While Democrats may be in control of both the White House and Congress, their hold on power is tenuous at best. But that isn’t stopping them from trying to ram through as much onerous legislation as possible. Among their proposals are increased gun control, including banning the production of homemade firearms, which they refer to as “ghost guns.”
Home manufacture of firearms has a long history in this country, and to this day it remains both a fun hobby and a key method of retaining the skills and ability to evade government crackdowns on our right to bear arms. That’s why Democrats are coming out swinging, hoping to ban the right to make guns at home.
There are three primary ways to build guns today:
- Building from 80% receivers;
- Using a Ghost Gunner or similar machine; and
- 3D printing
In part 1 we discussed the details of building a firearm from the various 80% receiver solutions available on the market. Today we’ll get around to discussing how to build a firearm using the Ghost Gunner or by 3D printing.
1. Ghost Gunner and Subtractive Manufacturing
There are two primary means of manufacturing parts today: additive manufacturing and subtractive manufacturing. Subtractive manufacturing is what we think of as “traditional” manufacturing. A piece of metal is subjected to various processes such as milling, boring, drilling, etc. so that material is removed from it before it reaches its final shape and state. Additive manufacturing would be something like 3D printing, in which material is added in layers until a part reaches its desired shape.
Many firearms today are machined on CNC machines, which are programmed to be able to take a hunk of metal and machine it precisely, automatically, and repeatedly for thousands of examples. They’re quite amazing machines, but they can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for large production models.
Machines such as the Ghost Gunner bring CNC-type control to your desktop. The Ghost Gunner is now in its third generation, and measures 16x21x14 inches. It allows the end user to machine just about any firearm receiver within that size envelope, such as an AR-15 receiver, 1911 receiver, Glock receiver, etc. While the Ghost Gunner is intended primarily for ease of finishing 80% receivers, it has the capability to finish 0% receivers too, at least those made from aluminum.
It will still be some time before desktop machines will be able to machine an entire firearm straight from a block of steel or aluminum, but the quest to develop that product is ongoing. That’s what Democrats want to keep from happening, which is why they’re trying to kill home-built firearms as soon as possible.
Imagine a future in which you can take a big piece of aluminum, run a program on your computer, walk away, and come back to a fully functional AR-15 receiver. It’s heaven to gun enthusiasts, but a nightmare for gun controllers.
2. 3D Printing
3D printing has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for firearms manufacturers and hobbyists. We’re already seeing 3D-printed metal sound suppressors hitting the market, with pretty impressive performance. While 3D printing of metal is still outside the scope of most home builders, it again is only a matter of time before the processes necessary for 3D metal printing are scaled down for the home user.
Right now, 3D printing consists mostly of various polymers. Objects that are printed are done so by the printer depositing layers of hot plastic in layers, gradually building up a 3D object.
3D printing allows for the production of designs that can’t be created through traditional subtractive manufacturing. And the process is becoming so advanced that magazines, receivers, and other firearms parts can now be effectively produced at home.
There are even plans on the internet for entire firearms that, aside from a metal barrel and bolt and a few screws, are constructed nearly entirely from 3D-printed plastic. The advantage of having a 3D printer is that you can also construct parts for just about anything, not just firearms, with your 3D printer.
We’re still in the infancy of 3D printing, which is again why Democrats want to shut down home-built firearms before this technology becomes too widespread. But they may be too late. You can’t stop the signal, and with both printers and programs circulating all over the internet, there are so many things that you can create with them and their popularity is growing every day.
With technology rapidly changing year to year, developments in firearms production will only make it easier for Americans to build their own guns. If you haven’t already started to build your own guns, now is the time to start learning, otherwise when you really need to do it, you might not be able to. Take the time to read about the various products and tools on the market to see which ones best meet your needs.