machine tools


August 12, 2006, 09:12 PM
I am looking at retirement in a few years (God willing)...have law enforcement background and some armorer's schools behind me, but am NOT a gunsmith...
even so...enjoy working on them and generally know when I am over my head and refer the work...and, actually got a gunsmithing school not too far from me (Murray College) that I may try and attend...and am interested in beginning to try and accumulate basic machine tools for a small gunsmithing that will focus mostly on pistols and carbines (Ar's and Minis).
Any suggestions or recommendations for basic tools and supliers, brands, etc.
will be much appreciated..thanks...

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August 12, 2006, 09:26 PM
I am not a gunsmith - just an old engineer!

If you wish to follow this course then I'd suggest considering items such as -

Lathe - something like a 5 1/2" swing machine, so the spindle bore will take barrels. Maybe 20" to 24" between centers. Plus of course a good selection of quality carbide tipped cutting tools, including boring bars probably.

Milling machine - vertical preferably. Some milling tho can be done on vertical slide in lathe - setting up on saddle.

Good machine vices for the above.

Of course - a solid drill press, with again a good machine vice.

Measuring tools - vernier calipers, micrometers (inside and out), plug gauges, headspace gauges, thread ID gauge.

Relevant good quality taps and dies.

Files - a comprehensive set - from course thru bastard to fine and needles - more the merrier.

I have not mentioned makes - but do not skimp on quality as many cheapo machines are poorly calibrated and will not hold tight tolerance work always. In fact try not to buy cheap anything - better to invest in good used gear of reputable brand. Many old machines can give good service if they have been well maintained and not abused.

Other tools will be almost common ones like hammers and screwdrivers - but do invest in a good set of, say, Brownells Gunsmithing drivers - boogered screws spoil any gun work!

I have but scratchwed the surface but these things mentioned will IMO be essential. Oh and - good head-band magnifier!

August 12, 2006, 09:35 PM
I just picked up a mini mill , and a mini lathe to learn on myself , and i have to say for the $$ spent they are a bargen , I will second p95 tho that if you really want to do this dont scrimp or slow down on cheap machines or tooling . You can learn as fast with good machines as with cheap , and also have something that is worth owning when done . Its kinda like do you reccomend a new gun owner pick up a jennings for a first gun ?? LOL

August 12, 2006, 10:06 PM
are there particular brands to consider first?
I have most of the basic tools, such as an armorer would have..drivers, punches, files, stones, sear jigs, vise, frame jigs, etc...the machine tools is where I lack...thanks for the advice.

August 12, 2006, 10:10 PM
i wont presume as a new person to advise more than i have , but if you trot over to say and register or google home machining you will find a confusing variaty of info lol . the guys over at homegunsmith are kinda a free spriited bunch politacly but good harted and know thier stuff .

August 12, 2006, 10:53 PM
They have lots of tools, at good prices, and a big catalog

August 13, 2006, 09:09 AM
thanks, I am happily cruising the sites you provided...
this is the easy part I I gotta start breaking into the
change jar!

August 13, 2006, 12:27 PM
Peruse the Practical Machinist forums:

Tons of information, and a lot of really helpful people.

My advice? Don't scrimp. Buy as much quality as you can afford and then stretch the budget just a little more; it will pay big dividends.

Brands? Some well-regarded names include Monarch, Rivett, Emco-Maier, Hanrdinge, Schaublin, Bridgeport, Van Norman, Deckel, Mori Seki, Graziano, Habegger, Aciera, and many more than I can't remember off the top of my head! The general consensus is that if you stay away from Chinese tools you're better off.

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