Ghost Gunner

This is the October Surprise they told us about.

Via email from Defense Distributed:

Today, Defense Distributed unveils project Ghost Gunner.

Ghost Gunner is an open source CNC mill developed to enable the common man to more easily and privately manufacture critical gun components.

More information can be seen today at Wired and at

Thank you


16 thoughts on “Ghost Gunner

  1. Awesome concept! You gettin’ one? I’d like to know how well it works. Did I see the decimal in the right place? I thought I saw a one thousand dollar (999.00) price.

    • I have no plans to get one at this time. I’m investing time and money in a machine to make Boomerite.

      I saw that price someplace as well.

  2. Do it for the children.

    I’m so old school I have a NC machine hooked up to a DOS computer. Not sure it even works anymore. These new CNC machines benefit more from the software advances than anything else. Open Loop (I assume that’s still a relevant term) machines could even use a digitizer to scan an object instead of programming it from scratch. With mills, it’s usually a question of speed vs cost. How fast do you want to make that lower?
    At $1000 I figure you’d have to make 11 lowers to break even, assuming you have the PC already.

    • This is less about the cost and more about making guns that aren’t serialized. I suspect a lot of people that buy these don’t care about breaking even vs buying completed lowers.

  3. Saw this on TTAG this morning – I love it! I particularly love the somewhat shady, sinister music and noire theme of the ad – sort of like the tinkly musical background for “The Others.”

    As far as the tooling? <$1000 for desktop CNC in a box seems pretty reasonable. Just the fact that it's bound to tweak a bunch of control-freak congressmen is well worth the price. Now – given the available power to a box that small, any machining operation is likely to be a time-consuming process.

    Guys on TTAG were asking about building "0%" lowers – from a blank block of aluminum. Sure – you could do that, but it'll likely take many days to turn one out. But again, I have a pretty nice mill and lathe (non-CNC) and I wouldn't want to even try to build a lower from a block of 7075.

    • Arne Boberg said he built the first prototype XR-9 on a Bridgeport manual mill. He’s clearly a WAY better machinist than I am. The mind boggles. (He did say it took a long time; forgot the number but it probably was over a month.)

    • given the available power to a box that small, any machining operation is likely to be a time-consuming process.

      Given the lubrication-free nature of the Ghost Gunner, that’s a given–they may well be operating on the edge of the “contains the heat in the chip load” curve.

      • Not necessarily. Carbide tools are frequently run dry. Certainly they can be run dry at small feed and depth of cut. Cutting fluids are essential if you want to machine fast, but you can only do that on large rigid machines.
        I just refreshed my memory on Sherline: they offer a small CNC mill for around $2500. By the way, Sherline machines are a good example of the sort of machine you run dry. It has no coolant provision and adding one would be messy because there is no coolant pan.
        I use coolant on my large lathe less than half the time; I just don’t usually push it so it is more a question of taste whether to bother with it or not.
        Oh yes, some materials are always cut dry; cast iron is an example.

        • Certainly they can be run dry at small feed and depth of cut. Cutting fluids are essential if you want to machine fast

          Aren’t we saying the same thing here?

          • Yes, indeed we are. I should have read your comment more carefully. Sorry.

  4. Interesting. I could see a bunch of guys getting together to purchase one. Just like the jig plates that would make the rounds a decade ago, this would rotate amidst the group until everybody had a lifetime supply (+1) of lowers.

    I’ll watch the vid later when the kids are asleep, but did they mention the machine time to finish a lower?

    • Sharing a ghost Gunner would bring up interesting legal questions. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but you can’t sell a non-serialized weapon. Any gun made with this CNC machine would be for personal use only. You couldn’t give one of these to a friend, could you? So how would a shared purchase work?

      • How would it work? I’m a joint owner of the machine. I bring in my 80% receiver, place it in the machine, download the milling program, and press the start button.

        Where’s the problem?

  5. I’d buy one all for myself; there’s any number of things I could build on it, it sounds like.

    BUT I’d want to pay for it with untraceable cash…

    • can I get CAM files for all the parts in an M1A? (Yeah, there’s all the getting-the-proper-material, and heat-treating etc trivialities…. but still….)

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