I received the new flat bending jig that dph arms is going to be selling soon, for testing and to review.
I received it yesterday and my initial impression of the jig is that it is well built and well thought out. Today was my first chance to be able to test out the jig to see how it works, ease of operation, consistency, etc. I found that the directions sent for the jig were well written and concise, also that it pays to read the directions fully before being in a hurry to get started. After reading the directions I loosened the side bolts (but didn?t remove them) and also removed the bolts on the bottom plate. Removing the bottom plate reveals that there are two pins that are in place for the two alignment holes on the bottom of the tapco flats. These two pins make it so that there is no measuring involved with finding the centerline.
After the flat is on the alignment pins then the bottom piece with the flat is put onto the center piece. There is even a recessed area on the center piece for the part at the front of the magwell that angles up.
The bolts are then put through the bottom and threaded into the center piece. After these 5 bolts are snugged tight, then the bolts on the side pieces are tightened down (4 bolts) after the side pieces are inspected to make sure they are flush with the flat. I used some wheel bearing grease along the edge where the bottom bends will be to help give some lubrication for the upcoming bends. The outer box of the jig is very smooth inside (it is flycut). After aligning the flat and centerpiece with the outer box of the jig on the press, it was just a simple matter of using the press to mash the flat down into the outer box of the jig.
To help insure that everything was going in easily (plus the fact that I am particular about how I do things) I did stop about halfway and readjust the jig so that everything was even. There are stops inside the outer jig box so that the flat isn?t pressed in to far, and it makes for a nice stop so that one knows when to stop pressing and also the blocks help to keep the jig even (seeing that an AK receiver is tapered slightly). I released pressure on the press and moved the whole jig into my vise. From there I used a few different style hammers to see what worked best for me. I tried a rubber mallet, a 4lb. deadblow hammer, and finally realized that for me I preferred a 3lb hammer and a small bucking bar. After the top rails were bent over, The flat and center section was removed from the outer jig box.
The bolts on the bottom were removed, then the bolts on the sides were removed and the center piece slid out allowing the two sides to collapse in for ease of removal.
I found that this jig is consistent (I have bent three flats total with this jig so far) and that it is easy to use. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being difficult and 10 being easy, I feel that this jig rates an 8-9. On my third flat bent I was feeling comfortable with the workings of the jig and from the start of the process until the flat came out of the jig completely bent was around 10 minutes. For those not sure of their mechanical skills, I feel this jig would be easy to use and wouldn?t pose a problem for those wanting to build an AK type rifle using a receiver flat. For those thinking of wondering if the FCG holes line up, I put a FCG into the receiver and installed the pins with no problems with alignment.
The rest of the holes appear to line up as well.
DPH arms is going to be selling these jigs soon as there is a run of these jigs being made in the shop now. From what I have been told the jigs being made now will have symmetrical sides so where the bolts attach on the sides there won't be a step to the bolt holes - but the taper will follow the center piece along the whole edge. When these are ready the jigs will be posted in the classifieds section of the board.
Also on a side note, This is similar in design to other jigs out there now, but from what I can see there are some improvements on the jig that DPH arms is going to sell. The designer of the dph arms jig (who would like to remain anonymous) has the following to say, "I would like to thank fellow members for posting ideas like brake bending, vise bending, etching, laser cut, roderuscustom, 555th, I even saw a 4 X 4 front spindle dropped onto a box to bend one, as well as some other high priced offerings found on the net! For inspiring me to make my own".
Some quick pictures of one of the flats bent.
next to a vulcan receiver for comparison: