Mills and lathe mill combos.
I think I need a lathe/mill combo. How good are they? I am a custom grip maker for single action Colts and clones, (outlawgrips.com). A problem you run into, when making high end grips that will cost more than the gun, is the frame of the gun and the trigger guard often need machining to fit on eachother perfectly. The wood to metal fit at the the top of the backstrap and the back of the trigger guard has to be flawless. The frame of the guns are hardened but the grip frames/trigger guards are not. I commonly have to file 1/1000th to a 1/16th off the trigger guard where it aligns with the frame to match them up. This has to be done absolutely perfect. It is very time consuming and tedious to do this by hand. I have been looking at $1500 mills Enco & Grizzly and combo lathe mills by Smithy, Enco and Grizzly. I'm pretty sure I will be using a custom made diamond end mill(5/16 diameter)to grind rather than cut. My area to remove is between 1/1000th 1/16th deep by 1/4 inch wide by 3/8 long. My question(s) is this, 1.Are the lathe mill combos a compramise of both machines and not really worth the money. 2. Is the milling head on a combo machine capable of precise work under side load. 3. Do you think a quality cross sliding table, a milling vise and a high quality drill press could be this precise? I don't want to invest $350.00 in #3 ( I have the drill press)and then find out it is not accurate enough. I also don't want to invest $1500 and find out this was serious over kill.
4. Maybe there is a gunsmith out there who will share their methods for this process. Three of the best in the country I have contacted,cosider this coveted information and not to be shared. Thanks, Joe Perkins