Today, we have not one, but three, Ghost Gunner updates for you. The first is from the website, and brief; the second is a longer, official one, from Cody R. Wilson of Defense Distributed. The third is our own, and it is unfortunately briefer, as we have received the unit but haven’t had time to put it into production. We had a post half-drafted with some complaints, but as Cody, if not exactly answering, does explain why we have those complaints, we thought we’d let him go first.
Here’s what went on the website on 15 November. It differs slightly from the longer email sent to owners, and includes more detail on the improved power supply.
The GG team spent the summer upgrading our machine and creating new business relationships. All Ghost Gunners will now ship with a 160w power supply and upgraded cutting tool, to take better advantage of our higher speed settings and address the latent power issues we’ve had time to observe with some machines in the field. These new machines make a distinctively different species of chip.
If you look at that picture (we changed the orientation 90º clockwise) you san just see the spindle working in the trigger pocket. The characteristic plastic 3D Printed hold-downs are one of the innovations in the Ghost Gunner technology. Before anyone asks, no, the GG is not configured to work with coolant or cutting fluid.
The GG and the software that comes with it works with milspec-dimensioned forged and some billet lowers (as you can see in the image, where a billet lower is in process). Back to the update:
In early October we celebrated shipping our last order from 2014, and we’ve been working to take hundreds of backers off our wait list since May.
I’ve thought for months now that we’d start selling GG through distributors, but there is a large appetite for the product from simple word of mouth, and we have committed to making another 250-350 units for Q1 of this year and still more if the demand is there. As well, we’ve made the decision to offer custom lower receivers for sale.
There’s often confusion about what lowers to use with our machine, even though we try to make consistent recommendations. So from now on, we’ll begin offering billet 7075 80% lowers that were vetted for use with the GG. We’ve got quite a few in stock now.
The other images on the web update are the same as the ones below in the email update.
Wilson’s GG Update
Verbatim as Received, only bold subheadings added for clarity’s sake.
We spent the summer months overcoming our banking and payments issues to forge strong relationships with many providers in our industry. As well, we’ve been able to keep maturing the Ghost Gunner itself after shipping over 700 and watching them in the field. All GG’s now ship with upgraded cutting tools and power supplies, as well as improved cutting and operating code.
After we celebrated taking care of all orders from 2014 to early January, we’ve been taking backers off of our wait list by the hundreds. Please check your spam folders since I know many of our wait list invitations have been lost and many of you have waited a long time for your chance to get your machine.
Before we get to still other news, I’m please to announce that we are now selling Ghost Gunner 80% lowers directly. For now, just 7075 billet lowers, but we’ll add forged lowers and the AR-10 as time goes on. Our lowers are specifically manufactured for use in our machine, to clear up all the confusion we’ve seen over the months about how to best use our jigs or just what is or isn’t a mil-spec piece.
Quite a few in the shop now.
What’s the Holdup With More Options?
As for further software options or jigs for sale, I’ll explain the delay this way. Our expectation when launching the product last year was that we’d be able to have a user’s forum where those who purchased the machine (and the public) would be able to quickly iterate on our work and drive some of the necessary improvements that would lead to the implementation of better cutting code and support for other kind of gun components or projects. What we got instead was a hostile US State Department literally threatening us and our attorneys over the suggestion of our forum in our user’s manual. To date our forum is not active because the federal government takes the insane and asinine position that a public Ghost Gunner forum would violate their invented definition of a defense technology export.
So since last year our team has been doing all the software and hardware development it can while we support and manufacture the machine. The money is often thing because of our ongoing lawsuit against the State Department; our fight to make sure that the Internet is recognized as the public domain and that all people have the right to speak about and share information related to their Second Amendment.
Updates to that case can currently be found on our parent website. And the last I’ll say about it is that we expect some success when we are before the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans in the month of March.
We’ll interject here to add the link to the court case files:
Looking forward, we’re committed to producing at least another 300 machines for Q1 of the upcoming year, and more as demand permits. We’ve been courted by distributors for months, but as word of mouth and public interest stays where it is, I don’t see the need to go there yet. I want to make the machine as cheaply and quickly as possible to show our commitment to the cause rather than to profit. To that end, we’re adding another shift at our shop and hoping to double our capacity by the end of the year.
For now, the only way to get in line for a Ghost Gunner remains to join our waitlist at ghostgunner.net.
I’ll announce improvements in software and fixturing as they become available.
A Final Thanks
Lastly, I’d like to thank Alan Gottlieb and the Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear arms for recognizing the work of Defense Distributed through our lawsuit and our Ghost Gunner project at the most recent Run Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix, AZ. I’m more proud of this recognition than anything else, and it really helps us keep going over here.
Thank you all for your patience and, as ever, if you have questions, need support, or have an address change or other important update, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we’re excited about the GhostGunner for its technological promise, Wilson is motivated by something completely different: the disruption he’s seeking is political, small-l libertarian, even small-a anarchistic. Well, maybe not completely different; different, perhaps, in degree. We doubt we would meet his standards for ideological purity. But the fates put us shoulder to shoulder in this pass, with the horde of national socialist persian government lawyers advancing, threatening to blot out the sun. So the least we can do is pick up the sword.
We believe you have the right to give your friend in a foreign country a copy of Stuart Otteson’s The Bolt Action Rifle, or to put the dimensions of a 7.62mm NATO chamber reamer on the web for any and all to see. The national socialist lawyers believe you do not. And all the judges come from their ranks, not ours.
Still think the Thermopylae reference was over the top?
Our GG Unit Update
Our Ghost Gunner was received finally in September and is sitting in a corner of the office, partially unpacked. It can’t go into the shop because that space is full of an airplane stabilator, half a fuselage, and two in-process wings at the moment. A bit hard to swing a cat in there. In adddition, we’re busy with work and life and a little blogging, so it’s been a bit hard to fit it in. (It’s not the only machine that is sitting idle. So is our 3D printer).
In order to ship it to us, they had to run our name and SSAN by a prohibited persons list maintained by the Department of State. As far as we know, this is simply an attempt by the national socialists at State to maintain a registry of these devices in hopes of receiving authority to confiscate them later.
The Ghost Gunner was very well packed and arrived complete. It is heavy and well made. There are a couple of parts that we’d have deburred a little more thoroughly and/or radiused a little more before sending them out for finishing, but that’s us… we don’t care for sharp edges on stuff. Most of the parts do not have this issue, and the overall impression is of a quality device from an experienced company, even though we know it is a debut product from a bunch of Texan revolutionaries. It doesn’t have Apple level industrial design, but neither does the stuff from post-Jobs Apple, whose business model seems to deliver twice the sanctimony but without the technical superiority and innovation that made even the old levels of Silicon Valley sanctimony bearable.
We’re pretty cynical about revolutions around here — they usually end with the survivors worse off, and damnably few survivors — but we bear Wilson’s revolutionary rhetoric, in part because we agree with him, and in part because the device promised technical superiority and innovation, and we’re suckers for that.
We don’t know if we got the improved cutting tools and power supply. We don’t know how to tell, or whether it makes a difference. We have asked DD, and if we get an answer we’ll append it here as an update, unless it merits a post of its own.
The documentation is still the 1.0 version that is available (mirabile dictu, seeing the way they’ve been attacked by partisan hacks at the Department of State) on the website, and it is somewhat inadequate if you want to really understand things, and develop new fixtures and new G-Code. So the machine is, at present, a bit of a black box for grinding out AR lowers, which is not what we want. (Although it’s a useful capability).
One thing we’d really like to have is the ability to engrave lowers with ATF-legal marks; this would let us mark our lowers for our retro collection and maybe open the door to doing some Form 1 SBRs in house. We can’t believe we’re the only ones looking at a GhostGunner and trying to figure this out. We’d have to fixture the lower differently, and two ways if we also want to engrave on the right side.
If anybody knows of a good g-code tutorial in pixel or print, kindly clue us in.
The lack of the planned forum really crimps the utility of the GhostGunner, and is part of why we haven’t set ours up and run it off yet. That is, of course, why the anti-gun politicians at the State Department have suppressed the forum to date.