chambering with a drill press, or mill?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing Forum' started by triggerjob, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. triggerjob

    triggerjob New Member

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    So, is there any reason why I shouldn't or couldn't, chamber a barrel using a drill press or a mill, assuming I have a rigid fixture to hold the barrel in line with the reamer?

    Is there a reason why we spin the barrel in the lathe while reaming instead of spining the reamer, other than "Lathes work that way"

    I'm asking because I have limited room in my shop, and it seems that the smaller laths have spindle hole too small for some barrel work and I'm looking for a work around that won't cost me 10k.

    I would be interested in hearing from some one who has either tried this, or who knows why it shouldn't be done, aside from "nobody does it that way"
     
  2. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith New Member

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    I personally would not attempt chambering a barrel with a drill press or a milling machine but that dont mean it cannot be done . I however feel that the right tool would be a lathe for this type of work.

    Have you looked at a Smithy Granite/ It should have plenty of bed length and can chuck up any diamiter barrel short of a cannon barrel LOL
    plus it has a milling head takes up less than 4'x3' space in my shop.
     

  3. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith New Member

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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  4. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    Many barrels have been reamed with piloted reamers by hand. So no you don't need a lathe (though a lathe is certainly the preferred method).
     
  5. triggerjob

    triggerjob New Member

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    Statline,

    I was considering a smithy granite industrial, but the spindle bore is 1 1\8. Most gun guys tell me I need 1.5" to chamber from the chuck.

    My thinking was, as long as I dial indicate the center to run true it would work. No matter how I do it, either in the chuck, between centers with a steady rest or with a mill.

    I tooled around and saw TC Center does it with a drill press, and they have mixed results. But then again anything done with "employees" has mixed results.
     
  6. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith New Member

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    Ya the spindle bore is only 1.125" however I have not had any problems thus far considering I agree a larger spindle bore would be a better option

    LOL I know exactly what you mean about mixed results between one employee to the next.
    while some employees are very knoledgable assets to the company others are meerley warm bodys occupying valuable floor space.

    if you do decide to try to do this operation post back here and tell us how it went for you
     
  7. Jim1611

    Jim1611 New Member

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    Stay away from the drill press, they're just not accurate enough for the job. A good mill on the other hand would make an excellent machine for the job provided the barrel and spindle are perfectly in line, but a lathe should also be setup that way too. One advantage to using a mill is that gravity would help with chip removal. It would also help if you decided to use flood coolant.
     
  8. triggerjob

    triggerjob New Member

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    I haven't decided, Grizy makes a table top 1340 lathe with 1.5 spindle, That's cheaper than the smithy, but the Smithy, has power feed on both x and y axis, that's seems pretty cool.

    That actually turns it into a pretty handy horizontal mill to although they don't advertise it as such.

    I have taken AGIs machine shop course, but I can't test because I don't have a machine yet!!!

    Darrel Holland talks about equipment at the end of the series, and like everyone he sais get Bridgeport mill, and a south bend lathe if you're running a machine shop, and if machine is jsut a sideline, then the Smithy Granite series are good enough.
     
  9. St8LineGunsmith

    St8LineGunsmith New Member

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    as soon as I get the money I am going to get that Gunsmiths bench top lathe Grizzly has for $3350.00 shipped.
     
  10. triggerjob

    triggerjob New Member

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    Incidently,
    Smithy has a Bench top lathe that is similiar, but doesn't require 2 phase power and has the larger spindle bore. I was thinking it was a good comparison to the grizzly.

    Can you tell me if the mill head is any good on the Granite machine. The Granite industrial has a 2hp 220 motor available, that out to be good for something. But some of the reviews I have read say its Mickey Mouse, and others say they love it.
     
  11. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    I have the Smithy. It is OK. Like most things it has its good and bad points. I've had mine for many years. I did replace the china motor with an American made one. I don't really like switching back and forth from lathe to mill. I'm considering buying separate machines. Except room is a problem. The mill does not have enough travel (opinion). But it has worked for me for a long time.
     
    SWSinTN likes this.
  12. GunDoc

    GunDoc New Member

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    The biggest problem with chambering is reamer chatter. We do it in the lathe because in back gear, or with a planetary pulley in the case of a Smithy, we can turn the barrel really slow with the reamer in a floating holder. If your drill press or mill could turn very slowly with near zero runout you could probably do it. Personally I would chamber it by hand if I didn't have a lathe and only one or two barrels to do.

    With the price of reamers and gauges hiring the job done from a local smith is very economical. If for whatever reason that's out of the question remember to go slow. A speed of 100 rpms may be too fast depending on the setup, and a feed rate of only a 0.010" or less would be ideal before removing the still turning reamer and then cleaning reamer and chamber. Being in a hurry or a shade-tree setup will cost you with a chamber. I'll assume you don't have an $800 borescope to check the work during and after, so eliminate every potential problem before hand. Chamber problems are generally impossible to see with the naked eye and the potential for damage or injury is pretty high with chambers that are elliptical, too long, or over worked to remove chatter. Once a problem starts it's hell to correct it if you can correct it all. Please research and practice this operation several times before doing it to a functioning firearm.
     
  13. john300k

    john300k New Member

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    Check Craigslist for a mill or lathe on the cheap...there are a lot of them around because of the lousy economy.
     
  14. triggerjob

    triggerjob New Member

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    Thanks for your input. I think I was solving a problem that actually doesn't exhist.

    I was under the impression that one HAD to chuck the barrel, right up to edge of the chuck, making the bigger bore mchine neccessary. But after reading this and talking with a few machinists, I see it can be done with a lathe that doesn't have any hole, as long as you have enough room between centers and the right tooling.

    Having said that though since I will have to buy a lathe anyway, I will try and buy one with 1.5 spindle anyway. Although room in my garage is still limited, which is why the Smithy machine Caught my eye.

    Anyway, if I run across a deal on a Mill and Lathe I can't pass up, well then the wife is gonna have to move her foo foo stuff out of the garage!!!

    Thanks for your input.