I have been wanting to do so for years, but I finally bought myself a Grizzly G4015Z combination lathe/mill. I don’t have huge plans to make things with it. Primarily, I intend to use this to learn about machining processes and get some experience doing them. Ultimately, I hope to help my brother open a gunsmithing shop, and part of that goal includes the design and manufacture of firearms.
My father worked in a machine shop during my childhood, and I was occasionally able to get a glimpse of things, but I didn’t know much then, and my attention was primarily focused on the very large parts they machined and the artful variety of metal shavings.
My interest in guns has often led me to wish for niche products that no one makes. That, combined with my brother’s need for a vocation, inspired us to send him to gunsmithing school. If we can figure out the financial and real-estate hurdles, we would like to get him set up with a shop.
In the mean time, there are plenty of things for both of us to learn and experiments to conduct. The G4015Z is a very small machine (weighing only 475 lbs!) and is limited in what it can do. However, the basic functionality is there, and it will give me the platform on which to learn what I want to learn.
Of course, buying the machine is only the beginning of expenditures. There are all kinds of cutting tools and measuring tools I will need to buy. And materials to machine are also surprisingly expensive.