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Posted: 1/21/2013 1:27:42 PM EDT
If one was to purchase a little hobby CNC mill, how difficult would it be to make your own mags?  

I used the old mills (manual) in shop class in HS.  That was back in 1991 when I graduated.

I would imagine the hardest part to make would be the springs.  Can you still find springs for AR and AK mags?  

Just pondering the choices for someone who didn't have enough AK mags when this latest shitstorm went down.  I have 30 AR mags, but only 5 AK 30 rounders and 2 40 rounders.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:32:53 PM EDT
[#1]
I think they'd be easier made by stamping than milling.



Or 3d printing




Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:34:49 PM EDT
[#2]
All the cool kids are now using 3d printers to make their own magazines.

Well, they are working on it, anyway.  Apparently with some success,

It is not easy, no matter whether you use the new 3d printers, or older conventional means.

Not saying it can't be done, but it's not easy.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:34:53 PM EDT
[#3]
It's not worth the effort unless you can justify $200-$500 per mag. You're better off getting a part time job at McD's and buying mags.

I've done it once, and that was using a pre-existing 20 rd mag and modifying it to work in a bolt action. It still took me a pretty long time. I tried to make one from scratch and gave up after about 20 hours.

A mill really won't do you any good by itself since you need to mill the stamping dies then have a press large enough to stamp the body. And even if you make one that 'looks right' you can still have major feeding issues like all the cheap mags do.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:36:11 PM EDT
[#4]
Sounds like a real expensive way to make magazines that are normally produced as spot welded assemblies of metal stampings and springs.

This doesn't sound very practical and I'm not sure you'd get something that would be durable and reliable since CNC milling, stamping, and spring making are all very different processes.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:37:03 PM EDT
[#5]
It's not worth it unless you're doing tens of thousands.

I tried to estimate the materials cost for doing polymer mags on a 3D printer and it seemed to be about $15 each, if the spring was the only finished part you bought. Without buying in bulk, the cost of material is just too high. And then you have to consider the cost of your equipment and time to setup/train/run it.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:43:43 PM EDT
[#6]
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:48:42 PM EDT
[#7]
Seems like it would be easier to make plastic ones with a mold.  I don't think they would need to be injection molded  You could use 10 rounders for the top and feed lips.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:51:38 PM EDT
[#8]
Quoted:
Seems like it would be a pretty straight forward process with a press brake and a spot welder, but I'd imagine it would take the layman quite a bit of trial and error before he could produce mags that function reliably.


If a magazine ban were to take place i suspect there will be a bending jig and flats available within months.


Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:53:56 PM EDT
[#9]
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 1:55:59 PM EDT
[#10]
Quoted:
They are sheet metal and springs, they wouldn't be that hard to make.


And yet, there are so many shitty mags on the market.

Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:10:45 PM EDT
[#11]
There's a metric blueprint for 20rd mags floating around the Internet.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:14:10 PM EDT
[#12]
Quoted:
They are sheet metal and springs, they wouldn't be that hard to make.

Many here seem to find such things to be a sort of voodo or witchcraft, but working on sheetmetal is really pretty easy with a little practice.


Seems like it would be harder then assembling an AR but easier then building an AK from a flat.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:15:29 PM EDT
[#13]
what about the spring? how would you make it correctly?
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:20:05 PM EDT
[#14]
Ask Sanchez or Cooper.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:20:43 PM EDT
[#15]
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:22:22 PM EDT
[#16]
Why would we know? Your guess is as good as anyone.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:23:27 PM EDT
[#17]



Quoted:





Quoted:

what about the spring? how would you make it correctly?


Wire, heat and something to bend it with while it is hot.



Once again, we are talking about simple stuff. Without tools and close tolerance processes the results aren't going to be mags that work flawlessly for sixty years in third world armies, but they would work well enough, for long enough.

 


Springs are wound cold.  All heat treatment is done to the wire before it is bent.





 
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:29:12 PM EDT
[#18]
Here's 30rd prints. Somebody already hit the SAP button.

http://www.firearmfiles.com/files/AR15/11793442-Magazine-Blueprint.pdf
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:45:39 PM EDT
[#19]
If somehow magazine bodies are banned, someone out there should just sell the mag body halves. What you do with them is your problem.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:58:01 PM EDT
[#20]
Bending sheet metal is not that hard.  I've never had any luck welding Aluminum but it could be done. Springs could be found and cut to the right length.  


To me the followers are going to be a PITA  because those are purpose built items that you could not hide as other purchases i.e. aluminum stock spring stock etc.  and would be hard to fab at home.  However, 3d printing might be a viable option for the followers, I don't know enough about that technology.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 2:58:56 PM EDT
[#21]
I'm curious why it can't be done with a jig and sheeted aluminum, sort of like a AK receiver.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:06:01 PM EDT
[#22]
I'm curious why you didn't buy some when they were cheap and available.  They will be again, but next time don't mess around.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:10:26 PM EDT
[#23]
Quoted:
I'm curious why it can't be done with a jig and sheeted aluminum, sort of like a AK receiver.


Stamping dies.   That's how they've been made forever, I think.

I think someone with a decent mill and alot of patience could probably make some workable dies that they could use to make their own mag bodies out of aluminum sheet.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:11:41 PM EDT
[#24]
Quoted:
Quoted:
I'm curious why it can't be done with a jig and sheeted aluminum, sort of like a AK receiver.


Stamping dies.   That's how they've been made forever, I think.

I think someone with a decent mill and alot of patience could probably make some workable dies that they could use to make their own mag bodies out of aluminum sheet.


You're right.

Additionally, i've been working on a way to produce AR lowers in such a way a guy could produce them at home with very basic materials (drill press and a few similar things) and I'm almost certain that the method could be applied to magazines too.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:15:27 PM EDT
[#25]
Injection molding?   There was a Gingery book about converting a drill press into an injection molder that looked interesting, but the capacity seemed pretty low.  Like an ounce and an eighth or something.  Not nearly enough to do mags.

Plus you'd have to make your molds.  And that takes some serious precision milling.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:21:17 PM EDT
[#26]
Quoted:
Injection molding?   There was a Gingery book about converting a drill press into an injection molder that looked interesting, but the capacity seemed pretty low.  Like an ounce and an eighth or something.  Not nearly enough to do mags.

Plus you'd have to make your molds.  And that takes some serious precision milling.


There's a process I've been researching that is extremely close to injection molding, but cheaper and *can* utilize plastic hybrids that are much stronger than the best polymers. One had a tensile strength of nearly 40,000psi.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:22:35 PM EDT
[#27]
But  you can make the mandrel to form mag with press
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:26:22 PM EDT
[#28]
I think it would be easier to tig weld 10rd mags together end to end. Cut off feedlips and mag tabs, weld another mag on the bottom etc
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:46:09 PM EDT
[#29]
Quoted:
I'm curious why you didn't buy some when they were cheap and available.  They will be again, but next time don't mess around.


It never hurts to develop skills, son.

I've got a shitload and am interested.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:52:37 PM EDT
[#30]
Sometimes it's not hard

http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?/topic/49723-i-made-a-15-round-steel-mag/?fromsearch=1
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 3:57:42 PM EDT
[#31]
A bit of tool and die knowhow, access to a decent cnc mill and the right amount of steel, and you can pretty easily make your own. Followers are also very easily cnc machined, and springs are just tempered steel wire. You could do straight mags (20 rounders) easily with a brake and a spot welder. Lots of ways to approach it, and certainly doable by people with the necessary skills.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:55:15 PM EDT
[#32]
I don't think it would be very hard.  I doubt the cost to produce would ever dip below pre-panic prices but in this market and climate it might not be a bad project.  I have had to do similar things w/ my job.  If I couldn't get an english drawing I would take a quality magazine, bend the base plate tabs out of the way, add a release agent, and fill w/ resin.  Once set remove the resin and give it to a tool and die machinist to make the dies for each mag half.  A jig will have to be made for the spot weld process but that wouldn't be hard either.  I would have to do some research on spring manufacturing but I doubt that will be hard either and would probably be handled w/ a jig of some sort.  The follower would be reverse engineered just like the mag.  I don't know if it would be better to machine one or create a mold and pour your own.  This is intriguing and I believe do-able.  Once I get a few other projects out of the way I think I will attempt this.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:02:23 PM EDT
[#33]
Quoted:
A bit of tool and die knowhow, access to a decent cnc mill and the right amount of steel, and you can pretty easily make your own. Followers are also very easily cnc machined, and springs are just tempered steel wire. You could do straight mags (20 rounders) easily with a brake and a spot welder. Lots of ways to approach it, and certainly doable by people with the necessary skills.


lol, yes that's how mags are currently made. lol

Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:05:55 PM EDT
[#34]
All my 3d printer websites have removed these plans besides one.. If you buy a 300 dollar 3d printer you can print your own 30 round mags.


3D printed 30 round mags


Enjoy
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:23:03 PM EDT
[#35]
Quoted:
Quoted:
They are sheet metal and springs, they wouldn't be that hard to make.


And yet, there are so many shitty mags on the market.



Because it's really not that easy.  I'm in the business of high volume metal stampings and assemblies.  We make several high volume assemblies that take nearly the exact same process as manufacturing a magazine.  It's not a simple thing to keep all the processes required to make a magazine in control and repeatable for hundreds of thousands of units.
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