Interview with RustyShackleford777

The Art of Rant, The Rant of Art

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one around here that’s been labeled “long-winded.” Famed for his high-quality designs and now for being the longest interview I’ve ever completed, RustyShackleford777 is an unmistakable personality in our community. I recently got the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about being a developer and share his vision for the community’s future:

rusty shackleford 777

Who are you and what do you do?

“I am RustyShackleford777 and I do dev work with AWCY?

are we cool yet awcy
rusty shackleford 777

How did you get into GunCAD?

“I printed the Liberator when it first came out, but as far as doing dev work I’ve always been a tinkerer with things. Back in the day before the Ender 3, before PLA got really good, I did some parts and accessories and stuff: a handguard for an AR, the Tacti-Coozy and other random things. Nothing load-bearing or high-consequence, you could say, like the stuff I’m working on today.”

What kind of builds do you have the most fun working on?

“I like the DIY stuff. Maybe because it feels more inexpensive. You build an AR that’s an 80%er and you spend—y’know, if you’re making something good—you spend some money on the lower, you spend some money on the parts kit, you spend some money on an upper. If you’re building it or you’re buying it, it’s easy to get $600 to $1000 wrapped up in something really, really quickly. Even a Glock, building a printed Glock, that’s still $300 because you have to buy the slide, the barrel, the lower parts kit, you can get $500 wrapped up in the build if you want something nice.”

What sort of builds challenge you?

“Getting into delay systems or gas systems on printed stuff. Stuff that works well when you have machined components. The one big thing that I think we have yet to figure out is heat mitigation. I know that there’s a lot of good stuff out there with Nylon and high temp stuff, but even then, at the end of the day it’s still plastic. If you get stuff hot enough it will bend and flex and move and whatnot. To me, there’s still some part of stuff that needs to be metal or some metallic material to some degree. We saw it in Hoffman’s Orca; he wound up chasing down some ceramic bushings to fit around the barrels to keep everything that got hot away from the printed parts. And that’s just, y’know—you can’t beat physics.”

What inspires your designs?

“German Space Magic. The STG-44, aside from maybe the Thompson, is probably one of the coolest WWII guns.”

german space magic
stg 44

How would you describe GunCAD as a community?

“I think everybody in the community has a goal, or a common theme: “2A is good. 2A is something that we need.” But I think there are also a lot of egos in the community, on all sides. Everybody’s got their own batch of characters, I guess.”

Is there anything in the community that drives you up the wall?

“The only thing I don’t like about it, I guess, is the infighting that goes on. The pissing and moaning and seeing who has a bigger dick and whatnot that happens all the time. Y’know, to me, there’s a little bit of that stuff that should happen, but it shouldn’t be to the point of—y’know, we all have a common enemy, which is usually the federal government. The thing that upsets me sometimes is when I see people who lose sight of that and start throwing people under the bus.”

Is there anyone you look up to in the community?

DannyMeatball. When I first started—y’know, he’s a younger guy than I am—I felt like I was bugging him constantly, asking him questions about how to build this, how to do that, and that was even before I was in the beta room stuff. It was just chatting back and forth, and subconsciously I’m like, “Oh shit, I’m annoying the shit out of this guy, he’s gonna tell me to pound sand here soon,” and he never did. It evolved into a great friendship out of that whole deal. Danny’s a great dude.

BitPlumb is another one of those. I drove halfway across the country with him to go to Midwest Meetup and hang out with everybody. He’s a great dude, another one of those guys who’d give you the shirt off his back to help out or do whatever needs to be done.

Another one would be SwarmTech. He’ll nice you to death if you let him. We were gonna make him and PY2A have a “nice-off” at Midwest Meetup.”

danny meatball
bit plumb
swarm tech

Is there anything you see coming in the near future that you’re excited about?

Probably the next step for home manufacturing is gonna be ECM process or EDM process. Zurad [sic] was making Ender 3’s that you could do wire ECMing on; instead of feeding a filament it was feeding wire and you could actually cut parts and pieces off of steel plates. The hard part about it now is those machines, they’re kind of where 3D-printers were when they first came out; you’re talking $500k to $1M for a machine to be able to do that, but as it progresses it’s gonna start coming down in price. That’s just the way I see manufacturing, in general, going: instead of having conventional rotary machining, everything is gonna start switching over to this EDM process stuff.

What sort of advice would you give to a new developer, or someone trying to get in the community?

“Don’t ask about ‘switches’ right off the bat. Don’t just say ‘Yo, where the files at.’ 

It can be hard and intimidating to approach the community if you’re not a part of the 2A community, you don’t know anything, you’re very green—that can be very intimidating. I know, just from experience, I was self-conscious of that. I was always like, ‘I don’t want to be bugging these guys, I don’t want them to hate me.’ But there are some people who don’t have that filter. 

You can read through the comments of anybody’s post and there’s always two in there that are like, ‘Is this on the sea? Is this sailing? Where are the files at? Give me the files!’

Don’t be that guy, but be tactful about how you are that guy.”

What would you like to see more of in the community?

“I would like to see more ability to fabricate. Fabricating and machining things would be cool. There are a lot of people who are really good at printing, but it’s hit the point where we went from PLA to printing with ABS, and now the big thing is Nylon, but Nylon is only gonna get you so much. You can’t run a gas system through Nylon, you can’t get something that stands up to some sort of delay mechanism with Nylon.

It might not even be just milling or lathing something, it might be something entirely new. There’s guys out there that are pushing the boundaries—trying to make stuff affordable and off-the-shelf—and giving more capability to the community.”


“I feel like the people who are against any of this stuff, who are against 2A in the first place, how it’s pretty much become commonplace, it has them on their heels. They’re just trying to throw shit at the wall to see what sticks, and unfortunately, in the usual places, some of that stuff is sticking. A lot of those people interpret that as precedent. Look at New York, California, or Oregon. The amount of unconstitutional bullshit that’s going on, it’s in retaliation for pretty much where GunCAD is at.”

What do you believe the guiding principle or cause is for GunCAD?

“The flagship one would be the Second Amendment. Your right to bear arms and protect yourself from enemies both foreign and domestic. Essentially, fending off tyranny in your own country or from a foreign land, is the root of it all. America is the last bastion of freedom in the world, and if that falls, buckle up for some dark times.

The one thing, I think, that scares a lot of these people that are in charge is that it’s untraceable. They cannot enforce anything on it. If you wanted to, you can go to the boonies and build an arsenal, and there’s nothing that can stop you. With how good stuff is now, if you had a little bit of equipment, it wouldn’t be hard. You could make your own barrels, you could make your own stuff, there’s enough out there. There’s guys out on Twitter that are experimenting with making your own smokeless powder, making your own primer compounds.”

In your opinion, what’s the most impactful thing one can do to forward this cause?

“Make another Glock, with stippling on it. We’re just one more Glock away from the tipping point.

No, but like I said, if you’re not out on that bleeding edge of the sword, doing the dev work, the next best thing you can be doing is being involved with the process in some form. The beta testers are just as valuable as the devs.”

stippled glock

In your opinion, what are the biggest obstacles to this effort?

“The first one would be lawmakers. States, counties, whatever. Look at New York, they want to put background checks and make you register to buy a 3D printer. Good luck, it’s just 8020 aluminum, stepper motors, and belts and gears. Just like that, you could build your own printer out of a bunch of parts and nobody will ever know you have it. Just like those Voron kits. None of this stuff is enforceable. There’s always a means of getting this stuff, they’re not going to be able to regulate it at the State level. The only thing it does is just kill off business in your State. 

Look at Colorado. Magpul was based out of Colorado. When they implemented their mag ban, Magpul packed up their shit and left for Texas, and with them was how many millions of dollars in taxable revenue? But that’s a whole other thing, we’ll get the foil out for that next time.”

That’s All, Folks!

I want to thank RustyShackleford777 once again for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us and for letting us share his thoughts with all of you.

See y’all on the next one!

Written By

Kem Regik
Latest posts by Kem Regik (see all)
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