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-   -   $700 best spent: Grizzly mini mill or AK build tools? (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=654240)

TriumphAndrew 12-08-2012 9:30 PM

$700 best spent: Grizzly mini mill or AK build tools?
 
My Girlfriend is newish at selling real estate. Since she has a large deal closing soon, she'd like to spend 700 bucks on some tools for me to show appreciation for my support. I have been shopping around and have decided between a Grizzly mini mill and some tooling, or a 20 ton press, receiver jig, riveting jigs and other related tools. I like both AR and AK platforms, so I was thinking that 80% receivers would be easier to get started on and cheaper to get going with. She's a big AK fan and wants more, but we have no build party experience or much time to do so on weekends, and I'm a bit hesitant to go for it without some learning. My biggest concern is if I get a mill, how will I learn to use it? CC classes are not an option, as I have a current professional job, they don't fit my schedule, and don't plan on changing my life around to learn to use the thing. Would anyone be willing to teach me some basics for some form of compensation, or guide me towards a place or method to learn? Can I do a 1919 side plate with the Grizzly? I have many ideas, but little experience. I'm well read as far as machining, but have Zero hands on besides converting a Saiga and assembling an Ar from parts. Hey, something is better than nothing.

SJgunguy24 12-08-2012 9:42 PM

If you go with a machine tool, get a lathe to start. You can jig stuff up and mill with a lathe, but you cannot turn with a mill.
Add in a welding machine and you'll be able to make all of your tooling.

robtech 12-08-2012 11:45 PM

I say pick which platform is your fav...ar = mill ak = tooling theyre both easy to leatn with minimal trial&error so i say pick your preferred platform and roll with it

Jayruta 12-09-2012 5:28 AM

What is your location?

CSACANNONEER 12-09-2012 7:39 AM

Lathe first. Then mill. Then build whatever AK/AR jigs you want to.

yari 12-09-2012 9:21 AM

I would avoid the mini mill. I have one and it's basically only good for using as a small drill press. The table is tiny and the tolerances are crap. .03 difference from one end to the other.

TriumphAndrew 12-09-2012 12:14 PM

I'm located in san diego.

Intimid8tor 12-09-2012 12:34 PM

I learned to machine mostly on my own. I had a lathe in high school which was used only to true commutators for electric motors. In high school I learned how to program G code on my own with a small CNC lathe that was the size of a sherline lathe.

There are plenty of books and resources to learn how to use a lathe or a mill. Yeah, it's nice having someone around, but when I bought my mill I just took it easy and figured it out. Not an expert, but can make parts.

In your price range, I wouldn't buy the mill. It will have really no other uses other than doing 80% lowers. Not worth it. Either step up to a larger machine (double your money just for the machine) or go with AK tooling. The AK tools will also be useful for other things whereas the mini mill will really not be.

wash 12-09-2012 2:10 PM

Take that $700, buy two AK kits and then find a build party to attend.

If it's a good party you will each wind up with a good AK to keep and you'll see if you like fooling around with that kind of stuff.

Metal working isn't rocket science, even using manual machines like lathes and mills, there is just a learning curve, it's dirty work with oils, metal chips, etc. and a very real chance that a moments inattention will ruin your part, throw it across the room or at you (very hard) and break your tooling.

Try to get a taste before you go all in. It can be fun but it's not for everyone.

big ron 12-09-2012 2:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wash (Post 9884010)
Take that $700, buy two AK kits and then find a build party to attend.

If it's a good party you will each wind up with a good AK to keep and you'll see if you like fooling around with that kind of stuff.

Metal working isn't rocket science, even using manual machines like lathes and mills, there is just a learning curve, it's dirty work with oils, metal chips, etc. and a very real chance that a moments inattention will ruin your part, throw it across the room or at you (very hard) and break your tooling.

Try to get a taste before you go all in. It can be fun but it's not for everyone.

:oji: what he said.

TriumphAndrew 12-09-2012 4:15 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm leaning towards the AK tools at the moment. She hates the way the ar looks, and I honestly only built it so I could say I did and have another rifle to reload for. We'd love to attend the next SD bp, but will have to wait for the following one so we can get some parts kits. I have a pretty good sense of mechanical engineering, and a decent amount of hand fabrication experience under my belt, having restored a decent number of oddball cars and motorbikes. I'll start with the press and flat bending jig and go from there. I figure the press will have plenty of use for other things as well. Looks like I need to go make a list.

ChuckD 12-09-2012 5:24 PM

I believe the average price of a build party (both AR & AK) is about $60, you would have to build 11 - 12 rifles to break even on $700 worth of tools, and that's not even factoring in that you get way more than just use of tools at a build party.

SJgunguy24 12-09-2012 5:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChuckD (Post 9885215)
I believe the average price of a build party (both AR & AK) is about $60, you would have to build 11 - 12 rifles to break even on $700 worth of tools, and that's not even factoring in that you get way more than just use of tools at a build party.

Some guys are just stubbern and like to bleed and swear in the comfort of their own garage. I still say buy machine tools and make your own build tools. I've found some of the AK Builder tooling to be a bit on weak side and those little rubber do-hickey's to keep the receiver level when pressung long rivets suck balls. The buck bar needs a wider foot print and the long rivet jig bolts bend. Not to mention if you plan to build any Chinese guns, your gonna need to make your own stuff anyway.

50BMGBOB 12-09-2012 7:48 PM

I bought both a lathe and a mill and I am teaching myself to use them. I make a lot of mistakes but I am having a lot of fun learning.

The mill for $700 will be to small to do a full size 1919 in one set up/clamping. If you want to cut a RSP from new stock (0% not a 80% plate) then while possible, it is a lot harder to do but not impossible. A mill is not needed to do a side plate from a 80%. I went up a size with my mill but the price was a lot more.

gawker 12-09-2012 8:10 PM

Sure you can turn a mill to a lathe. You just won't have a large workspace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=T-JRTDdSTWE

straykiller 12-10-2012 12:16 AM

I have a small lathe for sale right now on the forums, its the one i used to build my psl pistol.

grymster 12-10-2012 6:53 AM

A mill is more versatile than a lathe, at least for people without extensive experience. But I don't think I'd get a Grizzly Mini Mill. It's just too small to be of much use.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SJgunguy24
You can jig stuff up and mill with a lathe, but you cannot turn with a mill.

Turning on a mill is possible.... I've done it many times.

CS Sports 12-10-2012 6:58 AM

Don't forget that you can spend the $700 on that mill and still not be able to do anything. You would also need tooling and a way to hold the workpiece.

I've got a really nice mill, and a pretty decent lathe, but I've spent WAAAAAAY more on tooling and workholding than I have on the mill and lathe themselves.

TriumphAndrew 12-10-2012 12:46 PM

Some great suggestions here. I do want the convenience of bleeding alone in my garage, and being able to take a couple of weeks rather than days to finish a gun. Is there a more solid flat bender than the AKbuilder one? Buy once cry once.

TriumphAndrew 12-10-2012 12:56 PM

Some great suggestions here. I do want the convenience of bleeding alone in my garage, and being able to take a couple of weeks rather than days to finish a gun. Is there a more solid flat bender than the AKbuilder one? Buy once cry once.

klewan 12-10-2012 9:01 PM

$700 isn't much in the way of tooling these days, I'd get the kind of basic hand tools everyone into guns needs. Reading these threads will give you a pretty good idea what you need.

Consider the bent receivers, then you won't need the bender. Buy an unbent flat to use as the pattern for hole drilling. The riveting and trunnion hole drilling tools are relatively easy to make compared to the bending jig.

TriumphAndrew 12-11-2012 12:42 PM

Im very good on tools. Luckily, oddball vehicles require a decent amount of tooling, so im pretty good with the gunsmithing basics. i like the idea with the pre bent flats. I see ak builder has a drilling jig.

yari 12-11-2012 1:40 PM

Read the reviews on the pre bent ones, people have complained about warping. It shouldn't be hard to barrow a punch set in SD, there are a ton around.

1lowluv 12-11-2012 9:23 PM

On AKfiles, there's a guy names akmachinist and he makes great AK build tools for half the price of AKB. I got long and short rivet jig, barrel removal and instal kit and trigger guard jig for $240 he warranties it all.

There is a member on here named Ryan in SD and he has a flat bending jig for about $80 and I have bent about 20 flats with it and they have all turned out great.

So now you are at $320 and have money to buy a press, $100

Total $420

You still have enough to buy a parts kit.

klewan 12-12-2012 7:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1lowluv (Post 9901302)
On AKfiles, there's a guy names akmachinist and he makes great AK build tools for half the price of AKB. I got long and short rivet jig, barrel removal and instal kit and trigger guard jig for $240 he warranties it all.

There is a member on here named Ryan in SD and he has a flat bending jig for about $80 and I have bent about 20 flats with it and they have all turned out great.

So now you are at $320 and have money to buy a press, $100

Total $420

You still have enough to buy a parts kit.

He still needs some kind of welder for the rails, drill press for the trunnion rivets, an air compressor and sand blaster setup, so he can clean it and either park it or some other finish. It's not cheap to toolup for AK building.

TriumphAndrew 12-12-2012 12:28 PM

Actually all I would need is the sandblaster. I have the compressor and a mig welder.


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