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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    Australia
    Age
    61
    Posts
    11

    Default Lathe for gunsmithing?

    Just after some advice please. I think I have found my first lathe Iíd like to buy.

    https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/L565D

    Can anyone advise me please if I wanted to progress to gun smithing work one day, would this lathe be suitable or would I have to sell this and buy something else then?

    I noticed ďGrizzlyĒ in USA offer specific lathes for gunsmithing, that I assume must vary in some way from standard centre lathes?

    I donít see anything offered here in Aus thatís sold as gunsmithing specific is all.

    Is there something Iím missing or need to know before pulling the pin on this one?

    Many thanks in advance, obviously Iím a new chum when it comes to this metal working, more of a wood butcher than metal worker but firearms used to be made of both wood and metal so Iím kind of hopeful I might one day evolve to being able to competently perform both aspects 👍

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Norwood-ish, Adelaide
    Age
    55
    Posts
    5,558

    Default

    Without investigating this in depth, usually 'gunsmithing' lathes have things like rear spiders to help align barrels. Other than that, they should be similar to normal lathes.

    However, before doing this, check your state legislation. In the US, making and modifying firearms is considered a 1st amendment thing. Here there are strict rules about who can and can't do things. Without the appropriate licence there are fines and your workshop can even be confiscated in SA (presumably in other places too).

    Your choice, but be informed first.

    Michael

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    Australia
    Age
    61
    Posts
    11

    Default Thanks Michael

    Thanks indeed Michael.
    This Lathe does have the support spider adjustments on the rear side of the spindle & is 2 inch diameter.
    Iím well aware of Aus firearms laws, have held a WA license for ~40 odd years now.
    Iíll obtain the requisite Gunsmith license before trying anything related to firearms.
    Iím really just wanting to make sure I donít make a mistake by buying the wrong lathe if I should have done more research.
    The Grizzly gunsmithing lathe review video I watched showed the spider on the spindle to support barrel, but there was also something mentioned about the tailstock and an offset button or something for turning Long barrel tapers Iím guessing?
    This one Iím interested has the ability to be offset sideways - Iím guessing again for taper turning, but whether thatís the same feature Grizzly weíre promoting, I donít know.
    I guess I was also wondering if maybe there might be differences in gunsmithing lathes like rpms less than say 70rpms as an example for specific say chambering a barrel with a reamer or something like that?
    Maybe thereís something on a gunsmithing lathe that allows you to drill a barrel full length? (Through turning from the tailstock?).
    Also whether maybe they have some tailstock feature that might allow you to pull a series of increasing sized rifling buttons through a drilled barrel blank?

    Itís my lack of knowledge about the specifics of gunsmithing with a lathe that worries me, and whether thereís anything ďobviousĒ that Iím missing is all.
    Iíd sooner find out before shelling out a small fortune on possibly the wrong lathe?
    I guess Iím curious about why Grizzly offer specific gunsmithing lathes within their range and how they differ from normal centre lathes.
    I hate to think what a specific Grizzly gunsmithing lathe would cost from USA by the time exchange rate, freight & import duties & GST are added by customs this end, then thereís converting to a electric motor to suit our power supply.
    Iím guessing probably double the cost of the one Iím contemplating buying?
    I think Iím losing hair scratching my head trying to work this all out, I know Iím losing sleep watching YouTube videos on lathe reviews & gunsmithing videos to try and pick up on any equipment differences.
    My heads literally spinning.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Athelstone, SA 5076
    Posts
    3,959

    Default

    From my experience that Lathe should be more than adequate. Mate has one and does all his own work...ie crowning, threading for brakes and mating to reciever etc etc.
    Gunsmithing lathes are as Micheal says...nothing special but generally include a spider for inserting in rear of spindle to support barrels. These are easy to make. Search previous posts where I made one.

    Not sure where your located but in SA you can do gun smithing work on your own firearms only....unless licenced. You are not allowed to do any work on any one elses, but.... you can always get the owner to do under your instruction. A loophole that currently exists.
    But check the laws in your own state.

    Be aware that once you start you will then need a mill....hahaha

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    Australia
    Age
    61
    Posts
    11

    Default Thanks Eskimo

    Thanks indeed for that.
    Yes a mill is also on the cards (HM48) which I also looked at while there yesterday.

    https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/M126D

    Whatís another $5.7k in the hole?

    At this rate, I will pull 🇦🇺 out of the Covid Financial crisis all on my own. 😉

    Wifeís already mumbling about ďmore jewelleryĒ 😳🙄.

    This is likely going to be bigger than Ben Hur the way itís going! One video says allow at least half as much as the lathe & mill costs for tooling?

    All of a sudden a 2nd mortgage is looking like the next step. 🙄

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    1,113

    Default

    AS said above

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Murray Bridge S Aust.
    Age
    68
    Posts
    4,673

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Moone View Post
    One video says allow at least half as much as the lathe & mill costs for tooling?
    I think that should read half as much again as the lathe and mill
    You can end up with a small fortune with this hobby, unfortunately you have to start with a large one.
    Kryn
    To grow old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    adelaide
    Posts
    71

    Default

    Ian i think for the American market by adding "Gunsmithing" to the title implies that its an accurate lathe, i assume if the lathe you buy is big enough to fit the size work you want to do, then its a Gunsmithing lathe, as far as tooling is concerned, i am a believer in buy what you need for the project you are doing at the time, post some photos here of your projects

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Lebrina
    Posts
    1,501

    Default

    I have no axe to grind with Machinery House, nor any particular allegiance for that matter, but I have watched their prices skyrocket over the last year or so for no good reason. It is my understanding, (from conversations with someone who has been close to the business for many years), that sales of large industrial machines have dropped off and they have jacked the price up on their consumer/light range to compensate.
    Machinery House has possibly got the greatest presence of any machinery dealer in Australia, certainly in the online world, but there are other dealers out there that will quite possibly provide a better product for less money. There are quite a few good second hand lathes and mills out there ex industry that can be great options now that we live in the days of affordable VFD units.
    As has been discussed on these forums previously, the Machinery House juggernaut must cost a motsa to keep running and somebody has to pay for it at the end of the day.
    A gunsmithing lathe doesn't need to be anything particularly special other than being rigid with a decent spindle bore and accurate ways. I reckon that it could benefit you to look around at a few more options and talk to a few dealers before parting with a lot of hard earned cash. New is not always better.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    Australia
    Age
    61
    Posts
    11

    Default Thanks sincerely Karl

    I donít disagree at all with what your saying, about H&F Machinery House.
    I think Iíd prefer Taiwanese over Chinese Lathe. Iíd also prefer something like an older lathe as long as itís not trashed / worn out, that has been restored, and had a VFD fitted etc.
    The reality is it would end up like the old Robland X31 combination machine I bought, it took me 10 years to track down all the missing parts and do upgrades and modifications before I got it to where I wanted it.

    It would be the same with an older lathe by the time I restored it, and modified it and at 61, Iím not sure I have 10 years left in me for another restoration project.

    Thatís why Iím thinking about a new machine. Also a little bit of ďpride of ownershipĒ involved admittedly, itís a little like pulling up at home or ya mates place in a brand spanking shiny new car.

    Iíve made a lifetime of ďmaking doĒ & ďgoing withoutď, to raise 3 kids & now 3 grandkids etc, I figure they are finally all off my hands & im no longer responsible for everyone else in the world but myself.
    I just feel a little like spoiling myself I guess.
    Iím not above talking to ďother machinery dealers than Machinery House by all means if you can recommend anyone I should go see please?
    Iíve seen someone out Osborne Park way sells lathes (on gumtree) but I didnít see anything in this size with variable rpms, so didnít research any further.
    Is there anyone out Malaga way or Wangara that I should be visiting to see what else is available?
    Happy to be pointed in any other direction, nothing ventured nothing gained.
    Thanks again for your input.

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