Wired did this like exactly a year ago.
Finally, someone gives us back the Freedom to buy the guns that nobody has taken away!
BoingBoing loves makers. I think this is pretty neat.
You’re thinking of BangBang.*
- “Hiyo!” ~ Ed McMahon, 1981.
Lions and Tigers and AR-15’s , Oh My.
Bedroom Adventure Gear! What a concept…
That makes me think that if we can get guns designated as sex toys, then we could get them outlawed in places like Alabama.
A $15k CNC machine to make AR-15 receivers? How cute.
I would like to see the fallout when their Copyright wing has to face off with their NRA wing.
A single-purpose milling machine seems like a weird niche product; but it’d be great to have cheap CNC proliferate as cheap 3d printing has done.
That said, this particular use seems to be more of a cute regulatory hack than a technical one. The AR-15 lower receiver has the convenient feature of both being the part classified as ‘the gun’ for purposes of serialization, restrictions on sale and transfer, etc. and of being comparatively simple to manufacture and not subject to terribly demanding stresses during use. If you weren’t allowed to do a little milling on the one chunk of aluminum and then buy all the rest of the parts from the professionals this would be a substantially more demanding DIY project.
Even then, though, the tech level required to manufacture a lot of quite credible firearms just isn’t very high. A lot of the iconic designs are WWII or older; and were introduced under the requirement that they be simple enough to cheaply stamp out in ‘total war’ quantities with whatever industrial capacity was available. Keeping that level of metalworking out of common circulation would be pretty tricky; though you could certainly make people work harder for their AR-15s if they had to fabricate some of the other parts as well.
That fate seems appropriate for loony second amendment fetishists.
I seem to recall reading that the Thomson receiver was particularly elaborate and complex to machine out of single bigass hunk of steel. I held a Thomson once, it was HEAVY! When they introduced the M3 submachine gun in 1942 it was far easier and cheaper to crank out, it was all stamped steel, including the receiver.
I suppose if controlling the receiver no longer works, we can move on to controlling barrels, no? They’d be a lot harder to wack up at home.
Building good barrels at home would certainly be markedly more difficult than building receivers.
What I don’t know is how shoddy you can go before the gun malfunctions/bursts in your face/suffers atrocious reductions in power or accuracy/etc. That seems like the important question when it comes to the objective of trying to reduce shooting deaths. There is only some correlation between technical goodness of a given weapon and ‘epidemiological’ danger; since convenience, cost, ubiquity, conceal-ability, etc. are major factors.
If a shoddy barrel is dangerously useless, then that gives controlling barrels real leverage. If a shoddy barrel has mediocre accuracy at longer ranges and only has a service life of a few hundred rounds; then controlling barrels annoys all the people you aren’t worried about; but homebuilt barrels are still more than adequate for shooting up the place.
On controlling barrels…
There are numerous youtubers that will shoot at and with all kinds of crazy stuff. I’m sure we would get some amateur science done. Just need to ask.
However that does leave shotguns. To make shotgun barrel you just need pipe. I’d ague that an automatic shotgun is far more deadly at short range.
I have a neighbor who builds barrels for competition distance shooters. There is an art to doing it at that level. But just making a serviceable rifled barrel is not that big a deal. It is 18th century technology. I made a percussion rifle completely by hand in college with no power tools. I had Firefox volume five as a reference.
Fun fact- if you try to forge steel on the balcony of the dorm, the fire department will show up.
People who want to commit violent crimes in countries with strict gun control are endlessly creative:
That being said, the ghost gun concept that is the subject of the article is more of a political statement or an art project than an efficient way to build a gun. It does not make a receiver from a block of aluminum. You have to start with an 80% completed receiver. A person willing to spend a little time practicing with a regular manual mill could make Sten clones all day long. But don’t, because it is a felony.
But at least they have to really work for it.
I suspect that the criminals or terrorists pay people with DIY skills to actually make the guns.
I was wondering about that, did not see it addressed. It looked to me that processes were done to that block out of the scope of the tabletop CNC. So they ship you a receiver just below the level of finish to require a serial?
As for DIY barrels, it just moves the bar WAY higher than ordering an 80% done receiver and this mill. Yes, you can get a gunmaker lathe for a few grand and learn to use it, or hammer steel around a mandrill like they still do in Colonial Williamsburg (I could hang in that shop all day), but you’re not going to do it for a “statement” or lark. There’s guys out there making 1/2 scale 22 cal gatling gun replicas, but it’s a labor of love, and technically not an automatic weapon since it’s not recoil or gas cocked.
You sound like a hands on guy, have you seen Forged in Fire, the knifesmithing competition show? In one episode the 1st season the FD shows up at a smiths suburban house where he’s forging a battle axe in a bbq filled with coal equipped with a hair dryer blowing in air. My son (who makes knives in my shop) and I love it. I’d love to see a gunsmithing spinoff.