Until just recently, in the Khyber Pass region of Pakistan, craftsmen were milling complicated shapes with hand files and turning crude lathes by foot pedals.
In short,m you can do it, but it is very definitely a matter of doing it the hard way.
If you have never looded into buying USED machinery (made in USA) I'd suggest that you explore the possibilities.
Bob Munden can shoot, but I've never seen much on his shop working techniques. Has anyone seen his shop setup and witnessed his abilities as a pistolsmith?
I think using him as a reference is a catch 22, like using the credit card company as a reference. (Boy, would they give the Smithy a glowing report!)
if you have the room, extra money (not a whole lot) and the freinds to help ya move em, go look for some used full size (or there abouts) machines.
if you want to get it done good for as little money on a machine as reasonably possible, and/or need/want a small machine, a smithy "may" be for you. mine is several years old, so they "may" have changed, "BUT"
they are not accurate out of the box. expect about .004-5". "BUT" i was able to disassemble half of the machine and do some detailing, cleaning up burr's, grinding better oil channels, carefully smoothing things up, adjusting things, etc. i am now getting .001 easy.
+ i need to fix it from time to time also :sad:
all in all it not bad for what i need, and so far i'm glad i bought it.
i lovingly refer to it as "the nicest piece of junk i have"
I looked into a combo machine too when I started my web smithing project, but kept getting the same advise over and over. If you plan to do much milling then don't get the combo. Remember that the more operations a tool has to perform, the less specialized it is for each one. (whatever that means). I found that a mini-mill and a mini-lathe (two seperate machines) cost about the same as 1 combo machine and perform MUCH better. You can leave them set-up the way you want and go back and forth. I plan to install my lathe in December during the next phase of the web project but you can see pictures of and read all about my mill on the site.... Mine holds .001 all day long and has no trouble with horsepower. Check out the write-up here:
I paid $523.00 including shipping for mine. I bought it from Grizzly Industrial, but it is also sold by several others. I think the Harbor Freight one is about $495.00 and they include free shipping (but it takes longer for delivery). The two machines are identical and come from the same importer. One is Green and the other is Red but other than that there is no difference. I just ordered my 7 x 10 Lathe today and it was on sale for $369.99 with free shipping. I'll post a write-up and evaluation after I get a chance to spend some "quality time" with it....hahaha (my wife calls it "bonding time")
Hope that helps.
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