Alright, where do I start?
I’m a Machinist. I’ve read several times that Machining is the slowest and most expensive way to manufacture a part. In my opinion, hand tools are slower, but I suppose that is beside the point.
3D Printing is a new, “additive”, manufacturing process that can be very cheap. But, it is very slow. Much slower than cutting a part out of a block of material.
There are a number of different types of 3D Printers. Some use vats of resin, other lasers to sinter together materials, and many other designs, but usually when people talk about 3D printing they are talking about FDM printers. A “Fused Deposition Modeling” printer lays down layer upon layer of melted plastic to build up the part.
Your average over the counter 3D printer feeds from a spool of plastic that looks like weed eater trimmer cable. It is a robot controlled hot glue gun. There are a large number of various plastics that can be printed by these types of printers including, ABS, PLA, PVS, Nylon, etc. PLA plastic is the most popular, but some people use ABS for increased strength, or PETG for food safe items, TPU for flexible parts, etc. The various plastics have different benefits and downsides.
FDM printing can be cheap, fast (compared to other forms of 3D Printing), and the wide variety of materials allow you to pick one best suited for what you are doing. But FDM printing tends to be less precise than other forms of printing or manufacturing. Printing parts in layers leave the potential for delamination and makes the parts less durable when under tension. These layer lines prevent smooth vertical surfaces and may require additional work (sanding, smoothing, filler, etc) to creature a smooth finish, when a smooth finish is required.
One of the best things about 3D printing is that you can produce complicated geometry that would be very hard or impossible to make other ways, and you can print parts like springs, hinges, gears, and similar movable components as part of a single print. An early example was printing a adjustable wrench in a single print.
Blah blah blah. You can find the history, and minutia, and more details on 3D printing all over the place online.
I get asked, “What 3D printer should I buy?”
First you should ask your self if you really should be buying one?
There seems to be this impression that 3D printing is push a button and get a part. If everything is set up well it is not too far away from that. But lots of work has to be done to get there. Unless you only plan to print up stuff that other people have already designed, or you have your own 3D modeling experience and plan to design your own parts for 3D printing, it is probably not worth getting a printer.
Now if you only planned on printing stuff you found on thingiverse or already know how to do 3D modeling, then it might be worth getting a 3D Printer.
Personally, I tell people to buy a Prusa brand printer. Sure they 3-4 times the cost of many other perfectly good printers, but they are far easier to get running well and have far better support and a community to help you. Every time I run into problems with my printer I kinda regret I didn’t buy a Prusa i3. That said, the size the various Prusa printers can print is much smaller than my Tevo Tornado, so I do like having the larger print capability.
So what were we talking about again? Oh yea, Ghost Guns.
YOU WOULDN’T DOWNLOAD A GUNFuck you, I would if I could.
If we were going to make a gun from scratch found at the hardware store, a single shot would be the easiest and fastest to make.
Something that functioned like a bang-stick or a pop-gun could be made rather fast.
I learned about this kit last year, HERE. Single shot firearms are the easiest to make.
After that, an open bolt submachine gun is the easiest to make. Weird how that is. It is easier to make a full automatic only gun than a semi-automatic.
The “Improvised Special Purpose SMG” is suppose to be makeable in 2 hours with 20 dollars worth of supplies.
Open bolt guns can have a fixed firing pin and all the fire control mechanism has to to is release or hold the bolt. Semi-guns are a little more complex.
Humpth, I appear to have wandered off topic.
It is perfectly legal to build your own firearms. What could be more American than making your own guns?
There are some limits to what you can legally build. I’m no lawyer and I can not provide you with legal advise on the matter.
Generally, you can build your own gun for your own use with out a serial number or makers markings. The proverbial “Ghost Gun”.
Big media would have you believe that terrorists and felons are clamoring to make untraceable firearms in their homes. In reality, these guns tend to cost more than a standard firearm, and have plenty of a paper trail. Unless you bought kit somewhere for cash, it can be traced back to you.
IMHO, it makes more sense cost, time, and reliability wise to just pick up a used gun locally for cash in a face to face sale.
But hey, this isn’t about what makes sense, this is about making our own guns.
Cause we are Americans, and we do what we want.
To be continued.