Block of Steel

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by michigan0626, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. michigan0626

    michigan0626 New Member

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    Im trying to find some info on blocks of metal that are used for the cnc machining of handguns. What I am looking for is the size, weight, and cost. If you dont know the answer to the info, help pointing me in the right direct is appreciated.

    HxWxL, weight, and cost of the block (or cost per pound if block sizes are different)

    Carbon Steel
    Stainless Steel
    Aluminum
    Titanium

    Thanks.
     
  2. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    SWSinTN likes this.

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    First- am not a machinist or a tool & die maker- learned just enuff about metals to be truly dangerous. But did learn this- you listed 4 metals. There are DOZENS- HUNDREDS of different alloys of each metal- and different guns use different metals.

    When I was experimenting with Knifemaking 101, I started with O1 and A1 steels- a gunmaker is not likely to use either- but which one depends on the gun. Aluminum? There is the alloy used to make beer cans, another for foil, another for ARs- and one used to make aircraft engines.

    Most guns are not made by taking a solid billet and whittling away everything that does not look like a gun- most are forgings that get machined. The cost in machine time and wear is tremendous to do it any other way.

    Not meant to belittle you, but this is sort of like asking what metal do you need to machine a truck?
     
  4. michigan0626

    michigan0626 New Member

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    I was just being curious. I came across this website, www.bainitesteel.com, that if i understood correctly is: lighter than aluminum, stonger than titanium, cheaper than carbon steel. If this is the case, than its use in weapons manufacturing could big I think. Im not a metalurgist by any sense. The website does mention its attributes for armor plating. If it is infact lighter, cheaper, and stronger, then the biggest use I can see from it is making strong, cheap, lightweight military ARs. Less burden on a Marines combat load makes his job easier.
     
  5. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    OK- said I was not a metallurgist- but here is a bit of what I learned- iron and carbon form different crystal structures at different temps. When you heat treat steel, you take it to different temps, and cool it to "freeze" the crystal structure that would be useful to you. Some of those are cementite, austenite, martensite, pearlite and bainite.

    Example- cast iron- harder than hell, but brittle. O1 oil quench steel- softer, but tougher. You are looking at hardness, ductility, malleability, elongation etc etc etc. When they first started making stainless guns, had problems with machineability of the stuff they were using- it always ended up rough after machining.

    Article deals not so much with the alloy itself, but the heat treatment process to hold the steel at a high Bainite level- and claims that it is better than others. Is it? Don't know- not metallurgist, not machinist.
     
  6. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    Most guns do not use very hard steel. Guns have been made out of many different things from cast iron to plastic. Many guns from Europe use much harder steel than here(particularly barrels). I am an amateur machinist but so far I have used almost all "mystery metal" except for drill rod and such.
     
  7. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

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    i am not a machinist either, but have worked around them in the past, and the type of material being machined makes the difference in the material of the cutting tools used and the sometimes even the speed at which the tool cuts at makes a difference also. correct me if i am wrong, but aren't somethings machined out of a softer alloy of metal then heat treated after the final machining?
     
  8. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    The material being cut does dictate the turning speed, depth of cut, tool design/material. And yes some of time the item is softened before machining and hardened after. But like I said many people think guns are made out of something hard but in most cases this is not true. Other than springs very few parts in a gun are very hard steel. Hence all the guns/parts now made out of plastic, aluminum, and other alloys. Many barrels were/are made with thin steel liners in fiberglass, aluminum, or other "soft" alloys.
     
  9. Jim1611

    Jim1611 New Member

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    You can find the size of metal required just by measuring a gun that you own. You can find the weight by length x width x thickness x .2833, that's general as some material is more dense than others. Price call 1-800-325-0978.
     
  10. mattybock

    mattybock New Member

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    I don't know much, but I know this - a CNC machine is just a computerized mill, it has no bearing on the metal used to make your gun.

    Carbon steel - 4140 is used to make the vast bulk of all gun barrels world wide. I've been quoted at $10 for a one foot length of 1.5 inch round bar stock. This is pretty good.

    Stainless steel - a few alloys are used but they are hard to come by for me, and maybe for other home makers. I can't help here.

    Aluminium - only aircraft grade alloys are used. Beer cans they are not.

    Titanium - unless you have serious $ for it, you're not going to get it. The tooling to cut titanium is also so expensive that it's basically no dice.

    and here is the big bit of useful - Zinc castings.
    A famous example of a cast zinc frame is the Raven P25, the tooling and brand of which was bought and sold so many that the name doesn't matter.
    It often had bad spring steel, but the Zinc frame held up well over time. Because Zinc has a real low melting point (320 degrees I think) and is cheap (85 cents per pound of scrap and most scrap yards around me), it made ideal castings.
    If you do casting then the block idea is pointless as the metal is melted and poured into a mold.

    A good buy would be the Gingery series of books. He is amazing (*torrent it*)
     
  11. HotGuns

    HotGuns Member

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    4140,4150 are what is typically used for guns. Parts are machined while soft, then heat treated.

    410,416 Stainless is used because it is heat treatable. Because it is heat treatable, it will rust if not properly cared for.
     
  12. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

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    Does anybody know where I can get a big block of Rearden Metal? I want to machine a bridge.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
  13. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    Very Ayn Rand. ;)
     
  14. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    Home grown........

    Can you do hardness testing, the size of steel, the amount to be removed and the way it is removed is all contributing factors......carbon steel, 4130, 4145, both can be heat treated. Remember you are dealing with high temp and pressure.....
     
  15. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Vincine- you will need to check over at the Atlas Corp for that- but there is some on Ebay..........:p
     
  16. linuxuser3890

    linuxuser3890 New Member

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    You might try Grainger. Lol
     
  17. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

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    Duh! Of course! Grainger!
    I'd have to buy a lot to order from Atlas and there only enough on ebay to make a bracelet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
  18. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    Needs.....

    What are you looking for......Post type of mat. and sizes and how much....There are serveral machine shops in the area and i might be of some help. As long as it is reasonable.....
     
  19. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Wills- ref: Rearden Metal- central theme of the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. That was a very tongue-in-cheek posting there.
     
  20. willshoum

    willshoum New Member

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    Vegitative state......

    Ouch......:eek: