Homemade AR-15 rifle without a 3D printer


48 Responses to “Homemade AR-15 rifle without a 3D printer”

  1. FWIW the ATF would seem to have rather different view than Milo of what would need a manufacturer’s license. http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/manufacturers.html

    • eliterrell says:

      I don’t know much about guns, but case 7 on the last question seems to agree with the video:

      “An individual acquires frames or receivers and assembles firearms for his personal use, not for sale or distribution.The individual is not manufacturing firearms for sale or distribution and is not required to be a licensed manufacturer.”

      • awjt says:

         True and none of this means jack shit off US soil.

      • ryuthrowsstuff says:

        Yes essentially the restriction is you can’t sell it. My understanding of the subject is limited, but from what I’ve been told you can build pretty much whatever you want at home for personal use. But the sale (or giving away) of whatever you build is restricted or outright banned. I’m reasonably sure the “acquire(d) frames or receivers” are subject to the same regulations as complete fire arms. And any resulting weapon may need to be registered depending on local law. 

        Seems like a practical concern to me, you can ban this practice as much as you want but enforcement would be pretty difficult. 

        • Harold Smith says:

          Yes you can sell a gun that you make (under federal law). You just can’t make them with the intention of selling them. Making a gun with the intention of selling it would be just like making straw purchases of guns (from a dealer) for other people. 

  2. xzzy says:

    Gun wasn’t really ‘homemade’. Most charitable way to put it is it’s ‘home assembled’. Needing an industrial CNC machine to machine the parts takes it all to another level.

  3. Erik Ordway says:

    If you want a less creepy video watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30i_6awxEG4&list=UUH4AvY-w65ytgB16oNS4iTQ&index=5
    From Area Armor

  4. Jeff Waldman says:

    FYI, This is not remotely new or news. I know that to people outside of the firearm community it is, but it’s legal to make your own gun (to keep, not sell) and AR15s are the legos of the gun world so they are the most common to make. 

    • Mark Frauenfelder says:

      Well, it was news to me and probably at least 3 other readers of Boing Boing.

      • Granted that not everyone knows that, but it’s legal under Federal law to do so.  The caveat is that if you transfer it to anyone, that’s now illegal.  You can “go back and become a manufacturer” at any time, create the required legal records for the guns you previously made, and then sell them.  The manufacturers license is $300 plus some fingerprints and a background check.  There are a large number (hundreds) of small-volume manufacturers registered with the ATF; the annual gun production reports by manufacturer and type (shotgun/rifle/pistol/other, cross-referenced by general caliber range) are publicly available from the ATF with a 2-year or so lag while they assemble the statistics. Some produce no guns in a given year, some are 1, 2, 10.  I assume most of those are high-end commercial gunsmiths, but some are probably hobbyists who are keeping the license so they can sell some things they make.

        • Comedian says:

           The only intent that matters is your intent as regards sale at the time of manufacture.

          If you make an AR clone for personal use with no intent to sell it, tire of it a few years later and then sell it on to someone else you will not have run afoul of current U.S. federal law.

          (Analysis considers only current U.S. federal law and assumes use of only domestically produced components.  YMMV.  IAALBIANYL)

    • C.J. Hayes says:

      “News” is “newly received (not sent) or noteworthy information,” so this kind of does qualify.  Not that I like to be pedantic, but I also don’t like the dismissing of information dispersal because some people already know.

    • electronicnonsense says:

      This IS pertinent news, as it offers a counter balance to all of the 3D printed gun scare stories that are all over the place right now.

      I’m not sure if you even watched the video, but you basically just repeated what the guy in the video said. So if it’s important enough for you to say in the comments, maybe it’s worth saying in an easy to digest video for the purpose of informing people outside of the gun community who, by your own admission, didn’t know already.

      You’re basically here puffing out your chest, saying “I knew this before you guys did. So there!” Great, good for you. Next time add something to the conversation that’s worth a crap, because we already knew what you had to say before we got to your comment.

    • The Chemist says:

      FYI, This is not remotely new or news.

      How did the hipster burn his tongue?

      He sipped his coffee before it was cool.

  5. Ray Alderman says:

    You do not need a CNC milling machine.  They are nice to have, but you can do all the work needed with a benchtop drill press.    You need to have “drilling jigs” that are machined plates to help you out but it can be done.


    • ryuthrowsstuff says:

      I’m also sure if you were willing to take the time and put in the effort you could probably whittle what you need out of a block of metal with hand tools. It just wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

      • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

        I guess it would depend on how badly you wanted the weapon, and how difficult it was to obtain via other means.  

        • ryuthrowsstuff says:

          Or how geeky you want to get about it. I’ve met people who’ve made Kentucky long rifles with hand tools largely from scratch. Down to making their own steel. I don’t think muzzle loaders are much to worry about. But I wouldn’t assume its beyond the pale for the same impulse to be applied to something more modern.

          • donovan acree says:

            Agreed. For some of us, it’s not about how difficult something is to acquire  it’s about the challenge and satisfaction of building a thing yourself.

  6. Mister44 says:

    As others said this isn’t really news. As long as you don’t sell it – you can make one for yourserf. They sell 80% blank forgings of the lowers that aren’t consider a gun, thus doesn’t have to go through an FFL. They are just blocks of aluminum with the outside shape. From there you need some jigs and a decent drill press and you can finish the lower yourself. (At least I think a drill press is the only thing needed.)

    He needs to finish the project by doing some home based anodizing.

  7. If it’s all legal/legit, then why the mask and voice cover-up?

  8. Stjohn says:

    This also just pertains to Federal law.   There’s probably a nice patchwork quilt of state and local ordinances regarding such ordnance.

  9. a company in redmond oregon will make an incomplete receiver that you finish. no serial number. no license. Catch? only you may hold or fire it. It must be destroyed when you die. You can get the ar-15 style in a 308 too. nice

    • Comedian says:

      That’s a lot of wrong.

      “Individuals manufacturing sporting-type firearms for their own use need not hold Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs). However, we suggest that the manufacturer at least identify the firearm with a serial number as a safeguard in the event that the firearm is lost or stolen. Also, the firearm should be identified as required in 27 CFR 478.92 if it is sold or otherwise lawfully transferred in the future.


      • max00 says:

         But 27 CFR 478.92 applies to licensed manufacturers:


        I no law and no look, but I imagine the case is that a licensed manufacturer that is prepared to add his stamp is about the only person that can legally buy such a gun.

        • Comedian says:

          Note that the wording is “should be identified as required in 27 CFR 478.92″ and not “must be identified as required by 27 CFR 478.92″.

          They are referring to the marking requirement language only as a suggestion.  Should is permissive.  “In” is a reference to a suggestion of how one might choose to act.


          • max00 says:

             Are you certain a lawyer wrote that faq? Or are you saying that the legal system would parse it up in that manner?

            Anyway, if you’re a lawyer, what is the actual case law, that seems more interesting that quibbling over the language in the faq?

  10. The Raven says:

    Circle, circle, circle, …

    It’s legal to make one, sure.

    Want to try it out?

    …Circle, circle, circle…

  11. rvernon says:

    The buffer tube thread would be a PITA.  I would hope 80% means they threaded that part of the receiver.  

  12. Eark_the_Bunny says:

    Just because one can do something does not mean one should.

    • spacedmonkey says:

      And why shouldn’t one make their own guns?   Just asking, because you seem to have assumed something that is by no means obvious to me.

  13. timquinn says:

    I’m just going to stick with throwing rocks.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      That’s already been identified as a threat to national security and a reason for use of deadly force, no?

  14. Sigmund_Jung says:

    Gun printing could easily do to 3D printing what adult videos did to VHS

  15. Yeah, let me get my industrial grade CNC mill out and I’ll make some for a craft show…

  16. ChickieD says:

    I think right now the real “killer app” (see what I did there?) is to make the magazines that are about to be made illegal.

  17. Chip says:

    I love watching folks get all bent out of shape about this, as if it’s a new thing.  For less than $100 you can buy an AK “80% lower” kit that requires nothing more than basic hand tools (electric drill, hacksaw, files, and a tap & die set) to finish.  These have been around for decades and do not require a FFL.  And AKs are super cheap.  You can build a complete rifle for under $500 if you’re not too concerned with quality.

    So all this hubabaloo over 3d printed AR lowers and people making their own “assault rifles” outside the law is hysterical.  It’s been an option for those so inclined since forever, and wouldn’t you know, it’s never been a problem.

    If you’re so inclined, here’s a perfectly legal (probably, depending on where you live) kit to make your own Scary Black Rifle without any license or background check:  http://marshhawkarms.com/page2.html

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