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The antis’ worst fears are becoming reality and most of them don’t even realize it. Yet. You see, there’s a quiet revolution taking place in the home manufacturing and materials industries. You can now buy desktop milling machines and 3D printers for under $800. As the technologies improve, prices will only continue to drop. Now whatintheheck is a 3D printer? Only something that will allow you to “print” your own magazines, receivers and other gun parts right there in the comfort of your very own home…

There are several types available. Most 3D printers are designed for commercial use and can cost upwards of $10,000. The ones we’re interested in, though, use a heated head to deposit very thin layers of plastic (very thin as in 0.1mm) over and over, building the desired object in a process called additive manufacturing (as opposed to the classic subtractive manufacturing, which is what a milling machine or lathe does). These rickety looking machines use plastic filament (frequently ABS, PLA or HDPE) and computer files to produce, well, just about anything that will fit in the build space.

Have the antis banned normal capacity mags again? No prob. Make your own. This one is only five-round capacity. If you expand the body and get different springs you’re only limited by the strength of your materials. Finally managed to outlaw AR-15s? As far as the ATF is concerned, the receiver is the firearm, so make your own receiver.

Most of these printers are open-source; there’s a lot of free support available, including libraries of images/objects that you can make. But what can you do if there isn’t an exemplar already out there? Do you have to figure out how to work some clunky CAD program or drop a couple thou for a 3D scanner? Au contraire, mes amis. There’s a free service available which will take your uploaded photos and return you a point-cloud file which can then be massaged with some more freeware into a file that will work with a 3D printer or CNC milling machine.

What’s that? You say you don’t want a plastic receiver? OK, get yourself a small milling machine, some blanks and go to town. If you aren’t comfortable operating a milling machine, many community colleges and tech schools have adult ed. courses that will teach you the fundamentals. Bonus! They frequently give students free access to their (industrial quality) equipment while you’re taking the classes. You might not be able to convince your instructor that a scratch-built rifle would make an excellent extra credit project, but you could probably make at least some of the smaller parts and then purchase an after-market barrel down the line.

How can advances in materials worry the antis? Quite simply their fears of “plastic guns” may soon be realized.

Advances in plastics and resins mean that right now you can get resins you can use at home with a ten-thousand PSI (69MPa) tensile strength. For reference, an AR-15 develops about fifteen-thousand PSI (104MPa) as the bullet travels down the barrel. Given the advances in materials science, we’ll be able to go to the hardware store, get a couple of gallons of two-part resin, mix it up and cast an AR-15 barrel assembly and upper receiver in our kitchen.

I personally can think of nothing more horrifying for the Brady Bunch, Violence Policy Center or Hizzonner Mayor Bloomberg than the thought that anyone can manufacture a firearm in their own home. I believe it was Robert Heinlein who once said: Nothing will make an aristocrat reach for the smelling salts faster than the idea of cheap plentiful weapons in the hands of the peasants.

Well, here we go.

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  1. Even better when you consider the possibility of combining it with the water-soluble resin they have (not as strong [yet]). Guns illegal and the policia are on their way? “Turn on the shower honey!”

    • That would be fucking retarded, your lubricant would make your gun fall apart/explode in your god damn face.

      • Not if your lubricant was oil based. Take a polymer science class or some chemistry before belittling people.The real issue would be the water vapor which is produced from the combustion of organic based propellants used in commercially available ammunition.

  2. … we’ll be able to go to the hardware store, get a couple of gallons of two-part resin, mix it up and cast an AR-15 barrel assembly and upper receiver in our kitchen.

    You can go to the drug store, get a few boxes of pseudoephedrine and make methamphetamine in your kitchen too. That’s what I hear, anyway.

  3. The Pols made guns in the basement of homes during the siege by the Germans. You don’t need to make a super complicated piece of machinery really.

  4. Plastics can do nifty things. In the case of some of the newer exotic polymers, really nifty things. But I wouldn’t count on plastic barrels any time soon. While some plastics can (almost) handle the pressures involved, they can’t handle the heat, at least not for more than a couple rounds.

    While it really isn’t that difficult to roll your own receiver in a modest shop, I wouldn’t think that’s something we really need to be bringing to the attention of people who have the IQ of a diced carrot and a propensity to attempt control or banning of what they do not understand.

    Want to see what can happen when complete effing idiots enact legislation nobody really notices as relates to firearms machining? Go look up current federal “immitation firearm” law.

  5. “Given the advances in materials science, we’ll be able to go to the hardware store, get a couple of gallons of two-part resin, mix it up and cast an AR-15 barrel assembly and upper receiver in our kitchen.”

    NO PROBLEM! Obama can just issue an Executive Order BANNING KITCHENS! Yeah, that’ll do it. After all, his goal is to have all of the peasants eating at gummint soup kitchens, so no one really needs a kitchen in their dwelling place anyway.

  6. Bruce, You write this stuff and then wonder why I conflate you so-called lawful gun owners with the criminal variety.

    What you’re propagating is a nightmare. The more guns and gun parts that DO NOT come from legitimate sources the harder it will be to regulate them properly.

    Bravo, Bruce, you are a regular humanitarian.

    • Why are they “so-called” lawful gun owners? If a gun owner obeys the law isn’t he or she a lawful gun owner? Seriously Mike, what’s the distinction between a “so-called” lawful gun owner and a “real” lawful gun owner?

      • I think he meant to say “allegedly” lawful gun owner.
        As for a quicky, homemade weapon (assume now the power grid is down), look no further than a piece of threaded pipe, an end cap with a hole in the middle and a nail. Voila! a 12 gauge single shot gun, exceptionally handy if you find yourself with your back against the wall!

        • Hold on stop right there I need to bring out my zip gun load it and hit it with a nail, so you better drop your weapon!

      • “…the harder it will be to regulate them properly.”

        And that’s everything you need to know about mikeb’s agenda. Notice he doesn’t care about the criminal or non-criminal USE of the gun – just the government’s ability to “regulate them properly”.

        • The ability to make guns in the home and never have to file a piece of paper with the gov. it’s ……beautiful. I getting a warm fuzzy just thinking about it.

      • By “so-called” I’m referring to my concept of “hidden criminals.”

        What you say is true, if a person obeys the law he is definitely “law abiding.” But the group of law abiding gun owners is generously populated with guys who don’t obey the laws, or not all of them, or not all the time, some of whom are actual out-and-out criminals who haven’t been busted yet.

        So, yeah, there are “law abiding” gun owners, but they look and sound just like the “hidden criminals,” so I lump them altogether with that “so-called” designation.

        • Do you see the danger there? You are setting yourself (or some authority) as the arbiter of who is and isn’t a law breaker—outside of the legal system. You’re abandoning the profoundly important concept of innocent until proven guilty.

          By doing so, by rejecting the idea that the burden of proof is on the state to prove you a criminal, you’re putting the “truly” innocent in peril. Do you see how law-abiding gun owners would fear your idea of pro-active firearms regulation?

          When I lived in the UK, the police state was supported by a simple idea: if you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to fear. History tells us that this is a Big Lie that leads to government excess, up to and including mass murder. As a Jewish son of a Holocaust survivor, you can cold dead hands me on the idea of “hidden criminals.” In fact, the Germans used the exact same term—versteckten Kriminelle—to describe the Jews.

          • I can accept everything you said. But, if you want to insist that there are only two groups, good guys and bad guys, all you have to do is admit that the one called good guys includes some scofflaws and folks who di criminal behavior but have never been pinched.

            Let’s not call them “hidden criminals” if that’s what bothers you. Let’s call them “gray area good guys.”

            And keep in mind, I’m not talking about disqualifying them without due process. I’m talking about changing the process so it will identify the worst among them. A little tweaking is all.

    • “The more guns and gun parts that DO NOT come from legitimate sources the harder it will be to regulate them *into non-availability the way I think we should.”

    • Or why not take the opposite approach: the fewer and simpler regulations there are, the easier it us for us lawful gun owners to comply with them.

      Even better, instead of being fixated on the inanimate objects, lets focus on the people who make bad things happen with them. Instead of criminalizing the tool, why don’t we criminalize, you know, crime?

      • That is SOOO judgmental on those poor, pushed-into-crime-by-an-uncaring-society criminals. Hey, they’re just trying to make a living off the rest of us, sort of like politicians and the “Occupy your wallet” protestors.

        • Well, a fair number of people actually are getting screwed, especially a lot of the people swept up in the incredibly wasteful and ill-advised drug war. A lot of violence would simply melt away if the drug market became legal. And if some dude wants to spend his life on his couch getting high and never gets past the working at Taco Bell stage, then that’s up to him. He’s only hurting himself.

          Let’s stop wasting time on “crimes” that are basically people having stuff and let’s start focusing on real crimes that are people doing actual harm to other people.

    • “The more guns and gun parts that DO NOT come from legitimate sources the harder it will be to regulate them properly”.

      Regulation leads to confiscation which leads to innocent civilians unable to defend themselves from being slaughtered by criminal thugs and sadistic governments.

    • “What you’re propagating is a nightmare. The more guns and gun parts that DO NOT come from legitimate sources the harder it will be for the government to have absolute control over its subjects.”

      Fixed it for you.

    • That’s hopefully the idea, moronmike. We have far too much regulation of firearms AND law-abiding citizens as it is. Wasn’t really all that long ago, when America was still FREE, that one could buy a Thompson SMG at your local hardware store, AND IT WASN’T A PROBLEM. Then the politicians, allegedly trying to solve a CRIME problem, burdened the non-criminal members of American society with useless, ineffective regulation(s) that most certainly did not address the real issue – CRIMINALS. We all know how that worked out.

  7. “I believe it was Robert Heinlein who once said: Nothing will make an aristocrat reach for the smelling salts faster than the idea of cheap plentiful weapons in the hands of the peasants.”

    🙂 Gotta love those libertarian science fiction writers.

  8. I thought most opensource/openhardware projects like RepRap/MakerBot were rather crude. Although effective for a hobbyist or as a novelty, the tolerances would seem to be far too loose for any serious application, like a barrel. Look at the quality of the printed objects:

    In places like Mexico, I thought guns were technically available, but ammunition was near impossible to get. A DIY way of making brass would be nicer. The US Army improvised munitions manual says you can reload primers/cartridges with crushed up strike anywhere match heads.

    There is also a guy out there who made an AR15 lower from wood, it lasted a couple shots before it had serious cracks.

    • A bit late to the party but the mills have different settings. Normally you do a rough cut (what that image appears to be) and then a finishing cut after to make it smooth and look more professional. The finishing cut is an extra step so it takes longer and some people just dont care enough to wait the extra time it takes to finish.

      With that said I am unsure of the tolerances specifically with the devices you mentioned because I do not have one. However you do not have to have a CNC mill or lathe to make firearms. For 500 years people have been making firearms at home. CNC just makes it easier. You can also get a mill for $300 of sufficient quality to make reliable firearms out of. If you want you can add CNC controlled stepper motors and make it into a CNC mill without having to build the whole mill yourself.

      For rifling unless you are going to get a really expensive lathe you will have a poor chance of making anything suitable. This will be a problem with people trying to just get a cnc mill and fabricate every part of a firearm at home. I do not know if the 3d printers can print a pre-rifled barrel sufficiently or not (some do metals, I think SE was the first country to do a titanium one but they are not uncommon now). The claim of the metal printers for some steels is that it is equivalent to machined and heat treated steel but I question that claim and would want a very long string tied to the trigger for the test shots.

      A button press can be home built for very little money which uses a hydraulic jack you may find at an auto parts store to rifle the barrel.

      As for strike anywhere match heads those are potassium chlorate based, which was used as primers long ago however it is corrosive. When you use that you have to neutralize the salts that are deposited into the barrel by firing it, windex (ammonia) works well but then so does urine on a shoestring run through the barrel if you are really into improvising. If you do not neutralize the salts you will get pitting in the barrel and ruin it. The other alternative is to clean the weapon daily for 3 days following shooting but is less effective than more immediately neutralizing the corrosive salts. Adding a touch of sulfur to a chlorate makes it more shock sensitive as well. Lead azide replaced the corrosive primers but it too was replaced with essentially the same but separately patented formulas used today that are lead free.

      And finally for the thread in general lets look at the laws. Very carefully they regulated the manufacture for sale specifically as a business (you may sell the occasional item you home built without license but under strict criteria. Here are the federal and a California section on the firearms laws of home production – remember you have to follow all federal, state, county and city laws. The burden is on you to know what the laws are before you start and this page alone should not be the totality of your research.

  9. I’ve been following this technology for some time, as I think it will be the source of the next ‘revolution’ in technology. Forget the industrial revolution, now it’s time for the printing revolution! And we’re not talking just plastics. There are 3D printers for metal as well. Basically, they create shapes and forms much like their polymer shaping brethren save they work kind of like a welding machine. No big tank of molten steal, but instead a big roll of welding wire. These devices are still extremely expensive. So don’t expect anyone to pick one up for their garage shop any time soon.

    And you know that bad thing is is that there’s already a number of people lining up screaming for regulation. Although it’s not the anti gun crowd so much, it’s actually the manufactures of consumer goods. Why hit Wal-mart for our newest shinyest plastic thing when you can just dump some feed stock in to your printer, sit back, and let her cook? Of course this technology is no where near that level yet. But even so it is being talked about. And I bet dollars to donuts that it will be the subject of firearms what will bring it to the fore front of public debate.

    Kind of on this note would anyone happen to know of a website or other source that has any sort of blue printers or accurate technical drawings of firearms parts? I’ve seem a few floating around for certain firearms. AR-15s, some Kalasnikovs, etc. Personally, I’m looking for older guns. Something like the old c96 Broomhandle Mouser would be epic.

  10. I have a suspicion that mikeb is actually Mr. Krafft. Yes, he’s samefagging, I said it. O_o

  11. The 3D plastic printers are usually not very accurate and produce parts which may be warped. For some gun parts, it will work.
    A desktop CNC mill would produce some machined parts well.
    Some parts could be cast with wood patterns, if you have some furnaces. Non-Ferrous would work.
    I talked to my Machine Shop Instructor and where they get you is on the long gun drills and broaching.
    Where the Government is going to get you is on the modern ammo which requires some deep draw processes. Pistol ammo would be eaier to make, but you may have to revert to black powder Civil War type weapons.

  12. Sometimes they have some books on making a Lancaster Long Rifle, which you might be able to do. You may have to do some improvision for the broach and barrel drilling. I had a book on building a Tennessee Mountain Rifle that went through each step in detail.
    Probably the easiest ammo to make would be blackpowder and cast lead slugs.

    • Nonsense! Just take a college chemistry class and then read the wiki page for the old smokeless powders, most anyone can figure it out from there. And as for the slugs, why not use polymer there as well? Not optimal, but it’s not like we are trying to make match ammo here.

    • You know, I’d actually buy one if a company were to replicate an SKS. Not some kind of ‘tactical’ one mind you, but just a new one with modern manufacturing and new materials.

      • Once I get some funds I was actually just going to try and get the Tula arsenal in Russia to start making and importing them. They should be surprisingly easy to import because of their “sporting” nature.

        • I’d go for one. Even without a bayonet (I forget if that feature is on the naughty list for importation), it’d still be an appealing piece to own and shoot.

  13. Sheet metal, vise, files, drill, rivets, etc. = homemade receiver. Basic manual lathe will produce most, if not all (barrel would be tough) of your other parts. No computer, no electronics needed. Skill, however, would be necessary.

  14. How many shots is a plastic receiver really good for before it cracks? Ever thought about maybe laying some carbon fiber over the plastic to help regidity?

  15. Hello,

    after I read this article I contributed $123.00 to the Wiki Weapon project at

    I hope some of you will put their money where your mouth is and show up to help some cool guys bring this into reality with imho little to no efforts..

    Regards from a German citizen without the right to bear or even possess a firearm.

    In Liberty..

    • Short Summary from the Wiki Weapon project

      The WikiWep project is to produce a CAD file for distribution and sharing across the internet. This CAD file will be a schematic for a modest, 3D printable plastic firearm. In a world where 3D printing becomes more ubiquitous and economical, defense systems and opposition to tyranny may be but a click away… Let’s pull the world toward this future together.
      By designing and testing concepts for a 3D printable defense system, and by then sharing that information with the world, WikiWep will serve to protect and ensure political processes and human rights.

      The Impact

      This project could very well change the way we think about gun control and consumption. How do governments behave if they must one day operate on the assumption that any and every citizen has near instant access to a firearm through the Internet? Let’s find out.Every dollar contributed to this project is also a vote to export the protections of the Second Amendment to the entire world.

  16. Carlos T on Jan 9, ’12 talked about legalizing drugs- “only hurts himself”. The problem is he won’t be able to hold down a job to feed or house himself so who does that? The rest of of us!!!! Those that are born or by accidents etc. who can not take care of themselves need help. Those that don nopt want to work and just sit back and toke their brains to mush, let them. But do not help them with my money! It is like going to school and the guy in the room next door parties all night, misses classes and then gets a “C” because your “A” from hard work was degraded to a “C” so his “F” could be upgraded to that “C”. REDISTRIBUTION!!!
    But everybody is missing the point. Guns were meant to protect us from a bad government. WE FOUGHT THE BRITISH OVER SOMETHING LIKE A 2% TAX. MY TAXES ARE OVER 23% NOW AND GOING UP. I am an average guy in and average home with an average car. No boats, ATV, snowmobile, etc.!!! Lock up bad guys and for violent ones, throw the key away.

  17. For your information, per provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCA for his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution.

    The GCA, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3), defines the term “firearm” to include the following:

    … (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive: (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or silencer; or (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

    • Hi there Bill. The Facebook/Plans link didn’t work. Is there any chance you could email me these? I live in a quite socialist area, but want to be able to protect my family better than the State will allow.

  18. What are they going to do about people selling raw material kits online. I saw this site selling just that If i read there product description right. It’s just materials anyone can by. There is no stopping people if they want it.

  19. Hitler’s army -> legal guns. Victims army -> illegal guns. So any american who continues to preach the “legal gun only shit” know I am against you and others like you. Obviously the Holy BIble, the US Constitution, and Common Sense all call ownership, carry, defense LEGAL, the abuse of them ILLEGAL. How did they make them illegal in your warped minds? They spoke. They spoke. That was it. Stroked a pen. Stroked a pen. That never made GOD’s laws, the US Constitution void, altered, added to, or subtracted, just another american waving a flag on my soil which is black and red with yellow markings. It is now time for anyone who differentiates a legal gun from an illegal gun to get check into the sanitarium and either get off the drugs, or get on some. ————————— “guns are inanimate objects, blame the criminal, not the LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN” ————————— replace
    “guns are inanimate object, neither assault, nor defensive, legal nor illegal, blame the evil, corrupt abusers, not the just, righteous, moral keepers” — FIXED

  20. Ive scrolled down thru all the comments to those sharing info and trying to help one another my hats off to you. To those bitching and crying shut up and get into action. I dont care what side your on im sick of your blubbering. My 7 year old daughter crys less. If you believe the same as me that the current regime though it pretends to be an american government elected by its people and governed by the constitution it is a sad transparent sham. It
    has been overstepping its authority and activly working against the common man. For longer than i have been alive. The saddest thing in my opinion is that talk is all most american men are capable of any more. Its not all your faults the truth is that the warrior the fighter the man willing to stand up and fight for whats right even when he believes he wont win. That type of man has been steadily replaced by talkers and men who are content to call their local police ( Gestapo) and wait for them to protect. I say no i say enough talk. It was mentioned above we entered into a war no one believed we could win over 2% and yet the american man just stands by and watches. Now is not the time to talk its time to get the attention of the very people who are oppressing you. Whether you realize that that is exactly what happens day in and day out when you play along and comply with what this sick society calls normal. I may end up labeled a criminal and thats ok. Because ive known and believed that a goverment that doesn’t represent me has no right to pass laws to oppress me. The freedom i know and will fight for cant be goven or taken by a man in a suit running his mouth for a living

  21. So where are all these 3D printed guns you implied were going to be made in every house?

    Oh nevermind

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