All Springer/NP/PCP Air Gun Discussion General > Machine Shop Talk & AG Parts Machining

Found solution for hobby metal work

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For anyone looking to machine aluminum billet for a one-time hobby project, I recommend trying a cheap angle grinder.

I got one from Home Depot for $40 and with a $3 grinding wheel, it made short work of a fairly think slab of aluminum billet. You'll go through grinding wheels fairly quickly but they are cheap.

The angle grinder removed material significantly faster than trying to use an end mill bit with a drill press. It was much safer too.

I'm making a bedding block. I haven't finished yet but I've been able to cut a channel in the billet with lines that are straight enough to finish off perfect with some hand files. It's so much quicker than any other rotary tool I've tried.

Rob M:


--- Quote from: Rob M on August 25, 2016, 04:44:55 AM ---mounted the grinder above a 2 axis vice, u may have no need for filing after.

--- End quote ---

What did you mount the grinder to?

I was thinking of mounting the grinder on an X Y vise and just using a regular vice for the aluminum billet. I just don't have that much travel in my X Y vise. I have around 4" and the part will be 8". If I turn the part half way then I run into alignment issues and I'm back to filing....

Still, finishing with a file is not too bad. The files I have are cheap but they remove a surprising amount of material for what they are. I wouldn't want to do more than straightening a few edges though...

Rob M:


I think there are solutions to mount tools on longer tracks but they are more than I want to spend for one off project.

I have been drawing guide lines on the metal and following them with the angle grinder. It works well enough. It will still take me a while to grind a deep (ish) channel in the block of aluminum though.

I have to say, metal work is a lot more fun when your tool grinds properly. Everything I tried with a dremel or drill was painfully slow and no fun at all. A few seconds with a $40 angle grinder and you can see a deep groove cut into the metal.

I've been watching YouTube clips of people using wood lathes on aluminum. It's interesting because they seem to be way cheaper than metal lathes.

quote author=Rob M link=topic=113735.msg1090347#msg1090347 date=1472136838]
i see its for big work.. post pics when u can , and yes i was imagining the small drill press vices which have little travel. I dont have one mounted but was picturing a homebrew jig


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