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Thread: Bullets

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Loxahatchee Florida


    An acquaintance from another gun forum was working here in south Florida for FPL on a new generating plant. He works for GE and was doing startup and fine tuning on a gas fired turbine. He said the giant turbine blades are 3D printed. I know GE probably has a bigger and better 3D printer than we can afford. But if they can print a turbine blade why not bullets? Bill Wilson of wison combat has opened a plant to make bullets and, in his introduction, he states that in his lifetime lead bullets will be outlawed. He is probably right. I might be a good idea to figure out a way to overcome this now, and avoid the rush. Could plastic be mixed with zinc or some powdered metal to make a bullet?

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Dec 2022
    This is already over 3 years old. 3D printing has developed a lot even over these last 3 years. THAT BEING SAID, this is a great explanation of the current state of 3d printing. You may find some answers here:

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Chubbuck, Id
    This is probably not achievable at the hobbyist level -- most commonly FDM -- basically melted plastic laid down through a heated nozzle and building up one layer at a time -- or SLA -- similar concept but uses plastic resins whee layers of resin are solidified one layer at a time using a laser or LCD. However, 3D printing metal is advancing quickly and I have no doubt that bullets will eventually be able to be printed using some variation of these technologies. As for which alloys are possible - I am not sure but I have no doubt this hurdle will be conquered. Also, just like with computers I believe metal 3d printing will be one day affordable at the hobbyist level.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Handloader109's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    NW Arkansas
    Spend about $10k (maybe a bit less) 3d print with a specific metal laced material, (several different compounds available) and once done, mail off to the company you purchased material from. They will have the parts sintered and become all metal. Most materials include post processing in the material price, hence $200 to 500 a roll. No, if they can determine its a gun part, it won't be processed. I know what you guys are thinkjng

    Oh, it isn't as easy as it sounds, as the 3d printed item shrinks a considerable amount as the plastic is burnt off. Bunch of calculations involved

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Actually, very satisfactory bullets were made and used by Germany in WW1. Their 9mm military bullets were composed of powdered iron bonded with bakelite, IIRC and swaged together, bonding with heat. Solid iron bullets would ruin a barrel, but the powdered iron/bakelite was malleable enough to approximate a jacketed lead core bullet. Barrel wear was not accelerated. Some thirty years ago, there was a fellow who owned Hi-Vel and produced ammunition for retail who came up with a defensive bullet similarly constructed but he used powdered zinc and a polymer bonding agent which would come apart on impact. Light bullet, very high velocities and explosive effect on the target. He said he had legal challenges by another company for patent infringement so he never ramped up full production. Seems to me powdered iron, or copper, or zinc could be mixed with a small percentage of powder coat, pressed/swaged into the desired shape and baked to bond it all together. They would be considerably lighter than lead boolits, so I suppose achievable veloctities would be very high, paritcularly if the goal is to get similar energy numbers.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check