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Discussion Starter #1
I'm fortunate to have gotten an old Sheldon bench lathe with tooling for about $350. I was wondering if anyone else had a lathe and what sort of work have you manage to do with yours? I had plenty of training in machine shop both in tech school and while in the Navy but I'm teaching myself gunsmithing from books and sometimes I just get stumped until I figure out how to set up my tooling for a certain job.
 

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No lathe but I sure want one. Then of course I'd have to pay someone to teach me how to use it. Magnum88C is a master machinist and I believe that BigEd63 uses a lathe, probably others.

Luck

RIKA
 

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RIKA reading some of you past posts, I see you're an itellegent and talented woman with the good ability to learn quick. I figure a good teacher and some reference books you could master the basics in a few weeks. The Navy's school was taught in 11 weeks and it was far better than the one year tech school program I had taken before. The tech school covered more theroy and got into areas of heat treating and precsion grinding but the Navy taught me more practical tricks and short cuts and to think out side the box.
 

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Nothing beats hands-on experience, there's only so much books and classes will teach you (no doubt why the Navy program gave you more than a tech school certificate).

It's a bit expensive, but anyone running a machine tool owes it to themselves to get a copy of the Machinery's Handbook -- not a beginneer's how-to guide, but has all your speeds and feeds, layout formulae, threading formulae, and even sections on math and heat treating, etc.

Also good are Machine Shop Practice Volume I & Volume 2,
Author: Karl Hans Moltrecht
Publisher: Industrial Press

All 3 can be had from http://www.mscdirect.com
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The MH is an invaluable guide for any serious machinist, sadly I don't have one at the moment but I have the smaller book of formulas that is also excellent to have handy.

Finding a good used lathe is probably the biggest obsitcle to overcome. The first lathe I had was a WWII 9-inch South Bend without tooling or change gears. It was alright for making firing pins but thats about it. Next was a Sheldon about the same age but slightly bigger with most all the toolings and all the change gears. The bed was still good and little slop in the cross and compound feed. Good enough for basic barrel work and threading.
 

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I have a couple of lathes... one is nearly 80 years old and is a Boone/Johnson. The other is a Bridgeport CNC lathe. I've done barrel profiling, threading inside and out, and a bunch of other stuff.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Having a lathe is a great, but right now mine sits idle do to a lack of affordable projects. My Yugo Mauser sporter project is scraped because I found a semi sporterized Swede for less than half of what I would have spent on new barrel, chamber reamer and stock blank. I might still go with a scout rifle later. Seems 90% of any gun work I do has to invovle files, stones, jeweler saw or Dremal. Building a custom rifle for yourself isn't very cheap I've learned.

I've been thinking of making my own bullet molds for one my muzzleloaders. Right now I'm just scratching my head trying to find cheap projects until I can afford the expense and time to give gun building another try.
 

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You'd be amazed at how many non-gun projects around the house can make use of a lathe. In fact if you get a mill to go with the lathe, there isn't a hell of a lot you can't do yourself.
 

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Well I do have a homemade milling attachment that came with it. Not the greastest piece of equipment but it'll work for slotting and dovetailing for sights. If I was really careful it might work for milling a reciever from one of those 80% castings for ARs and 1911s. One thing for sure "NO CANS". Got the info but not any desire to go to the big house.

Your right of course I could find plenty of projects to keep me in practice if I looked hard enough but once I enter my shop there's no telling how many way I can get distracted. :p
 

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You don't have to find a used one, a new, small one 7x10, or 7x14, is readilly affordable, Check with Cummins, LittleMachineShop.com, yahoo groups. Ebay often has them, used, with lots of goodies, for $300. It's all the tooling that costs you.

If you set it up on a hunk of scrap steel plate, well-leveled, and well bolted-down, to a solid bench, such small lathes can do amazing things for you. I've used shelf brackets to screw the tops and bottoms of desks, tables, chests of drawers, etc, to the ball and floor, blocking, pipe, and screw jacks to put the wt of the CEILING on theme, etc, making them very stable indeed.

The mini-mills can do the same, with carbide tooling for work on steel, if you use a couple of pcs of angle iron, bolted in an upside down "v" format to the head, to stabilize the mill, reducing chatter and flex. Of course, you then have to remove those braces if you want to tip the head for an angle cut, but it's best to angle the work, anyway (with angle plates, sine bar, swivel vise, etc). Mills can do a lot more for you than the lathe, but you often need the lathe, too. I've needed the lathe to make mounting bolts, washers, etc for the mill, in fact. You are always needing set up stuff for the mill (if you do random, "one-off" type work, as vs mass production) that you aint got, and it takes too long, too much money, to go get it, send for it, etc. So you make it on site, and get busy doing what you want-need to do, as vs waiting on stuff.
 

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If you have to part with some old, clunker guns in order to have many times as much fun-capability, well, so what? Get with it.
 
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