I wonder why folks would get a ‘3D Printer’ for this. Mags are nothing but thin metal, base plate, follower, and spring. One would think that basic machine shops could make these. I’ve seen lots of plastic AR mags, one wouldn’t really need machines for those. Just raw material, and moldings for the mag housing, base plate, and followers. Insert spring, and your done.
I could be ignorant here, as I’ve never tried it.
Injection molding machines and steel molds are more expensive to buy and make than a 3D printer.
Steel fabrication requires tools and skill too.
3D printing requires little or no skill.
Stamped steel or aluminum magazines aren’t as easy as they look. You have to make stamps and dies, and then you need a strong press to make the halves. The stamp and die will have to be machined to close tolerances, but with a small CNC machine, this could be done. The problem is, this would have to be machined in steel, and the steel would need to be pretty hard before using them for stamping out halves. You’ll also need a pretty hefty press - like 50 to 100 ton presses to get the crisp corners.
Then you need to weld the halves together. In industrial-scale manufacturing, this will be done repeatably and quickly. For a guy like me, making maybe a dozen in my shop, I can TIG weld the halves together and machine or file off the excess bead. But TIG welding on metal that thin is a skill most people won’t have.
OK, so the next tactic would be to injection-mold plastic or polymer into a mold. Making molds isn’t easy, either.
Compared to stamping and welding metal magazines or injection molding them... for someone who doesn’t have machining skills or a CNC machine, what they’re doing with a 3D printer is a logical path to explore.
I have to agree. What is the big deal? I can answer that question in at least one way. The ability of the majority to perform basic manual labor is shaping, forming and constructing metal is being left behind. However, the ability to buy the printer, insert the stock, press Enter, and have a cup of coffee, is just too dam easy.
The mags cracked? Where’s the dam duct tape? Baling wire? Clothes hangers?