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Tools for the Amateur Riflesmith
Stand alone power tools are the workhorses of the trade.
A drill press is very useful. This one dates to before WW2 and is "Made In America" A Chinese tabletop press will do most of the stuff that 'smithing entails. If the table is to small, a nice board or metal plate can be added to extend the size. Good lighting is essential. The chuck should have a 1/2-inch capacity. These can be found used, the older Sears presses are nice. Thatís a Model T Ford magnet in the top of the post J . A nice selection of wood and metal "spacers" can be collected along with the drill press vise, to hold and position items to be drilled. In the trough of the table, to the rear, are a matched set of "Vee" blocks used to hold round things, these are $10 from Wholesale. DON'T EVER TRY TO USE A DRILL PRESS AS A MILL, TO CUT SIDEWAYS, YOU'LL RUIN THE SPINDLE !!
This is a 6-inch Chinese grinder, about $45 worth. One wheel can be replaced with a wire brush, and the guard(s) can be removed (at your own risk) and a muslin (cloth) wheel installed for polishing. If you have room for a pedestal, thatís nice or it can be mounted to a bench or shelf.
Amid all the clutter is a 4x7 Chinese power hack (band) saw. This is a metal cutting saw and will do all of your cutting. The stand needs reinforcing, two pieces of 2x4 do just fine. Although I don't use it vertical, this saw "stands up" and becomes a pretty good vertical band saw, good for wood or metal. These guys are the real experts. These saws are selling for $170 at Harbor freight, Grizzly and Wholesale.
I don't think I'll spend much time talking about the lathe or mill, as many times these items are selected by chance and/or budget availability. I have found the table top Mill/Drills at about $700 to be fair pieces of machinery. If considering a mill, I would make sure that it accepts "R8" tooling, collets and such. Stay away from Morse Tapers in Mills, unless you're getting a very good deal. As to lathes, weight is important, as is a large hole through the spindle. And, although it won't do barrel work, the "Mini-Lathe" WILL do a lot of small work - check out this link -lots of good stuff. I do want to express one opinion - DON'T EVER BUY A COMBO LATHE/MILL !!!!
This is a big item, a lathe. If you have the space and money you'll already know what you need. Remember, whatever you spend for a lathe, figure that much again for tooling!
And last, a vertical mill. This one is a floor model and is called a "knee" mill, The "knee" supports the table, is can be moved up-and-down. Most table-top mills do not provide for up-and-down movement of the table. Figure as much for tooling as the mill costs!
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