It is still hardly a pass to craft weapon smithing in Wildstar for free member, but there still have some tips to get more weapon smithing.
1) Some recipes are money losers, e.g. L 16 CAMs (a type of weapon mod) use a Sapphire Core (20.60) and a Bonding Interface (11.94), but sell for only 21.70.
2) To earn credits for rarer recipes, you'll want to be completing various assigned crafting orders, which cost you money to make but earn nothing since you can't vendor them. Completion doesn't pay much (if any) cash.
3) Some progress branches in the weapon tech trees require the salvaging of multiple weapons to progress, so you will want to salvage some or most spare crafted / looted weapons & thus have to feed money into the system.
4) There's no guarantee the weapon cost won't skyrocket beyond their value once you switch to higher tier components, like tier 2 fluxes. The inbalance between crafts shows that they didn't exactly think this through that carefully. Although tier -2 (Sapphire Core) based weapons are still money-makers if vendored.
5) Until/if they get around to balancing the economics between various crafting trades, word will get around and there will be many weaponsmiths and few tailors. Which means your stuff won't be worth much in auctions. Tailors may on the other hand be able to charge much more.
At level 16, I was able to keep my money supply roughly even while weaponsmithing through all my ore. But I wasn't earning any money either (I haven't try to auction anything), since the above factors do eat up some of your gold. And as you said earlier, money supply appears exceedingly tight, I have < 5 gold, having bought almost nothing. New class skills now cost > 1g each, it costs 5 gold to buy the first bank slot upgrade, > 10g for a basic mount, 1+ gold apiece for a week's worth of housing plot upgrades, etc.
Last, I didn't realize techs can craft cores, that's pretty attractive.