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Tips and accessories for gunsmithing w/milling machine?

jrpascucci

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I've bought a littlemachineshop mid-level minimill (w/DRO &c), as I'm working on some 2011 builds and some accessory ideas.

Any good information on what are gunsmithing-specific accessories and tooling I should look into as time goes on?
Also, normal milling accessories that can be used in creative ways?

My list of to-gets:
Stock to practice on to avoid doing an unfamiliar operation on a real gun
Extra aluminum (scrap) block stock to make custom fixtures for more solid, supported clamping of parts.
soft jaws
Dovetail cutters, as appropriate (are there any that are so common that they're a must-have? I don't even know which one is common to most 1911s, there seems to be at least 3 or 4)
v-clamps for things like barrel porting
sine bar for odd angles
turntable (I intend to experiment experimenting with custom, curved lightening cuts, although I'm suddenly wondering how to do smooth ellipses, which I think would look even cooler)
Picatinny rail form cutter

Similar things:
I own a couple of fixtures for hand work that I expect can be clamped into the mill.
hand-tap and die set
I suppose one could possibly do a mediocre job 'turning' a rod to outside diameter size by locking the quill and putting a turning tool in a vice (but this is really a lathe thing)
Any ideas on specific size endmills or non-usual drill bit sizes that might come in particularly useful for some tasks?
What's some good stock to have on hand?

-JRP
 
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A set of parallels, "1-2-3" blocks, "kant twist" clamps (the real ones - not chinesium / Indian / etc). Boring head. Could make a list a mile long.... win the lottery, you're about to go broke. [smile]

Just jump right in and start making stuff. Fastest way to find out what tooling you'll be needing. Don't skimp on a vise - get a good one. I bit the bullet and got a Kurt D675 for my mill-drill. Worth every penny.

Another thing I use fairly often is a set of adjustable parallels.

Oh yeah - assorted dial indicators. 1", 2" and 3" micrometers. Good dial calipers. Depth micrometer.
 
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By the time u get all tools up u be out 5k minimum , cheapper to buy a gun than to made one.

Well, that all depends upon what a person might be wanting to build. Say if you want to build for example a semi MP40, Lanchester, Owen, BREN, Type 99 LMG, 1918 BAR, MG42, FAL, STEN, M31, and PPSH41, etc [devil]

I've got ~ $2,000 into tooling, spread out over many years of acquiring stuff. Mostly used / vintage.fal-izzy-1.jpg1911-ejector-tube.jpgfin-4.jpgsuomi-mockup-2.jpg
 
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Nick Leduc

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You have a decent list so far, and a whole lot of money to spend. Don't be afraid to buy Chinese for a lot of stuff, you won't be using it in production setting with minimal use. No point in buying top of the line stuff to use a few times. Shars stuff is cheap, but works.

You'll have a better time cutting with Carbide endmills. But not always necessary, especially on soft materials like aluminum.

You mentioned blocks for support, great idea. Anytime you clamp something, there is a chance to distort. I always block the inside of a slide when I mill it. (See picture below) The aluminum blocks labeled glock go in slides. The other block is used as a dummy 1911 magazine before I clamp over the grip.

Dovetails can be tricky to cut. One second you are too tight. .001" later the sight falls thru. Get some small dowel pins and learn trig to do the math correctly. Practice practice practice before you cut a firearm!

Barrel porting: do you plan on just eyeballing the location on the radius of the barrel? If so, v block is fine. If you want a more precise way, get a collet block. Or if you want to get super fancy, get a diving head.

As far as tooling, buy as you go. Don't overspend on cutter you may never use. Shipping lead times are quick enough. Get your self a full set of drills. Start with standard. Fraction, number and letter drills. You may need metric from time to time. Either use a close enough standard size, or buy single metric drills.

See My post of a rotary table that I've used for radius work. I believe that's what you were describing when you say a turntable.

Pictured below is also an aluminum plate that I found very handy with working on pistols. You can make one yourself or buy one on eBay for very cheap money. Holes alternate with 1/4-20 tapped holes and. 250 dowel holes. I put this one on a CMM after I bought it from ebay and the results were like .0002" on location. Not bad for a $30 buy.
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Nick Leduc

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Some of my setup pics I have done. Just for ideas for work holding. Which sometimes is the hardest part, because of clearance issues. The sketchiest setups I have done was cutting the feed ramp on a 1911, because of tooling length, I had the frame hanging way too far out of the vise. Also, don't forget to protect your workpiece. Blue painters tape works fine. Sometimes you will find that making a fixture for a job takes longer than the actual job itself. But once you have it, you never have to make it again.

20180706_154230.jpg20180706_170131.jpg20180715_162650.jpg20180811_002852.jpg20180819_003742.jpg20180819_003822.jpg20181015_173339.jpg
 
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