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Need CNC milling machine advice for odd barrel fluting

What headaches? A cnc knee mill is simple and parts are not proprietary like the haas TM1 - which is just a cnc bed mill on linear rails.

A cnc knee mill is also much cheaper. You could likely buy 2 for the price of a TM1
I learned machining on a ProtoTRAK - a machine built from the start to be a conversational CNC bed mill. It SUCKED. I don't know how much faster a standard VMC is at doing the most basic machining - 50x faster? 200x faster? I'm not joking. We mere machining simple extrusions and bezel plates and even an old Haas Mini without HSM would have just demolished every aspect of the ProtoTrak. Manual tool changes. Low spindle speeds. Low machine rigidity. Poorly integrated controls. No rigid tapping. Poor to non-existent 4th axis integration. If this was a hobby purchase it may make sense, but as a business purchase, the tiny tiny price difference between them is going to end up a major net-negative when considering the high time involvement in doing anything with a knee/bed mill combined with the generally poor part quality it can achieve, and there are things a bed/knee mill with an added control simply cannot do.

I think the belt driven, low spindle speed, R8 bed mill prototrak was like $35k base price a decade ago? You can buy a baseline TM1 for like.. $40k?
 
For a fact eh?

Presumably you've taken barrels and inspected them after chambering by a gunsmith who claimed to dial in the bore to .0002" before chambering and found them to run out of round? Question, how does the chamber get out of round? If the axis of the lathe and tailstock weren't inline/parallel maybe you would get a larger chamber opening and the taper would be greater, Out of round I don't think so. Maybe you meant out of concentricity?

And as for the bragging, getting .0002 TIR is not hard, can be time consuming (in my humble experience anyway ). I'd expect any half way competent gunsmith to be better then .0005" TIR. and the floating reamer holder will take care of the rest.

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FYI I don't consider my self a Gunsmith but have chambered plenty of 22LR match barrels.

One I chambered with a Bentz reamer (10/22). Looked down the lathe spindle from the left hand tailstock end and saw the muzzle end of the 20" barrel was running out maybe .020" Naturally thought I'd screwed the pooch. Nope upon inspection the first taper of the chamber was right on the money, and concentric with the diameter that fit in the receiver. Evidently there was enough play in the floating reamer holder and flexibility of the reamer to make a good chamber. Larger calibers with stiffer reamers maybe a different story.

It sounds like you got it all figured out. Maybe I’m just doing it wrong?

God Bless,
Dustin
 
If you want an open, inexpensive CNC, I would personally look at the Milltronics, they still make a few toolroom CNC mills without full enclosures.
I got a quote from them today. 93 k for a tool room cnc knee mill with a 4th axis. Their nuts.
Thanks for the lead.

God Bless
Dusrin
 
I learned machining on a ProtoTRAK - a machine built from the start to be a conversational CNC bed mill. It SUCKED. I don't know how much faster a standard VMC is at doing the most basic machining - 50x faster? 200x faster? I'm not joking. We mere machining simple extrusions and bezel plates and even an old Haas Mini without HSM would have just demolished every aspect of the ProtoTrak. Manual tool changes. Low spindle speeds. Low machine rigidity. Poorly integrated controls. No rigid tapping. Poor to non-existent 4th axis integration. If this was a hobby purchase it may make sense, but as a business purchase, the tiny tiny price difference between them is going to end up a major net-negative when considering the high time involvement in doing anything with a knee/bed mill combined with the generally poor part quality it can achieve, and there are things a bed/knee mill with an added control simply cannot do.

I think the belt driven, low spindle speed, R8 bed mill prototrak was like $35k base price a decade ago? You can buy a baseline TM1 for like.. $40k?
You’re bringing up a great point. I looked into the Milltronics today they were 93k for a tool room knee mill.
Hass is far cheaper and 10 times the machine.
Looks like I need to add on to the shop for a real milling center.

I was hoping to get buy with just a cnc type knee mill with a cnc program for just the fluted and bolt work. But now I am leaning more
Towards a real milling center or a turning center with live tooling contour and flute in one go.

God Bless,
Dustin
 
You’re bringing up a great point. I looked into the Milltronics today they were 93k for a tool room knee mill.
Hass is far cheaper and 10 times the machine.
Looks like I need to add on to the shop for a real milling center.

I was hoping to get buy with just a cnc type knee mill with a cnc program for just the fluted and bolt work. But now I am leaning more
Towards a real milling center or a turning center with live tooling contour and flute in one go.

God Bless,
Dustin
That is insane. If you're in business to make money, it usually isn't too difficult to pencil the math out in your favor for a tool that you're going to frequently use. Of course you have to run the math - how many barrels are you doing, how consistent has business been, what has the trajectory of sales been, what are your seasons like, what ratio of customers would purchase fluting at X/Y/Z price points, what pricing do your competitors offer fluting at, how much business are you turning away solely due to not having fluting options, and are you willing to go through all the work of creating & programming the fluting profiles for each different fluting type, barrel length & contour combination? If you're busy enough with already profiling barrels and chambering them, it probably won't be tough to justify a mill for features like this. You can then use them to add wrench flats like AI barrels have, engrave chambering & your company logo, and maybe some other things you can think up. I would want that math to for sure pencil out though so you aren't adding a machine with its complexities and time/money costs to have it if it isn't bringing a noticeable improvement to income.
 
I got a quote from them today. 93 k for a tool room cnc knee mill with a 4th axis. Their nuts.
Thanks for the lead.

God Bless
Dusrin
Was it the VK4II?, because that's the only one that is a knee mill, all the others are VMC's without full enclosures.
I wouldn't buy that VK4II knee mill either.

$93k with a 4th, and its a better made machine than a Haas, is a good price actually.

I have ran a shop full of Milltronics machines, and I have a shop full of Haas machines, and the Milltronics machines are made better.

But maybe the used market is where you'll need to be then, anything less than $100k with a 4th will be used or junk if new.
2 cents :cheers:
 
I got a quote from them today. 93 k for a tool room cnc knee mill with a 4th axis. Their nuts.
Thanks for the lead.

God Bless
Dusrin

Look for Fadal 3016's with a 4th rotary you'd be looking at no more then $10k. Great machines. Easy to service, vast parts availibilty, easy to run, and more then adequate for fluting barrels.
 
There is a local guy who does fancy fluting ,think he calls himself TSE ,or something like that.........he s basically a high end deep hole drilling shop ,and I think he does barrels for laughs.
 
There is a local guy who does fancy fluting ,think he calls himself TSE ,or something like that.........he s basically a high end deep hole drilling shop ,and I think he does barrels for laughs.
They took over MAB years ago and I definitely wouldn't call their work high end.
 








 
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