Update: AR180S Pistol Grip

I’ve had lots of folks contact me about buying these when they are available. I don’t think I could sell them fully finished for enough to pay for my time but I think I would have no problem selling them in the raw, printed state.

Anyone willing to sand and polish their own?

Heading for Salt Lake for work so let me see what I have into these for design and materials and I’ll see if I can put a price on them.

AR180S Pistol Grip Prototype

Been wanting a better pistol grip to use on my Nodak NDS-18S lowers pretty much since they came out.

I used an ArmaLite grip but only bought a couple before they stopped selling them. (Sound familiar?) It also didn’t have the right shape.

Since I have been working with Fusion 360 I have been thinking of all kinds of things to design. Why not a better looking pistol grip.

I’ve still got a few kinks to iron out then I can make a more detailed print. I’m confident it would be a functional part when I am done and will certainly put it through it’s paces. It is very comfortable in the hand.

I’m diggin’ it. Anyone else?

SAR-80 Kit Build – Finished?

The SAR-80 kit build is alive and well.

Installing the rear sight was really straight forward. Eyeball it in the center then weld it from the inside through previously drilled holes. I tried measuring it to center it but my less than ideal bends made that pretty much useless.

A shot of primer on the bare metal parts and she is ready for a trip to the range.

As you can see in the video it is pretty ugly. I cleaned some of that up with a belt sander then tried my hand at the crinkle paint to duplicate the original finish.

I have since added a binary trigger to it and I hope to have some fun video of the next range trip.

Everyone who uses this gun at the range just falls in love with it including my self.

SAR-80 Kit Build – Receiver

My first foray into building my SAR-80 receiver was to reweld the upper back together. Using a gas torch and being completely out of practice led to less than stellar results.

I know it’s possible as Henderson Defense built one as a post sample and got it running well. Although they mentioned having to take the BFH to it to straighten out the warping.

I decided to start from sratch and ordered some 18ga 1008 sheet steel off of Amazon.

I tried to bend it in a cheap harbor freight brake and it flexed too much. I resorted to milling a piece of 6061 aluminum to fit inside then beat the corners into a more square-ish shape. Felt like Boris building an AK from a Shovel.

I cut up some pieces to weld inside to guide the cam pin and to retain the charging handle. The combination of my crappy AC flux core welder and the this sheet steel led to me needing to reweld these multiple times. I now call this one my “Ugly Build”.

At this point it still needs the rear sight welded on and the charging handle spacer piece rewelded.

More on that next time.


SAR-80 Kit Build – Barrel

The SAR-80 kits are at their new homes (except for Chuck’s, I am holding it hostage so he will have to come visit Tucson) and I can’t believe how similar they are to AR-180’s.

Most of the discussion about the builds is happening over at the new builders forum, Armorer’s Alliance. There are two threads going right now here and here.

Mine will be documented here as well.

First we start with the barrel. Since barrels can no longer be imported these barrels were cut into pieces with a chop saw. Did I mention that these were brand new guns before they were demilled for importation. What a shame. The old barrel pieces need to be removed so that new barrel dimensions can be put together and a new barrel made. The barrel stub can be removed in a number of ways and since I have the tooling I chose to hold the stub in vice blocks and use a reaction wrench to separate the trunion from the barrel.

Once I got the trunion off I discovered that it is different from the 180.

Next to get an idea of the dimensions of the original barrel I set it up next to an original 180 barrel. The similarities were striking. I guess I should not have been surprised since this gun was originally designed by Sterling and was known as the Sterling Automatic Rifle. The chamber end matches exactly and the dimension to the front sight base boss looks very close as well.

Lets see if the 180 barrel fits in the trunion. Yep it sure does.

Lets see if the length to the front sight base looks close. Yep that works too. If fact everything lines up with this original 180 barrel. Know we can put together a set of prints using some of the measurements from the 180 barrel and the remaining SAR-80 barrel pieces.


I have ordered a barrel from numrich for the 180B and plan to modify that to fit this gun rather than use this original 180 barrel.

Next up, what the heck are we going to do with the upper? Weld? New from scratch? Join the discussion at the Armorer’s Alliance and lets work it out together.