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  • #16
    My advise to the machine tool noob is to buy new import if the budget will stretch.

    A used machine tool is tricky for a noob to survey. A battered rusty machine may seem utterly shot but may in fact be relatively unworn. A clean detailed machine may glisten but be full of hidden defects. There are many permutations of this as there are used machines. An advisor may be worse than no advisor at all if his enthusiasm for a particular make or "old American iorn" lures you into an unwise decision.

    I don't know the machining requirements of a serious gun smith but I would think a 13" lathe and a turret mill would be minimum. If tooled properly they can make any small arms to other than a rifled bore.

    I would get a Smithy only if you had a locked in sale for it soon as you discover the drustrations of a 3 in 1 machine and determine to up-grade: another reason to start with separate equiment.

    Shop wisely. You can get good bang for the buck but ony if you devote a month or two informing yourself on what's available, refine your requirements, project future requirements, etc. A turn/mill machining capability costs about as much as a good used car but it will last you the rest of your life and depreciates very little. If your ambitions lead you in the direction of profit seeking the machine tools will over time pay for themselves. Owning a good car ends with many miles under the wheels, no profit, and a ten your oold vehicle fast-tracked to the jumk yard.

    YMMV according to your skills ad a scrounger/researcher. I suggest you speds some time with the Grizzly and Enco catalogs perusing theor machine tool offerings. Shop your local resources. Strike upo acqwuaintance with local small shops and more advanced home operations. This will gove you context and vocabulary. You need diversity of outlook to make good decisions and forgive me but most gubsmiths I've known tend to be insular.
    Last edited by Forrest Addy; 05-21-2012, 03:16 PM.

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    • #17
      Do more research

      I'm not a machinist and don't claim to be one. My advise it to do more research on available equipment. I like others would advise against a combo machine. You would wind up out growing it pretty quickly.

      My experience, I started looked on craiglist and ebay classifieds to see what was available in my area and what prices were like. There are some bargains to be found if you'll do your homework. I looked for several months and almost bought 3 other lathes. One I had first option on the other 2 were sold first day they listed on Craigslist. I finally found a very lightly used Taiwan mfg 14X40 for $700 and a Highpoint pistol I paid $200 for. I couldn't buy the tooling that came with it for that. It has no visible wear on it anywhere that I've been able to find.

      Good luck,
      Ken

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      • #18
        Originally posted by flylo
        I'd advise against a combo & buy a 13x40 lathe & a good used bridgeport mill. I'd look for quality used American machines but Grizzly makes a "gunsmith" lathe. You can start with anything & upgrade but if you can get what you need now it makes it much easier.
        OK, thanks . . . I appreciate the advice from everyone.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Wirecutter
          There's a "crest" up at the top of the page. A logo type of thing. The FBI has one, too. On the FBI crest, there's a banner across it that says "Fidelity Integrity Bravery". Look for something like that on the Weapons Guild page. The motto is right there on the crest, and I just used it to register.

          -M
          BUILDERS HELP BUILDER is what I tried, upper case, lower case, mixed .

          Duh - Builders helping builders.

          OK, I think I registered.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Forrest Addy
            My advise to the machine tool noob is to buy new import if the budget will stretch.

            A used machine tool is tricky for a noob to survey. A battered rusty machine may seem utterly shot but may in fact be relatively unworn. A clean detailed machine may glisten but be full of hidden defects. There are many permutations of this as there are used machines. An advisor may be worse than no advisor at all if his enthusiasm for a particular make or "old American iorn" lures you into an unwise decision.

            I don't know the machining requirements of a serious gun smith but I would think a 13" lathe and a turret mill would be minimum. If tooled properly they can make any small arms to other than a rifled bore.

            I would get a Smithy only if you had a locked in sale for it soon as you discover the drustrations of a 3 in 1 machine and determine to up-grade: another reason to start with separate equiment.

            Shop wisely. You can get good bang for the buck but ony if you devote a month or two informing yourself on what's available, refine your requirements, project future requirements, etc. A turn/mill machining capability costs about as much as a good used car but it will last you the rest of your life and depreciates very little. If your ambitions lead you in the direction of profit seeking the machine tools will over time pay for themselves. Owning a good car ends with many miles under the wheels, no profit, and a ten your oold vehicle fast-tracked to the jumk yard.

            YMMV according to your skills ad a scrounger/researcher. I suggest you speds some time with the Grizzly and Enco catalogs perusing theor machine tool offerings. Shop your local resources. Strike upo acqwuaintance with local small shops and more advanced home operations. This will gove you context and vocabulary. You need diversity of outlook to make good decisions and forgive me but most gubsmiths I've known tend to be insular.
            Yes - that is some good advice. Thanks. I have a buddy that is a machinist. How good he is, I don't know.

            I though a guy I knew was a woodworker until he had no idea what a board foot was . . . looks like I'll need a shipping container to use as a machine shop.

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            • #21
              OK, let me take another approach.

              Mill & lathe, just a ballpark figure. Used, what would you expect to spend to get into the game?

              I know it varies a ton, just toss out your best guess.

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              • #22
                4 - 5 thousand, plus tooling. (Wild guess...)

                If you just want to "tinker" a 3-in-one machine will suffice. But if you want to do "serious" AR work on a semi-regular basis, a dedicated lathe and mill are the way to go. Especially if you have any plans of moving to raw forgings in the future.

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                • #23
                  Actually that is job #1, raw - I mean 80% lower to 100%.

                  Job #2 - cut/thread barrels

                  Job #3 - make some lightweight FF railed hand guards.

                  This is starting to sound expensive . . . like all my hobbies

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Maryland_Shooter

                    This is starting to sound expensive . . . like all my hobbies
                    Yes, it is. VERY expensive. $150 for a stripped lower isn't looking so bad now, is it?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Highpower
                      Yes, it is. VERY expensive. $150 for a stripped lower isn't looking so bad now, is it?
                      Last I bought were $89, Spikes with Calico Jack. New Frontier Armory and Plumb Crazy have the polymer ones at $100 complete.

                      The catch is: paperwork. Build your own, no paperwork. Get unique IF you want to SBR on and add your own "serial number." Use any type of anodizing, coatings, whatever . . . and of course the simple fact you built it with your own hands.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Maryland_Shooter
                        OK, let me take another approach.

                        Mill & lathe, just a ballpark figure. Used, what would you expect to spend to get into the game?

                        I know it varies a ton, just toss out your best guess.
                        I see lots of used BP mills in my area for $1500-2000, don't know their condition though. Used 14"+ lathe with tooling maybe the same price if you shop around for a while. You might do better if you look for a while.

                        Ken

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