AR-15’s bigger brother means a new 3D printed gun

Some Guys Just Made a Heavier-Caliber 3D Printed Gun. It’s the AR-15’s bigger brother

In March, a Website dedicated to 3D-printing firearms announced one of its members had developed a lower receiver for a Colt CM901 rifle. It’s a small — but evolutionary — step toward the development of firearms that pretty much anyone can download off the Internet.

The CM901 is the bigger, badder brother of the ubiquitous AR-15. The CM901 has a similar design, but fires the heavier and more powerful 7.62-millimeter bullet, resulting in greater range and killing power.

A group of gunsmiths developed the CM901 lower receiver and uploaded an animated gif of a live-fire test. The clip is five seconds long.

The CM901 is a modular design, so the rifle can shoot lighter 5.56-millimeter rounds, too. The group used a XYZ Da Vinci printer, which retails for around $500.

By the standards of 3D printers, that’s cheap.

Remember — this is an evolutionary development.

Downloadable blueprints for 3D-printed AR-15 lower receivers appeared on hobbyist forums several years ago. All you need is a 3D printer and enough thermoplastic, and you can build yourself one.

Cody Wilson of the gun rights organization Defense Distributed — which built the first fully 3D-printed pistol — developed an AR-15 lower receiver that can fire hundreds of rounds.

But it took a lot of trial and error, because the receiver’s components had to withstand recoil and the stresses from moving parts. Earlier version of Wilson’s AR-15 lower receiver broke after firing only a few bullets.

Rifles chambered for 7.62-millimeter are heavier — usually by about four pounds — and suffer from even more recoil than the AR-15.

It’s not clear if the 3D-printed lower for the CM901 will hold up after more than few seconds of rapid fire. All we see is a short clip.

“It has been tested, fired with little to no issues,” the group stated.

In any case, advances in technology hold the promise of making durable, reliable parts for 3D-printed guns. That means more powerful guns … that last longer.

Recently, 3D-printing start-up MarkForged invented a printer called theMark One, which can make objects out of carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass and nylon.

Carbon fiber is a composite material made from threads of carbon bound by a plastic resin. It’s known for being tough and lightweight — and can replace metal in everything from aircraft to cricket bats.

Carbon fiber exists in the AR-15, but the composite is limited to the rifle’s hand guard and butt stock.

But MarkForged has claimed its carbon fiber has a greater strength-to-weight ratio than 6061 T-6 aluminum — which comprises standard AR-15 and CM901 lower receivers.

Which sounds perfect for making guns. Buy a printer, load it with carbon fiber, input a file with the specifications for a lower receiver, press a button … and wait.

Wilson said he ordered a MarkOne at the introductory price of $8,000, but the company told him earlier in March that his order would not be honored. MarkForged’s terms of agreement forbid customers from using its printers to make guns, the company claimed.

That was not actually true, but Defense Distributed was out a printer all the same. Wilson promptly went ahead and posted a video on YouTube offering a $15,000 reward to anyone who could send him a MarkOne. Four days later, the gunsmiths sent a cryptic tweet — “We have it.”

Defense Distributed has been quiet since, no doubt busy experimenting with guns made out of carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber might be the answer to many a 3D gunsmith’s prayers, but it still doesn’t mean you can print an entire rifle with it. For one, high-caliber barrels must be metal, or they’ll break.

At least one company advertises carbon fiber barrels, but a closer look reveals they’re simply steel barrels reinforced with carbon fiber.

Still, the technical challenges are only part of the point.

Desktop weaponeers focus on printing lower receivers — because they’re subject to federal regulations. You can’t make a working gun without a lower receiver — and they usually come with a serial number stamped on them.

As far as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is concerned, a gun’s lower receiver is the gun. Everything else, including the barrel, you can buy over the counter with no questions asked.

But private citizens in the United States have the right to make their own firearms — and lower receivers — without any oversight from the federal government.

It’s a complicated process and takes metal-drilling machine tools. A 3D printer simplifies this process, and could allow citizens to build their own rifles without registering them, going through background checks or waiting periods.

We don’t know if Defense Distributed will succeed in printing a carbon fiber lower receiver. But at some point, rapid advances in 3D-printing technology ensure that someone will.

by Kyle Mizokami | 

3D printed gun as a form of protest

Protesters in Texas Took to the Streets Armed with a 3D Printer in A Bid to Stir Things Up

photo by come and take it texas

It’s a controversial issue, and activists are using a tool which sprung from the 3D printed gun movement to draw attention to their stance on gun rights.

A group of gun rights activists gathered outside the Texas State Capitol in Austin yesterday intent on pushing lawmakers to relax open-carry gun laws, and the “featured attraction” was a CNC device which uses 3D printed parts, the Ghost Gunner.  With this device the activists proceeded to ‘3D print’ a gun right in front of the Capitol building.

The gathering was organized by Come And Take It Texas, or CATI, and the groupsays it’s “been the front line for gun rights since their inception two years ago.” The bill was filed by state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, and he says BH 195 is aimed at eliminating the state’s handgun licensing requirements.


As odd as it may seem given the state’s reputation, Texas is one of only six US states where citizens are not allowed to openly carry handguns.

As for the Ghost Gunner, it’s made by Defense Distributed, the Austincompany famous, or infamous depending on your position on the matter, for 3D printing the Liberator plastic gun. The Ghost Gunner is a small CNC device capable of machining a receiver for the AR-15.

A large share of the controversy began with the 3D printing of the Liberator, and the desktop CNC Ghost Gunner is a direct descendant of that effort by Defense Distributed.

“Anybody can purchase one of these to print firearms in their own homes,” Murdoch Pizgatti, president of CATI, told NBC News.


The Ghost Gunner uses an aluminum block that’s referred to as “80 percent lower” – a piece which can be purchased for less than $100 – to fabricate a working receiver in around 15 minutes. Defense Distributed calls the Ghost Gunner project “a non-profit, open source hardware effort.” They add that the Ghost Gunner schematics and design files will be published into the public domain.

The device uses 3D printable jigs to hold the receiver part in place as milling steps are completed. When milling an 80% AR-15 lower receiver, the company says two jig pieces are required to secure the lower in place as the ‘trigger pocket’ is milled, and two more jig pieces are used to drill the trigger pin holes.

Defense Distributed says that, in general, using their device to manufacture semi-automatic firearms like the AR-15 lower receivers is legal for private individuals. They add that some states and municipalities restrict either the manufacture of certain firearms, or more recently, the personal manufacture of a firearm with a 3D printer or CNC machine.

As for federal laws, they prohibit the manufacture of firearms for future sale without a Federal Firearms License. According to the ATF, allowing others the use personal CNC equipment may constitute manufacturing, so Defense Distributed tells Ghost Gunner owners to avoid printing firearms for other individuals.

Let’s hear your thoughts on what, if anything, should be done by authorities to make sure these weapons do not fall in the hands of crazed maniacs. Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Guns Add to Open Carry Debate in Texas thread on


by  | JANUARY 14, 2015

3D printed halo guns!

Lucky Winners at the UGC Received Incredibly Detailed 3D Printed Halo Guns as Prizes, Including a Sniper Rifle Measuring in at 5.3 Feet in Length!


One area in which 3D printing has really excelled as of late is in the reproduction of weapons and props from popular video games. For decades, gamers have been trying to reproduce these often intricate virtual pieces in the actual physical world. The ability to turn an item within a game into a 3D model and then fabricate a near-exact replica of that item on a 3D printer has certainly taken things up a notch or two.

If you are a video game enthusiast, then it’s likely you have either played in, watched, or at least know someone who has participated in some sort of gaming tournament. Some people actually make careers out of their incredible gaming skills. One company called Ultimate Gaming Championship (UGC) caters to these types of people. Whether you want to show off your skills, or make perhaps thousands of dollars, UGC hosts tournaments and leagues in which gamers can meetup, socialize, and have a blast.


Earlier this month, UGC hosted a tournament in St. Louis, MO where gamers came together to compete for $20,000 in prizes. Yes, I said $20,000! The occasion for such a large giveaway? November marked the 10th anniversary of the Halo 2 launch, the first-person shooter video game which was developed by Bungie Studios and released in 2004. I think it’s fair to say that those reading this article have at least heard of the game before.

The event, which drew in over 500 gamers worldwide, and took place over a three day period, from January 2-4, had an extra special component to it this time. Owner and Founder of UGC, Matt Jackson, turned to 3D printing as a way to add to the excitement and energy at the venue.

“I developed and 3D printed several weapons from the game Halo to co-align with the theme of our last event which was a Halo 2 Anniversary 4v4 $20K payout tourney,” explained Jackson to “I thought this was an interesting way to bridge the exposure of 3D printing game props to competitive video gaming.”


Jackson printed out a total of three weapons from the game, which included the standard M6 Hand Gun, a gold MVP Award M6 Hand Gun, and the grandaddy of them all, a Halo 4 Sniper Rifle, which measured a staggering 5.3 feet in length. The weapons were all a big hit, showing the capabilities that 3D printing has, and how those capabilities can be integrated into the gaming space, allowing for the virtual world to merge with that of the physical.

In the end, there was only one Grand Prize winning team, DenialEsports, but in actuality everyone was a winner, as they all seemed to have a blast, as 3D printing inched its way a bit closer to the mainstream. Check out some additional photographs that Matt Jackson was kind enough to share with us below, as well as a video showing the final moments of the tournament. Lets hear your thoughts on yet another amazing use for 3D printing. Discuss in the Ultimate Gaming Championship forum thread on




by  | JANUARY 11, 2015