When Cody Wilson revealed the world’s first fully 3-D printed gun last year, he showed that the “maker” movement has enabled anyone to create a working, lethal firearm with a click in the privacy of his or her garage. Now he’s moved on to a new form of digital DIY gunsmithing. And this time the results aren’t made of plastic. Wilson’s latest radically libertarian project is a PC-connected milling machine he calls the Ghost Gunner. Like any computer-numerically-controlled (or CNC) mill, the one-foot-cubed black box uses a drill bit mounted on a head that moves in three dimensions to automatically carve digitally-modeled shapes into polymer, wood or aluminum. But this CNC mill, sold by Wilson’s organization known as Defense Distributed for $1,200, is designed to create one object in particular: the component of an AR-15 rifle known as its lower receiver. That simple chunk of metal has become the epicenter of a gun control firestorm. A lower receiver is the body of the gun that connects its stock, barrel, magazine and other parts. As such, it’s also the rifle’s most regulated element. Mill your own lower receiver at home, however, and you can order the rest of the parts from online gun shops, creating a semi-automatic weapon with no serial number, obtained with no background check, no waiting period or other regulatory hurdles. http://www.wired.com/2014/10/cody-wilson-ghost-gunner/
Those will set you back more than $1200, but if you bought just one milling machine, a milling machine can make lathes, shears and brakes, as well as other milling machines.
If you have a lathe, a shear and a brake, my understanding is that you can make a fully-automatic AK-47 out of a square foot of sheet metal and a piece of hardened bar stock. That's among the reasons that Kalashnikov was regarded as a hero of the Soviet people.
As for the other comment saying the government will banninate the lower-receiver machine... CNC mills are very easy to get, and have boundless legitimate uses. So no one will ever attempt to ban CNC mills.
They are automated tools, that use a very simple computer program to guide the cutting head and the table to which your work is clamped, so if you were to just post the program online, there's not a whole lot you could do about regulating it. It would be like trying to force HelloWorld.c back into the Genie Bottle.
Any gun you can make by folding metal is really not worth making. Otherwise we would be up to our elbows in origami guns, or Uzis. Drop forged, machined, heat treated, and polished, especially Browningized, that is the way to go. And as a side note, all these hipsters who think you can replace good solid craftsmanship (preferably actually trained: Union!) with software, there is a whole 'nother level of reality that can't wait to meet you. LTP1: Printer is on fire! And randomly firing all around the workspace. Duck, you suckers.
The idea behind the AK-47 is that it is cheap and easy to make.
One requires an expert to make the barrel, but anyone who can handle a screwdriver can be taught how to operate the bending brake and shear.
Thus you can equip an army with very minimal expenditure of resources. The Soviets didn't have a lot to spend on weapons when the AK-47 was invented.
Any gun you can make by folding metal is really not worth making.
The maker of the Shovel AK [northeastshooters.com] disagrees with you.
Not only does he find the shovel's handle to be of comparable comfort to a conventional stock, its accuracy rivals those of many commercially built guns. From his write-up:
Shit shovel: $2Romy sans-barrel AK kit: $200Barrel blank: $30Compliance parts: free from Martha Coakley . . .
The look on your competitor's face with an expensive AR when he finds out that he have been outshot by a $2 shit-shovel .... priceless!
There's your statement of worth, I couldn't have said it better myself.
Ultimately, the worth of a firearm is its ability to reliably put rounds accurately on the point of aim. If the folded-metal firearm fulfills that purpose then the build was definitely worth it.
So no one will ever attempt to ban CNC mills.
Maybe not ban, but if you purchase one with enough accuracy (not sure the limit) you will be required to register it and sign a form stating you won't sell it to anyone on a list of banned countries. The form goes to, of course, Homeland Security. True stuff... had to sign one myself so Mitsubishi would send me a replacement part (controller I think...).
Except if people with printers print out new printers for their friends & family, then the horses are firmly out of the barn. I think more about material inputs, myself. We live in a society drowning in cast-off objects of every variety. If we can build matter decompilers to turn those objects into feedstock for the printers, then we're cooking. At last year's Maker Faire Bre Pettis hinted at something like that in the works at MakerBot, but now that he's moved on who knows what will happen to that.
Me, I'd love to mine pure carbon from the atmosphere and spin it into graphene and carbon nanotubes and build whatever I want from there. Alas, I am several advanced degrees in chemistry and nanotechnology shy...
Yeah you're right I had forgotten that.
Back during the Cold War someone was fined $100,000,000.00 for selling a large four-axis CNC mill to (I think) China. That's just what you need to make the cleverly designed propellers on submarines, that are shaped so as to drive the sub really fast while staying really quiet.