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Old 11-03-2012, 02:34 PM   #1
scottmansonak-47
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Default CNC for milling Kalashnikov receiver

Has anyone milled a AK receiver with a cnc? What kind of cnc would fit the bill? I am trying to find a cnc that is big enough to cut out a whole receiver at a time. I have found some ones that can do it but I think that they are more expensive then i would like. The cheaper ones are either 2 axis which will be harder to get to work, or they are only good for Aluminum not Ti or chromoly. I know where to get carbide bits. I just want to know if any one has experience with milling ak receivers.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:56 PM   #2
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If your talking about product/selling then a good 20 year old VMC will run you about 12k on up with zero tooling + skid/delivery fees

If your looking for making one in your garage it could be done on a bridgeport, or even a small manual hobby mill with some time, tooling and skill.

The cost of a large 'hobby' mill that won't take forever is around 7k w/0 tooling if you do the conversion yourself.

IH turnkey is about 10k w/o tooling, stand and shipping
Tormach is another quality 'hobby' mill with a bit less capacity. Depending on the options can easily run 25k+ but at that range a VMC starts looking an option.

What are you looking to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottmansonak-47 View Post
I am trying to find a cnc that is big enough to cut out a whole receiver at a time. .
I realize this is likely meant as meaning you don't have to do the reciever in sections due to lack of capacity. However, taken literally you would need a 5 axis machine.... Which range from Hundreds of thousands to a Million or more. But they sure can do some fun stuff.

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:19 PM   #3
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Pretty much any mill with 12"x3" minimum travel. A 2 axis Prototrak would get it done and make it look nice. (with proper feeds and speeds) Also, keep in mind your gonna need a few other things... Collets, cutters, coolant, vise, an indicator to dial in your vise, and Drawings.

@Dan: Ive seen that video before its total machine porn!!!
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:19 PM   #4
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Most mills will have a work envelope big enough to do a rec. however, you will need a mill that is stout enough to do steel. You will also want flood coolant, with enought pressure to push chips out of the way. On top of all that, you probably wont have a ATC (automatic tool changer) on anything less expensive than a used VMC. So...tool changes would have to be done by hand.

Even more, is the fact that you would need to have CAD?cam and get good enough at it to program in the nessicary data to get good functional g-code.

CNC machines dont just make parts. They need to be told EXACTLY how to make parts. They are great to have, but not intellegent. A tiny leap or step in logic is easy for us, but machines/controllers almost never can take the same types of steps.

A CNC machine only does EXACTLY what you tell it to. No more, no less.

Add to all that, that unless you have the stock setup on a machine with a 4th axis (horizontal normally) you will have multipule re-positionings of the stock, each time having to re orient/indicate the stock into the correct location.

Also, even with a 4th axis, you will need to pull the stock and orient it to drill/bore/thread for the barrel location.

Frankly, generating the cad and then the code for this would be the most difficult part. Most times (on a part this complex)(and without VERY expensive/sophisticated software) you cant just generate code from a 3d model. You normally have to pull features out of the solid and then generate code for those features. each feature needing to be done in the right order and accounting for the stock removed on the last operation.

I have all the nessisary CNC equipment and Cad/Cam capability, but having thought long and hard about doing this for myself, I have determined that its not worth the effort if I can buy a ready made milled rec for ~300.00usd.

I have alot of money in tools/tooling and software, but the purchase of this stuff is the easy part. telling it exactly what to do is the most difficult part....

CNC is good for production, often not so good for one-offs.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:56 PM   #5
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Something like a milled receiver would be so much easier to just mill out on a manual machine.
What makes CNC attractive for hobbyist is the fact it can do things we can't. Like milling some radiuses, engraving elaborate designs and characters like numbers. Other than that, Production is its only advantage.
For the rest of your question, An AK receiver is very small. I don't think they make even a Micro mill that could not handle it. If you're on a budget, I recommend the Harbor freight Mini Mill. Don't let the name fool you, it is a serious machine. But if you can afford it, Go straight to the top and get a Knee mill with a DRO. A receiver would be an easy project on that machine.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan FS71 View Post
That has got to be one of the coolest videos I have ever seen.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:39 PM   #7
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Damn! That vid will give you an erection. I know what to do with the erection but don't have any experience with a machine capable of that...PFM is what that is.
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Old 11-03-2012, 04:56 PM   #8
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Your cheapest ticket to a 3 axis machine - find an old, non-functioning Bridgeport Boss and retrotfit it with new controls (Laptop with Mach3 for control, Gecko Drives, CNC4PC breakout board, etc).

Cheapest CAD - Draftsight. It's free and will work for 99% of your needs. Especially if you are a hobbiest.

Cheapest CAM - There's several of these but I like CAMBAM. It's free to try and then less than $200 if you want to keep it. It's only 2.5D but that's about all you need for a 3 axis machine. You can try others that are far more capable but the price for capability goes up exponentially and you might end up paying for capability that you will never use.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:03 PM   #9
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Okay thanks so far. I have a cad file for a milled receiver. I think it is a polish fixed stock(but it might be a Bulgarian don't remember). I just need a machine to make it. I think that a 3 axis will do the job but a 4 would be fun. From what I have found I do not want a 2 axis because when I readjust it it might have errors. If I do that multiple times to complete the milling process those the errors would stack up. I know someone who can add a coolant system in for $1400. I was getting quoted from 20K to 50K from a new cnc. I am not planing on selling the receivers. If i were i would just get the machine with the most output. I am planing to make some Kalashnikovs for my self. I am trying to spend less then 20k for this cnc because I want some dough left over for other things(drill press,20 ton press, more ammo, materials, parts sets, ect). i will get back to y'all if i make any headway.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySexton View Post
Your cheapest ticket to a 3 axis machine - find an old, non-functioning Bridgeport Boss and retrotfit it with new controls (Laptop with Mach3 for control, Gecko Drives, CNC4PC breakout board, etc).

Cheapest CAD - Draftsight. It's free and will work for 99% of your needs. Especially if you are a hobbiest.

Cheapest CAM - There's several of these but I like CAMBAM. It's free to try and then less than $200 if you want to keep it. It's only 2.5D but that's about all you need for a 3 axis machine. You can try others that are far more capable but the price for capability goes up exponentially and you might end up paying for capability that you will never use.
"I am trying to spend less then 20k"

If you are willing to shop around, roll up your sleeves, and learn a little you can put together the above setup for far less than $5K. I done it for less than $3K.
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Old 11-03-2012, 07:28 PM   #11
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Yea that was a cool vid. Pretty sure I've seen it somewhere before. On the really small ball mills did you notice the discoloration on the tool holder that looked like heat marks? That's because the holder is heated up with an induction heater and the tool is simply place in and allowed to cool. No collet, screw, etc. Just shrink fitted in to hold it. That's because with cutters that small you have to run perfectly true or they will break and supposedly that's the most accurate way to hold those little guys.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:07 PM   #12
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I have a 20" x 40" vmc that I need to sell to make room for a new machine coming in December. It is a cat40 2speed geared head bridge mill design. The machine runs good it is just a little slow for a production environment. It has plenty of torque for cutting 4140 PH.
The price is hard to beat. I don't want to price it here because this is not the marketplace.
PM me if interested.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:08 PM   #13
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If you have that kind of money to spend, you are best served by becoming friends with someone local to you that posts on the "cnczone"

find someone there local to you that you can bribe with dinners and beers to get you conversant in CNC and CAD/CAM so that when you go to blow that wad, you spend it wisely instead of on flashy shit.

Thats a serious investment. Take that step cautiously.

Heed my words, there is alot more to making parts with a CNC than just owning the CNC!

If I had that money to spend, I would get a used 3 axis BP with good ballscrews and ways and retrofit a modern servo system and control (name brand, major manufacture) this would cost ~ 10k. 2500 for a very good condition CNC BP with a bad/no control. 7500 for a good quality industrial 3 axis servo and control setup.

If not that, I would get a used VMC and a decent rotary 3 phase convertor that has output good enough for CNC control.

I myself bought a $250.00 1988 series 1 BP in fantastic shape (yes I stole it) and retrofit ballscrews, steppers and a built a Mach 3 controler. I also built my own Z axis for the machine. I have about 4500 in it total with all hardware/software/coolant and enclosure/sub table and tooling. It is the equivilant of a system costing 10K used or 20K+ new.

Too bad you are not closer to me. I would build you what I have for vastly less than 10K and you would have money left for a Horizontal 4th axis and tooling till the cows come home.

Best advice I can give you- go spend a week reading everything you can at cnczone.
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:13 PM   #14
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BTW, my machine will do 80IPM with steppers and not loose steps. even on a program that takes hours to run.

Steppers with appropriate reduction and power supply and if they are good quality can be very good for machine motion.

that said, servos if you can afford the initial outlay...
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:03 AM   #15
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I have a question I know I have seen some receivers made from Ti. Isn't chromoly the favorite (or most traditional) materiel for ak receivers? So I was thinking I buy Ti all the time mostly from china. I can get pretty much every grade of Ti that was ever made and on the cheap. I can get Ti-6Al-4V ELI which is like a different grade of grade 5 Ti for about $15 a kilogram but no more then $30 a kilo. Meaning that I can get Ti cheaper from china or Taiwan then I can get chromoly in the US. So knowing that I also understand that Ti is hard to work with and can wear out your bits faster. You need to use Carbide or high speed steel to mill Ti. So I am wondering would it be worth the extra milling cost to make it out of Ti? The benefits to a Ti receiver is cost of materials, weight, the ability to make it just about any color through anodizing, corrosion resistance, heat resistance,and durability. Detriments time to machine, cost to machine,and cost of replacing bits.
So what do you guys think I should do? It is also kind of fun that I can get Ti-6Al-4V ELI because it is used almost exclusively by laboratories dealing with cryogenics, NASA, and the medical industry. So instead of Ti-6Al-4V ELI I could call it aerospace grade Ti, but that is not very specific.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:14 PM   #16
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If its not going to break your bank, do it. I don't believe a titanium receiver for an ak has ever been done, and it would definitely turn heads anywhere
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
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If its not going to break your bank, do it. I don't believe a titanium receiver for an ak has ever been done, and it would definitely turn heads anywhere
Cool, I didn't see it anywhere either. I could passivise it to a red,blue,grey,black, od green, lime green,ext. So it would also not wear away by rubbing it nearly as easily as paint or bluing. Also if you can find a solvent that we use for cleaning guns that will strip it I will eat a bunch of Ti razor blades and drink a bottle of nitric acid to wash them down. I am just wondering if I can get a cnc sturdy enough to get the job done. I can get high speed steel or carbide bits very easily. I am also wondering how often I have to replace the bits. If I have to spend a boat load on bits then I don't think it is worth it. If i can make 5 or 10 receivers in a bits life span then I should be good.
Also I want to make my ultimate build. A flat top ak Ti everything except barrel and gas block (springs, stock sights little things can be standard) Then give it a short stroke. Well that's a long way off if I will ever do it. If I do you guys will be the first to know.(or even just a Ti receiver)

If these are really good I might even consider getting licensed and sell them. I know that is more of a pipe dream I can't expect to just buy a cnc make a cad file buy some ti slap it in the cnc zero the cnc cut it out anodize it then just be at the top of the market or whatever.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:42 PM   #18
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The video isn't working
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:44 PM   #19
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Where do you get the prints to mill a receiver. a decent mill is going to be my next purchase.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:09 PM   #20
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I would be interested in the Ti receiver if you do it.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:17 PM   #21
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I friend got them for me. He got drunk in Moscow... The next day he woke up in a hotel in Tula... He said he had a bunch of empty vodka bottles in his room... and a file on his night stand. What actually happened I don't know I was not there that was just his account. He said the last thing he knew he was flirting with a girl at a night club. Then he woke up with a file and a bunch of empties.

Does he turn into a spy when he drink too much vodka not that I have seen. So he got a bunch of stuff photo copied from some files somewhere in Russia. So he mad me a cad file off of the specs he got. All I can say is it's a good thing he got them for me and that Vodka opens up a lot of doors.

I know what you are thinking "upload it!" or "share them with me" answer Hell NO. But here is a link that could help you. The guy who got these had a similar experience except he stayed conscious. You can email him he is a cool dude. http://www.thefirearmsforum.com/showthread.php?t=94271 and http://jack404.minus.com/jack404/all/20.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:12 AM   #22
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If I can get Ti bar stock in any dimensions I want. What should the L,W,and H be?
I need room to mill out the trunnion and the two tang coming off the stock at an angle.
I do not currently have a way to open up my cad file. My computer needs to be wiped it does not have enough space and processioning power left to download, decompress, and run the software. So I am going to order some 4140 steel, some chromoly, and some grade 5 Ti as stated before.

I found a place in the us that can do the steel and they can order in some ti so I will try them first. If they can't get my order done then I will buy it from china.
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:35 AM   #23
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With what Ti costs you will have the 1st $1000 dollar AK reciever. I'd still do it if I had the money though.

Don't forget the pics. Porn simply isn't porn without the pics & vid
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:46 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan FS71 View Post
With what Ti costs you will have the 1st $1000 dollar AK reciever. I'd still do it if I had the money though.

Don't forget the pics. Porn simply isn't porn without the pics & vid
I will be sure to include pics and maybe some videos of it being milled. What it looks like to me I will spend between $50 and $100 on the receiver(not including milling cost). In order for me to get a quote I need to know the distentions of the bar stock I should custom order. Any thoughts ? EDIT: PS: I am thinking about getting this one " http://www.technocnc.com/CNC-Router-...cnc-router.htm " do you think this will do what I need it to?

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Old 12-07-2012, 01:23 PM   #25
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any toughs on the cnc i am looking at?
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:02 PM   #26
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I have no experiance with router type cncs. CNC-zone is a wash in people in the know about these.

My general thoughts just looking at the pic: Looks light, doesn't look super rigid. Certain benifits of a router type over mill and vice versa. Ti is gona take forever if you don't have hp & rigidity.

I know some have granite beds and are very capable, only know enough to point you towards some that do know.

Always happy to learn, when you find out about them post the info or attach a link.

If you have the $$$ thats the hard part, the rest should be a joy.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:48 PM   #27
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What are the basic dimensions of the block i will be milling? (L,WH) I can chose a block of Ti of any dimension,what will be the best? ( the closest to the L,WH of the finished receiver)
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:06 PM   #28
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IMHO
If you plan on using this machine yourself, you need to get some manual mill time under your belt. A CNC is something you get after you outgrow your manual mill. If you try to go straight to CNC, you are not going to have the slightest clue how to operate it. What tooling to use. ETC. ETC. ETC.
What it comes down to is we all have to learn how to crawl before we can walk.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:14 PM   #29
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Damn. How long did it take the guy to write that program? That's so cool.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:51 AM   #30
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You might want to consider going to school to learn how to program and operate CNC mills if you're really going to spend that kind of money, or at least find an entry level job pushing buttons and spend a lot of time asking these questions on CNCzone or Practicalmachinist.

If you have the cash and at least read up on the basics of CNC operation and tooling, you're still going to spend thousands of dollars and a lot of time before you get a useable receiver, and that is after the initial purchase of the machine.

Not trying to be a downer, just letting you know. I do it for a living (not guns, but things way more complex) and you have a ton to learn. You can't just buy a machine, use CAM to output a CAD drawing, and spit parts out.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:41 PM   #31
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Quote:
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You might want to consider going to school to learn how to program and operate CNC mills if you're really going to spend that kind of money............

......... You can't just buy a machine, use CAM to output a CAD drawing, and spit parts out.
Don't think you read the OP's post or maybe understand the whole CNC thing. The OP doesn't want to build a CNC, He wants to buy a turn Key CNC and make a few receivers from TI is all. You know there is a reason they call it a turn key CNC right!!!??? You buy the CNC - turn the key and CNC some parts. duhhhhh. He's not trying to make parts for the space station!!!



When you start something new there is a learning curve, you seem to either be playing coy or you don't know a rch from a piston return spring yet. Nothing wrong with jumping in... Besides the fact it can be expensive. First thing is to know & decide the types of things your goina mill, the size of machine you can fit in your garage and if you have the electrical service to power it or the boxes with the magic smoke inside that does it for you.

If you have the money I'd buy the mill (( after you know what machine will work best for you )) AND enrole at the junior college near you in a cnc machining class(es). You will be miles ahead being about to come home after class and practice.

I'd bet dollars to donuts no matter how good your buddys program is you will want to make a few runs in al-u-mini-um, proving wax, foam or the like anyway.

Don't forget to save a big chunk of $$$ for tooling and cutters. Even just to get started plan on a few thousand here before you make your 1st chip.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:53 PM   #32
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Is this how milled receivers get made?for some reason i keep thinking a lathe will do it...
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:19 PM   #33
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Really a POS 20 year old fadal will get what you want done, and you should be able to get one for well under $10k ready to rock even with some tooling, personally i'd go a bridgeport EZ track, or similar because they will fit in a garage corner and are decent machines too. Not quite geared for production, but will get it done if you are clever. I dont know what the market is like out there, but a worn out manual mill out here will run 2k (ouch!) where i'm at, i think your market should be cheaper. If you are deadset on new then i'd look at stull like thishttp://www.haascnc.com/mt_spec1.asp?id=MINIMILL&webID=MINI_MILL_VMC&CatID=Control%20Options&options=true

Myself i kinda find it a little rediculious to buy a mill just to build a few recievers for personal use, i think i'd outsorce it to a machine shop.

Anyone have a full dimentioned blueprint for one?? i really want to try to make one on my beater bridgeport knockoff
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:26 PM   #34
Dan FS71
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i think i'd outsorce it to a machine shop.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:19 AM   #35
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Don't think you read the OP's post or maybe understand the whole CNC thing. The OP doesn't want to build a CNC, He wants to buy a turn Key CNC and make a few receivers from TI is all. You know there is a reason they call it a turn key CNC right!!!??? You buy the CNC - turn the key and CNC some parts. duhhhhh. He's not trying to make parts for the space station!!!



When you start something new there is a learning curve, you seem to either be playing coy or you don't know a rch from a piston return spring yet. Nothing wrong with jumping in... Besides the fact it can be expensive. First thing is to know & decide the types of things your goina mill, the size of machine you can fit in your garage and if you have the electrical service to power it or the boxes with the magic smoke inside that does it for you.

If you have the money I'd buy the mill (( after you know what machine will work best for you )) AND enrole at the junior college near you in a cnc machining class(es). You will be miles ahead being about to come home after class and practice.

I'd bet dollars to donuts no matter how good your buddys program is you will want to make a few runs in al-u-mini-um, proving wax, foam or the like anyway.

Don't forget to save a big chunk of $$$ for tooling and cutters. Even just to get started plan on a few thousand here before you make your 1st chip.
I do have a large power source. And I was planing on making AL receivers until I get it down. Then I might get steel or ti close to the cnc until then AL. I will try to join cnc zone the one time I tried I could not get there since then I did not try again(too busy). I live exactly in the middle of nowhere... the closest thing we have to a school or a shop with a cnc is a bunch of drunks who have a welder to fix tractors.
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