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Posted: 1/23/2006 5:36:58 PM EDT
Okay so I was at harbor freight the other day and I saw some not too expensive lathes and stuff. I thought perhaps I could make a few simple gun parts, muzzle break, Thread my barrell, suppressor, etc. Does anybody here know anything about these machines. Can they do the above mentioned stuff? Any of them? Even if you are not familiar with Harbor Frieght, how much might an inexpensive machine cost that could do the above stuff?

I know this is only slightly AR15 related but I know many here would be interested if they could buy a lathe or whatever its called that could thread their barrel or build them a break or suppressor. And lets be honest the board could use a little change of pace.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 5:42:30 PM EDT
I already have a lathe and stuff, but never from HF. Next time you go in to HF, walk over to the lathe and grab the carraige with both hands. The carraige is the part that moves laft to right and has the handwheels mounted on it. Then try to move that carraige from left to right.....bounce it back and forth.

See how much it moves? You will fight that slop in EVERY lathe operation you do.

Those machines are made to tolerances of an eight of an inch, not thousanths of an inch like you need fro machining.

Grizzly tools are better, Jet tools are a very good value. Used machine tools sell pretty cheaply these days. Google is your friend... look for used machine tools.


efxguy
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 5:49:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By efxguy:
I already have a lathe and stuff, but never from HF. Next time you go in to HF, walk over to the lathe and grab the carraige with both hands. The carraige is the part that moves laft to right and has the handwheels mounted on it. Then try to move that carraige from left to right.....bounce it back and forth.

See how much it moves? You will fight that slop in EVERY lathe operation you do.

Those machines are made to tolerances of an eight of an inch, not thousanths of an inch like you need fro machining.

Grizzly tools are better, Jet tools are a very good value. Used machine tools sell pretty cheaply these days. Google is your friend... look for used machine tools.


efxguy



Yup.

I've got the grizzly mini-mill and will be picking up their mini metal lathe early next month - its good enough for what I want to do, but the grizzly stuff is about as low-quality as I'd go for machine tools.

I just don't have the space (or a way to move) larger tools, nor a three-phase supply to run them. That'll be later when I actually own my own place and get around to building my dream shop
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 5:50:20 PM EDT
All the machines that harbor freight sells are made in China. None appear to be of exceptional quality. I have never run one so my observation is based on the looks in the showroom. (I have a Harbor Freight store 3 miles away). Many of the handles are broken. There is a micro lathe made in the US by TAIG Tools. Looks to be of good quality. They start at $413.00 so they aare not very expensive.

I'd rather work on a smaller precision machine than a large clunky one. Good Luck.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 6:39:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BigHitter:
There is a micro lathe made in the US by TAIG Tools. Looks to be of good quality. They start at $413.00 so they are not very expensive.


I looked at the TAIG lathes and mills as well. They look like that would be the way to go. I've never actually used one. I used to have a link to site that graded the various mini mills and lathes. Let me see if I can find it again..................
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 6:43:55 PM EDT
This might be the link- www.mini-lathe.com/Links.htm
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 6:47:18 PM EDT
can you thread a barrel, cut a chamber etc on a mini lathe or would you just use it for small parts like muzzel breaks or flash suppressors?
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 6:47:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/23/2006 6:48:23 PM EDT by Milldude]
OOPS!!! Double tap
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 10:13:40 PM EDT
the grizzley mini mill is the same one harbor freight and homier both sell only for more money. I am not sure about the 7x12 lathes but the mini's are made in the same plant somewhere in asia, the company is seig. here is a link to more info
http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/Versions/versions.htm
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 4:07:19 AM EDT
Harbor Freight is a great place to pick up hammers, punches, and anvils. However you get what you pay for when it comes to equipment. Knowing that you are trying to thread typical firearm parts (generally fine-thread), it is going to be tough to keep your runout to a minimum while tring to thread anything with a cheap lathe. Not to mention that the smaller lathes only have a short distance between centers (10" or so), and make it very tough to turn something like a threaded barrel as you mention. The smaller lathes would be perfect for flashiders, with the ability to do mostly hand tapping for an inexperienced individual. My recommendation would be to pick up some machining handbooks, or take a maching course or two at your local technical school or community college.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 4:26:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 4:28:22 AM EDT by comp1911]
I have the mini mill.

I've used it to drill FSB holes in barrels, fitting 1911 bushings, misc, parts modifications but it mostly gets used as a weight to hold the vise. Lately it gets used as a lathe more then a mill, as long as the part fits in a collet.

I started a 0% lower on it but got impatient and screwed up.

Link Posted: 1/24/2006 6:28:57 PM EDT
Wow I did not even think I would get any responses, Thanks!!!

What functions can a lathe perform?
What functions can a Mill perform?
Muzzle Break?
Suppressor?
Flash hider?
Barrel Threading?
Which does which?

To do angled holes do I have to own a mill that can rotate?

In case it matters these parts would be for a .50 Beowulf upper.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 8:13:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SHOWBOAT-HK:
Wow I did not even think I would get any responses, Thanks!!!

What functions can a lathe perform?
What functions can a Mill perform?
Muzzle Break?
Suppressor?
Flash hider?
Barrel Threading?
Which does which?

To do angled holes do I have to own a mill that can rotate?

In case it matters these parts would be for a .50 Beowulf upper.hr



A lathe usually rotates the piece and "shaves" off material...

A mill is used to cut stuff and remove material from stationary items while the bit spins...

You could use a lathe on a piece of round bar stock metal to make a suppressor tube... A mill to bore out the suppressor tube... a lathe to make the end caps...

You couldnt make a vortex flash hider with a basic lathe or mill... unless you have insane eye hand coordination... Probably best left to CNC Machining
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 8:34:11 PM EDT
I have the HF mini-mill. It has served me well... I have made several AR15s, AR10s, AK47s, and 1911s.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 8:58:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By h_2_o:
the grizzley mini mill is the same one harbor freight and homier both sell only for more money. I am not sure about the 7x12 lathes but the mini's are made in the same plant somewhere in asia, the company is seig. here is a link to more info
http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/Versions/versions.htm



They're very similar, yes. The grizzly esamples that I've seen have been consistantly higher-quality than the harbor freight. They're not Southbend lathes, but they get the job done.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 6:59:33 AM EDT
They all do come from the same factory in China. I happen to work at a competitor of Homier and Harbor Freight - Cummins Tools. You can see them at www.cumminstools.com and they are also listed on ebay. The lathe and mini mill online are $399 each and the starting bid on ebay (with no reserve) is a little cheaper. Only problem is shipping costs. As always, there are different levels of quality, but there is also a thing called volume discount, which is the difference in pricing. Let me know if any of you guys need any more info. I'd be glad to help as this forum has helped me greatly!

Link Posted: 1/25/2006 9:39:43 AM EDT
I use HF for a bunch of stuff.... however, I consider all HF machines as "kits". I buy them, tear them down and inspect/replace/repair all tolerance and moving parts. For the price, it really works out well.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 10:33:57 AM EDT
if you are interested in the mill or the lathe keep an eye out for a "homeier" tent in your area. often they roam around the country with semi's and setup in some abandoned parking lot they rent out and do tool sales. they have been around for a long time and it is the same mill as the grizzley/harbor frieght as well.

Link Posted: 1/25/2006 11:04:14 AM EDT
You can also be on the look out for a Cummins Tools sale in your area. You can also call the customer service line at 308-832-2070 and they will be able to tell you if there will be a sale in your area in the near future.
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