6th op on the front barrel support.

By now I am sure you are wondering when will this front barrel support be done. Come on and lets make something else. Well, not quite yet. This is the last operation that will be completed on the cnc lathe.

Now the last step after this is the knurling and then machining the notch for the locking spring.

Update for the week ending 2-1-14

So we will start with the update on the VG1-5 project. I stamped the rear top covers.Out of the 10 that were stamped.third flat style (4)s

We found a few problems. I had to re-stamp the parts due to not getting the ribs deep enough.

IMG_0717swThis is a close up of the stamping.



Once I re stamped them they looked good for the next step. This showed us that we need to change the basic design again. I hope to have those flats this next week. It should be the last change. Once verified I will stamp all of them. I will be glade to finish these parts. I need to get on to other parts that need stamping. This is a quick picture of the top cover installed on our prototype rifle.




On to other things completed this week/weekend. We have made a new machining fixture for the hammers. The previous one had tolerance issues. We also have to re-ream the pivot hole on the hammers. They were undersized. Not a big set back, just another day reworking parts. To allow us to re-ream the hole we are using a real basic fixture that has been dialed in on the Webb mill. A pile of hammers to re-work.

IMG_0210sThis is the set up.

IMG_0741sBy using the round part of the hammer in the v portion of the vise and the flat of the hammer against the solid vise jaw I can get repeatably. This vise will set inside my kurt vise  be zeroed in.

More work was completed on the fab shop. I have finished the windows and outside of the wall.


The inside which will also be covered with osb is about 50% completed.


I finished the frame for the evap cooler and hope to have it up and running before the summer season.


The Type 99 female die.

Now that the male die is complete, with only de-burring left to do, it is time to start on the female dies.IMG_0554s

As with the male die it starts out as a large block of steel.

IMG_0545sWith this die we made it in three parts. This allowed us to machine areas that would be very completed.

IMG_0591sAt this point you will notice the alignment pin holes between the upper and lower dies.

IMG_0596swAfter the lower die is completed a backing plate was made and then ground to hold the completed die together.

IMG_0655sThis is the completed die attached to the plate.



IMG_0668csWith this step completed we will be drilling the holes for attachment to the die plate. That will be this weekend. I will post about that when completed.


Moving die plates

Will Cushman asked how we moved the die plates around the shop. If my shop was in a single building or even on a the same level it would be a great deal easier.

To move the dies from under the bench to the top of the bench to work on them I use a home made swing arm with a harbor freight electric hoist.IMG_0671s

To move them to the mill or the truck we use a foot operated lift.

IMG_0669sNow to get them to the press I use a 3/4 ton cheve with a hydraulic lift gate. The key here is the lift gate. It allows me to adjust the height. This is important due to all the different heights I have to deal with at the different shops.


Now we off load at the fab shop and onto a working die press moveable bench.


From here I can adjust the height of the table to match the press and slide it into the press.


All the tooling and raw unstamped stock is on the moveable parts table.



Hope this answers all your questions. Chat with you soon.


The end of the weekend

Sunday night and the shop is shutdown, the machines are cleaned and the computers are off. Not a bad weekend. My next door neighbor with the help of my son finished his program and got his parts made on the webb.IMG_0707sHe completed 6 of these. David finally got the bugs worked out of his program and completed the prototype.



Me, I did my pressings to test the new design for the rear top cover.third flat style (2)sThis is what it started out as.

third flat style (1)sAll 9 that were stamped.

third flat style (4)sFrom here the stampings will be bent, formed and welded to complete the rear top cover. With any luck this will be the correct dimension.



Just another weekend at GunLab

This weekend there are 6 people here working on 15 different projects. My son is trying to get his home work completed for class and helping my next door neighbor trying to write a program in delcam for the webb mill. In addition he is working on some new forms for our company.


My neighbor,Alan, is trying to get a project programed on the webb for new drawer supports for his kitchen cabinets. I just finished the update to the air system in the shop for the new end mill sharpening setup.

IMG_0633sAfter completing the air system I went to work in the fab shop to finish the lighting circuit in the fab shop so I can put a ceiling up.


We are also enclosing the fab shop and installing window. I try to do everything with recycled material if possible. So first I had to remove all the nails from the lumber.

IMG_0072sIMG_0074sThe studs went in and then windows, I was unable to find any recycled window so I had to buy new ones.



David, a friend of mine and the machinist that use to work for me, is working on one of his projects. So he is verifying his cad program to run parts on the CNC lathe.


He then went to work on the manual lathe to turn down some 6061 and getting ready to knurl it.IMG_0065sAll this and it is just Saturday. Tomorrow I am doing pressing for the rear top cover on the VG1-5 project. We need to re-write a couple of programs and finish Alan’s project. It is never boring here at GunLab.

finishing the top part of the die plate

In our last post I showed you the bottom plate of the pressing plates. This is the completed top plate of that matching set. This first picture is with the top plate completed spot drilled.


After spot drilling the pin holes where drilled and reamed.


Then the cap screws were drilled.

SAM_0010sAnd finally the cap screw holes were countered bored.

SAM_0016sNext it is off to be de-bured, by hand, and then ready for assembly with a set of dies.

Working on stamping dies, still

I don’t want anyone to think that here at gun lab we have just been hanging around and drinking beer and accomplishing nothing. That is far from the truth.

A while back a die shop went out of business and I was able to buy a few items. One being a brand new steel die plate. This is the post about that.

IMG_0631sTo give you a better idea of the size here are a couple of close ups.




Due to the weight of this die set I wanted to make it as general purpose as possible, meaning that a large number of the new stamping dies that we are currently making will fit on the die plates. To accomplish this we now design our dies with a series of holes to attach them to the plates. The attaching holes are evenly spaced on 1″ centers with every other hole either being threaded, for a cap screw, or reamed, for a pin.

The die plate has the same arrangement.


IMG_0638sThese two photos show the die with the bottom plate completed and now with the top plate installed and getting ready for drilling. To give you an idea of size this photo shows it setting on the table of the Haas.

IMG_0639sToday’s job is to drill and ream the holes in the top plate after it is secured. More later when we complete the task.

Christmas present for myself and lessons learned

This last year I bought a new toy for myself. It was a Webb 2 axis cnc vertical mill. Now in the shop we have 2 machining centers and a 3 axis cnc mill now, but I wanted something that could be used as a manual mill and still have basic cnc capabilities. So while going to a going out business sale for a local tool supply company I saw this really nice Webb.IMG_0496cs

IMG_0497sNow this mill will not do surfacing or complicated  tasks but it is great for pocketing, drilling a hole pattern and contouring. It also allows the  programing challenged to do basic cnc ops with a minimum of training. With the large group of friends that show up here to play something was needed and this fit the bill.

Now on to the rest of the story.

I was working on some aluminum patterns for a fiberglass mold that I am making when I found a flaw with this machine. There are no stops on the bed. What this means is that you can operate either the x or y axis father the the ball screws are long. This means that you can easily crush  an oil lubricating tube.

IMG_0601sOr run off the screw.


I can tell you that hearing the little ball bearings drop is not a sound that you you really want or need. So calls were made to Webb who directed us to South Western Industries. Of course all this had to happen over the holidays. I must admit that all the people we dealt with even while on holiday still called us back in record time and were great to deal with.  So now the new ball screw arrived on Friday, it was ordered on the 2nd and arrived on the third. You can not beat that for service. Both South Western Industries and the local distributor D and R machinery of Gilbert, AZ. were just great to insure that we got the parts necessary  to get back in business.

IMG_0600scIf you look at the picture you can see a slight difference in length. This will allow us the cut the crew to the correct length to our machine. The first step was to assembly the machine and see how much to long the new lead screw is.


A better picture showing this gap is here.


Now that we had a measurement it was time to cut down the lead screw.

IMG_0607sThe screw was wrapped in plastic and taped. I wanted to minimize the chance of grit getting into the ball bearings and damaging anything.  Not much needed to be taken off, actually a little over an inch. The screw shaft is hardened so it needed to be cut with a grinding wheel. This is a quick shot of the amount to be cut off.

IMG_0608sOnce it was cut and de-burred The machined was re-assembled and I was back to finishing a pattern for a mold.


IMG_0611sJust so you don’t think that this was a walk in the park. The entire project took most of a day and I disassembled and re-assembled the mill 14 or 15 times. Way to much fun. So until next time have a great day.

progress on the Japanese type 99 magazine

Things around the shop have been hectic. Videos have been taken of all the parts that have been made and I am going through them as fast as possible. However, here are some pictures of the progress on making the type 99 magazine.IMG_0545sThis is how live as a pressing die started out. This same size of block was used for both the top and bottom plates.


IMG_0542sThis is how it looked after rough machining. It still needs the finish pass. That is completed with 1/4″ ball nose end mill at .008 step over. Just the finish pass will take 1 1/2 hours.

IMG_0548sWith this picture you can see the resemblance to the actually magazine.

IMG_0554sThis is the finish male die. All we need to do now is de-bur and mount on the die plate.

Hope you enjoyed the update more coming soon.