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Discussion Starter #1
Since I'm going for a mechanical engineering degree after I graduate from high school, I figured what better way to apply what I'd learn to a real thing than to make a handgun? Well, probably my job, but that's a given. I was looking at .30 Tokarev recently and thought it had some nice promise. People have had 1911s rechambered in it before, which I actually might do if I get two Rock Islands, but I was wondering how much it would cost to make basically a from-scratch gun with just the dimensions of a CZ52 magazine to go off of.

Of course, I know that mechanical engineering isn't the only thing that I'd need to know to properly do gunsmithing, but it sure helps over the average person who picks it up with, say, a political science or history major or even nothing at all.

But back to the topic, what's the cheapest I could build a passable and safe but not necessarily totally reliable or accurate single action handgun, just as a proof of concept, and building off of that, how much more would it cost to make it shoot well? I'm not going to add things like elevation adjustable sights and fiber optics or a stock and foregrip or a magazine you can adjust the windage on or whatever because that'd just raise the price and complexity unnecessarily.

I wouldn't have made this thread but most of the threads here talk about redoing an already made gun or at most making a partscaster, not making a new one from scratch, and I don't have an account on gunsmithing forums... yet, anyway.
 

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If I remember correctly you're less than 18 years old. Be careful of your gun laws out there. Handguns especially.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If I remember correctly you're less than 18 years old. Be careful of your gun laws out there. Handguns especially.
Yeah, at the moment I'm 16. And in California? Nope, not happening now. But say five or six years down the line, at Georgia Tech? It's possible then.
 

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Yeah, at the moment I'm 16. And in California? Nope, not happening now. But say five or six years down the line, at Georgia Tech? It's possible then.
You're in the right place to learn, just keep reading and reading. Most of the advice is good here but the internet as a whole I wouldn't trust, too many experts on everything.

PM me your regular email address. I'm going to email you two great 1911 books.
 

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I suggest that you try to duplicate the wooden revolver that Sam Colt made as his 'proof of concept' exercise.
Or for more 'fun' make a small wooden catapult. Or maybe a wooden weight driven clock - the 'escapement' mechanism of clocks was a major engineering project not that long ago.

Some very clever and useful items can be made from wood and inexpensive hand tools - it just takes patience and careful work.

Jay
 

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I suggest that you try to duplicate the wooden revolver that Sam Colt made as his 'proof of concept' exercise.
Or for more 'fun' make a small wooden catapult. Or maybe a wooden weight driven clock - the 'escapement' mechanism of clocks was a major engineering project not that long ago.

Some very clever and useful items can be made from wood and inexpensive hand tools - it just takes patience and careful work.

Jay
If you have a 3d printer you can make a non firing firearm replica with all the accurate parts. It will teach you how to use 3d modeling software and part design.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
If you have a 3d printer you can make a non firing firearm replica with all the accurate parts. It will teach you how to use 3d modeling software and part design.
This is actually a pretty good idea. I'll save up a couple grand (actually not the worst investment going forward) and get one. I'd use the school one, but really? Printing 3D models of gun parts out at a Californian high school? That's like holding up a neon sign reading "BUST ME NOW".

Edit: wait, they're only a few hundred bucks? I could afford one after a week of part-time work here. This suggestion is looking way more plausible. It's not a real firearm, not even a firearm-like beverage like an airsoft gun would be, so there's no real way people would be able to bust me for making it even if I did make it tomorrow.
 
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This is actually a pretty good idea. I'll save up a couple grand (actually not the worst investment going forward) and get one. I'd use the school one, but really? Printing 3D models of gun parts out at a Californian high school? That's like holding up a neon sign reading "BUST ME NOW".

Edit: wait, they're only a few hundred bucks? I could afford one after a week of part-time work here. This suggestion is looking way more plausible. It's not a real firearm, not even a firearm-like beverage like an airsoft gun would be, so there's no real way people would be able to bust me for making it even if I did make it tomorrow.
I have a TEVO Tornado. Cost me around 400 bucks and you can make just about anything. I'm sure it would be really easy to find the exact specs of each part online. Print each part out individually and assemble! It would be a really cool project to print out a non functioning 1911 out of ABS plastic parts. You could even print it to have a cutaway so you could see the internal workings.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have a TEVO Tornado. Cost me around 400 bucks and you can make just about anything. I'm sure it would be really easy to find the exact specs of each part online. Print each part out individually and assemble! It would be a really cool project to print out a non functioning 1911 out of ABS plastic parts. You could even print it to have a cutaway so you could see the internal workings.
My thanks button's still broken, but if it wasn't I'd leave one here.
 

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Chainbreaker it looks like you are on the right track to becoming an engineer and possibly a machinist.
It makes me feel good and have hope for our younger generations when there are examples like yourself.

Your parents should be proud of you for your worthy ambitions.

If you haven't already, look up the threads by IRON WORKER on his Enterprise receiver he milled by hand and machine. He is a true artisan when it comes to a machinist.

Also, HoLun did an exceptional job on milling a castle nut.

Good luck and stay true to your dreams.

Oh, and if you ask Art(nf1e) the Marines aren't too bad, even if you do come from a Navy family. Lol
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you haven't already, look up the threads by IRON WORKER on his Enterprise receiver he milled by hand and machine. He is a true artisan when it comes to a machinist.

Also, HoLun did an exceptional job on milling a castle nut.

Good luck and stay true to your dreams.

Oh, and if you ask Art(nf1e) the Marines aren't too bad, even if you do come from a Navy family. Lol
I've checked him out. Very impressive! I've got much to learn and I can't say either of them will be irrelevant at all. I'll definitely be going through their archives over the next week, that's for sure.

And I don't think ill against any Marine. I have a lot of respect for them, even. Anyone who can maintain composure while getting shot at for basic training is either a greater person than I am... or eats crayons. USNA
 
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Try to get some experience in a machine shop, job shop preferably, where different kinds of parts are made. It will give you some valuable insight when you sit down at the keyboard and begin designing things.

You ought to hear some of the names machinists have for some M.E.'s...

Anyway, go for it, with all you've got! A degree in M.E. is soon going to be worth far more than any pink knitted hats "Gender Studies" (or similar) degree. Those idiots will be lucky to get a job bagging manure. If you do well in your studies you will have a very bright future. This country is running out of people that know how to do things and we need kids like you.

I have been a machinist/mechanic for nearly all of my working life, I am nearly 67 now and retired, but I still operate my small shop. I do one off stuff and short runs, and general repair and fabrication. Keeps me happy.
 

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I think if you're willing to talk to a local machine shop owner about your college plans,with work permit in your pocket,you'd get work and an education. Willingness to learn and work opens doors. Old farts live to teach respectful students.
 

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Yes, Stay close and make friends with the older men, or most experienced men. There is a ton that you can not learn from a book. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Best of luck to you. This country needs more motivated young people like yourself.
 

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1) Learn how to machine on a manual machine before going CNC. (You start by riding a bike before you hop on a motorcycle.) You don't have to become a real machinist, just learn how to make a cut in steel without breaking the tool.

2) Learn how to draw. There are many free and nearly free drafting programs you can play with.

3) Don't become a German engineer. Fewer, simpler parts are better than Rube Goldberg contraptions.

4) Study the field. I strongly suggest reading Lt Col George Chin's "The Machine Gun, Volume 4 and try to understand it. You can skip all the other volumes unless you find history interesting.

5) Have fun!







 

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Discussion Starter #20
All of these are pretty good suggestions. At the moment I'll go with 3D printing a NFR just to get a feel for all the components, but I'll keep this thread printed if I have to.
 
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