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This Tiny Machine Can Make A Legal, Untraceable And (Relatively) Inexpensive AR-15 In Your Home

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A new 3D printing device could make many gun control laws unenforceable by allowing anyone to manufacture his or her own AR-15 semiautomatic rifle at home – at a relatively affordable price.

The Ghost Gunner Computer Controlled (CNC) machine sells for $1,300 and can make rifle components from aluminum.

The manufacturer, a non-profit libertarian organization called Defense Distributed, has already sold more than 200 of the machines, Wired reported. Defense Distributed leader Cody Wilson claims a person can use the machine to create an AR-15 body with no expertise and no serial numbers – in other words, a gun that is untraceable.

“People want this machine,” Wilson told Wired. “People want the battle rifle and the comfort of replicability, and the privacy component. They want it, and they’re buying it.”

How the Ghost Gunner Works

The Ghost Gunner can automatically carve metal in three dimensions. A person puts a block of metal into the machine, and then it carves it out following a pattern programmed into a computer.

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Currently, the Gunner carves the lower receiver of an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle (the civilian version of the M-16) out of aluminum. Wilson specifically designed the device to get around gun control laws. The user would still have to order the others parts, but those are easily found online or in gun shops.

The Ghost Gunner is unlike Wilson’s last 3D printing effort in which he made the plans for a plastic gun called the Liberator printer available online. The plans were downloaded 100,000 times before they were taken down by the US State Department. The machine he made for that one cost around $8,000.

Cheaper and More Accessible

It is also far cheaper than Solid Concepts’ 3D printed Colt 45 pistol, the first 3D printed metal gun. That weapon was made with a Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) machine the size of a small car. Solid Concepts’ spokeswoman Alyssa Parkinson noted that her company’s DMLS device cost more than her college tuition. DMLS works by using a laser to melt and fuse metal powder into a specific shape.

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In contrast, the Ghost Gunner is only one foot in diameter and one foot tall – about the size of a microwave oven. Unlike the DMLS, the Ghost Gunner can only work with solid materials.

Wilson had planned to sell 110 printers but he’s received orders for more than 200 and he’s expanding. Defense Distributed has hired another employee to ramp up production.

Designed to Beat Gun Control

Wilson is outspoken and unapologetic about the Ghost Gunner’s purpose: to get around gun control laws. In particular, it seems to be designed to get around restrictions on the magazine capacity of rifles and laws against so-called assault weapons.

“I’ve never felt more optimistic about the ability of Defense Distributed to become an installed part of the future, and to help create an expansion of the Second Amendment,” Wilson told Wired. “There’s hope that Defense Distributed can become a significant civil liberties organization. … That’s the ambition, the wildest dream of this entity, to have a marked material effect like that.”

California Already Tried to Register 3D Guns

Making your own AR-15 at home is currently legal in the United States. There is no law against owning a 3D printer, even one capable of manufacturing firearms.

Not surprisingly, gun-control advocates are out to change that. On October 1, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a proposed state law called Senate Bill (SB) 808 which was designed to restrict “ghost guns.”

“SB808 would require individuals who build guns at home to first obtain a serial number and register the weapon with the Department of Justice,” Brown, a Democrat, wrote of the law in his veto letter. “I appreciate the author’s concerns about gun violence, but I can’t see how adding a serial number to a homemade gun would significantly advance public safety.”

Among other things, SB 808, sponsored by Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) would have required persons making 3D guns to register them with the US Justice Department.

Do you believe gun-making machines should be legal or illegal? Leave your reply in the section below:

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  1. This is not a 3D printer… it is a small CNC mill. A 3D printer is addative a CNC mill is subtractive.

    • Thanks for the comment. The company calls it a 3D printer.

    • Good point but the writer states this -has already sold more than 200 of the “milling machines”, Wired reported”.

      • Thanks for pointing that out. It appears those terms are being used interchangeably in the public, but they of course are not interchangeable. We have tweaked the article.

        • I agree their not interchangeable and this appears to be a milling machine by the description… I’ve found the description of printer comes from the software program when asked to print [shape the piece]. But what do I know I’m only a retired boiler engineer…

  2. As usual, some socialist disguised as a concerned liberal has already predicted this machine will be used for evil purposes. The fact is that the one’s who need it most and mostly for peace of mind or just for the sporting aspects which are legal and bear no immoral intentions, are being denied by those who feel secure due to their status and position.

    This isn’t a universal gun making machine. Unlike a 3d printer it can’t be programmed or fed various patterns or blueprints to create and endless variety of firearms or anything else. In that vein it’s very narrow in it’s capabilities and cost wise it reduces it’s utility or possibly it’s value to buyers. It builds receivers, but that is all. Although it could have been designed to produce other parts, but they are not out to create chaos or violence or break the law, yet that is ignored by those who assume the worst. The average hardworking guy isn’t going to buy this machine and then risk prosecution and criminals wouldn’t bother buying it and then shopping around for the other parts. They’re lazy by nature looking for the easy score.

    Again, it’s cowardly power hungry politicians reducing our rights to own guns or to protect ourselves physically or financially from their schemes. If they ban this machine, I am sure that the only ones left will be owned by the same rich, bleeding heart, self righteous celebrity and political crowd that have proclaimed themselves our protectors. These people always have guns, are surrounded by people with guns and the Hollywood crowd make films where their characters use guns and commit all types of acts that cross legal bounds.

    Bottom line is that this machine and any other kits, 3d printers, CNC mills, etc., should be allowed to be sold on the market. It’s good for the economy, negates monopolies, it makes us feel free as it supports our right to own guns and to provide for ourselves. Why should taxpayers pay for military weapons which are then given away to foreign countries when we have to pay through the nose or bear so many regulations and restrictions. We are supposed to have a free market economy.

  3. To expensive and he needs to stop dragging up $hit. Rather use my drill press and stay undercover.

  4. you can not make a cnc mill illegal. for the most part this little unit is a special purposed small cnc mill.
    people have been making guns for several centuries now. just because they might use some modern technology such as a cnc mill to make a modern gun part, doesn’t change a thing. i can buy a pipe, piece of wood and a bic lighter and make a flintlock fairly quickly. I’ve seen some home made shop creations that would blow you away. all this does is allow your average person to create for them self. without having to buy it, pay tax’s on it, or register it. much less register it. this doesn’t detract from public safety, criminals aren’t going to sit in their garage making a gun with a $1300 machine. they are just going to steal them. this lil machine goes a long way to helping the little guy get his gun, and would more likely just put un taxable guns in the hands of people who need then but can’t afford them.

  5. Federal firearms laws already require a FFL license to manufacture firearms. Owning the machine that is capable of making a firearm is not illegal. Making a firearm without a legal right to do so is. Before spending money on such a machine learn about the laws involved.

    • You are incorrect. The manufacturers license is only reauired if you are in the commercial business of manufacturing firearms for sale in Interstate Commerce.
      At least Federally, BATF reulations allow for “making a firearm” by citizens, and does not require licensing, registration, taxes or anything. I believe the only restriction is that NFA-Title II (Class 3) weapons are excluded.
      A simple check of BATF website under MAKING A FIREARM should clarify things for you.

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