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Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 5:08 pm
Posts: 87

Post Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:57 am 
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hoping some of the pro's here can give me a idea of what fixture I should have in my home hobby shop. for building 1911's of course.

I did luck out today and picked up a cross sliding rotary table for my mill. for cheap price of 50.00 I could not pass it up, its not a great big one has table about 12" in size, but it is nice, guy has had it sitting in basement for years and I asked the right question at right time, its not all rusted up, table has no drilled mistakes on it. so thats 1 item I know I will need taken care of.

what other Items should I be trying to locate or purchase

thank you for any and all replies,

Hank

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Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:48 am
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Location: Northern Virginia

Post Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:31 pm 
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I suggest you search every thread that Jerry Keefer posts to. And at other forums too as he has posted there at various times. He should write a book. His photos are publishing grade. They will show the proper machine shop setup for you.
Joe

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Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:48 am
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Location: Northern Virginia

Post Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:41 pm 
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Just on this page of this forum are 2 excellent threads. The first is "Fixturing" and another near the bottom is " Random Smithery"
Enjoy
Joe

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Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:59 pm
Posts: 34

Post Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:10 pm 
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What Joe said. You may want to look into taking a machining class at your local community college. As Jerry told me, you can make a machinist into a gunsmith in a day, but making a gunsmith into a machinist is nearly impossible.

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Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 3:03 am
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Location: NV, PRK

Post Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:43 pm 
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I would say don't go and buy a ton of stuff until you need to accomplish something specific. When you get to where you need something specific and can't do it with what you have then ask the specific question.

Otherwise if you are just rich pick up a Brownells, Enco, MSC and a Grizzley catalog and just order one of each then you'll have almost everything you need when you need it!

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Ray

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Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 5:08 pm
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:22 am 
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no where even close to rich. laid off this week, after only working 5 weeks after being off 6 months. I am not a machinist, I have some experience with mill and lathe. know enough not to get injured while running them, adult machining classes are not available in my area, I have checked.
I am trying to make sure I have everything I will need for sure working on 1911's before I retire. after retirement income will go from being able to pay bills to maybe standing at walmart with sign asking for donations. for some reason I don't think I will get much donation with sign say need funds to build gun. (this is attempt at humor )

thank you for info on checking out Jerry Keefer's post and some of the threads to read. I am trying get things at a fast pace. I asked question because I don't not want to purchased something I wont need, I have been thru classes for machine shop, and welding 8 week course. yes I passed. I am still learning. I am the jack of all trades and the master of only one.

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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:19 pm
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:34 pm 
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It is hard to say what fixtures, gauges, tools, etc that you NEED. I have found that gunsmiths are a lot like body repair men, the good ones know many ways to do the job & get the proper finished product but have the method they prefer the best. Some gunsmiths will do as much on the mill, lathe, surface grinder, etc as they possibly can and others still do a lot by hand. In addition there are many tools to make jobs for 1911 smithing easier or faster but may not be necessary. For instance there are probably half a dozen commercial tools for staking plunger tubes. I probably have four different ones because I wanted to try them all and I'm a tool junkie, but clearly one would suffice. I think doing a beavertail grip safety without a jig to rough in the tangs is foolish and you should use a jig. If you have a mill then the recommendation would be different than if you don't. Kreb's makes a jig for cutting a .250 radius on the mill but that won't help if you are needing a .220 radius cut. Both radius' are available in jigs that are simple bolt on for hand removal of tang material and the Wilson is a radius not set directly off the thumb safety hole so that will need a different jig or set-up. Also since you have a mill & rotary table you can accomplish this job without a jig if you can set it up properly on the mill. For checkering Keller makes a jig that many GS use and others don't care for, but again with a mill with a rotary table you can do front strap treatments if you know how to set it up and make the calculations.

So it is hard to give finite recommendations because you may or may not have other tools/equipment that effect the recommendations. General shop tools or whatever that are good are: a good rotary tool (here Foredom would be better than Dremel but depends on your funds), blast cabinet (i keep one for stainless and one for carbon steel), air compressor, good set of files & stones for general work and you'll probably want some specific 1911 files for upper barrel lugs, trigger track stone, etc.) If you are fitting barrels using the mill you'll probably want the Weigand barrel fixture and if doing it by hand you'll want a wilson lug cutter and the tools that go with that.

I think you will be best served to search for the specific tool you are interested in buying as a lot of them have been talked about before. Search here and other forums as well as Google. A lot of threads here with info show up in Google searches. For instance, if you search the Yavapai sear jig / microscope tool you will find that a lot of people like the concept but there is a lot of talk that the pin locations for checking parts under the microscope are not properly located.

Some items at Brownells are a little pricey but in many cases are the only supplier of that tool. Occaisionally you can get it direct from the manufacturer and save a bit but I have found Brownells to be superior to most companies in customer service and just spend the money with them. Bear in mind a lot of the tasks of building a 1911 were achieved without a lot of these tools and others were born out of the minds of smiths to make the job easier. For some of it you just need to see what method or tool you prefer best.

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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:29 pm
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Location: Mass.

Post Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:58 pm 
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josh is spot on. If you are doing this as a hobby and plan on building but one or two 1911's, most things can be done by hand and or checked with good measuring. On the other hand of you are thinking of getting in the trade, jigs and fixtures will help build constancy and repeat ability which save time and money for the shop.

For example: cutting a beavertail radius by hand can take 2 hours, with a rotory table about ten minutes. Both can yield the same tight fit after some blending. The little Ed Brown buttons cost maybe $30 , a good rotory table $300 or more. it also can be done without a jig by hand. Same for barrel fitting.

In the trade we also spend a lot on cutters, most pros will only use carbide which is 2-3x the cost of HSS, this also is cost effective since they cut smoother and last longer if used properly.

As you start, keep it simple and develop some hand skills with a file and stone, then fixturing will fall in place.

Good luck.

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Greg Derr
www.Derrprecision.com

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Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 5:08 pm
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:02 am 
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Josh that was a great post. I am tool crazy myself. I have all the major equipment you named, Mill, Lathe, blast cabinet. belt sander, dremel, so far I can only wish for surface grinder, just got rotary table, it is horizontal type only, so I would need to build something to stand it up on side, this a hobby and I dont plan on going into business doing this. I will want to do most by hand first because I think I will learn more about the what and why things are being done to a given part and I am not up against the clock to make money. I will need some of the carbide cutters for dove tail sight cut's. there is a limit what I will do by hand..

I guess I should of ask what basic tools and fixture's does or should a build have. I have seen some fixtures in random smithery that are beyond my financial abilities. I plan on Wilson lug cutter, but would like to learn correct method for re-cutting ramp in frame to correct and why it needs done.

I still square up mill head with machine square. I dont know any other method to get true 90 with table. I plan on checkering by hand, I think its gives it more of a personal touch, and bragging rights when I do good job, when I go to a shoot I dont want to say I did all on a mill, but on the other side I want a good lay out plate or fixture that is flat as flat can be. that a frame and slide can be mounted to and that I am starting at 0 degree everywhere not 2 or 3 degree hi or low on 1 side. I understand how things stack up. I recently found out what French cut was.. I did not have idea, found out on another site.

I have no files with safe sides, none, never knew to keep files away from each other so they dont get damaged, I know file 1 way not back and forth, but sometimes it hard not to give in and ruin a file.

I am not a machinist but I can and have run threads on a lathe. amateur enough to know I will practice on junk steel before I do barrel threads, always have.

here is list of what I think I need , barrel lock up fixture, lug cutter, lug iron ? not sure if needed, slide file, mandrel for turn barrel bushing so it is centered, ( either buy or make one) some type of checkering fixture. checkering file 20lpi, cutter for slide serrations, fixture for holding slide for cutting serrations. fixture or plates to hold frame in vise, some type of filler for mag well, , I dont think it takes a special git to bevel mag well, but I am 100% sure. bevertail fixture for cutting chosen radius. some tool or fixture for staking plunger tube. good set of dial calipers. inside micrometer? depth micrometer? special made rail / slide micrometer sold a Brownell's ? what do I have listed I wont need

and not being rich I get to buy Little at a time or fixture at a time, I dont get to just go buy 1 of everything, not if I dont want to live under a bridge somewhere.


Last edited by hawk45 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:48 am
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Location: Northern Virginia

Post Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:31 am 
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I suggest you look up utube videos on how to tram a mill. There are better ways to tram than a square.
Do you have dial indicators and test indicators?
Joe

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