We’ve seen the recent fully 3D-printed handgun, the Liberator, make an appearance with the ability to shoot off eight .380 rounds before the barrel needed replacing. As interesting as that sounds, a few folks weren’t impressed. They look things one step further and 3D-printed a shotgun slug that completely works, firing from a shotgun and all.
The slugs were shot from a Mossberg 590 12-gauge shotgun. The first two slugs both hit their intended targets that were set around 30 feet away, and while the slugs’ lightweight form don’t carry as much force as a heavier actual shotgun slug, the 3D-printed slug penetrated completely through a dart board, as well as a water jug sitting behind it. The slug was also able to blast through a 2×12 piece of pine wood.
The slugs used in the video are the larger variants that gun enthusiast Jeff Heeszel has designed, saying that they take about an hour each to print using a Solidoodle 3 3D printer (which costs around $800) using ABS thermoplastic. Heeszel used a non-printed slug as a template to create the 3D files for the printed versions.
Heeszel got the idea from the recently-printed Liberator handgun, but he didn’t like the idea of a plastic gun shooting real bullets, and instead wanted to shoot plastic bullets with a real gun. Heeszel says that the slugs weigh about 0.4 ounces, but only after adding a lead point to add a bit of weight to it. Otherwise, the slug would only weigh a mere 0.1 ounces.
Apparently it took Heeszel hours to set up the 3D printer in order for it to print the slug in the right shape. He also had issues with the printer’s heated bed, which caused the slugs to warp as new layers were added. To remedy that, Heeszel had to paint a slurry mix to the printer’s bed to prevent warping. This alone took around 30 to 40 hours just to come up with the right paint mix.