TPU stands for Thermoplastic Polyurethane, which is a type of flexible filament used for many manufactured applications.
TPU is even used in the 3D printed guns and other printable objects.
TPU is a popular material for 3D printing because of its flexibility, durability, and resistance to abrasion, impacts, oils, and chemicals. It is commonly used to print objects such as phone cases, watch bands, and other flexible parts.
TPU filaments come in a variety of colors and can be printed using a range of 3D printers that are compatible with flexible filaments.
However, TPU can be more challenging to print than other materials due to its flexibility and tendency to warp, so it requires some experience and skill to get good results.
What is TPU good for?
TPU or Thermoplastic Polyurethane is a versatile material that has a wide range of applications due to its unique properties.
Contrary to popular belief TPU is great for a ton of 3D printed designs.
Common Uses of TPU
Flexible parts: TPU is a flexible material that can be used to print parts that require flexibility, such as phone cases, watch bands, and other flexible parts.
Impact resistance: TPU is a tough material that can withstand impact and shock, making it ideal for printing parts that require durability and resistance to wear and tear.
Chemical resistance: TPU is resistant to oils, chemicals, and solvents, making it suitable for printing parts that come into contact with these substances.
Medical applications: TPU is used in medical applications such as catheters, tubing, and other medical devices due to its biocompatibility and flexibility.
Footwear: TPU is commonly used in the manufacture of footwear, particularly for the soles of shoes, due to its durability and flexibility.
3D Gun Parts (Some): TPU can be used for butt stocks, AR15 and Glock pistol grips, and even possibly stiffer (higher in-fill) muzzle breaks.
Overall, TPU is a versatile material that can be used in a wide range of applications and industries due to its unique properties.
3D Printing Guns with TPU
At a glance, 3D printing guns in TPU sounds like a less than ideal idea.
TPU is often softer, flexible, and somewhat pliable which are not the descriptives usually used when discussing firearm components.
However, there are two reasons why TPU can actually be a great material for 3d gun printing filament.
- TPU gun components can be more sturdy and rigid by simply increasing the in-fill.
- Certain gun components actually benefit from flexibility i.e. butt stock pads
Making sure you have the correct setup for 3D printing guns in TPU is what will make or break your exotic filament printing venture.
When printing with TPU, it is important to use a 3D printer that is compatible with flexible filaments and to adjust the printer settings to accommodate the unique properties of TPU.
This may include adjusting the printing speed, temperature, and retraction settings to minimize warping and stringing.
It is also recommended to use a direct drive extruder instead of a Bowden extruder, as this can help to reduce filament feeding issues.
Are TPU 3D Printed Guns Safe?
3D printing a gun in TPU is no different than asking, “is 3D printing a gun safe?”.
It depends on which part of the gun you are printing.
TPU is a very application-specific type of printing material. As we discussed earlier TPU is great for firearm parts and accessories where rigidity is not a necessity.
What may surprise you is there are several 3D gun developers that are working on designing a TPU muzzle break & flash hider.
The ability to take impact and disperse the force (due to TPU’s flexibility) actually makes this material an excellent candidate for applications like muzzle accessories.
Examples of TPU Printed Gun Parts
There have been many ingenious uses of TPU in the 3D printed gun space.
From accessories to lowers, the 3D gun community never turns down a challenge like utilizing TPU.
Here is an AR15 lower chambered in .300 Blackout that was printed in TPU by Hi-Line Precision:
Magload on Youtube has completed the first 3D printed, TPU muzzle break for his rifle chambered in .22:
Here is another unique take on a 3D printed AR15 in TPU with a P90-style frame and grip:
Reddit user /u/sistrum666 shows off his 3D gun collection that includes a TPU filament butt pad:
TPU has been demonstrated recently to have far more 3D printed gun capabilities than previously imagined.
If you are looking to design and print your own gun parts in TPU there are a ton of possibilities. If you have the correct printer setup and are familiar with optimizing your slicer settings give TPU a shot.
While TPU is not the easiest filament to print successfully, we are confident that the 3D gun community has many more innovations to come.
A 3D printed TPU muzzle brake for the FGC-9 would be awesome, “hint hint” devs.
What do you think about 3D printing firearm parts in TPU? Let us know in the comments down below!