A couple months ago I half ways impulse bought a 3D printer. Having a background in engineering I’ve always been intrigued by the ability to turn my designs into a physical product in such a short amount of time. What has kept me from pulling the trigger on one is the fact that it seemed like all I ever saw people using them for was figurines. Don’t get me wrong, your batman miniature is cool and all, just not cool enough for me to want to spend $400 on a printer capable of only printing aesthetic parts. Boy was I wrong! My printer has been an excellent tool for printing highly functional parts.
For my latest project I wanted to design a mount that could be 3D printed and sufficiently hold an AR500 steel target under fire. To be honest it really wasn’t that hard. The most difficult part was getting the shape of the t-post sketched out sufficiently tight to hold it up without being too tight to get on the T-Post. This is the design I ultimately came up with.
Jake and I took it out to the range the other day to test it out. First up was my 6.5 Creedmoor. We hung a 12” gong from the 3D printed mounts and rubber straps and engaged it from 100 yards. We took a few shots off camera and it performed just fine so we decided to move forward with the video testing knowing that we weren’t wasting our time on a poor design. First shot on video… just fine. Second shot on video… squib… damn. We didn’t have anything to clear the round from the barrel, so we decided to move on with the test.
Enter… the .50 BMG! We setup the .50 and re-engaged the target from the same 100 yards (yes, that’s way too close for a .50 on 3/8” AR500 Steel). It went about as well as expected with a catastrophic failure. I had anticipated this and wanted to give the design every edge I could, so I printed a second version with thicker walls. 3D printed parts are (almost always) hollow with a honey combed structure on the inside for strength. By increasing the bottom/top and wall thicknesses I added more strength to the 3D printed mount, also making it take longer to print. At any rate the changes were in vein because the mount still couldn’t handle the .50 resulting in another catastrophic failure. I think that I could get it to work with some considerable tweaking but at the end the day…
If you can afford a .50 or similarly large gun, you can afford to buy a target and mount capable of handling them.
This is a free mount, get off my back!
Even though the mount couldn’t handle the .50 I’m confident it can handle anything .308 and smaller and the best part of all… it only costs you as much as your favorite filament/resin!