The Firearms Forum banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had the opportunity to be able to finish an 80% lower on a friend's mill and thought it wouldn't be such a bad idea to get my own. Problem is, I only have space for a benchtop sized machine. Ideally I'd be spending $1,000 or less on the mill alone. What models have you guys used, and what are some of the minimum specs I should be looking for? I should mention I'm fairly new to milling so I'm looking at a machine to learn and practice on, nothing professional, especially for the price.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,001 Posts
I finished mine with a simple jig, drill press, and router. It came out pretty good. I did use a mill just to quickly remove a lot of metal but it was not a necessary tool for the job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They have jigs that all you need is a router now. I have a $50 drill press & a $45 XY vice that I use to finish my 80% lowers.

It does a good job.
I've heard a lot about drill presses not being built to take loads from the side, does that only apply to tougher materials like steels, or is it because you can make really shallow passes? It'd be nice if all I needed was an xy vise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,054 Posts
Aluminum is not as hard on drill press side loads as steel is.
If you want a good mini mill, look at Taig mills. Otherwise, the Chinese mini mills are all you will be able to find in your price range.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,001 Posts
The kit I have calls for both a router and a drill press. You drill out the bulk of the metal and then use a router to trim the edges to final dimensions. An xy vise by itself would be hard on the press and it would also require being squared up past what most presses are capable of. A smaller 1/4 inch router is easy to use and does a great job. BEWARE it throws aluminum chips like nobody's business. Best to have a shop vac running to catch them if possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
I've heard a lot about drill presses not being built to take loads from the side, does that only apply to tougher materials like steels, or is it because you can make really shallow passes? It'd be nice if all I needed was an xy vise.
I don't know what these guys are talking about.
Most drill presses have a tapered chuck & won't take a side load without the chuck falling out of the press. I had that problem at the start & found a way around that problem. I figured I only paid $50 for this drill press & I will only be using it with the chuck in it. Whether I'm drilling or milling & it will be a long while before I wear the chuck out. So I used super glue to make the chuck permanent so it won't fall out again. It is in so small of drill press that I had to mount the XY vice at 45° on the bottom of the press so getting mounted at perfect 90° to the quill was already done. The press had a couple nuts on a threaded rod to make a drill stop & by separating those nuts with one above, one below it makes a functional quill stop. I don't do all the hole drilling that the router builders do because when your milling interrupted cuts are a bad thing. I only drill one 5/16 starter hole that connects with end of the grip screw hole. I use it to set the depths of cut (usually.050 to .075) for each pass. I also start with a 1/4" ball nose end mill because the small drill press doesn't have the toque that a mill or router has. I finish with a flat nose end mill when it reaches the threaded grip screw hole & start checking depth each pass after that. It takes me a little longer than the mill guys to turn out a lower but it a hobby & I got the time.
Good Luck with your build.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,594 Posts
I had the opportunity to be able to finish an 80% lower on a friend's mill and thought it wouldn't be such a bad idea to get my own. Problem is, I only have space for a benchtop sized machine. Ideally I'd be spending $1,000 or less on the mill alone. What models have you guys used, and what are some of the minimum specs I should be looking for? I should mention I'm fairly new to milling so I'm looking at a machine to learn and practice on, nothing professional, especially for the price.
At shotshow I saw advertised a complete cnc setup for ar10,15, and 1911 80% receivers for about 1670$

Looks like you just need a computer and compatible plans ( which they probably provide ).

Little desktop footprint.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,964 Posts
I don't know what these guys are talking about.
Most drill presses have a tapered chuck & won't take a side load without the chuck falling out of the press. I had that problem at the start & found a way around that problem. I figured I only paid $50 for this drill press & I will only be using it with the chuck in it. Whether I'm drilling or milling & it will be a long while before I wear the chuck out. So I used super glue to make the chuck permanent so it won't fall out again. It is in so small of drill press that I had to mount the XY vice at 45° on the bottom of the press so getting mounted at perfect 90° to the quill was already done. The press had a couple nuts on a threaded rod to make a drill stop & by separating those nuts with one above, one below it makes a functional quill stop. I don't do all the hole drilling that the router builders do because when your milling interrupted cuts are a bad thing. I only drill one 5/16 starter hole that connects with end of the grip screw hole. I use it to set the depths of cut (usually.050 to .075) for each pass. I also start with a 1/4" ball nose end mill because the small drill press doesn't have the toque that a mill or router has. I finish with a flat nose end mill when it reaches the threaded grip screw hole & start checking depth each pass after that. It takes me a little longer than the mill guys to turn out a lower but it a hobby & I got the time.
Good Luck with your build.
Did you do a run out check of the chuck and milling tool?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
Did you do a run out check of the chuck and milling tool?
Why would I need to do that? The jig I use keeps the mill from running outside of the hardened steel cutting frame. It's not a free running cut like a regular mill.
And I'm not running high speeds no more than 1200 rpm usually about 850.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,964 Posts
Why would I need to do that? The jig I use keeps the mill from running outside of the hardened steel cutting frame. It's not a free running cut like a regular mill.
And I'm not running high speeds no more than 1200 rpm usually about 850.
Your jig has hardened inserts? I haven't seen one like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,164 Posts
Any mill or drill press will do a fine job if you don't push it too hard. ie. try to cut too fast.
In my humble opinion, you should buy the best mill you can afford. Because you might find uses for it other than making the occasional 80% receiver.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,964 Posts
Any mill or drill press will do a fine job if you don't push it too hard. ie. try to cut too fast.
In my humble opinion, you should buy the best mill you can afford. Because you might find uses for it other than making the occasional 80% receiver.
You can do decent work with the "cheap" Chineseiam mini mills. You just have to invest a little time in tigbtening things up on them.
 

·
Private Military Contractor
Joined
·
356 Posts
I've seen guys do beautiful work with nothing more than a Dremmel. It just takes forever.
I totally gave up on the dremmel tool I watched a YouTube video about it and his came out so good mine went in the trash parts bin. It takes sooooooo long.

Good mill = no need for a jig.
Good jig = no need for a mill.

Just my personal take on it.
Nailed it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
Yeah, the drill holes have hardened bushings, I didn't see where the milling guide did.
The whole top plates are hardened steel but not hard enough that a end mill won't cut it because I've messed up one & had to buy a new set. But they are hard enough that a file won't cut them.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top