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Posted: 3/23/2006 5:58:09 AM EDT
I know that building and AK would be cheaper, but the cost of tooling has got me scared.

my choices are a AK my friend would build me for $325 (romy G on global rec), or the same thing i would build my self. i would like to use rivets. i am a college student (30 hrs week work + 16 hours course load) and dont want to get over my head. i live in an apartment, so that might make things dificult.

things i have:
"off the chart" mechanical reasoning ability
dremel
bolt cutters (can sacrifice)
hammer
other misc small tools

things i dont have:
garage (cant really put that stuff on my porch)
a lot of spare time (i have a little)
a vice
other large tools


so? what do yall think?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:13:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 7:13:54 AM EDT by MeestaSparkle]
I'm in the same position as you, college student, working, etc. I went the route of trying to build, but I went with a blank receiver as well. Most of my troubles are involved with making the receiver, since I don't have the tooling and I have to acquire it. It will be a pain in the ass but you can do it. The jaws aren't too hard to modify. I bought the 36" bolt cutters and shaped them with a metal cutting blade for my circular saw ($3 at lowe's). If you build I'd definately go with a pre-made receiver though... Since you live in an apartment complex you have to worry about noise and stuff; I make a ton of noise working on mine. Without a solid vise it's going to be super hard too... If money is your only motivation I'd probably just buy one... But i'd try to talk him down, at least to $300.

That said, I'm less into having the rifle than the project of building it. So I am enjoying the troubles in trying to build and make tools and what-not. You might be the same way, but part of that will depend on how tolerant your fellow apartment residents are.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:40:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 11:23:13 AM EDT by blackbag223]

Originally Posted By MeestaSparkle:
I'm in the same position as you, college student, working, etc. I went the route of trying to build, but I went with a blank receiver as well. Most of my troubles are involved with making the receiver, since I don't have the tooling and I have to acquire it. It will be a pain in the ass but you can do it. The jaws aren't too hard to modify. I bought the 36" bolt cutters and shaped them with a metal cutting blade for my circular saw ($3 at lowe's). If you build I'd definately go with a pre-made receiver though... Since you live in an apartment complex you have to worry about noise and stuff; I make a ton of noise working on mine. Without a solid vise it's going to be super hard too... If money is your only motivation I'd probably just buy one... But i'd try to talk him down, at least to $300.

That said, I'm less into having the rifle than the project of building it. So I am enjoying the troubles in trying to build and make tools and what-not. You might be the same way, but part of that will depend on how tolerant your fellow apartment residents are.



was most of the noise/machining from building the flat, or building the rifle (once the reciever was done?)

and I wont try to talk him down any. hes a good guy, and thats a great price on a semi custom rifle.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:26:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 9:29:03 AM EDT by MeestaSparkle]
Mostly building the tools to build the receiver. If you get a pre-made one all you should have to worry about is fitting the trunnions and rivetting them in. Most of the noise then would just be pounding; mine is due to the fact that I have to jerry-rig all my tools. I might be forgetting something, but a rivet jig for the trigger guard, etc would also be handy. I'm working on making a cheaper version of the rivet jig now out of wood and sheet metal and my dremel, we'll see if it works. I'd go to one of the build information sites on google and look at what goes into rivetting everything together just in case I forgot something; but I think all you would need is to make a die to form your rivet heads, modified bolt-cutters, and a rivet jig. You would also need to drill the holes for your trunnions most likely, and that can be a pain. I found a drill press to use. But if you center punch well enough and then get a hand drill, it might work. You'd probably want to buy a vice though, I got a heavy duty one from harbor freight for $30 or something like that.

But... If your only motiation is to have a rifle and save a little money, you probably won't come out that far on top; if at all. I thought this would have only taken me about a month to build all the tools and everything, I'm already at 2 or three months; I'm like you, I only have a little bit of time every now and then to work on it.... 90% of that time is still being spent trying to make the tools I need. Still, its a lot more involved than i thought it was. You could do it, but count on it taking longer than you'd expect.

So far I've gotten the receiver mostly done with exception to heat treat, center support, and rails (basically I just cut all the holes and shapes and upper rails, and moved on to tooling); need a torch and a spot welder for that. Right now I'm working on that rivet jig, after that I have to make the die to dimple the mag supports. After that, i think its just a matter of pressing/pounding in the rivets.

Don't forget about the finishing too. I am going to try and jerry-rig a blueing tank to use in my back yard. Your receiver will be ready made, but the rivets won't be finished. You could just paint them or get some cold blue, but i'm not sure how it would look.

I'm also still counting on the cool-the-barrel-heat-the-trunnion method working to fit in my barrel... I hope that works, otherwise it's gonna be more delays.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:55:32 AM EDT
Buy first then build. That way you will have a functioning example to get measurements from etc. I bought an SAR-1 before I did my first build and it was an incredible help having it available for reference.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 10:15:39 AM EDT
college student as well. To defray the cost of tooling, try a build party.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 6:05:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 6:34:59 PM EDT
I borrowed the high ticket items like the press from friends/ neighbors, bought a pair of HF bolt cutters. Building is way more fun/ rewarding and CHEAPER.
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