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View Full Version : Hm, homemade mag bodies.


sierratangofoxtrotunion
02-24-2006, 5:34 PM
Saw this over on arfcom. It got a cool reception there, but I think sometimes it's a bit different group around this place.

from: http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=8&f=11&t=224698

Do you think anybody would be interested in a 2-part mold to make AR mag bodies and followers out of plastic resin?

Here's how it would work:

You've got two halves of a mold. They're made of hardwood or aluminum or something. You give it a spray with "Pam" cooking spray (or whatever it turns out works best) as a mold release. In a paper cup you stir up some plastic resin with a popsicle stick, and pour it into one half of the mold. Sandwich the two together, a little resin oozes out the sides, you clamp it together and hold it for a couple hours as the resin hardens. After lunch, you pry the mold open with a screwdriver and trim off a couple little bits of plastic on the edges and you've got two halves plus a follower for an AR mag, that you then glue together just like your kid's plastic b-52 model airplane he bought at the grocery store. Depending on which state you live in, you could then use it as a repair part for another mag you already have, or you could come up with a spring & floorplate and you've got yourself a mag.

Let's also say these molds were either given free to anybody who wanted them, or for just a couple bucks to cover costs.

I'm sure it's at least a gray area in CA, if not frowned upon or worse, but there's a lot of other states in the Union too. Of course nobody would want the user to do something illegal.

Is it:
cool?
not worth the effort?

glen avon
02-24-2006, 6:06 PM
well, while I appreciate very much the innovative spirit, the Israelis and the Canadians tried plastic mags, and all have gone back to aluminum for the M16. with the Al bodies so cheap, I don't know if homemade mag bodies would be worth the time.

HEUER
02-24-2006, 6:13 PM
Innovative idea, but I have to agree AR 15 magazine (replacement bodies) are very inexpensive.

LOW2000
02-24-2006, 6:27 PM
However as of January 1, 2000, it is illegal to buy, manufacture, import, keep for sale, expose for sale, give or lend any large-capacity magazine in California except by law enforcement agencies, California peace officers, or licensed dealers.

HEUER
02-24-2006, 6:46 PM
However as of January 1, 2000, it is illegal to buy, manufacture, import, keep for sale, expose for sale, give or lend any large-capacity magazine in California except by law enforcement agencies, California peace officers, or licensed dealers.

Is it illegal to manufacture a standard magazine part as a replacement? Manufacturing a complete magazine and a single part may be different.

HEUER
02-24-2006, 6:49 PM
You may want to read this thread:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=26890&page=2&highlight=magazine+thread

Walking Fire
02-24-2006, 7:53 PM
I think a ten rounder would be OK in Ca.

xenophobe
02-24-2006, 8:07 PM
well, while I appreciate very much the innovative spirit, the Israelis and the Canadians tried plastic mags, and all have gone back to aluminum for the M16. with the Al bodies so cheap, I don't know if homemade mag bodies would be worth the time.

The Orlite mags worked great, and they would take a LOT of abuse, though they're not as durable as aluminum ones. Most of the ones imported after the Isreali's stopped using them were beat to hell, but still worked like a charm.

The Canadian Thermold magazines were horrible and split when they received a hard impact, not because of a bad design, but because the Canadian Goverment changed to a different plastic at the last moment before initial production to save on costs. The standard, non-maple leafed commercial Thermold mags are great.

sierratangofoxtrotunion
02-25-2006, 9:31 AM
Is it illegal to manufacture a standard magazine part as a replacement? Manufacturing a complete magazine and a single part may be different.
This souds kosher to me, casting mag bodies and followers. It should be doable with a 2-part mold. If one were to then come up with a spring and floorplate and assemble it all, I'm positive that would NOT be kosher in CA, but would be fine in a lot of other states. After all, it's not illegal for a spring company to manufacture rectangular compression springs in CA, but if they decide they're going to be in the business of manufacturing the parts for, and assembling whole mags, they'd better keep it at 10 rounds.

A friend of mine has plastic 10-rounders for his Kel-Tec, they seem fine other than a design flaw that doesn't actually hold the rounds in the mag. It would probably be alright as long as you picked the right plastic to use. I know there are a jillion different ones out there, but which ones can be used at home in the garage without a small injection setup?

ETA: Fiberglass resin?
Might also be a good idea to design in some ribs or triangulation just to keep everything strong enough, or maybe just add 1/16" thickness in places where tolerances don't matter.

glen avon
02-25-2006, 11:00 AM
The Orlite mags worked great, and they would take a LOT of abuse, though they're not as durable as aluminum ones. Most of the ones imported after the Isreali's stopped using them were beat to hell, but still worked like a charm....

actually the orlites have a feed lip cracking issue.

and yes the thermelts were improved, but so what? why did the Israelis and Canadians quit the platic mags?

I think plastic mags are OK, and it's not like they don't work well, or at all, but they are apparently no improvement over the aluminum mags.

Now, clear plastic mags that work would be an improvement. clear plastic mag bodies that would replace the aluminum mag bodies, using the original floorplate, follower and spring, might be very desireable.

xenophobe
02-25-2006, 11:51 AM
Actually, the Thermolds weren't improved, the raw material was downgraded for the Canadian government at their request to save money, which caused them to spit.

Orlites can crack. They are a bit brittle. I agree they're not perfect. I doubt that anyone would have any problems with a new one. The Isrealis probably use their stuff more than anyone and probably wore through enough USGI mags and had enough problems with them that they wanted an alternative.

USGI metal mags can split at the welded seam if dropped fully loaded too... As well as bulge right before the feed lips to make them tough to insert, or unusable because of double feeding...

None of the mags are perfect, especially when worn to hell. The only ones that did have real issues are the Canadian Thermolds. The commercial ones never suffered from the issues of the Canadian military issue mags, as far as I can recollect.

Henry47
02-26-2006, 3:44 AM
not to hijack the thread, but I first read the title as "Homemade body bags". I entered the thread asking myself "why the $*#( would anyone want to make their own body bag??" :D

stator
02-26-2006, 9:16 AM
The Orlites are stainless steel mesh reinforced unlike the Thermolds. Both, however, are good mags that work well in semi-auto's. I've used these many times way back when. I have both in my mag inventory.

When Orlite Industries design their mags, Isreal used a chamfer at the bottom of the mag well. Most US AR lowers do not have chamfers but have rolled edges. Thus, the early Orlite mags do not lock-up with the mag catch. This is what gave Orlite a bad name for US shooters of ARs.

Even USGI mags have weaknesses as Xenophobe pointed out. The worst weakness for 30-round USGI is the rear of the feedlips. Due to the design change from the 20-round, USGI 30-round feedlips go through much more stress in the stamping process. It is common for cracks to appear during use.

All this is mostly moot since we cannot go out and shop for mags here in CA. What you have, is what you get unless you move out of state, or the laws are changed.

I prefer USGI 20-round mags loaded w/ 18 rounds even though I have approximately 70 30-rounders.

xenophobe
02-26-2006, 11:20 AM
I remember back in the late 80's when I bought a bunch of the Orlites. I think I bought 50 for $30 or something. They were really rediculously priced. Some of them were like new, others looked like they'd been through a couple of wars, scratches chips, gouges taken out of them.. some filthy, some wrapped with duct tape... all but one or two of them worked flawlessly though... I wish I had kept some. I don't even remember where they went. lol

I actually prefer the Thermolds. They're quieter, and don't make that clankity noise when they're empty. Much better for tactical purposes... haha


EDIT: Sorry SierraTango, I didn't address your initial issue of making mag bodies, because it wouldn't be cost effective. To make a viable mold, and to mold one that wouldn't split to pressure being fully loaded and dropped would be pretty difficult, to say the least.

sierratangofoxtrotunion
02-26-2006, 6:43 PM
EDIT: Sorry SierraTango, I didn't address your initial issue of making mag bodies, because it wouldn't be cost effective. To make a viable mold, and to mold one that wouldn't split to pressure being fully loaded and dropped would be pretty difficult, to say the least.

No apology necessary. I was originally thinking along the lines of some sort of national emergency in which people would be clamoring for defensive weapons, and there might be a shortage. I then realised that this wouldn't have to be confined to shtf scenarios, in most states this would be just fine, even as a hi-cap. It wouldn't be expensive, once the molds are made, all you'd be buying was whatever kind of plastic you'd be pouring in there.

To make the molds would not actually be too difficult, a cnc mini-mill and some software and you can crank em out. (Everybody has that in their garage, right? haha!) Anyway one person would just need to take some measurements off another mag and make one in a cad/cam program and make a prototype or two. I'm also thinking don't even glue the two halves together, hold em together with some sort of banding type of thing (think hose clamp but not exactly). Once they worked out the design, all they'd have to do is acquire adequate-sized pieces of aluminum or wood or whatever material they wanted to use. If they were going to sell these molds, it should cost under $5 if they weren't trying to get rich off them. Then the user in his garage can make nearly unlimited numbers of bodies for just the cost of the plastic raw material. The best ones in the world? Not likely. But cheap.