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CNC machines
Weaponeer Forums : General Questions

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  firedawg

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Posted: June 16 2014 at 2:56pm | IP Logged Quote firedawg

Hows it going gentlemen? I have recently been researching the Taig cnc mills. I would really enjoy having my own CNC machine. Do you guys know anything about them? also If I did make this investment where can I go to download the files for ar15 parts and other shenanigans I decide to get myself into? The number one thing holding me back is finding the files for different things I want to build.
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  northumbrian

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Posted: June 17 2014 at 12:44am | IP Logged Quote northumbrian

Firstly, you'll find some files on here, but try GrabCad & 3dcontentcentrl.

Secondly, A Taig CNC will not make the parts you want, they are simply not powerful enough, nor rigid enough.
A Taig CNC might work if your not in a hurry, and don't mind taking cuts of a few thou at a time and eventually get the part made.

You'd be better off learning the skill needed to make the parts on manual machines, which they are plenty available.

If you learn those skills, and then move to CNC later, you'll find you'll be able to perform machining tasks you never thought possible.

If you've got the room, a bridgeport mill, plus a 9" southbend Lathe, will pay dividends for less money than you'd pay the any CNC machine.

I don't mean to be negative about the CNC, but the manual skills are dying out, trust me learn those skills and you be able to make what ever you want, anywhere.
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  firedawg

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Posted: June 17 2014 at 1:56am | IP Logged Quote firedawg

While that was my first thought I soon hit a brick wall when I could not find anyway to learn those skills. do you know of a online course that is worth the money? I only have a 5000$ budget. while that sounds like a lot in the cnc world you can barley get your foot in the door. I know manual machines are much cheaper but the education to use them kind of balances them out from what I can find
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  Paraquat

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Posted: June 17 2014 at 8:18am | IP Logged Quote Paraquat

That machine is cute but a Bridgeport is the only machine that can replicate itself.
A decent Bridgeport J head will give you far more capabilities than you can imagine (if this is your first machine).

And you can easily finish an AR on a Bridgeport. Check Craigslist. I got mine for $1200 with a 6" vise and a 16" rotary table and a set of R8 collets.

Although the initial investment can be high, if you learn what you're doing, you'll be far better off for the onesy-twosey jobs than with a CNC machine.
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  Sora-tobu chiru

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Posted: June 17 2014 at 1:02pm | IP Logged Quote Sora-tobu chiru

Paraquat wrote:
I got mine for $1200


Plus (at least)quarter of that for shipping
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  Paraquat

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Posted: June 17 2014 at 1:07pm | IP Logged Quote Paraquat

Noooo....

When I picked it up the seller fork lifted it onto my friend's trailer.
Getting it off...
The sun was shining bright on us. By the time it was where we wanted it the sun had set.
We used a pry bar and 3x 1" diameter bars to move it 4 inches at a time until we got it to the end of the trailer.
At the point we were so far off centerline the wood started to creak and crack.
We could take the head and table off but this baby was .0002 across 42" and I'm stubborn [stupid].
We brought out the engine hoist and stupid'ed that thing onto the ground where we could roll it again. Only had one incident between 3 guys where fingies got a little bit of pain but we were able to lift it back up before any long lasting damage.

1/4 of that, you say?
Yea, absolutely. Pay someone to ship it and move it.
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  MatthewMachinist

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Posted: June 18 2014 at 3:27am | IP Logged Quote MatthewMachinist

Hi Firedawg

I totally agree with everything Northumbrian said, I work on cnc machines and I have to say that its harder to learn to machine on cnc machine, if you are drilling by hand you can feel the drill load up (before it snaps) if you were trying to learn on a cnc it would just go snap and you would wonder why.

Learn to machine first, It is hard to learn, but after I finished my apprenticeship I happened to search "milling" and "lathe" on pirate bay, even with years on a lathe and mill behind me I still learnt some things from the courses I found.

You can actually do more on manual machines, I haven't seen anyone make springs on a home workshop cnc lathe. Any manual lathe is capable of helping you make springs winding the chuck by hand.

I have a friend who does have one of those small cnc machines, he mostly works with aluminium and makes things like magazine base plates. Not what you need for general purpose gunmaking.

The most important consideration in buying any machine is rigidity, we have inaccurate machines at work, to a degree you can work around machine inaccuracy, buy if the machine isn't rigid enough to do the job you just won't get anywhere, for example my first mill was a mill drill, I told myself it would do the job if I just took my time, I took a shallow, 20 thou cut on mild steel, the machine started shaking and the cutter chipped and broke, that was just the start of the trouble. I shouldn't tell you this but I have a personal rule for a mill - 250kg minimum, 300 good, heavier even better. I believe a lathe can be a little lighter than this and still do good work. These are just my personal rules so they are not open for debate.

I still just have a mill drill at the moment but it is closer to 280kg, which is way better than 80kg.

Even for an experienced machinist, machining still comes down to speeds, feeds, and depth of cut, feedback comes from the sound of the machine (tells you if the cut is too heavy), the chips (how they are breaking and the color) and the surface finish (too heavy cut or insert worn).

Good luck.
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  firedawg

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Posted: June 18 2014 at 8:17am | IP Logged Quote firedawg

Wow guys thanks for the help. Im still struggling to find a Bridgeport for a reasonable price. do you guys have any experience with the Precision Matthews mv 25. I have found a few of them but I don't think there powerful enough. they can be converted to cnc later if I decide to go down that road.
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  northumbrian

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Posted: June 19 2014 at 2:34am | IP Logged Quote northumbrian

There's a few machinists on here, who, (whilst speaking for myself, but I'm sure other will too), would happily answer any questions you will have.

You can find pretty much all the tutorials you'll need on line.
One of the best video/youtube channels I've found is the Open Source Machine Tools channel.

Here's a link to the Basic Metal working skills http://youtu.be/-4McYKCd2Hg

Subscribe to their channel and you'll find loads of very well produced videos showing pretty much everything your likely to need to do.
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  northumbrian

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Posted: June 19 2014 at 2:40am | IP Logged Quote northumbrian

Precision Matthews MV25, is a chinese made import of very questionable quality.
Whilst, I don't have experience of Precision Matthews, I do have experience of that particular Chinese Mill, bottom line, it's 5h1t.

By the way you can mill on a lathe, you need a vertical milling slide, but there easy enough to find.

Also have a look at this British site, it has a database of virtually every machine tool made, you can find most of the info about the machines on here

www.lathes.co.uk
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  Paraquat

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Posted: June 19 2014 at 8:13am | IP Logged Quote Paraquat

I make round with a boring head. Flip the boring bar from the way you'd have it conventionally mounted to facing the inside, kick 'er in reverse, and engage the auto-quill down.


If you really need round, you need a lathe. But using this method you can fake it.
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  northumbrian

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Posted: June 19 2014 at 10:19am | IP Logged Quote northumbrian

There are many ways to skin the metaphorical cat.
But I will say a decent lathe is probably more important than a mill.

For Gunsmithing, a lathe for me is far more important, you can't do barrel work on a mill, apart from fluting, and dovetailing.

But for the beginner, looking to buy their first machines, I would say get the heaviest & most rigid machine you can get, the older machines tend to be more close to the ideal in that respect.
The youngest machine I have is 1966 Harrison L6 12x24", it's a bit short for barrel work, but for the most part, you can fit 90% of barrels in the spindle bore.
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  firedawg

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Posted: June 20 2014 at 3:11am | IP Logged Quote firedawg

Wow man those videos are great and so is the website. Thanks for all the help
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  northumbrian

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Posted: June 22 2014 at 2:22am | IP Logged Quote northumbrian

Don't forget if you get stuck, just ask.
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