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Thread: Got a Mini Mill but I need help...

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    Gunco Member EXPcustom's Avatar
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    Default Got a Mini Mill but I need help...

    As in I need help in what stuff I should buy for it, like bits and I got a nice cross slide vice.
    What I need to know is what bits are good for:
    Cutting a top rail in a AK receiver I have the jig from AK builder.
    Cutting magwells into 80% prebent AK/RPK flats.
    Milling out the inside of 80% ar15 receivers. Also buffer tubes...
    General 4130 milling as I want to practice on bar stock cutting milled type receivers for my Russian kits and my VZ58s.

    I got the Harbor Freight Central Machinery Mini Mill on sale but it normally sells for 469.99
    So what bits and things do I need my only shop experience is with a drill press, dremel and hydralic press so I am a hobbyist.

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    GuncoHolic kernelkrink's Avatar
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    Almost any plain end mill bit will work for cutting out flat openings and rails. Carbide will last longer wear wise, but snap easily if too much force is applied. A center cutting type will plunge cut which is what you need for your AR15 and steel barstock projects. I would get several in all the sizes available, up to what your machine will handle. You are about to discover that the cost of the mill is the cheap part, the tooling is a never ending expense and soon surpasses the cost of the mill. If you are on a budget, the 1/4" and 3/8" sizes are the ones I use the most. That is a good start and you can add to those as you need them.

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    Always sore, always tired Bradrock's Avatar
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    I watch Ebay for box lot type deals on mill bits and reamers and such. I recently bought 20 pounds of re-sharpened end mills in the wax coating for $20.00. I picked out what I thought I would use and re-listed & sold the rest for more than what I paid for the whole batch. The Kernels right though. I don't know why, But I can't stop! I just won 180 different milling cutters for my horizontal mill yesterday! You just never know what you might need someday, So I want a BIG variety!!--
    ++++++
    " Save a tree...........Eat A Beaver!"

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    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    Post a link to the mill you got and then a report when you get a chance to use it.

    Bradrock is right, watch Ebay for bits, I got a set of 30 for like $25 shipped. They look new and the guy said he got them in a grap box at an estate auction and has no use for them.

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    That's the exact rig I use! Here's what I recommend:

    - Spend some time on mini-lathe.com's Milling section. Clean and true it up.

    - Spend some time on littlemachineshop.com (aka LMS). Avoid the urge to buy one of everything

    My list of requisite items:

    - Heavy duty bed locking screws. The German ones. You'll know why soon enough.

    - The LMS milling "starter kit". Worth the dough. Includes the clamping kit, edge finder, and parallels.

    - The LMS collet set. Get the 6-pack set, the 3-pack isn't enough IMO.

    - A good milling vise. Expect to spend about $100-150. Convenient and sturdy.

    - The $50-60 end mill set from LMS. Yes, cheap Chinese cutters, but they do work for any standard work. They will dull easily against hardened tool steel, but if you break one during the first 40 hours while you are "practicing", you won't be hurting too bad. I'm on my 2nd set... these are expendable in my book.

    - Buy the "good" cutters one by one so you don't break the bank.

    - A good, heavy table to bolt the mill down. A heavy table reduces vibrations and chatter.

    - Buy some aluminum square bar to play with. Practice on soft metals to avoid breaking mills. Trust me on this one...

    Also, read the Army Machinist web documents. The site is no longer public, but copies are available on machinist sites. I think machinist.com, let me check on that.
    Gunco Member #10

    http://pookieweb.net


    The "original" Boltcutter Rivet Squeezers:
    http://pookieweb.net/AK/rivet/boltcutters/boltcutter.htm


    Project Pink - the Pink and Blue AK-74:
    http://pookieweb.net/pink/pink.htm

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    Gunco Member EXPcustom's Avatar
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    Great I will be ordering stuff this week, I know it will take some time but I do want to crank out some receivers for my vz61/ vz58 and my milled AK kits, so if I get the aluminum down I can then move up to 4130...sounds good.

    This is the mill I got BTW...
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=44991

    What is a good place to buy bar stock or just scrap steel/aluminum?

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    Always sore, always tired Bradrock's Avatar
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    I also buy most all of my 4130,4140 & Alum. barstock On Ebay. I'm in a VERY rural area with no local sources. The price of gas makes up for shipping costs for me.This is one guy I buy from:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...0125&rd=1&rd=1


    Buy this item & you could make the proverbial toothpick out of a 2 x 4 !!
    " Save a tree...........Eat A Beaver!"

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    Always sore, always tired Bradrock's Avatar
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    Here's another place I buy from:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...0703&rd=1&rd=1


    You could whittle something cool out of this piece!
    " Save a tree...........Eat A Beaver!"

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    No Hope For Me Coils's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link EXP.

    What is a good place to buy bar stock or just scrap steel/aluminum?
    If you got a scrap yard near you give then a try, most places sell it by the pound at scrap price, this would most likely be the cheapest for practicing on.

  10. #10
    Gunco Member lima's Avatar
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    +1 on E-bay lots and hcpookie's list of items - especialy the clamping kit. I would add that some measuring device like a dial indicator or dial test indicator are essential for setting up the table and your work accurately. Instead of collets, I purchased a set of 8 new import end mill holders on E-bay for like $70. These make for quicker tool changes.

    When you get the machine aside from cleaning off the red goo, you will need to Tram the mill and adjust the X, Y and Z axis gibb. It's all in this very informative doc from LMS...

    http://www.littlemachineshop.com/Inf...UsersGuide.pdf

    When operating the machine, the only thing to add is "measure twice, cut once" and be patient - don't try to cut at a faster speed or more material than the combo of the tool and work can handle. You will find that the proper setup of your work is 80% of the job.

    For project steel, I have have been pleased buying new 4130 stock from both of these places:
    http://www.aircraftspruce.com/
    http://www.wicksaircraft.com/

    When E-bay does not have what you need I have had good experiences with this place. They have a great selection of end mills, dial test indicators and other pro/hobby machine shop supplies.
    http://www.victornet.com

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