guys at Ultimaker. Amazing what a little LED strip can do, the video doesnt do the effect any justice and it even flickers when you fire since its hooked to the same lipo battery :-P

 

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I am not sure yet. I will probably be working on an improved version of this as I dont like the stock of the gun and I am also thinking about using different screws as the current ones with the nuts on the other side are kind of hard to unscrew and sometimes the nuts wont grip.

Moreover, I have already made the lower and upper receiver easily separable for changing the barrel or hop up unit easily, but its a pain to get to the gearbox.

There is so fewww futuristic airsoft guns. I might make the improved version of this open source, but then also start a kickstarter campaign for a more elaborate design for sale. I have posted this in an airsoft thread on reddit and some people went crazy. Although the design is rather bulky, a lot of them said I should make custom airsoft guns for sale haha :)

Technical question, which is the most robust material that the Ultimaker 2 can reliably print with? Colorfab XT by any chance? I dont want to print in ABS as it warps terribly and clogged up my nozzle. This gun is printed completely in PLA by German Reprap, but I fear it might break if I ever go out and play with this gun and put it under stress.

 

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Technical question, which is the most robust material that the Ultimaker 2 can reliably print with? Colorfab XT by any chance? I dont want to print in ABS as it warps terribly and clogged up my nozzle. This gun is printed completely in PLA by German Reprap, but I fear it might break if I ever go out and play with this gun and put it under stress.

If you are going to mass produce (even if only small production runs) you might consider casting your guns, rather than printing them. Not only will that probably be easier after an initial investment, the result might also be of a higher quality.

Though I do realise this might be the wrong forum to propose such a thing :D

 

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XT/uPET is probably the strongest, but you do need to change your print parameters n such.

I think that if you open source the 'core' of the gun, and design it so that you can modify it with different parts so that it looks different, you've got a real winner. I'd be more than willing to contribute to a kickstarter campaign to start an open source project like this. Seeing how fanatic most air soft people are about their sport, i'm pretty sure that campaign would be an automatic succes.

 

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Of course, I imagine the melting point is somewhere between ABS and PLA?

Well, the "core" of the gun is a gearbox that is commercially available. It normally goes into the airsoft version of a P90. I only designed everything around it basically. In airsoft terms that gearbox is called a version 6 gearbox. Its not as widely used, but I thought that it would be best for a bullpup design like this, with the magazine in the back.

For the improved version, I think I will use a version 3 gearbox because the thing itself and its spare parts are more commonly available.

It wouldnt make much sense to print gears, the gearbox shell, cylinder, cylinderhead and such out of plastic. Unless, of course you plan on building something that only shoots about 5 meters with very poor accuracy because the spring would have to be so weak, at least below a M80 spring, so the parts lost for more than a few rounds. Not even nylon gears wont last that long.

I will give it more thought. Moreover, I also need to think about using a better CAD program for more elaborate designs. For this build I mainly used Tinkercad. Its great for beginners and the workspace is so simple. However, for complex shapes it just wont cut it. I also have access to AutoCAD at my company, but I hate it terribly. A friend of mine suggested TurboCAD platin. Any thoughts on that?

 

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I love design spark mechanical (or it's pro version solid works). I do think it can be possible to print gears, if you use a material like nylon. But then again, only print things that are otherwise hard / impossile / too expensive to get. Printing should always be an extra tool in your toolbox, not the hammer you wack everything with.

 

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It wouldnt make much sense to print gears, the gearbox shell, cylinder, cylinderhead and such out of plastic. Unless, of course you plan on building something that only shoots about 5 meters with very poor accuracy because the spring would have to be so weak, at least below a M80 spring, so the parts lost for more than a few rounds. Not even nylon gears wont last that long.

 

I hear a challenge! To bad we're not actually allowed to print guns at the office.

 

I will give it more thought. Moreover, I also need to think about using a better CAD program for more elaborate designs. For this build I mainly used Tinkercad. Its great for beginners and the workspace is so simple. However, for complex shapes it just wont cut it. I also have access to AutoCAD at my company, but I hate it terribly. A friend of mine suggested TurboCAD platin. Any thoughts on that?

 

Designspark mechanical. I use it a lot. I have no real prior experience in CAD drawing. I drew a whole 3D printer in it.

 

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I hear a challenge! To bad we're not actually allowed to print guns at the office.

Designspark mechanical. I use it a lot. I have no real prior experience in CAD drawing. I drew a whole 3D printer in it.

 

Well, technically this still qualifies as a toy in most countries. Even in Germany, if its below 0,5 Joules. However, dont you guys in the Netherlands have a general ban on airsoft guns?

As for Designspark mechanical, I just read a short description. So its free and mainly aimed at product designers/engineers, right? Does it automatically export in .stl?

Again, concerning the gears, some cheaper brand airsofts actually use nylon gears and I think they have about M80-M100 springs in there. Those are still considerably weak springs, but they rip the teeth off the gears in a relatively short time.

The only thing that I imagine could be printed in Nylon or Colorfab XT if you strengthen it with acetone or something is the gearbox shell. Maybe if you reinforce it at the front where its under stress due to the piston movement.

 

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Regulated as in forbidden or just classified as items similar to firearms and thus not available to minors for instance?

Fortunately, my printer is in Austria. Austrians dont really care about airsofts as they are mostly considered toys.

Yup, I will be ordering a spool of black colorfab XT and see how it performs. How is the feedback so far from customers concerning clogged up nozzles and warping in case of colorfab XT?

 

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Just looked it up. The rules (as of this year) for airsoft in The Netherlands are that:

* You need to be 18

* Need to be a registered member (90 euros per year)

* You need to store your guns at home, in a properly locked cabinet

* Guns may not be too powerful (3.5Joule, 600 FPS, whatever that means)

* Sales need to register who bought guns

* Transportation needs to be handled like weapons (shortest route, in a closed bag, ammo separated)

Note that transportation is illegal unless for the reasons of going to an event, going to a shop or going across the border. (If you want to go to a friend with it, you need to register it as a private event)

http://www.airsoftclubnederland.nl/regels-airsoft-nederland/

So, pretty much, it's seen as a firearm.

But also, we (at ultimaker) got told not to print anything that looks like a firearm at the office. Just for press related reasons (Ultimaker prints guns! is just a bad headline)

 

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That sounds even more harsh than in Germany, although relatively the same in some regards. Maybe they changed the law because I met some airsoft players from the Netherlands at an event in the Czech Republic last year and they all said that they have a ban on airsoft guns.

Either way, in Germany it is doubtful if you can make your own airsoft guns. If you are above 0,5 Joules its forbidden anyway, you would have to get a gun smith to assemble the thing and put a stamp with an "F" for "Free weapon" on it. Also these guns are restricted to semi-automatic fire only. Guns below 0,5 Joules are still controversial as they are recognized as "toys" and not specifically mentioned in the gun laws, but when manufacturing an airsoft gun you have to modify it to only shoot 0,5 Joules and since you are a private citizen without a license you are practically not allowed to start the building process. Even if the end result is a toy, any intermediate goods are illegal.

Anyway, I do this in Austria, so I dont care, but I wonder what the restrictions regarding manufacturing would be in other countries.

Yeah, even if you just make a pellet shooting gun it could still produce quite negative publicity for you.

 

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But also, we (at ultimaker) got told not to print anything that looks like a firearm at the office. Just for press related reasons (Ultimaker prints guns! is just a bad headline)

 

From a business perspective and all the bad hype around the printing of firearms or parts that is a very sensible decision. So much potential for a fun hobby project to become the centre of a publicity storm, it's best to just stay away from it completely. Let others deal with that, if at all.

Though it is hard to understand why there is this widespread fear for 3D printed weapons. I don't think CNC machining ever had to deal with this kind of nonsense.

 

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I think the restrictions he is refering to could regard both, airsoft and pellet guns. In Germany both fall under the same category legally and can shoot up to 7,5 Joules, but only the controlled and commercially available ones, as said before.

Well, I think it mainly leads back to "Defense Distributed" from the US, who basically wanted to go up against the strict gun regulation policies coming into place in the aftermath of the mass shootings overthere. I mean this guy literally said that he wants to do everything in his power to make "printable" firearms a reality. Now since plastic is used, the main argument was that these guns are practically not traceable by scanners at airports.

Personally, I do believe that most of that is fiction. Polymers might be able to make up large portions of a gun, but essential functional parts simply cannot be made from plastic. So most of this discussion is not really relevant in highly regulated countries in Europe. In the US, however, you can purchase essential metal gun parts seperately without leaving too much of a paper trail. Thats simply not possible in Europe to my knowledge.

Lets also not get carried away here, please. The main idea is to make futuristic toy guns. Essentially, it doesnt even have to be airsoft, you could also put more LEDs or other lights in a barrel and control them with an Arduino unit. For instance different buttons that let you choose the firing sequences or you could even record sounds and play them by hitting a button. This would make a great toy for your kids if its just a light gun.

 

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i am currently converting one of my gas rifles into a bullpup, but nowhere near as much of it is custom as yours! its nice to see we used the same file for the grip!

Bit of an old image, it is actually snugly mounted to the stock now, and working trigger, just need to make a link to the already existing trigger (wow thats old, tahts back at my old house!)

3HKVdE.jpg

 

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Maybe they changed the law because I met some airsoft players from the Netherlands at an event in the Czech Republic last year and they all said that they have a ban on airsoft guns.

 

Yes, that's a recent change. (Not that the ban stopped people from having airsoft guns, or even clubs)

@drayson: Gun laws in the netherlands are very strict. For example, none-functional guns (for example, 3D printed replica of a gun) are also illegal to carry around. No matter the color. So you could even be fined for having a transparent 3D printed AK-47. (Which I might or might not have printed :p )

 

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