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What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:23 am
by RWD
Right now I'm helping out with a startup that's making cans, and we're having trouble figuring out what kind of equipment to buy. We all have various experiences in the NFA and FFL world, but none of us have actually mass-produced anything. We're trying to get a feel for what people are using to make cans at a production level.

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:56 am
by Hannibalbarca
RWD wrote:Right now I'm helping out with a startup that's making cans, and we're having trouble figuring out what kind of equipment to buy. We all have various experiences in the NFA and FFL world, but none of us have actually mass-produced anything. We're trying to get a feel for what people are using to make cans at a production level.
Speaking of monocores, how come no one is making any solvent traps based around a mono core? And some outer threading?(also with different end cap functionality).

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:49 pm
by a_canadian
There was a company in my town back in the late 1980's making high end mountain bike parts. They were churning out fork crowns from 6061 on a vintage mill, but the number of fixture changes and the complex angles made for a lot of labour. Eventually they found a supplier who could produce 20 foot lengths of extruded 6061 with the basic profile and holes already there. What was left to precisely mill to fit the three 4130 inserted tubes was a 17 cut process plus polishing, drilling and tapping for the pinch bolts, saving about 2/3 of the manufacturing time, more than doubling profit per unit after cost of the extrusions. I'd be surprised if at least one or two suppressor manufacturers weren't already using extrusions for the basic cores then turning and boring them to finished spec. If not, perhaps that's something you could get done. Sure would save a load of time on the mill.

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:14 am
by BinaryAndy
Do you have any CNC machining experience? You've got a long road ahead of you if you don't.

At the least, for production work with monocores, you'll need a vertical machining center (CNC mill) and a turning center (CNC lathe). You could get by without the mill if you got a lathe with live tooling and a Y axis or, better yet, a multitasking machine like a Mazak Integrex. A really big Swiss lathe would be another option.

It is possible to do this without CNC machinery, but it's going to end up neither cheaper nor easier that way.

Don't underestimate the difficulty of drilling that bore hole fast and straight.

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:57 pm
by Enfield577
I would get manual machines for now (Lathe and Mill), that gets you started and is easy for prototypes etc. then once you find a design that works you could initially sub contract the CNC work for multiples.

OK I am on a relatively small scale out here in NZ, but last year I did a whole heap of gun work on my manual machines but got a load of baffles made by a guy with CNC facilities.

I would you suggest that you also talk with machinery suppliers as to be honest there is a lot of hot air talked about with regards to Suppressors, I suspect largely due to your ATF issues, however if you just look at it as an engineered product non of it is particularly complex or tight tolerance machining.

I think it would be a hard and expensive road to just start-up with CNC from day one if you are not conversant with it. That said CNC is the way to go for large production, just for me I am old school and do this as a paying hobby.....Best of luck

Enfield

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:07 pm
by rleonard
I'm working on a billet titanium mono core design. Wire cut EDM would work well but slow and time consuming because each chamber would require a drill and thread the wire. Have just contacted a local waterjet cutter. That might be a great solution if the draft angles can be managed.

Bob

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:40 pm
by partsguy22
Waterjet ?
If the round profile cant be delt with maybe water jet it as a square piece of barstock the turn to diameter...as a plus ot would be easy to make a can an offset bore ala the SiCo Osprey or DeLisle.

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:54 am
by ECCO Machine
partsguy22 wrote:Waterjet ?
If the round profile cant be delt with maybe water jet it as a square piece of barstock the turn to diameter...as a plus ot would be easy to make a can an offset bore ala the SiCo Osprey or DeLisle.
Water jet is not really a feasible production method. Yes, you could turn the outside profile afterward, but the bore really needs to be drilled first, and that hole isn't gonna play nice with the jet stream. Trying to drill after jetting would be very problematic even if you had flat profile for the drill tip to contact, and then you'd still have to machine it away later.

Laser could do it, but alas, everyone is using VMCs & millturns for good reason. It just doesn't take a high speed CNC very long to cut out the baffles.

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:02 am
by ECCO Machine
OP-I don't know what kind of budget you guys have, but for production, you really need a 5 axis high speed machine.

I don't do production at present, all of my prototyping is done on fully manual machines, so I'm afraid I can't really tell you what machine "works for me", but a millturn is ideal. If not that, a 5 axis VMC. With only 3 or 4 axis, you're gonna have to handle them quite a bit, and will have to poke the bore and thread parts either with fixtures in the VMC or on a lathe.

A 5+ axis millturn can take you from bar stock to finished core without you ever touching the part.
BinaryAndy wrote: It is possible to do this without CNC machinery, but it's going to end up neither cheaper nor easier that way.

Don't underestimate the difficulty of drilling that bore hole fast and straight.
It's the fast part that'll kill ya on manuals, especially without coolant through drills. Aluminum goes pretty quick, steel ain't bad. But drilling a 9" deep hole in 6/4 Ti takes me a good 30 minutes, and is hard on drills. And I'm using a 3 HP 17x60 engine lathe for that, not some little Southbend machine. I just finished a 1.5" x 9" fully titanium prototype today on manual equipment, and I've got about 8 hours in it, still another 1/2 hour to engrave and register after I test fire tomorrow.

Tooling costs will kill you on manuals, too. You're gonna smoke & break end mills frequently, especially in Ti. Coolant flooding will definitely help, but it's a godawful mess, and still nowhere near as effective as the high pressure coolant in a machining center or millturn.

Can one make some money producing cans on manual equipment? Yes. Are you gonna be a successful name in the suppressor industry? Nope. You'll never keep up with the market popping out a dozen or two cans per week. That's why it's all about R&D until you can swing CNC machines.
Enfield577 wrote:I would get manual machines for now (Lathe and Mill), that gets you started and is easy for prototypes etc. then once you find a design that works you could initially sub contract the CNC work for multiples.
Can't do that here in the US. Firearms, including silencers, must be manufactured on the premises of the FFL.

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:14 pm
by RWD
ECCO Machine wrote:Can't do that here in the US. Firearms, including silencers, must be manufactured on the premises of the FFL.
Luckily there are a few SOT’s here that do contract work for NFA stuff. Right now we’re working on getting prototype designs done, then we’ll be sending them off to one of those shops to get prototypes done.

Re: What equipment are you guys using to make monocores?

Posted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:42 pm
by 300sniper
Are you looking to make 100 a day or 100 a year? That would be the deciding factor on what machine(s) to use.