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Posted: 3/28/2009 8:34:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2009 8:30:38 PM EDT by COMMAND450]
I like to build my own tools out of scrap steel and happen to have a garage set up with a bunch of auto repair equipment. I built all my AKM's and bulgys with homemade tools in the past. so.....rather than just buying a barrel wrench and a special reciever block, I decided to try and figure out a way of doing the job with what tools I have and making my own barrel wrench out of scrap.

I soon discovered that a flat top upper could be held with wood blocks in my 20 ton press(could use a vise too) the key was to put the oak blocks on the top and inbetween the pivit pins so they dont get smashed into the steel upper and lower press plates. two layers of tape is also put on the blocks to help bite into the recievers edges and hold it even more steady.ofcourse you dont want to over do it with the 20 ton press and wreck the upper. once its set,the beauty of this set up is, it is held tight....very tight. there is no chance of it moving now and its held perfectly safe, for the barrel install.

My new homemade barrel wrench has a nut welded on it for the torque wrench. the steel stock was cut out with a die grinder, and before that I used a barrel nut to mark spots for the 3 pins(which were made out of a section of hardened steel rod) next it was put in the drill press and holes were drilled out, three pieces of the rod was cut then slipped through the holes and welded in place on the back side of the tool. once filed and fitted the whole tool was heat treated.

I geased up the barrel and nut, slipped it all together and torqued it to about 40 Lbs, and she lined up perfect !! now I got my brand new bushy M4 profile barrel on a brand new T-marked flat top upper,M4 cuts and all.

worked like a champ, and cost me 0 to do






Link Posted: 3/28/2009 7:25:49 PM EDT
Not bad, McGyver! Now see if you can come up with a homemade mechanical boresighter that compensates for scope height and barrel length......

Seriously, good job!
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:59:37 AM EDT
Great job, welcome to the club.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 8:40:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 8:58:14 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:07:31 AM EDT
add more teeth to the wrench.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:16:32 AM EDT
I've done the wood block method without damaging my receiver. If anything snaps clamping it like you have it will be the thin piece of metal under the ejection port. I noticed that clamping the reciever this way actually allows the receiver to torque a bit. keep an eye on that and don't turn your torque wrench too much. If you have the barrel torqued down and you can not align the gas tube, do nott reef on the barrel nut. It is better to get .001 barrel shims. 1 .001" shim will move the barrel nut 1/3 a hole counter clock wise. 2 shims will move it 2/3.

Your next tool might be a jig for centering the front sight base in preparation for drilling set screw detents or taper pins.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 11:11:15 AM EDT
Thanks for the warm welcome and all the input.

a couple of points I would like to mention.

Keep in mind the heavy plates above and below, are distributing the pressure equally across the wood blocks. the press is the key. the layers of tape, not only protect the finish but also cushion it as the reciever bites into the wood,creating indentations in the block,which really helps hold it even better. the solid oak works great, maple might be too hard.. the key is setting the press right, like some of you noted to loose and its going to slip, to tight could turn into a nightmare.

also where you position the torque wrench makes a difference. at 12,9, and 6 o'clock you will be pulling on it ,in a unbalanced motion. when you position the wrench at 3 o'clock, its right at waist level, and allows you to hold it steady with a nice firm,downward push.

I had it nice and tight, and when it was torqued, nothing moved at all on it.the upper looks perfect.patiently setting it up is a must and I would say it you have a press and are experienced with it, this is a great way to go. I am getting ready to do another one,as soon as I get the upper in the mail.

The shim idea sounds great to me, especially if you have it torqued up to 50 lbs and it still needs to move to the next notch to line up. super clean threads and good grease, make a big difference.

thanks again,
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 12:18:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2009 12:19:33 PM EDT by beavo451]
Originally Posted By COMMAND450:
the press is the key.



I would say not really..... The key is to prevent the receiver from breaking due to lack of support. It seems that you did not have a piece to fill the void inside the upper receiver. You also had no support for the sides of the receiver. Without support from the inside, the receiver is liable to flex and crack due to the torqueing of the barrel nut. Your receiver would crack like this guy's did.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 12:23:34 PM EDT
oak softer than maple????
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 1:07:54 PM EDT
What about clamping the barrel and torquing it down that way?

Drill a hole slightly smaller than barrel diameter in a block of wood and sawing it in half, then clamping the blocks around the barrel? Would that allow you to effectively torque the barrel nut to the upper receiver without breaking anything?
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 1:56:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2009 8:36:44 PM EDT by COMMAND450]
Originally Posted By beavo451:
Originally Posted By COMMAND450:
the press is the key.



I would say not really..... The key is to prevent the receiver from breaking due to lack of support. It seems that you did not have a piece to fill the void inside the upper receiver. You also had no support for the sides of the receiver. Without support from the inside, the receiver is liable to flex and crack due to the torqueing of the barrel nut. Your receiver would crack like this guy's did.



I appreciate the concern, but......


that set up that the guy used was in a vice and was some totally different set up, not even close to this rig. the press and the steel plates are much more balanced then a vise rig is going to be. the pic that I posted is after the upper and barrel was installed, like I said ,nothing moved at all and it was torqued to 40-45 lbs. the reciever is perfect.

the entire rig did not budge one bit. the oak has imprint in it the bottom edges were held and the top piece has the rail marks, because you want enough bite, so nothing moves.

again, I would say its not for everybody. If you own a press,have the experience with using one and you take the time and set it up right, it will work like a champ


Link Posted: 3/29/2009 2:07:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By xenith:
oak softer than maple????



yes, they dont make butcher blocks out of oak.....

the oak seemed to be the right hardness where it allowed just a little "sinking in"
thus along with the tape, wont let the edges slide out.

Link Posted: 3/29/2009 2:19:43 PM EDT
Nice job.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 2:42:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By COMMAND450:


I appreciate the concern, but......



I used that thread because it had a picture that shows where the receiver will crack. I did not say that he did the same thing. Manufacturers used to make "clam shell" vice blocks that are simliar in concept to what you are doing. They were a piece of plastic that surrounded the whole upper receiver. Receivers would crack. The clam shell blocks now come with a center insert for the upper receiver for additional support.

I know that you are proud of yourself for your success, as you should be. The dedicated tools are made a certain way for a reason and I'm trying to point out that reason to you.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:04:26 PM EDT
Originally Posted By QUIB:
Good job on the wrench!

I’m not quite sure about the DIY wooden vice block. There have been quite a few guys on here who have damaged or destroyed their receivers by passing up the purchase of a factory receiver vice block and trying to build their own.

If you read through the BIY forum you might find some of those threads.


The wrench looks great. No need to dump high dollars if you can build one yourself. But, you have to put part of the vise block inside the upper to keep it from collapsing an deforming. The outer part of the vise block is the same size as the outside of your upper. The two together keep you from twisting and deforming your upper when you torque your barrel nut. If you got it torqued and you didn't damage your upper then congrats. But, if you have problems later with your BCG binding up or a significant short stroke problem, it might be because your upper (which is alluminum) was deformed while torquing your barrel nut. Just letting ya know. It's worth the 40 bucks for the vise block. Good job on the wrench though.

Link Posted: 3/30/2009 12:02:36 AM EDT
kudos to you on the diy part but just saying the same GI wrench can be had for about 5 dollars with more features for torqing the flash hider and the buffer tube as well as bbl install. the point of the DIY is getting around expensive out of the way building obstacles like a 200-300 dollar flat bender for my ak flats or just do what i did is the poor mans jig for 40 bucks at home depot. made about 6 beautiful aks with it and still going strong. just seems like too much work doing the wrench when i just bought one at sarco for 5 bucks.

the press is cool, ill give you credit for that since im sure the rec. blocks are not cheap for such a barely ever used simple function.
Link Posted: 3/30/2009 2:42:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2009 2:45:00 AM EDT by QUIB]
Link Posted: 3/30/2009 3:27:38 AM EDT
a job well done
Link Posted: 3/30/2009 5:26:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2009 6:17:47 AM EDT by COMMAND450]
Originally Posted By muffin:
kudos to you on the diy part but just saying the same GI wrench can be had for about 5 dollars with more features for torqing the flash hider and the buffer tube as well as bbl install. the point of the DIY is getting around expensive out of the way building obstacles like a 200-300 dollar flat bender for my ak flats or just do what i did is the poor mans jig for 40 bucks at home depot. made about 6 beautiful aks with it and still going strong. just seems like too much work doing the wrench when i just bought one at sarco for 5 bucks.

the press is cool, ill give you credit for that since im sure the rec. blocks are not cheap for such a barely ever used simple function.




I understand the concern by some, I had fun doing it and keep in mind it was done for the challenge. saving money had nothing to do with it. thank you all for the comments.

I agree that most should just buy the tool, but like I said.......mine turned out perfect, and the second pic shows it. not one single scratch,bend, or crack. the big heavy plates made it happen, by equally distributing the pressure across the oak blocks and the press is much more stable than a vice,big difference.


I will being doing another NIB T-marked keyhole upper, that is going on a new gorgeous 20" colt barrel.


I do know what you mean when it comes to the AK platform,built about 6 too...........a much more complicated tool build and overall weapon build. building AK's is a blast !



this rig was made from srap too!!












Link Posted: 3/30/2009 5:54:56 AM EDT
Hey, that's a left-handed wrench...
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