Sheldon ks990 lathe?

JuddL

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Jul 24, 2019
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181
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DFW
My advice, save your money and get a bigger (read sturdier) lathe that will be much more suited for barrel work.

To a prior point you said…there are lots of gunsmiths around the country that will do a phenomenal job that have the resumes and experience to back it up. Dallas Lane and I believe Alex Wheeler both post on this site…there literally are a bunch of good gunsmiths…a bunch.

I just completed my 7th or 8th barrel and not one single one has went smooth…I’m also two years into this endeavor (I haven’t made it my life but it’s had a focus, I do have a full time+ job and a wife so rarely do I get time through the week). I also had zero experience or knowledge, I bought the lathe and had no idea how to turn it on lol. I’ve attended no classes and had no in person instructions. What I’ve got is three or four really good guys who have answered every dumb question I’ve asked and Gordy’s book + video, Richard Franklin videos, Viper’s den video and John Hinnant’s book.

Everything I’ve twisted has shot 1/2” or better up to this point but it’s come with some lessons and lessons typically have a cost of tuition. I was in this for the long haul and wanted to do it…someday it’ll be a good retirement time burner, I figure best case scenario that’s 10 years worst case it’s 15 years off. I will also say I’m still learning and getting faster at everything…that is providing a lot more confidence in what I’m doing.

My first (I’ve had three thus far) reminder that these machines play for keeps…I fed a parting tool into a bar stock too hard and it blew up…pieces went everywhere and I still don’t know how I didn’t catch a piece somewhere (thank God!). My point, be careful and even when you are safety minded you have to have 100% attention on things.

The most important lesson I learned…gunsmiths don’t make enough money for the work and knowledge they have.

Good luck!

Edit - almost forgot, it was very satisfying to build gun #1 break it in and get it shooting and give it to my Dad this summer. He killed the first deer with it last week. I’ve killed 2 with my barrels…one axis doe with a 6 Creedmoor and a big buck with a 300wsm. Very satisfying knowing all I had invested into those two builds/assembly.
 
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bamban

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May 13, 2009
Messages
470
Location
Austin, TX
If you can find a usedTaiwanese made 1236 with D1-4 nose you would be happy. I have an ATrump 1236 which I converted to 3P motor and a VFD, and a new Precision Matthews PM1440TV..
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My favorite go-to is still this Jet 1024, converted to VFD and proximity sensor for stopping features. Spindle bore is just
1-1/16. I've chambered a little over 4 dozens of AR barrels for TX Juniors on this smallish lathe. Barrels are ordered at 1.00x straight.

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Coyote Shadow Tracker

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Social Circle, GA
My advice, save your money and get a bigger (read sturdier) lathe that will be much more suited for barrel work.

To a prior point you said…there are lots of gunsmiths around the country that will do a phenomenal job that have the resumes and experience to back it up. Dallas Lane and I believe Alex Wheeler both post on this site…there literally are a bunch of good gunsmiths…a bunch.

I just completed my 7th or 8th barrel and not one single one has went smooth…I’m also two years into this endeavor (I haven’t made it my life but it’s had a focus, I do have a full time+ job and a wife so rarely do I get time through the week). I also had zero experience or knowledge, I bought the lathe and had no idea how to turn it on lol. I’ve attended no classes and had no in person instructions. What I’ve got is three or four really good guys who have answered every dumb question I’ve asked and Gordy’s book + video, Richard Franklin videos, Viper’s den video and John Hinnant’s book.

Everything I’ve twisted has shot 1/2” or better up to this point but it’s come with some lessons and lessons typically have a cost of tuition. I was in this for the long haul and wanted to do it…someday it’ll be a good retirement time burner, I figure best case scenario that’s 10 years worst case it’s 15 years off. I will also say I’m still learning and getting faster at everything…that is providing a lot more confidence in what I’m doing.

My first (I’ve had three thus far) reminder that these machines play for keeps…I fed a parting tool into a bar stock too hard and it blew up…pieces went everywhere and I still don’t know how I didn’t catch a piece somewhere (thank God!). My point, be careful and even when you are safety minded you have to have 100% attention on things.

The most important lesson I learned…gunsmiths don’t make enough money for the work and knowledge they have.

Good luck!

Edit - almost forgot, it was very satisfying to build gun #1 break it in and get it shooting and give it to my Dad this summer. He killed the first deer with it last week. I’ve killed 2 with my barrels…one axis doe with a 6 Creedmoor and a big buck with a 300wsm. Very satisfying knowing all I had invested into those two builds/assembly.
Jud
If you really get stuck I can give you a person that was like sent from God to help me out in a jam.
I had an old gunsmith tell me once with I was getting into the business, "If you think that you can make a million $s you better have two millions to start with.
I did gunsmithing of and on for 50 years, mostly for myself the family, then friends, then friends of friends. LOST money. We recently (a few years) sold all our equipment and machines due to my spinal cord injury. I couldn't just sit around so we went "go for broke" With everything new latest greatest state of art for custom barrel chambering, rifle building and Cherakoting. Got well over $30k+++ invested and still need more. But it will be a love of live and the way I take care of equipment, will most likely sell it later on for more that I paid for it.
Not looking to make a lot of money but be able to make high quality rifles for Jill and I to shoot comp and get some side jobs for friends that are waiting 6-9-12+ months for a barrel or build. We will be able to do it faster and les expensive.
 

isaaccarlson

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Joined
May 11, 2011
Messages
205
Location
NW Wisconsin
bamban- I like the spider plate. It looks like you have 2 sizes of bolts in it? One set has jam screws? Can you give details? I assume you are using the spider plate with a cathead?
 

bamban

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May 13, 2009
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470
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Austin, TX
bamban- I like the spider plate. It looks like you have 2 sizes of bolts in it? One set has jam screws? Can you give details? I assume you are using the spider plate with a cathead?
On that 1024? I just bolted the Grizzly.com spider to the faceplate. The nuts used on the back of the faceplate are the unistruts 3/8 that are rectangular enough to straddle the ribs. The jacking screws are still 3/8x24, but instead of using the brass tips one I am using pads with ball bearings on them and the screws were cut with the ball end mill. The ball bearing system allows the barrel to pivot when dialing both ends. Yes, there is an outboard cathead.

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Beauty of the threaded nose attachment to it is fairly rigid and possibilities are plenty. I have used this along with a outboard spider to chamber one of my sporter barrels.

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Though I have the two other lathes for chambering I used this 1024 when I rebarreled my M1A hunting rifle from an Obermeyer blank. As far as the spider I have since replaced the Grizzly.com plate with a solid steel one, but still bolted to the same faceplate.

The short headstock allowed me to chuck up the whole barreled M1A receiver and time the thread for the Surefire suppressor adapter.

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shortgrass

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Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
3,322
Location
Weatherford, Oklahoma
I think JuddL has it right when he says you'd be better off with a larger and heavier machine. That little Sheldon would make someone an OK second lathe for small parts and such. A lot of the 'tooling' that is posted in the Sheldon pics is all but worthless. Good, American made 'iron', that's suitable for gunsmithing and not worn out and in need of rebuilding (if it can be) is getting harder and harder to find. And in the field of gunsmithing, being able to do barrel work ain't everything (although many seem to think it is)..... And I wanna' know what Bamban is doing up @ 4:30-4:40 in the morning!
 

bamban

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Joined
May 13, 2009
Messages
470
Location
Austin, TX
I think JuddL has it right when he says you'd be better off with a larger and heavier machine. That little Sheldon would make someone an OK second lathe for small parts and such. A lot of the 'tooling' that is posted in the Sheldon pics is all but worthless. Good, American made 'iron', that's suitable for gunsmithing and not worn out and in need of rebuilding (if it can be) is getting harder and harder to find. And in the field of gunsmithing, being able to do barrel work ain't everything (although many seem to think it is)..... And I wanna' know what Bamban is doing up @ 4:30-4:40 in the morning!
I was hunting on a TX Guard Base over the weekend, formation for briefing was at 0500, had to wake up at 0330 for the 50 minute drive to make the briefing... three days later I am still waking up the same time @ 0330 without the alarm clock...going back to bed now....i did shoot a hog with that suppressed M1a
 
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tobnpr

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Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
398
Great minds must think alike...
Bamban uses the same style V-Blocks in the inboard spider as I do (shown in the picture further up).
Never knew anyone else had the same idea!
 

shortgrass

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Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
3,322
Location
Weatherford, Oklahoma
Great minds must think alike...
Bamban uses the same style V-Blocks in the inboard spider as I do (shown in the picture further up).
Never knew anyone else had the same idea!
That's really not an "new idea". I've seen that (the V blocks & ball bearings) used in tool rooms since the mid '70s'. Special tooling was still made in tool rooms then. Everything was made of tool steel (high speed, some O-1). Might be a new 'thing' in gunsmithing, though....
 

isaaccarlson

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Joined
May 11, 2011
Messages
205
Location
NW Wisconsin
I don't think anything is "new" in the machining world. Everything has been done before by someone.

I brought the lathe home last night. I was going to walk, but then he dropped the price to $1400 and I just couldn't let it go. It's in the back of the car now, waiting to be unloaded. It's a heavy lathe, about 600 lbs.
Man, is that thing quiet.
 

jpndave

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Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Messages
519
Location
Hyde Park, UT
600lbs heavy? LOL, my lathe weighs 5klbs+. Knee mill I just bought 3k+lbs.

Seriously though congrats on the purchase I'm sure you will enjoy it.
 

isaaccarlson

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Joined
May 11, 2011
Messages
205
Location
NW Wisconsin
We got the lathe into the basement. That baby weighs more than 600 lbs. We stripped it down and 3 of us had a hard time of it just moving the bed. I am going through the head and making sure everything is clearanced right. A friend gave me a drum switch today so I will have fwd/rev. I am looking forward to getting it wired in so I can thread to the right, which is always a good thing. I have 4 rifle barrels to thread and a pile of parts to make. I am going to make a spider that threads onto the outboard end of the spindle and another spider for the chuck side along with a cathead for the steady rest. I cleaned the chuck and need to grind the jaws (.010 runout). I can use an old dremel motor for that. I just happen to have one laying around.

I'm going to mount a light over the chuck as well, so I can see better. And a chip tray too, I have to make one of those. I might use a large baking pan for that, we'll see.
 
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