The Russian Fund for Perspective Research has performed tests on 3D printed bullets. According to the organization, the additive manufactured ammunition performed in a similar manner to traditionally made bullets.

It seems hardly a week goes by these days without the Russian military announcing some new application for 3D printing, be it for drones, tanks, or weaponry. The country’s latest defense application for the technology is 3D printed bullets, which could provide the country’s military with a new kind of ammunition. The Russian Fund for Perspective Research has reported that extensive testing on the 3D printed ammunition yielded positive results, with the bullets performing as well as existing types in certain regards.

According to the Russian Fund for Perspective Research, the researchers used a form of laser sintering to create the 3D printed bullets, with powdered metal fused layer by layer to create a complete bullet without seams or weaknesses. While 3D printing is certainly not the fastest method of producing small metal components, the research shows that the manufacturing process is a plausible one, and could reasonably used to create specific designs or even molds with which multiple bullets could then be cast from lead or other materials.

Testing of the 3D printed bullets was carried out by the Russian Fund for Perspective Research in partnership with JSC Tsniitochmash, a defense research center. Shooting experiments showed that the bullets were of the requisite strength and form to work as effectively as other ammunition, and the researchers believe that laser sintering technology will continue to be used to develop further military items.

If Russian 3D printing research continues at its current pace, the country’s military could someday use both 3D printed weaponry and ammunition. Prior to the testing of 3D printed bullets carried out by the Russian Fund for Perspective Research and JSC Tsniitochmash, legendary arms manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern, creator of the internationally exported AK-47 assault rifle, suggested in February of this year that it could use additive manufacturing to create a new kind of assault rifle. Russian metals company Stankoprom was contracted by Kalashnikov Concern to produce a number of 3D printed metal parts for the new weaponry.

With little in the way of industrial or consumer 3D printing technology coming out of Russia, the country’s defense sector could represent its largest area of additive manufacturing research. 3D printed weaponry has, however, been a controversial subject across the world since it was first speculated that individuals could print their own weaponry at home using files downloaded from the internet. Back in September, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the online distribution of 3D printable gun designs should remain illegal.

Image Credit / Article via 3ders.org