Ever wonder why gun controllers are getting increasingly shrill? Maybe one reason is they’re finally realizing that – aside from the Sisyphean task of confiscating the 300 million guns already out there – technology is making their utopian dreams of a gun-free world about as realistic as a 144-year-old civil rights organization being branded as a bunch of terrorists. Wait. Bad example. Anyway, the abject fear that struck the hearts of those who would dial back Americans’ right to keep and bear arms when Cody Wilson posted the code for the Liberator pistol on the net is now approaching Kevin Bacon-like levels. Technology continues its relentless, ineluctable march and as James Anderton at engineering.com makes abundantly clear, there’s not a damned thing the busy bees who comprise the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex can do about it . . .

Why?

Mainly because of two enabling technologies.

The first is 3D printing. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing 3D printed a working M1911-style pistol almost two years ago and to date that pistol has fired some 5000 roundsto prove its durability. Range video shows that it’s accurate as well as durable.

3D printed guns can also be built from plastic resins, making them even more concealable and difficult to detect with conventional technology.

It won’t be very long before you and a few buddies can go in on a printer of your own, download plans from the interwebs, flip the ‘on’ button before you go to bed and pull out a CZ 75 B clone when you wake up the next morning. Can’t wait? Neither can we. Oh, and there’s this, too:

The other enabling technology is multi-axis computer numerical control machining. Five-axis CNC machine tools can carve almost any shape out of a block of light alloy or steel, including firearms.

Critical parts for Eugene Stoner’s iconic M-16/AR-15 assault rifle, for example, are routinely and legally created by individuals using freely available G-code to program the equipment.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Wilson’s Defense Distributed has since moved on to “enabling technology” number two. He’s now selling the “Ghost Gunner,” an affordable desktop CNC machine with which you can crank out AR lowers ’til the bovines return to the barn. And no one who collects a government pay check will ever know about it.

What’s that you say? You don’t want to shell out a bunch of cash for a 3D printer or CNC rig of your own? Negative perspiration.

It’s as easy as handing a USB stick to a good machine shop and picking up the parts a few days later. There are tens of thousands of such job shops across America and many – if not most – busy shops wouldn’t even know that they were machining receivers, bolts or sears.

And once programmed it’s just as easy (and on a per-part basis cheaper) to make 100 parts as it is to make one.

If that doesn’t give the Michael Bloombergs and Ladd Everitts of the world the heebie-jeebies as they lie in bed at night, it’s only because they’re not paying attention. Look for the inevitable press release for the newly-created Everytown to Prevent CNC Proliferation in your email inbox some time soon.

But don’t blame the engineers. Or the gear they’ve created. As Anderson points out,

Regardless of where you are on the issue, the cold hard fact is that 3D printing and multi-axis machining is uncontrollable and it’s here to stay, so don’t be surprised if future crimes are committed with locally made firearms.

And similarly, don’t be surprised if future hunters and target shooters enjoy highly customized, personalized and reasonably priced pistols and long guns for sporting purposes.

Like all technology, it’s not about the machines: it’s about the people that use them.

[h/t Pantera Vazquez]

 

81 Responses to This is Why Gun Control Is Hopelessly, Utterly Doomed

  1. I think also that the gun grabbers are beginning to realize that every time they ramp up the rhetoric, another new NICS monthly record is broken by a surge of new firearm purchases.

    Here’s another fun fact: In the the 1900s, the national homicide rate was double today’s rate, the population
    was 90 million less and gun ownership was a third less than it is today.

    So, here we are today, with 330 million residents, probably a 300 million guns out there and yet both the crime rate and the homicide rate is half of what it was just twenty years ago.

    Pretty hard for the social activists/community organizers to get around that.

    You really have to wonder why the media never mentions it though.

    Oh, wait, you don’t have to wonder why. The media is leading the social activism and community organizing

    • Are they? I still hear it’s the NRA’s fault when sales jump after some politician goes on a gun control jag. The mere existance of the NRA is fear mongering propaganda while that stage loaded with politicians shouting “ban this” and “limit that” are apparently never going to come for our guns.

      • Yep, I know every time ol Wayne sends me an email the end of the world is coming so I run out an buy more guns. I know it must be coming, but that stockpile of guns is getting hard to store. Had to move to a bigger house.

        • I’ve often heard folks complain about the relentless deluge of NRA snail mail and emails. I’m a Life Member, and I don’t get ANY. I get my “America’s 1st Freedom” magazine every month (which I enjoy), and that’s IT. On the other hand I get TONS of emails from GOA (not even a member) and SAF (Life Member). I never hear from the NRA. Should I be worried? Am I being left out? 😉

    • When do we arrest and imprison the Greatest Generation who all used Mach-een-Gunzz ??
      They can’t be trusted …you know ….???
      ( sarc )

    • I don’t know that I’d be announcing that intention, or even the that you were contemplating it. You may set off a bunch of bells and whistles at ATF if the wrong person sees it.

      Beyond that, it’s no different than any other, just slightly different parts. Open bolt guns are the easiest if you use pistol cartridges. You wouldn’t even really need a cnc, just a cheap milling machine, and maybe a cheap lathe.

    • New full-auto without a manufacturer license would be big time bad news. Building your own semi-autos is perfectly legal, within the extant rules.

      If things ever do go sideways enough for one to actually need full auto, it won’t be too hard to find someone who is no longer using the one they’re holding.

      • “If things ever do go sideways enough for one to actually need full auto, it won’t be too hard to find someone who is no longer using the one they’re holding.”

        Precisely my theory on this matter too. Besides. In that situation you are not likely going to be wasting your ammo with the fun switch unless you think real life is like a video game.

        • Second your comment Ben. Fired full auto in the Army but never saw much use for it in civilian life. Well, absent a Zombie Horde Attack. Even with full auto 3 shot bursts seem the most accurate. Beyond that the guns tend to get out of control too easily. At least that is my recollection. Granted that was a LONG time ago now.

        • Ben and Galtha58, I’ve fired more than a few auto guns (just a few weeks ago alone) to be ever reminded of how (generally) ineffective spray-n-pray is. Sure a MaDeuce on a mount can do some neato damage, but even a popgun 5.56 is remarkably inaccurate on the giggle-switch. Let alone a real caliber.

          Barring a zombie apocalypse or Rwanda, anything beyond a 3-round burst is cover fire.

        • Precisely. While in the military, I learned that for an individual fighter, the machine gun was ineffective. We carried M-16A1’s, and the only time we selected full-auto was to fire a 10-round sequence for our 1/2 year qualification. If you are talking about fixed positions, vehicle mounted guns, and team tactics, machine guns are very useful. If you are by yourself, your biggest advantage is the ability to easily move and conceal yourself. Carrying enough ammunition to feed a hungry machine gun does not make you mobile or easy to conceal. If things do turn sideways, and you discover that you need a machine gun, let your enemy supply you — hit, salvage, and run. In that type of confrontation, you will eventually end up fielding guns and ammunition that you salvaged from your enemy anyway. On a brighter note, let’s hope we never have to experience this.

      • Agreed. If “things go sideways” it could be a matter of some guns leading to more guns, better guns, bigger guns.

    • Get some books, understand how they work, then you can easily build one to your heart’s content it’s a very minor mod to an AR. We’ll send you flowers and lube while you do your time. Way big felony if you weren’t aware, probably several of them.

    • Well a really nice one is pretty hard, but if you can’t find a crappy sten copy in about five minutes of googling you are doing it wrong.

      • Also I have never and do not plan on ever doing this. I am just saying the info is all over the place.

        Please do not do this. The utility is basically zero and the cost is too high (and by that I mean jail time. No thanks).

  2. I think Lonely Island summarizes my reaction perfectly… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLnWf1sQkjY

    In addition to printing guns, what I’d REALLY enjoy is the ability to easily (and cheaply!) make replacement parts for older guns as well as magazines for out of production guns. Lots of C&R guns are dirt cheap, but the magazines are $40+ each.

  3. It’s as easy as handing a USB stick to a good machine shop and picking up the parts a few days later. There are tens of thousands of such job shops across America and many – if not most – busy shops wouldn’t even know that they were machining receivers, bolts or sears.

    The fail in that para is epic. Most busy shops won’t know they’re making receivers, bolts, sears? I’m sure there’s one, maybe even 10 machinists in the US who might miss an obscure auto-sear. A bolt? A receiver? Riiiight. They have no idea they’re making gun parts and charging you money to do so. They have no idea what they’re doing could potentially lead to the ATF kicking their doors down, and locking down millions of dollars of machines. When they figure out you’re ordering gun parts, they just might call the Feebs, or Homeland, or ATF themselves on you. Then what? Look at the Ares example for guidance, and that’s just over a popgun lower.

    https://www.atf.gov/file/82791/download

    • Yea, I have to completely agree.

      Look, I help teach machining and gunsmithing part time at a community college with a machining program.

      The number of students per class is over a dozen to perhaps as high as 18, depending on the year and the economy.

      Out of that dozen+ students, the number of them that would not recognize gun parts coming through a machine shop is approximately… hmmm, let me think about this for a moment…. zero.

      Most machinists are also gun owners and shooters. That’s because guns were one of the devices that fired up a young person’s imagination to get into machining. The machine tool industry in the US arose as a result of the gun companies, starting with Eli Whitney. The existence of many machine tool companies and cutting tool companies in the northeast is the result of the firearms companies in New England.

      Machinists know guns. If a particular machinist doesn’t know, own and use guns, s/he is the very rare one. I mean, really, really rare.

      • I guess we can now use “Biden” as a adjective describing incredibly poor advice, that’s pretty much completely incorrect legally speaking.

        “That paragraph, it’s all Bidened-up.”

        • @16V: I don’t think Joe Biden is nearly as dumb as people think but your comment did give me a good laugh. Thanks.

    • It happened somewhere else. They got them machined as “boat parts”

      Not sure what parts they actually were, though.

      Many receivers are obvious, but many are literally just tubes. It could happen. It’s not nearly as easy as this guy claims though. There’s lot’s of fail here.

    • My question would be this: Which parts of the gun require an FFL license to manufacturer other than for personal use? I can certainly see that the lower receiver of an AR would require an FFL. I am pretty sure a rifle scope and rifle sling does not require an FFL. How about a dust cover or buffer spring? I do not plan to manufacturer parts, but it would be interesting to know.

  4. Other than the production of homebuilt firearms, the above discussion has not reached the ears of the politicians in California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland or D.C.

    Further, it is probably NOT legal to had a stick to a machine shop and have them mill out a receiver for you. (Other parts are OK.) The ATF raided and closed shops engaged in “build parties” where the shop supplied the tools and the partiers provided the materials, the ATF deeming that such practices made the equipment owner an unlicensed firearms manufacturer.

    • Seems to me that if the machine is set up and programmed all you have to do is show up with the aluminum billet. You pay them to rent their machine and show you how to insert the billet properly. They go have some coffee while you push the ON switch and watch your lower receiver appear, remove it from the machine, and thank them on the way out the door. There is no way they could be considered as the manufacturer of the piece, they were not even in the room when it happened.

      The beauty of 3D printing in this form is that once you have programmed the machine it does everything the same way, every time, no matter WHO pushes the on button.

      • I am a CNC machinist, and I can tell you it’s NOT that easy. You need to set up the tools, set up the fixtureing to hold the work-piece, pick up your home position and tool offsets…lots of things can go wrong. Unless it is a machine dedicated to doing one task, and one task only (a la “Ghost Gunner”), CNC machines are not for people who haven’t the faintest idea what they are doing. Not trying to be discouraging, but I can just envision lines of people showing up at CNC shops asking to use their equipment. I guarantee, if they aren’t turned away due to company safety policy, they’ll be turned away because they don’t have a clue as to how to use the machines and no shop owner or foreman in their right mind is going to risk having some rube crash a machine that costs thousands of dollars. If you’re mechanically inclined, you can convert a commercial mechanical machine to CNC (I plan to convert my Chinese Sieg X2 from Harbor Freight eventually). If that is your route, I STRONGLY suggest taking some college level courses – either online or on campus – in CAD/CAM as well as CNC programming. Oh, and the software isn’t cheap either (either decent CAD/CAM software or CNC controller software that is worth a darn). Or, build a reprap (3D printer) for $300-$600 and print your guns in ABS plastic. You can get reprap slicer software that converts 3D drawings in STL format to G-code that actually runs the printer for free.

      • Riffing off what Rich K. has already said, allow me to lay out for you why amateur non-machinists aren’t about to just toss a block of bar stock into a CNC mill and push the green button, then go get some coffee.

        When you put a job into a CNC mill (or lathe), you need to load up the tool magazine with the tools necessary for the job. Let’s take the AR-15 lower receiver as an example. You’re going to need not only perhaps three end mills, a couple of ball nose mills, you’re also going to need a center/spotting drill or two, then you’ll need a bunch of different drills, taps, straight reamers (for the fire control group pins), etc. Do you follow so far? There’s a bunch of AR-15 receiver-specific tooling that will need to be loaded up.

        But wait… there’s more.

        OK, you put your block of 7075 or 6061 bar stock into the mill. Ah, but the question is “how do you hold on to your workpiece while it is being milled?” That’s the rub. That’s almost always the rub with machining gun parts. There are times that I have to make (in my manual machine shop) all manner of stupid little fixtures, doo-dads and widgets to allow me to hold a gun part in the proper position on a lathe or mill to allow me to do the job. To hold the AR’s receiver in the proper position/orientation, firmly enough to allow the machine to cut off what needs to be removed, you’ll need a bunch of fixtures specific to the task. Right there, claims of “I didn’t know what the customer was going to make” go out the window, because it will take a fair bit of time for these fixtures to be mounted into the CNC mill.

        Where do you get these fixtures? Glad you asked! You’ll need to make them, most likely – and they could be made with a CAD/CAM package and then machined on a (you guessed it) CNC mill. So you’ll need a couple/three trips to the machine shop, not just one.

        OK, so let’s assume you have fixtures and jigs necessary to hold things together. Now you mount up your block of bar stock (ie, raw material) into the CNC mill. Are you ready to load the program and press the button? NOPE. No, it isn’t that simple. Now that you’ve loaded the raw material into the fixture(s), you need to touch off the tools in the magazine to tell the computer a) where the tools are, b) where the workpiece is, c) so that the computer can put the tool onto the right spot on the workpiece. This will take some time and experience operating that particular CNC mill.

        Is a CNC shop about to allow people to waltz in, load up a program and just go to town? Sure, if they have a deposit for perhaps half the cost of the CNC mill or lathe from the customer in the event the customer crashes the machine. CNC machine crashes can be expensive – running into thousands to 10’s of thousands of dollars to repair.

        The CAD/CAM package might cost big bucks as well. I’m finally getting around to pricing Solidworks for my operation – which is just the CAD/simulation side of the deal. $4500 and up, for one seat. Add in a CAM package for the back end, and my workstation+software packages will be over $10K. That’s just a high-end PC and software – no CNC machine.

        Putting aside the issue of using someone else’s CNC mill, here’s a suggestion for people who want to make their own AR lower receivers on a manual mill (or a small 3-axis CNC mill): Quit thinking you’re going to produce something that looks like a commercial receiver. Instead, split the lower receiver in half vertically, lengthwise. Then add some bosses which you use for a) dowel pins to align both halves with each other, b) which you can then use as places to put allen cap screws to hold the two halves together. Machine each half independently, which removes the complexity of “how to make the magazine well,” mill out the fire control area on each half at the same time. Then put in the required alignment dowel pins, then put some glue on one half’s mating surfaces, screw both halves together, then drill/ream the holes for the fire control group, the other detents, etc.

        Will it look sexy? No.

        Will it work? Yes. I say this because I have just such a lower receiver.

        • “I’m finally getting around to pricing Solidworks for my operation – which is just the CAD/simulation side of the deal. $4500 and up, for one seat.”

          DG, there are open-source alternatives to Solidworks. This one is touted as a blatant Solidworks knockoff (it may be freeware):

          http://www.freecadweb.org/

          16V, RichK, and the other machinists here may know others…

        • One day, FreeCAD might be able to take on Solidworks. It’s years away from that point.

          The features that have to become reality for it to be useful are being able to make prints of a 3D object, dimension them in either ANSI or ISO format, and lay them out on a sheet of paper (A, B or C size, in portrait or landscape). FreeCAD is so far away from being able to do that it will be years before it is useful in a commercial shop.

          Solidworks costs money because it solves problems in design, simulation and manufacturing today, and it solves these problems like few other packages can. There’s a reason why it is has such a large chunk of the market.

        • Geoff PR, Thanks for the credit, but I’m, not a real machinist. I know the processes, I know most of the limitations, I know the machines, I know how to do some things. More than the average man on the street? Sure, but…

          At the end of the day, when I need to validate my toolpath programming, feed rates, and the like, I’d call a man like DG. With the varied pies I stick my fingers in, I know there’s a point where I call a specialist who knows all the minutiae I need off the top of his head, because he’s done it 100 times before. I’m usually able to muddle through, but it’s so much smarter to tap an expert. I almost always learn something useful doing so.

  5. Correct. They sense their tilting-at-windmills is falling apart. They’re desperate. And they might attempt something reckless and dangerous.

    That’s a call for us to redouble our efforts. They’ll toss more false-flag massacres our way.

  6. I think this Kevin Bacon scene from Animal House better illustrates what the gun grabbers are experiencing these days.

  7. Sadly, I would never say “utterly doomed”, because those who are against the Second Amendment also seem to hold the rest of the Constitution (I capitalize it because it seems like it deserves it) in contempt as well. Many have decided that they have a “right to be free from fear” (probably distilled from FDR’s “Four Freedoms”, but that’s not what he was talking about), and, further, that their fear, and this “right”, trumps all other rights. Once you’ve unhinged yourself from even the semblance of sticking to the Constitution, all bets are off regarding what you can propose as law.

    We can easily see this by their cries for [ insert ridiculous, un-Constitutional law here ] as their latest “commonsense” gun-control measure, on account of the emotional cry “If it saves only a single soul, it’ll have been worth it!” We know that, in their collective mind, all roads can and should lead to only a single destination: 100% confiscation of all firearms, because that’s the only reliable final solution: No firearms = no fear. Or so they like to think.

    Similarly, once one is not attached to the Constitution as the Law of the Land, all other actions become oh-so-easy! 3D printers? CNC machines? Make them illegal to own privately. 3D plans for whatever? Must be government approved and stored on government servers, along with the software to create those plans. Try jobbing it out to a machine shop? The government will have full record of that transaction. All worth it, if it only saves one soul! Amirite? Am I? /sarc

    You might think we’re no way close to this, but in my opinion, you would be incorrect. Did you happen to notice that most banks won’t permit you to transfer your money out of the country? Have you read about Dennis Hastert today? They nailed him for “smurfing” payments. Because if this kind of invasive monitoring shuts down even one money laundering operation, it’s worth it, right? Read up! http://www.fincen.gov/whatsnew/pdf/CTRPamphletBW.pdf

    I’ve recently faced-off against a few gaggles of Progressive Liberals on social media, and it was breathtaking to observe their immediate willingness to forsake their/our rights in the name of what “feels” right to them at that moment. Consideration of a larger context, or how their demands fit into even the current legal system is given not a moment’s thought. My assumption here is that would make them “feel” bad, and that’s unacceptable, so much easier to simply not do it rather than face an inconvenient truth.

    The saddest part of all is that we all know they’ll be truly astonished when someone comes knocking on their door in the middle of the night, because someone else has arbitrarily decided they don’t like what they’re doing/saying/thinking, and they must be stopped, because “if it saves one soul, it’s worth it”.

    • Agree with you 100%
      We already have some articles out there how free speech may not so good and mention “free speech nuts”.

      http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/10/the-hell-you-say

      The only people with access to 3D printing and the will to use 3D printed guns will be various criminals, while average law-abiding citizens will be disarmed and forbidden to defend themselves, while the media will be painting a rosy picture. Basically look at Argentina – this is where we are heading full steam.

    • Straight-walled cases can be turned out by the hundreds or even thousands from brass bar stock on a CNC lathe with a bar-feed mechanism. Set of forming dies and neck reamers can turn the straight-walled cases into bottle necked ones. Due to slightly thicker walls, case capacity will be somewhat diminished ( like a gun-grabber’s mental capacity). Primers can also be improvised from common chemicals, especially potassium chlorate ( the main ingredient in “corrosive” primers). Bullets can be cast or swaged. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

      • Here, you’re mostly correct. There’a gunsmith here in Wyoming over to the Cody area who makes obscure straight-wall black powder cases, and that part is pretty simple. You can keep your wall thickness down by using custom reamers or end mills to cut the interior of the case out. One of the most useful machines a machinist could have in these situations is a tool grinder, eg, a Cincinnati #2.

        Where things go wrong, however, is trying to use potassium chlorate for a primer. You need to give potassium chlorate a little nudge, and that used to be done with mercury fulminate. Mercury fulminate, however, will basically destroy your brass, by making it brittle and unreloadable. One really needs to move up to lead styphnate.

        • I was talking expedients. The white tips of “strike anywhere” matches are primarily potassium chlorate, or at least they were last I checked (according to my high-school chemistry teacher back in the Reagan years…). The idea being, if they try to ban ammo it should be possible to cobble SOMETHING usable together. Somewhere I have a book called “Improvised and Modified Firearms” that tells of the ways people in various places and different situations (even in prisons!) have found ways to get or make firearms. Gun control is utterly useless – if someone wants guns and ammo badly enough, they WILL find a way to get it, and there WILL be a thriving black market for guns and ammo, either commercial or homebrew/clandestinely manufactured, even among otherwise law-abiding citizens – those who aren’t government-controlled and mindless sheep, that is….

  8. Free-market technology keeps sprinting ahead geometrically, while the feds are still squandering billions of other peoples’ dollars trying to get various agencies’ obsolete MS-DOS and Win 95 platforms and databases to relate to each other. It’s Kafkaesque.

    On a similar note, you’d have to be a liberal to believe it’s entirely feasible to ban and confiscate 300 million privately-owned firearms, but utterly impossible to round-up and deport 11 (or 20 or 30) million illegal foreign invaders. Genius.

    • If I was a big gun manufacturer, I’d be looking to work within the new, coming paradigm. The big nuts are in the design.

      Also, there will always be those willing to pay others to do what they themselves don’t want to do for themselves.

      One man’s opportunity lost is another man’s opportunity.

      • Quit thinking like a smart businessman. The legacy big boys of the gun industry are at least 40 years behind state of the shelf manufacturing. They are still not using coatings and treatments that I’ve been using for 20 years. Some are finally getting to cryo treating at least, let’s see if they have it done correctly so that it actually provides the benefits cryo is capable of, or if it gets done half-assed and is relegated to a marketing gimmick.

        They will continue to trundle out cheap riffs on old designs, generally half-executed. In the big picture, a firearm is an incredibly simple device, with very few moving parts. It’s a fraction of the complication of a 3 speed manual transmission, let alone a mechanical watch. The Remington R51 debacle is a good example – it’d be like knowingly releasing a car with a VVT cylinder head that may run for 1 minute, or not at all. It’s just a sad joke in the era of modern manufacturing to talk about “hand fitting” parts. Or having something that just isn’t pretty much perfect right off the line. It’s like being in a time warp. A car engine that will see far more stress and operate for tens of millions of cycles requires zero hand-fitting. Some measure parts of the reciprocating group and tolerance match them, but even that’s not standard practice anymore.

        Don’t get me wrong, some companies make guns in a way that is close to modern. But on the whole, guns, especially domestic legacy brands, are an early 70s GM product at most generous. There’s body shims, panel gaps you can see from space, and no matter what kind of care it was assembled with (none), it can never be really right, because the parts to build it were 20 years behind in design/manufacture. Colt, Marlin, Remington and the like are really just dead men walking.

    • They’re happy. It’s another tool in the belt. Look at that scar lower they were showing off. 3d printed prototype. That is awesome tech that is fairly new and stell WELL outside the reach of you and I.

      The level of disruption of most of this technology for things like guns is pretty overstated. It takes a fair amount of doing to get usable parts from most of these machines. Also really expensive machines.

    • The big companies have nothing to worry about. As the manufacturers of this piece say, at the moment it’s more expensive to make a gun in this fashion than by conventional methods. Add to that the cost of the printer itself and you’ll see that it may be a way of the future, but not the only one, and it will still be in the domain of big manufacturers who can afford the setup costs.

    • I agree Ralph. This has the potential to do to the gun industry what mp3’s have done to the record industry. That’s been great for new musicians and music consumers, it’s also produced a lot of crap music but mp3’s won’t blow up in your hand.

      As long as this technology sticks with classic proven designs in the public sector and people use the specified materials of decent quality, this is a good thing. Once people start using it to copy patented designs, I can see it having a negative effect on innovation. What major manufacturer is going to develop, test and tool up to produce a new pistol for the consumer market if illegal copies are spread around the world a couple of years later? The major manufacturers will focus on military contracts. Like Colt. At that point, new designs aimed toward the civilian market will be limited to small shops, that may or may not know what they are doing.

  9. Here’s another one. If you can’t afford a cnc mini-mill, an alternative has just popped up. A sub $300 printer can now be used to make high resolution lost-wax castings. The website machinablewax.com is now selling 1.7mm spools of machinable-wax which is the same stuff industry uses for lost-wax prototyping, but in desktop 3D printer format. This means backyard foundry-ists can cast AR uppers and lowers and theoretically only have to finish them out with a drill, and a die thread the upper for the barrel nut. High enough resolution wouldn’t even need that.

    • This. Lost investment casting with wax is probably the best way for you and I to make these things right now. Unless you just need a tube receiver.

      Actually there are many resins that you can get for stereo-lithography machines that work as well. Instead of melting the resin out it burns and you blow out the ash. The sla machines get better part resolution as well I think, though there’s a slew of really cool machines out there made for the express purpose of wax castings. Mostly for jewelry making. But I mean. Who is currently making the gang guns in Australia? Watchmakers.

  10. Where’s the TTAG LIKE button? I already know how absurdly EZ it is to make shotguns. And don’t near bronze-age Khyber Pass blacksmiths cobble(Kabul?) AK’s together without benefit of any advantages? It’s a fun scary time to be alive…

  11. Here in Portlandia, we are very enthusiastic about food that is locally grown, locally sourced. Why not our guns as well? It’s good for the planet, you know!

  12. It has never been just about the guns. They will call to control everything that could ever manufacture, assemble, hold, transport, or come in contact with a gun in the name of “safety”. They want to control everything in their misguided quest to control everyone.

  13. Anti-gun group held meeting today under the pretense to stop teenage suicide. Big picture of a handgun with word “suicide” presented on news. Topic was smart guns which can only be fired by certain person. Why I post? Because this exemplifies why the anti-movement is not dead, it’s quite alive. They dredge up any and all to keep it alive. And the suicide topic is a lie, used as a backdoor to total control. Sneaky dishonest b@stards.

  14. National Rifle Association? I’m a member of the Cody Wilson Rifle Association. When he calls for a donation, I at least get a CAD file out of it.

  15. Just to play devils advocate here–fully automatic weapons are theoretically well withiin reach of must of us who have even a little engineering smarts and a drill press. Yet we don’t do it because prison.

    • If you don’t care if it empties the mag when you pull the trigger, any semi-auto can be made to malfunction with very little effort, some will do it all by themselves with a bit of wear. But we don’t, as you say, because we are lawful citizens, a distinction known to the grabbers but never ever admitted to in their propaganda.

  16. 3d printing is not magic. It is wonderful for one off and short run parts. For mass manufacturing use traditional methods. Home machines that will print metal are many years away yet. We are just now getting desktop machines for 30 year old technology. Most people don’t realize how old much of this tech is because the mainstream hype is a new thing.

      • Yeeeah, that’s not really what I’m talking about, though. Anyone can build a machine with enough know how. It’ll still be years before the current commercial machines are cheap enough for more everyman use.

        That’s cool that hobbyists are making SLS machines in metal, though. That is super super cool tech.

        • Fair enough, I make no argument that they are readily available and cheap enough for the hobbyist – unless you can roll your own. Which was also the case not that very long ago with polymers.

          My only point was that the tech itself is state-of-the-shelf an readily available to those who wish to avail themselves of it. It also ain’t terribly expensive…

  17. The 1911 in the video is impressive. Note the nice group he shot with it.
    Someone described how brass, primers and bullets could be :”homemade”, but what about smokeless powder? I think it’s a bit tricky for home brewing, is it not? Black powder is pretty easy, but very volatile, and who wants a black powder 1911? (if even feasible to create BP 1911 cartridges).
    If you can make functional smokeless powder firearms, then you can make all sorts of weapons. 3D printed firearms could become a new hobby of the future and the bane of the gun-grabbers, but they’ll just go after “Printer Control” and control of whatever material feeds the 3D printer to make the metal parts.
    Maybe most importantly, it all means no one can ever disarm us completely.

    • Yes, black powder .45 ACP is feasible. I experimented with it once, years ago. Filled the case as far as I could go with FFFg while still allowing the bullet (a hard-cast 200 grain .451 from a Lee mold, originally intended for cap-and-ball revolvers) to seat with slight compression of the powder. Primer was a used one with the dent pounded out, then annealed, and two centers from toy caps inserted (black powder is easier to ignite than smokeless, BTW). Worked fine with just one or two rounds failing to fire. It was an exercise in what to do if ammo was to become scarce, and I’d say all in all it was fairly successful, if messy. And yes, the gun (a 1911-A1) did cycle.

      • I KNEW there had to be somebody out there who had tried this! Thanks! Was it “messy” to the point it would foul the gun and interfere with cycling after a number of rounds? My understanding is that whatever caliber you load with BP, you have to fill the case with powder and seat the bullet to slightly compress because no air space can be allowed, or dangerous pressures result. That being said, would smaller calibers like 9mm or .380 Auto be unfeasible. theoretically. or just require a different recoil spring?
        Thanks, again, Rich K..

  18. I watched a show a while back that tracked “ghost guns” (That may have been the name of the show) from the source to the drug dealers on the street selling them to criminals and/or gang members. Little shack in the hills of the Phillipines where they are still making 1911 pistols just like they did in WW2, BY HAND! One piece at a time.

  19. You know, years ago when color copiers became common, they started requiring manufacturers to hard program the copy machines to recognize attempts to copy US money. The one we had would just stop and tell you to remove the original. Probably be the same with 3D printers, CNC machines etc. soon.

    • In the early days of color copiers, I heard the same claim from a Xerox repairman. What I found on making color copies for myself is that they didn’t come close to matching the colors in the original. In addition, a counterfeiter would need paper with the proper look and feel. A counterfeit bill printed on ordinary paper would be easy to recognize.

    • Home-made 3D printers would be able to get around that. Too many stepper motor controllers out there (including the Arduino-based RAMPS, which is the cheapest).

  20. “….. pull out a CZ 75 B clone when you wake up the next morning.” It would take longer than that and what you would pull out, one by one, is a collection of parts which, when assembled, would be a CZ 75 B clone.

  21. personally I think if you are worried about talking about making a machine gun, that violates an unconstitutional law, I think it is time to use the guns we have.

    • It is weirdly specific. It’s the first automated home cnc machine, though. It’s cool from a technological standpoint. It could probably be modified with right jigs and stuff to go from a solid billet to a complete lower.

  22. I’m disappointed… 3D printing guns bridges a gap that should not be bridged.

    It’s like the iPhone… Easy to use, no clue how it works. The laziness becomes a conduit to destroy the 4th amendment.

    Downloading a file and printing out a gun doesn’t teach anyone how to make a gun. Still clueless. Guns can be made without that much fancy. But who’s going to know?

    If youstill don’t understand how it works, you can’t use more appropriate, older, or a complete lack of technology to make a gun.

    The last few generations’ obsession with craving cluelessness, doing anything to avoid learning… Dependency leads to an easy way to be stripped of a right. If you won’t learn, you’re still vulnerable.

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