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The Home Shop mentality... make vs drive and buy...

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  • The Home Shop mentality... make vs drive and buy...

    ... and a peek into the psyche of a home shop machinist's mind.... And perhaps the slightest bit off topic to boot.

    So I'm doing some "warranty work" on a replica 1851 black powder revolver for a club mate that bought it a couple of weeks ago. Longer version below. Short version is that it needs a new hand. He had come over to watch me make a previous new part the gun needed to learn more about it but can't make it out this time for at least a few more days...... But then he asks " Watching you make that trigger it seemed like a lot of work, and now you want to make another part? Can't you just buy the part it needs?".

    And this is where the Home Shop Machinist's thought process kicks in and I reply " Well, I'd still have to fit the new part. And it's a 45 minute drive each way. And it'll cost probably $15 to $20 for the part plus about $10 for gas. And in that same amount of time or less I can make the part for free from stuff I already have on hand".

    There's a pause from the other end and in a tone that sounds like he only half believes me he says he trusts me after watching me make the trigger. But I could tell he was shaking his head at the idea of "just making something" when there's places to buy such things.

    This isn't the first time I've done things like this. Just usually it isn't in front of witnesses or verbal admissions of guilt. Those without home shops just don't realize how much easier it is and less time it is to "just make something" rather than go drive all over Timbuktu looking for a place that has the item....Nor the cost for the part when we do find it and cost of the gas to get there and back.

    Seems like a no-brainer to me...... Which I'm pretty sure my friends that chuckle at such tales would agree with... that I've got no brain...

    So how 'bout you out there? Similar stories?

    _______

    So the longer version for those that might know what an 1851 is and what was going on.

    The timing was good, things were happening when and where they should. But the hammer was locking up too far back and down and the rear sight notch was lower than the back of the barrel. So as we filed down the front sight to try to work towards POI matching the POA the barrel was filling up most of the rear notch visually with precious little of the front sight peeking up over the "horizon".

    So clearly the hand was too short requiring the hammer to need to move too far back. The old hand was soft but cross peening it to make it longer wasn't enough. I managed to beat about an extra .015 or so out of it but needed another 20 thou or so. So I made one out of some O1 ground stock and cut off the end of a drill for the proper size pin. Drilled undersize and press fitted together with some Loctite 680. The hand is fitted now and the cylinder is going into lockup with the hammer's nose high enough now that we've got a better sight picture. So now I just need to shorten the trigger's sear by a little to achieve hammer cock just a whiff before the pressure point of cylinder lockup... and install a new taller front sight since we likely filed off too much before due to the low rear notch condition...
    Chilliwack BC, Canada

  • #2
    I often make even super cheap parts for those reasons. I've been known to make a nut or a bolt so I can finish my project right now instead of driving to the store or worse waiting until Monday to drive to the store.
    *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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    • #3
      I figure it's practice for SHTF / TEOTWAWKI. And a trip to town burns up $3.75 in gas.

      Comment


      • #4
        It's the main motivation for making stuff. I do enjoy the challenge of making or repairing a part that ordinarily you could not fix or buy, but sometimes I make a part that can be cheaply bought just because...
        Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

        Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
        Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
        Monarch 10EE 1942

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        • #5
          I guess for me it's 6 of 1 or 1/2 doz of the other. I am still a working stiff and work in the city. So I have quick access to parts that I can pick up on the way to and from work. If I need something immediately, I will just make it if I have stock that's pretty close to size. Otherwise, I reserve most machine time to parts that I cannot find or are custom design.

          I suppose this mind-set will change after I retire. Then I will have less motivation to go out to get parts. But for now my free shop-time comes at a premium. So if I can grab parts on the way it makes sense. The only drawback is buying a part and finding out the quality is too poor. Then I loose twice and have to make it anyway. But that is usually rare.

          Best Regards,
          Bob

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rjs44032 View Post
            I guess for me it's 6 of 1 or 1/2 doz of the other. I am still a working stiff and work in the city. So I have quick access to parts that I can pick up on the way to and from work. If I need something immediately, I will just make it if I have stock that's pretty close to size. Otherwise, I reserve most machine time to parts that I cannot find or are custom design.

            I suppose this mind-set will change after I retire. Then I will have less motivation to go out to get parts. But for now my free shop-time comes at a premium. So if I can grab parts on the way it makes sense. The only drawback is buying a part and finding out the quality is too poor. Then I loose twice and have to make it anyway. But that is usually rare.

            Best Regards,
            Bob
            Yeah, I did it that way too when I was working. But in my retirement I've also got a pretty good supplier for hardware close by. So while I've done more than a few special screws for the firearms the normal run of the mill screws and nuts I'll typically just wait for tomorrow when I often need some other things anyway... like food.... Always seems like a waste of a trip if I go food shopping and have no reason to buy anything for the shop... .

            So clearly I'm not alone. And do you guys get the same shaking heads and "why didn't you just go and buy that part?" reaction?
            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BCRider View Post
              ...

              So I'm doing some "warranty work" on a replica 1851 black powder revolver for a club mate that bought it a couple of weeks ago. Longer version below. Short version is that it needs a new hand.
              ...

              So clearly the hand was too short requiring the hammer to need to move too far back. The old hand was soft but .....
              The hand is fitted now and ...
              OK BC, what is this "hand" thingie? Are you talking about a hand grip?
              Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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              • #8
                Hi,

                Hopefully someone has a photo of a hand for a revolver. But, it basically a lever that indexes the cylinder to the next chamber. This happens when you bring the hammer to full cock. It's a fussy little piece to get just right. Too long, the chamber moves past the barrel.To short and it doesn't quite make it to line up with the barrel. This causes "shaving" of the bullet during firing which leads to spitting lead fragments to the sides of the gun.
                If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

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                • #9
                  Ok, Thanks Dalee100. I get the picture now. Didn't know it had a name.
                  I've got a Ruger Blackhawk somewhere around here; I'll check it out.

                  (added) Actually I would've figured it had a name; I just didn't know what that name was.
                  lynnl
                  Senior Member
                  Last edited by lynnl; 03-11-2019, 04:43 PM.
                  Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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                  • #10
                    living in one of the most dysfunctional traffic environments in NA, the question is more "make it" or go to "amazon.ca".
                    in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                    • #11
                      Tool block for quick change post is a prime example. I just helped a friend with making some for his lathe. Since I have a full size mill I agreed
                      to help him out.

                      What we did is he found a piece of stock suitable to machine the blocks out of, the I machined one side true with the dovetail as a reference. Then sawed them into rough size, then he finished machining the tool blocks to my dovetail side as an reference.

                      He ended up with 17 blocks, for what he paid for the material he would have only gotten 8 or 9 tool blocks. So with some effort he gained 8 blocks. That really helped him I two ways. Saves some money, second helped him with gaining experience


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                      • #12
                        I have to be careful when my friends ask me to fix something- the knee-jerk reaction when they see what I've made to fix it is to throw their head back and laugh. Not mockingly, but in awe that they don't have to go find the part now. I have to make sure the area is clear so they don't bang their head on something or crash into some of my junk.

                        But yeah, I'm in the crowd that will go buy or scrounge up some materials to make something that I could have bought for less than the materials cost. But then I've got materials for the next time, right?
                        I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                        • #13
                          I only make what I can't get cheaply, and if it can be 3d printed, and the material is acceptable for the application, I'll 3d print it. Anything I make in the shop of utmost quality is for my own enjoyment.

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                          • #14
                            I do both. When I was in business, the question of build VS buy came up often. As with most things, ROI (return on investment) was the main factor. Since I was mostly in the software business it was not always easy to determine which decision would have the best ROI.

                            In my hobby, I will most often buy what I need if the raw materials cost more than the price of the finished product. The exception is those cases where I already have stock on hand for the part and don't want to wait. It's a hassle to run to the store looking for a thin 7.5 inch long phillips #2 screwdriver to get at a buried screw when I can weld a tip to a suitable rod and be off and running.

                            I've made an amazing number of things from Delrin, from chair foot pads to bushings to various spacers and odd parts. In some cases I have saved myself from buying a $75 part from toyota when a plastic part broke.

                            My most often build instead of buy is bolts. I have a stock of all-thread and nuts so I can make my own screws and bolts easily.

                            Dan
                            danlb
                            Senior Member
                            Last edited by danlb; 03-12-2019, 02:59 AM.
                            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                            Location: SF East Bay.

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                            • #15
                              Hi,

                              I'm in the same school as Dan. I've had it pounded into me that buy vs make depends on not only how much time I have to fool around, but also what else could I be doing to make money. Buying is often the clear winner. Even repair CNC machines, if it was going to take me more than a couple hours, I was better off paying someone else to do it while I kept cranking out products.

                              These days, I seem to be getting over that attitude and find myself not worrying about time vs costs vs productivity. So I'm more likely to make something because I can.
                              If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

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