You might be able to guess by this conversation between my friend Jason and myself:
Jason: Doh! Had a catastrophic magazine failure.
Sebastian: What happened?
Jason: Body came apart and rounds went flying everywhere.
Sebastian: At the glue seams?
Jason: Yeah. But it wasn’t the glue. The plastic failed.
Sebastian: I wonder if painting some epoxy on the outside and letting it cure would strengthen the magazine body.
Jason: Maybe. I’m going to try making the walls a little thicker.
Jason: The failure was due to a mistake in the scad file. Its not a design problem.
Sebastian: Good to hear
In case you didn’t figure it out, we’re attempting to design a “high capacity” or “extended” magazine that can be printed on a 1200 dollar 3D printer. Whether we succeed or fail, I will report on the effort. Jason is doing most of the work, since he’s the one who owns the printer. My contribution to the project was designing the follower. Obviously we can’t print a spring with a printer that extrudes ABS plastic, so we won’t be making that ourselves. What are they going to do? Outlaw springs? A spring would not be remarkably hard to make, but just to save the frustration we’re going to use a spring from a broken magazine for the same gun.
Turns out this is a lot harder than would have been anticipated. I had to make changes to the follower last night, and Jason has had to make several modifications to the magazine body. There’s also been modifications necessary on the printer. My feeling is this would be fairly easy to make work on an expensive commercial device, and that the limits of home 3D printing are being pushed to the limits on this project.
It is our intention to definitively show that banning magazines is a fool’s errand in a world where people have easy access to this kind of technology. Once we have a working design, anyone with the Makerbot printer, some glue, and a spring, could download our magazine design, print it, and have it work. I will publish the design here, because I want it to spread far and wide. I’d like to see Paul Helmke try to argue we need to ban CAD drawings too, or restrict 3D printing technology. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. We’re going to do our best to prove that.
Stay tuned to this blog for further updates on our progress. I might invite Jason back to post on some of the stuff he’s worked on, since the last time readers here heard from him was in 2007 when his Calico M950 blew up in his face (both he and the gun are fine now). I have created a new category for this topic.