B5 Systems

SIG Silencer – 3D Printed Suppressor Endurance Testing

SIG SAUER conducted a test to failure of their 3D printed machine gun suppressor for a US Government client. Using a MK48 outfitted with this SIG prototype machine gun suppressor, they continuously fired the gun with just reloading time between belts. Look at how hot the suppressor gets right before the test ends just shy of five belts. The Orange color denotes a temperature of 1500 – 1700 deg F.

Below, is the suppressor from the test which you can see suffered a failure.  




24 Responses to “SIG Silencer – 3D Printed Suppressor Endurance Testing”

  1. GMK says:

    Wish these demos weren’t conducted under covered firing points…gives a better indication of the attenuation.

  2. SShink says:

    Is the point of 3D printing it – that they could get a baffle/tube combo that is not produce-able via conventional manufacturing means?

    • bob says:

      They can probably get some novel baffle designs that aren’t as easy (or possible) with traditional manufacturing. Also, rapid prototyping of different geometries is a lot easier to do on a 3D printer.

      I can’t imagine how expensive the feedstock materials are. IIRC, metal printers need micron-sized powders depending on what process they’re using.

    • Lasse says:

      A Norwegian company (they make suppressors named Te-Titan) say that they use 3d printing cause it gives them the option for a unique internal baffle structure, and a good mix between weight, size and noise reduction.

  3. MichaelBolton says:

    Suppressor needs MOAR bacon on it.

    But seriously, pretty impressive demo. That guy running the Mk 48 has some brass balls too.

    • Jon, OPT says:

      True, he could have saved himself some time if he was aware that those belts can be linked together, apparently that is not common knowledge.

      Jon, OPT

  4. Grams says:

    I believe the point is that if you can 3D print these, you don’t need the ‘conventional manufacturing means’, ie a highly skilled worker and associated support systems.

    Sure the initial cost of the machines is high, but over time you don’t have to pay it or supply it with benefits. Could also help ensure a more consistent product as well.

  5. E-Rock says:

    Is just the baffle stack printed? That looks like a standard welded tube.

  6. Russ says:

    Wonder what material was used to print the baffles? Would not think normal composite / glass material would work well

    • SSD says:

      There are a couple of forms of Metal Laser Sintering.

      • I was just going to ask the same question about the material used. I wonder how well ULTEM would do… or more importantly… how long it would last? ULTEM I believe can withstand up to around 375 degrees… maybe for a rifle or bolt gun. Hmmmm… Erik we may have to try this on ours for fun! With all relevant NFA requirements of course!

        • Chris says:

          Ultem has a deflection temp of around 300 – 350 for the 9085 grade and melt temperature is around 600. The good new is the 9085 is uv and fire retardant per FAA 25.853a and very low heat release. I am an Aerospace Interiors Engineer as well as an NG 11B. I’ve had quite a few parts printed in ULTEM and have always had strength issues with them. Part of that has to do with the printing techniques for the ultem, resolution of the machine and the resolution of the STL export from CATIA or PRO/E. The comparable injection molded parts have been like 3 – 4 time stronger in many cases compared to the printed parts.

          Now the laser sintered metals are some cool stuff. Thrust linkages on the B787 are made from laser sintered titanium alloys and airbus is using the stuff as well. I’ve worked a lot of laser sintered self lubricating brass and usually the parts are pretty good in quality and require very little machines or polishing (except in tight toleranced stuff).

    • Ike says:

      The process for metal printing is Direct Metal Laser Sintering. Another company, Solid Concepts, has used the process to form most or almost all of the parts for a 1911 using the process, back in 2013.

  7. Craig G says:

    Laser Deposition could be used as well as Sintering. Base material isn’t that expensive, it basically a metal powder. Can make shapes that you could not machine and are stronger then machines part.

  8. whskee says:

    My thinking is that it got pretty far for a 3d printed suppressor. It may not be good for FA fire, but if it can reduce the cost to produce to something low, then it might attract enough people who are discouraged by the $200 tax on top of the suppressor cost. At $400 total it’d be a great bargain. The main concern becomes dealing with carbon fouling and internal erosion.

    Secondly, get some hydrodynamic flow geeks and some computer power to do evolutionary design algorithm’s to find the optimal internal structure and there’s solid potential for not only cheap, but very quiet products.

  9. Texas-Roll-Over says:

    For high pressure applications 3D printed components will be hard to use, for extended firing schedules, but for low pressure and fire schedule applications it will be great.

    • Chris says:

      Depends the Alloy. A lot of 3D printed parts are being used on commercial aircraft and space craft now. Hell GE or CFM just built a small scale operational jet engineer using 3D printed compressor and fan blades. The big advantage of 3D printed metals is that it produces a very homogenious metal structure with very little induced stresses (which can be a good thing and bad thing). The 3D parts are very close to castings with out the porosity and impurity issues.

  10. Nikuraba29 says:

    A great example of going cyclic, or firing the FPF.



  11. MidgasFan says:

    People get so hung up on full auto rated. I have friends in Oregon that have some machine guns and do demos and shoots. For them, having a super beefy, heavy duty can is a must but for us regular Joe’s it’s not a big deal. Especially with pistol and .22 cans.

    Folks also wrap themselves around the axle about carbon fouling and the need to clean the baffles constantly. I watched Tom Bowers shoot and measure one of his .22lr cans with over 160,000 rounds through it, disassemble, replace the baffles and shoot again and with the new baffles it was 1 decibel quieter. One! I have seen people screw up their cans taking them apart as well as cleaning them in the wrong solution because they “know better”, or “more about metallurgy” than the manufacturer…

    Anyhow, I think Sig is really going to push the envelope and industry to make cans cheaper and more redily available than they already are.

    In Europe, much of their suppressors are on the same level or above ours and they cost less and in many cases, quite a bit less. If the competition innovates and drives prices down, other manufacturers will need to do the same to stay competetive. I am of the belief that competition breeds innovation like this and that not only makes products better, but it can ultimately drive prices down. Both are awesome attributes.