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Thread: Lathe necessities for AK's

  1. #21
    Gunco Member Freedom2U's Avatar
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    I'm new to this but from what I've read, I can't argue with anything posted on this topic. I recently bought what I was able to, a Grizzly 9 X 19 and their mini-mill. I choose Grizzly over Harbor Freight because a 4 jaw chuck was included. Of course like everyone else I would like bigger stuff, but my workshop is quite small and weight was a factor too. The lathe had a shipping weight of 300 lbs. , but uncrated I suspect it weighs about the same as H.F.s' - 230 lbs. Anyway, it's small enough I could move it and place it by myself. Both machines were delivered for just under $1500.
    Freedom2U - GOA, TFA ,NRA.

  2. #22
    Gunco Member Sidecarnutz's Avatar
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    All of the three in one machines out there like at Grizzly and HF are actually older models that originated with Shoptask. And on most of them, the mill sits so close to the lathe head that you often have to remove the lathe chuck to use the mill!

    I bought my Shoptask lathe/mill in 1997 and love it! For a few years the company even asked to have potential customers come look at mine before buying. I didn't mind, so I said sure. All of them wound up as customers and one guy bought one for himself and another for his son. He was a retired Navy Master Chief MR. I really enjoyed talking to him! He showed me things that machine was capable of that I didn't even know about. I figured if he liked it, it must be a good machine. I was still a hobbyist at the time and hadn't had formal training in machine shop yet. I took care of that later when I was out of the Navy. ;-) The newest Shoptask machines are even nicer than mine. I have never had to remove the lathe chuck to use the mill either! Plenty of reach on this model.

    Many of the smaller three in ones are very limited in what they can do. But Shoptask sells a very good one for the money. And I can't believe I've had mine almost nine years now! It still holds a tolerance to .001". It's done great by me for the $1800 it cost!

    (Edited for spelling!)
    "Sidecarnutz"
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  3. #23
    Gunco Member 10mm's Avatar
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    Looking at the pic of that Grizzly combo machine indicates that the mill has a round column. The pic was too small to see how you rotate the mill out of the way, but if you rotate the head on the column to get it out of the way then you will need to re-tram the mill head everytime you use it after it has been moved. That will be a big PITA quickly. The round column mill/drill machines are less rigid than a knee mill.

    I have an Enco Benchtop Knee Mill that I got for about a grand delivered. It's about a $2400 machine new. It is no bridgeport but it works well for the light gunsmithing work I ask of it. I bought it when I had no garage and limited space. Now I have a two car garage devoted to my hobbies so I could fit a bridgeport in there so maybe one day. I myself am working on getting a lathe. I'm looking at old American iron as every gunsmith I have talked to says that for the price of a new import you can get a not worn out American machine. They also say that the bigger the better and if you are going to do rifle barrels to get a least a 36".

    There was a brand, Birmingham I think, that is supposed to be decent. It looked like a Grizzly mill to me only blue instead of green.

  4. #24
    Gunco Veteran AK Builder FloridaAKM's Avatar
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    I hope that you enjoy using your Grizzly mini mill as much as I have mine. It fried the speed control board after the first 6 weeks, but tech support sent me another one free including shipping. I installed it easily. It is great for building AK related projects and other items around the work shop. Check out littlemachineshop.com for tooling in Ca.
    The 9 x 19 lathe can't do reverse threads, so I am holding out for the 12 x 36 later this spring. Grizzly is good stuff unless you are building the space shuttle which I am not. Enjoy your metal working as you can never have enough tooling.
    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom2U
    I'm new to this but from what I've read, I can't argue with anything posted on this topic. I recently bought what I was able to, a Grizzly 9 X 19 and their mini-mill. I choose Grizzly over Harbor Freight because a 4 jaw chuck was included. Of course like everyone else I would like bigger stuff, but my workshop is quite small and weight was a factor too. The lathe had a shipping weight of 300 lbs. , but uncrated I suspect it weighs about the same as H.F.s' - 230 lbs. Anyway, it's small enough I could move it and place it by myself. Both machines were delivered for just under $1500.

    "If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?" - Sarah Palin
    New Member of the Busted Box Club

  5. #25
    Self-Proclaimed Armorer bloodsport2885's Avatar
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    Any opinions on this lathe? I know the measurements arent always exact on the HF lathes, but a 20" gives you pretty good leeway to turn barrels and such I would think?

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=45861

  6. #26
    Gunco Member Freedom2U's Avatar
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    As I said , I'm new to this machinery, so please explain why it has been said this Grizzly 9 X 19 lathe is incapable of reverse threads. I've not gotten to threading yet but I thought you could just put the chuck and crossfeed in reverse. I guess I better check this out. If this is the case,.. guess I'll just get a die for AK muzzle threads.
    Freedom2U - GOA, TFA ,NRA.

  7. #27
    Unclear Engineer ozzy the nuke's Avatar
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    To cut reverse threads you keep the chuck rotating the same direction but reverse the direction of travel. I hadnt noticed it before, but the 9x20 doesnt have a reversing gear. So the lead screw cant be made to run in reverse and therefore the direction of travel can not be reversed. Being able to reverse directions is handy for a number of things, not just thread cutting. That is something to seriously think about before buying this lathe.

    Here is an interesting site. http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_lathe...sions_9x20.htm
    Last edited by ozzy the nuke; 01-26-2006 at 11:18 PM.
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  8. #28
    Gunco Veteran AK Builder FloridaAKM's Avatar
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    That is the reason that I am not putting out the bucks on the 9 x 20 lathe. The next up size is the 4003 (12 x36) which is a gear head lathe with the ability to cut reverse threads( ++++++). It seems that the Chinese just upsized the smaller lathes without thought about additional features that are a must for any machinist. You can do an upgrade to fix the problem if you are a good machinist, but I will just pay the bucks upfront as I don't want to redesign a machine that I just bought. I am cheap, but not young and have plenty of time on my hands.
    Quote Originally Posted by ozzy the nuke
    To cut reverse threads you keep the chuck rotating the same direction but reverse the direction of travel. I hadnt noticed it before, but the 9x20 doesnt have a reversing gear. So the lead screw cant be made to run in reverse and therefore the direction of travel can not be reversed. Being able to reverse directions is handy for a number of things, not just thread cutting. That is something to seriously think about before buying this lathe.

    Here is an interesting site. http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_lathe...sions_9x20.htm

    "If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?" - Sarah Palin
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  9. #29
    Gunco Member Freedom2U's Avatar
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    After checking it out,I see what you mean. It looks like the only way to do it would be to turn the cutter upside down and cut from left to right instead of right to left. This would require adding additional cut depth after the pass is started. A little trickier but possible I think. Would definitely be more of a complication for internal threads. I'm not going to worry about it till I master right hand threads. That seems tricky in itself, given the minimum speed of the lathe. I wonder if adding an electronic type speed controller might be an advantage.
    Freedom2U - GOA, TFA ,NRA.

  10. #30
    Gunco Member Freedom2U's Avatar
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    I was wrong about my ideas ! No matter what I've tried,.. everything turns out right handed. There is only one solution,.. another gear must be introduced into the drive train to reverse the acme threaded shaft.
    Freedom2U - GOA, TFA ,NRA.

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