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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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  #1  
Old 06-24-2013, 7:41 PM
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Default Inexpensive drill press for 80%?

So I'll be having a few 80% lowers milled via CNC in a couple weeks, but I'd like to do it at home for future builds, if economically possible.

Are simple, inexpensive drill presses ok for a DIYer? Like this Ryobi over at Home Depot:

http://m.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-10-in...02L/100490179/
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Old 06-24-2013, 7:44 PM
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I had the ryobi for doing woodwork / general use.
They, like most drill presses, don't last to long when side loading it. Even using a safe-t-plane on woods and going lightly I started having issues with the chuck.
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Old 06-24-2013, 7:44 PM
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Harbor Freight!
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Old 06-24-2013, 7:50 PM
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The place that is making you the 80% won't let YOU finish it there?
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Old 06-24-2013, 7:58 PM
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I won't be moving it to the side, just straight up and down, then use a dremel to finish it.

For the 80% lowers I already own I'm going thru a CNC to finish them. But any 80% I buy in the future I'd like to finish at home.
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Old 06-24-2013, 8:56 PM
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Originally Posted by anti View Post
Harbor Freight!
And they have a set of end mills for $70.00. They also work in a drill press.
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Old 06-24-2013, 9:37 PM
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Been browsing their site since he mentioned it lol
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Old 06-24-2013, 9:41 PM
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Call up your local machine shops. See if they'll let you run with one of their machines for a small fee.

That's what a buddy of mine did and a cousin that use to work for a machine shop did. Unless you plan on making a few more then investing in a press might be smart.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by zfields View Post
I had the ryobi for doing woodwork / general use.
They, like most drill presses, don't last to long when side loading it. Even using a safe-t-plane on woods and going lightly I started having issues with the chuck.
How long is "to long"? Would it wear out/break before finishing even one lower?
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:04 PM
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Depot sells an extended warranty.

As drill presses are not made for the lateral pressure of milling, it might make sense to look into on of the warranties if you are going to be abusing it as a mini milling machine.

Some of the 1 HP harbor freight models seem like they would be durable enought for a few abuse sessions.

The real challenge is how true will a drill press be with a milling tool?

If you get wobble you could easily destroy your 80% lower.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:05 PM
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Ive got 12 80%'s due so tag for interest.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:22 PM
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Its gonna take a long long long time with a drill press, can be done though... ask me how I know.

I hear harbor freight has cheapy mini mills for circa 300, it would be a wiser choice
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:59 PM
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I'd recommend a mini-mill over a drill press.

http://littlemachineshop.com/3960
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ott1 View Post
I'd recommend a mini-mill over a drill press.

http://littlemachineshop.com/3960
You are comparing a $800 Machine to a $100 machine...

In that case, I suggest a full size bridgeport.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:21 PM
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I picked up a harbor freight mini mill for around $400 shipped. Look for the sale and a 25% off coupon
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Old 06-25-2013, 1:22 AM
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You don't want a drill press, you want a mill. Harbor Freight sells a decent entry level one for around $540, you can use the code 61458489 to get 20% off one item this month. So more like $432 for the mill. The same one is sold under many other names but they have the best price. The best part is that there are tons of upgrades for it if you do a little searching. Be sure you set it up correctly before you start work or you'll screw up your 80%.

http://www.harborfreight.com/two-spe...ine-44991.html

It's the same one used in this video.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Shak180 View Post
The place that is making you the 80% won't let YOU finish it there?
The ATF does not allow this unless they have a manufacturing license.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Write Winger View Post
I won't be moving it to the side, just straight up and down, then use a dremel to finish it.
Good luck with that, you'll ruin the lower. And you'll be changing Dremel bits more than you'll be removing material.
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Last edited by JDay; 06-25-2013 at 1:32 AM..
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  #17  
Old 06-25-2013, 7:40 AM
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If you are just going to do a couple of 80's I doubt you want to invest in a mill. You can get a drill press for under a hundred and a set of mills for $70.00. The commercial jigs look more set up for just straight drilling. You can drill and get a flat bottom with an end mill, if you use a vise that lets you move horizontally, don't do that if you want to save the spindle bearings, just keep overlapping the vertical mill strokes and use a stop on the drill press to insure uniform depth. Or, use the press like a mill with a two axis vise. Do enough of them to ruin the roller bearings on the drill press spindle and then change bearings.

Check out the commercial page. There is a guy in Modesto, I think he goes by CNCMILLGUY that will set you up for a reasonable amount. I think he can also supply the 80 lower if needed. Same goes in SoCal only more so, plenty of places to get milled. Or buy a polymer 80 which will be even easier for the home builder to work with. http://polymer80.com will have their's out in July and he is in Vacaville.
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Old 06-25-2013, 8:53 AM
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Thanks for the tips.
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Old 06-25-2013, 9:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zfields View Post
You are comparing a $800 Machine to a $100 machine...

In that case, I suggest a full size bridgeport.
How many people have the room for a full size bridgeport? If you're going to recommend a bridgeport, might as well add a 3 axis DRO to it.

It's easier to fit a mini or micro mill into the garage than a bridgeport.

Last edited by ott1; 06-25-2013 at 9:42 AM..
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  #20  
Old 06-25-2013, 10:36 AM
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That harbor freight mini mill looks like it'll do the trick. I really don't want something huge; this is more of a tinker thing to do once every few months. I was hoping a cheap drill press would be enough though.

I'll be having my 80%s done at CNCMILLGUY's place, I'll pick his brain, try to learn a few milling tricks of the trade while I'm there. I'm an amateur, machine work is all new to me.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:42 AM
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I think you made a smart choice. He has great reviews.

If you are going to buy equipment then you should amortize it against how many times it will be used. CNCMILLGUY (and others like him) is probably going to be more economical and provide better results unless you have other uses for a mill or are really going to get into it.
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  #22  
Old 06-25-2013, 12:33 PM
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I'm a real diy type of person and I would just spend the money and get it milled. I was at arms specialty in orange and it only took about 20min once the 80% was mounted in the CNC machine.
With a drill press you will be at it for a few hours. You will have to buy a drill press and drill bits and a jig. At that point I wouldn't buy cheap cause Im afraid i might mess up the lower.

With all the equipment and time into it, you can pay to have at least 4-5 lowers machined depending on you what you buy and what your time is worth.
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Old 06-25-2013, 1:38 PM
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Just buy a Haas VF-3 case closed....LOL
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Old 06-25-2013, 1:53 PM
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As a hotrodder and guy who's spent a ton of money at HF, I can tell you, *in my experience*, their drills suck.

I bought a used Delta for like $60 delivered off craigslist. I'm sure it's a rebranded import, but it works OK for what I need. You can get as big a drill press as you like, of much higher quality, used off craigslist. $150 or less, however much you wanna spend.

The new drill presses I've seen for $300 or less just don't seem all that great to me, I'd rather have something old with a big motor that makes the lights dim when you turn it on, but that's just me.
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Old 06-25-2013, 3:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Write Winger View Post
That harbor freight mini mill looks like it'll do the trick. I really don't want something huge; this is more of a tinker thing to do once every few months.
Once you get the mill you can then also mill finger grooves in the front of a Glock. Or mill slides to accept an RMR.


Just think of all of the new projects you can come up with to use the mill!
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Old 06-25-2013, 3:27 PM
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mills are a gift that keep on giving for sure.

I second johnny's post. go for used on CL, buy an old american model that might need a couple hours with a jar of Naval Jelly and a tube of grease. You'll end up with a much better product for the same or less money (plus your time)
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Old 06-25-2013, 4:12 PM
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Get a mill and never look back. A drill press is not suited for using end mills. The chatter would be horrific. I've done the drill press game and they are awful when used as a mill. Too much flexing in the head and the table. I'd say you would be lucky if you didn't chew the lower all up. I threw my drill press away and use a mill for both cutting and drilling.
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Old 06-25-2013, 5:46 PM
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Craigslist is a much better route. I recently picked up a late 70's 17 inch Powermatic with variable speed control for a c-note on there (not so stealth gloat).
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Old 06-25-2013, 7:58 PM
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There is nothing cheap about owning a mill, no matter how cheap the initial investment in it. I shudder to think how much I've got in tooling, and machine modifications. Having said that...

I don't know how I lived without a mill. I'm constantly fixing parts around the house, making new ones and fixing car parts. I don't think it's paid itself off yet but it's been a hell of a lot of fun and saved me some money.
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Old 06-25-2013, 8:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiterabbit View Post
mills are a gift that keep on giving for sure.

I second johnny's post. go for used on CL, buy an old american model that might need a couple hours with a jar of Naval Jelly and a tube of grease. You'll end up with a much better product for the same or less money (plus your time)
What models? Where are they commonly found for sale?
Total newb for mills, but I dont want to do a dozen lowers on my harbor freight drill press.
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Old 06-25-2013, 9:00 PM
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IMO if your gonna do a dozen lowers invest into a harbor freight mini mill with the 20% off coupon. Then sell the whole thing for 100 bucks less than what it cost ya and call that your usage fee.
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Old 06-26-2013, 7:21 AM
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I think the drill press option off craigslist (a nice one) is OK if you are gonna do one part.

But yes, if you are gonna do a dozen lowers or frankly ANYTHING that is more than a 1-off part and expect any repeatability or precision, I'd go for the mill too (unless of course all you need to do is drill holes).

Despite what was said before you DON'T need to spend thousands in tooling for a machine that's several hundred dollars. I have less than $100 in tooling for mine. That being said, my capabilities of course a VERY limited so far, and that is based on tooling. But I can still make he products I want to, simply because my needs are as limited as my tooling. As they expand, so will my tooling.

Anyways, IF you decide you want a minimill instead of a fancy drill press, I am only qualified to make one suggestion:



If the mill you want can bend like that one, get the drill press NO MATTER WHAT. 2-piece mills with the large nut in the back to allow for tilted positioning will never be stiff enough to give you precision work. Pain to tram. The "feature" was a bogus invention as a cost saving measure to eliminate the need to cast the base and column all at once.

Knock yourself out. Another guy said he threw his drill press away (I hope he is lying). Frankly i see the benefits of both and am in the market for a floorstander to accompany my mill.
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Old 06-26-2013, 9:55 AM
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Nope threw it away. After trying to do some lat cuts it messed up the bearings. It was trash. My mill as a drill press is 1000x better. I have no need for a stand alone drill press.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:03 AM
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Really, get a mill.

The LMS mill is by far the best but most expensive for that range. The Grizzly is absolutely worth it unless you find a 20% coupon and a discontinued discount from HF. You need to totally tare down an HF mill and put it back together to make sure it's right, and you may find that something is wrong. The grizzly won't have that problem, and if it does they will take car of it.

I got an X3 for around $600 with a discontinued discount and 20% off coupon but had to do some work and replace some parts to make it work. Might have gotten a lemon but for $600 I can't complain.

This is ideal for what you want to do but it's $1064. It's worth it if you are handy and like making things. It's amazing once you realize you don't have to pay a premium for simple parts to mount sights and other things.

I'm making a giraud trimmer knockoff for way less than the $440 MSRP. It's taken time but I like that kind of work, helps me clear my head. If I don't count my time then that project will be a $100 investment in tooling and materials, so I just paid $340 off of my mill.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:36 AM
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wow, I have that mill (rebranded) but with far far less tooling. That's a great price.
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Old 06-26-2013, 8:41 PM
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If you are going to buy a used or new for that matter, better make sure it is a single phase unit if you plan to use it at home. Three phase power is not generally available to residential customers.

On the HF side, there is a company that makes things to make HF stuff work better. Check it out: http://www.swagoffroad.com/
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Old 06-26-2013, 9:08 PM
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Save up for a small 3 in one machine. The problem with a drill press using endmills is it wasn't intended to do such. I know people who have added a vice with decent amounts of travel in X and Y to regular drill presses but the chuck wasn't made to take a load from the side, worse was when the head of the machine started to move and ruined the part.

another option find one of those "tech shop" places...
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:57 PM
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I successfully completed a TR lower on the harbor freight press and endmill bits. Yes the lateral play in the drill sucks, but that's what the jig is for. Just drill plenty of holes first, and take very small bites. Did it in an evening and the thing built up and shoots fine.

Also returned the drill and bits the next day.
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Old 06-27-2013, 5:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvh22a View Post
I'm a real diy type of person and I would just spend the money and get it milled. I was at arms specialty in orange and it only took about 20min once the 80% was mounted in the CNC machine.
With a drill press you will be at it for a few hours. You will have to buy a drill press and drill bits and a jig. At that point I wouldn't buy cheap cause Im afraid i might mess up the lower.

With all the equipment and time into it, you can pay to have at least 4-5 lowers machined depending on you what you buy and what your time is worth.
QFT!

The per lower cost will be astronomical...and thats if you don't fubar it. Also, even if you manage to complete it (yes, it will shoot) the quality of the finished product will be low.

Robert
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrassCase View Post
If you are going to buy a used or new for that matter, better make sure it is a single phase unit if you plan to use it at home. Three phase power is not generally available to residential customers.

On the HF side, there is a company that makes things to make HF stuff work better. Check it out: http://www.swagoffroad.com/
I have the big harbor freight mill, well it is a bench top size with a cast stand but it still weights 600+ pounds. I wish we still had the 3 phase motor.

You can use a VFD or variable frequency drive to convert single phase to 3 phase. I run one on a baldor 1/2hp bench grinder that I got for free. $120 on a vfd to run a $500-$600 bench grinder was well worth it. The vfd can control the direction and speed of the 3 phase motor. This can be done on at least up to 3hp motors. Changing belts around to get different speeds is a PITA.

The mill is the ultimate drill press. Just the fact that clamping is easier and you can move the table to the cutter is a big help.
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