AR-15 "Off the books"

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Flintlock Tom
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AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Flintlock Tom » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:09 pm

I had an interesting morning.
A local gun shop wants to sell more rifles and rifle gear so they teamed up with a near-by machine shop. They are offering the opportunity to mill out your own AR-15 lower receiver. No brand name, model or serial number.
Image

They only do it on Sunday morning to work around the normal working hours of the machine shop.
You bring your own 80% lower, or buy one they have available, pay $65 for the machine shop use/instruction and walk away with your very own, unmarked, AR-15 receiver.
About a dozen guys showed up this morning, but I managed to bully my way to the head of the line and I was in and out in less than an hour.
I'm thinking this receiver is going to turn into an AR-15 based pistol. Maybe .450 Bushmaster or .458 Socom.

:D
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Dinochrome » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:17 pm

Fantastic! I can imagine the consternation in Sacramento when hundreds of these rifles are produced and start showing up at gun-shows.

Good job! I remember seeing one of these receivers milled out of solid brass,.....
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Flintlock Tom » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:30 pm

If it "shows up at a gunshow" (for sale) it has to have ATF specified markings: serial number, model, maker, etc.
For personal use it doesn't need any markings.

One in brass would be awesome...and HEAVY!
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Jered » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:49 pm

so how long will it take for them to close the "machine shop loophole?" :roll:
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby JAG2955 » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:17 am

That is full of win. I'm certain that it's giving coronaries to all the hippies around. You can build your own machine gun there! Oh, the horrors!

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Flintlock Tom » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:35 am

Yup. I expect black helicopters over my house tonight.

:(
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby rightisright » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:13 am

That's cool.

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby 308Mike » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:25 am

Flintlock Tom wrote:Yup. I expect black helicopters over my house tonight.

:(


If you get locked up, call me & I'll see what I can do to help bail you out (but I'm not putting my house up for bail!). Your lovely wife has our numbers, right? ;)
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby NVGdude » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:00 am

Dinochrome wrote:Good job! I remember seeing one of these receivers milled out of solid brass,.....



It's an AR-15 receiver, you could mill it out of walnut and it would work just fine. (maybe not for .458 SOCOM though :mrgreen: )

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby scipioafricanus » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:55 am

So how does that work with the Gummint: owning, making, and/or buying a receiver without numbers?

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Netpackrat » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:07 pm

scipioafricanus wrote:So how does that work with the Gummint: owning, making, and/or buying a receiver without numbers?


Owning and making work fine. Buying, not so much.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Precision » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:55 pm

CByrneIV wrote:
Netpackrat wrote:
scipioafricanus wrote:So how does that work with the Gummint: owning, making, and/or buying a receiver without numbers?


Owning and making work fine. Buying, not so much.


Or selling, or taking across state lines.


The taking across state lines would be the thing I would be afraid of ACCIDENTALLY doing / having a family member do ACCIDENTALLY. But otherwise, super cool if only for the fact that you can.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Flintlock Tom » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:58 pm

Why would taking it across state lines be an issue? It complies with all ATF requirements.
It was purchased before it was a firearm, just a piece of aluminum. I built a firearm out of it. Home-built firearms are okay with the .gov as long as it is not an NFA firearm and not for sale (or transfer).

https://www.tacticalmachining.com/80-lower-receiver.html
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Flintlock Tom » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:29 pm

Thank you!
I DON'T want to be the "test case."
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby MarkD » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:48 pm

First, I'm assuming this would be verboten in my own state of NJ. Still, if one completed such a lower, what would you need to do, legally, if you moved to a new state? Destroy it?

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Flintlock Tom » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:27 pm

Wide range of answers depending on the state.
If I were moving I would either add a serial number/markings to make it "transfer-able" and sell it or bring it along and comply with my new state's laws.
If time, chance and random process can produce a platypus why not an ammo tree?

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Dinochrome » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:36 pm

NVGdude wrote:
Dinochrome wrote:Good job! I remember seeing one of these receivers milled out of solid brass,.....



It's an AR-15 receiver, you could mill it out of walnut and it would work just fine. (maybe not for .458 SOCOM though :mrgreen: )


The brass receiver was done for looks; maybe the guy wanted it to match his Winchester '66. :mrgreen:

If I were to build a wooden AR receiver, I think I would use something denser than walnut. Maybe ironwood or ebony with some bearing inserts for the thru-pins and metal reinforcement for the buffer-tube attachment.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby TheIrishman » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:28 pm

MarkD wrote:First, I'm assuming this would be verboten in my own state of NJ. Still, if one completed such a lower, what would you need to do, legally, if you moved to a new state? Destroy it?
Actually looked into it a while ago. It is not illegal to finish your own 80% receiver in NJ. The upper and butt stock must pass our B.S. assault weapons ban(no bayo lug/threads/flash hider/adjustable stock) and I believe it is recommended(even by BATFU) that you mark it in some way, usually your name, county or city of residence, date of manufacture and some sort of serial #(even if it is 0000000001).
CByrneIV wrote:Or selling,
According to the BATFU it is legal to sell a home made firearm, so long as you're not building it for the purpose of selling it. But then again they are known to either make up rules or change their minds on a whim. I think if you were to build one, shoot it for a few years then decide to sell it in a private sale(don't think an FFL would be to quick to put it in his bound book) you should be fine. At least that was the answer several people got from BATFU over at homegunsmith.com. There were several PDFs posted by members on the forum to that effect.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby toad » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:22 am

If you mark it with a serial number, manufacturers name and place of manufacture, do you have to send that info into the BATF or are the markings sufficient in themselves?

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby toad » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:23 am

Pity Mil-Spec barrels cost so darn much. :cry:

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Kommander » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:55 am

toad wrote:Pity Mil-Spec barrels cost so darn much. :cry:


Ass opposed to what? The 4140 barrels? I know that upper wise you can get good deals on Mil-Spec uppers from a variety of places.

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby toad » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:32 pm

A good deal depends on how much money you have and how much you want to risk on the quality of certain "mil-spec" barrels and uppers. I admit that I don't research that stuff anymore, but I seem to remember from the past that their were only about three companies you could get actual, real, mil-spec.
I'd take Chris's word on what's what since he actually builds the dang things.
When I looked into building my own I found I saved no money because not just parts but also when I make holes in things and I want them precise I use reamers.in other words the tooling cost started eating into the budget real quick. I started adding up the price of the tools and parts that would satisfy me as to quality and it just wasn't feasible, at least for me.

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Combat Controller » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:26 pm

Or if you move just don't tell anyone.
Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
packed up and ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway
a place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance
I'm getting used to it now
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Darrell » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:21 am

A tech question--the receiver appears to be anodized, and the milling operations have exposed bare aluminum. Is that a concern?
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby 308Mike » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:43 am

Darrell wrote:A tech question--the receiver appears to be anodized, and the milling operations have exposed bare aluminum. Is that a concern?


I was wondering the same thing. Are you going to have to re-anodize the receiver after the milling, or is it not a concern?
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby TheIrishman » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:11 am

CByrneIV wrote:The question wasn't whether it was legal to sell a home made receiver. It is, so long as you didn't manufacture specifically to sell it; at least federally. That wasn't in dispute.
The question was the legal status of a home made receiver that was not marked "properly" (which according to the ATF and GCA '68 means a unique serial number, manufacturers name, and place of manufacture).
According to the ATF you can sell a home made gun, and also you do not have to mark a home made receiver; HOWEVER you may not transfer a firearm made after 1968 unless it is "properly marked".
We're actually in agreement, you just went a little more in-depth of it. Some however, believe a "self built" firearm may never be sold. Properly marking it as even ATF recommends still keeps it off of the radar but provides you with a margin of safety and does allow for later sale.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Flintlock Tom » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:23 pm

Found a local Trophy Shop that will laser engrave markings for me. The counter guy is a retired Gunnery Sergeant. He wrote "left side of the mag well on an M16 receiver" on the invoice with me just pointing.
He was curious about the work I had done and if I was going to do any more.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby bunkerguy » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:16 am

i am thinking about doing this,but there is no machine shop that i know of in vegas that offer this, what should i do?

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Flintlock Tom » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:23 pm

bunkerguy wrote:i am thinking about doing this,but there is no machine shop that i know of in vegas that offer this, what should i do?

Tactical Machining sells "jigs" for positioning the holes and cuts. They also sell the "non-firearm, lower, almost-receivers."
http://www.tacticalmachining.com/80-products.html
Presumably you can finish your receiver with just a drill press, if you're patient and careful.

Or, my suggestion would be to get involved with the local gun community and ask around if anyone has done this or knows of a machine shop with CNC milling equipment that would take on the project.
Here in San Diego we have a, sort of "hobby shop" where they provide equipment and training and turn you loose.
http://www.makerplace.com/
You might see if there's something like that in Nevada.

Also, I went ahead and had some engraving done: made-up manufacturer, made-up model, made-up serial number.
I think I picked a font too large and the laser engraving isn't very deep, but it gives me some peace-of-mind.
Image
Also, to answer Mike's question, I don't believe the bare aluminum will be an issue, but I'll keep an eye on it for signs of oxidation.
I still haven't decided what it's going to be yet, but, when I look at the .50 Beowulf barrel I get chills...
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Combat Controller » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:27 am

Or print one with a 3D printer!

Not that the info about owning it by boing boing is actually that accurate....
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Denis » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:23 am

bunkerguy wrote:i am thinking about doing this,but there is no machine shop that i know of in vegas that offer this, what should i do?


Welcome, bunkerguy.

Are you sure you don't work for the BATFE? If so, get yourself a mill, or go back and ask around the machine shops. A block of aluminium in the shape of an 80%-finished AR receiver will cost you about 200 US Dollars, from any number of online sources.

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Flintlock Tom » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:00 pm

Denis wrote:
bunkerguy wrote:i am thinking about doing this,but there is no machine shop that i know of in vegas that offer this, what should i do?


Welcome, bunkerguy.

Are you sure you don't work for the BATFE? If so, get yourself a mill, or go back and ask around the machine shops. A block of aluminium in the shape of an 80%-finished AR receiver will cost you about 200 US Dollars, from any number of online sources.

Actually about $80 to $90 from the source linked above.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Denis » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:32 pm

Flintlock Tom wrote:Actually about $80 to $90 from the source linked above.


My mistake - I was thinking of milled, rather than forged, 80% receivers, which a bit more expensive.

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby bunkerguy » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:35 pm

Denis wrote:
bunkerguy wrote:i am thinking about doing this,but there is no machine shop that i know of in vegas that offer this, what should i do?


Welcome, bunkerguy.

Are you sure you don't work for the BATFE? If so, get yourself a mill, or go back and ask around the machine shops. A block of aluminium in the shape of an 80%-finished AR receiver will cost you about 200 US Dollars, from any number of online sources.


if i did i would be making far more money that i am making now. lol :jacked:

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby bunkerguy » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:36 pm

Denis wrote:
Flintlock Tom wrote:Actually about $80 to $90 from the source linked above.


My mistake - I was thinking of milled, rather than forged, 80% receivers, which a bit more expensive.


how do they differ?

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby HTRN » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:45 am

CombatController wrote:Or print one with a 3D printer!

Not that the info about owning it by boing boing is actually that accurate....

Ever notice the ones most enamored with "3d printing" are those that have the least experience(if any) with manufacturing?

Denis wrote:or go back and ask around the machine shops.

I don't know any shop that would do it. Don't want the hassle, don't want the liability, and it certainly isn't profitable to them.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Windy Wilson » Tue May 08, 2012 1:16 am

Somebody won't need to go to a machine shop to make off the book lowers.
http://coolstuffwelike.blogspot.com/201 ... upply.html
Now, will the information about how to make such lowers become the "thing" prohibited from unregistered interstate movement?
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby HTRN » Tue May 08, 2012 2:38 am

Too small. I'd consider something in the Seig X2 size to be a minimum if you're going to self build lowers.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Windy Wilson » Tue May 08, 2012 8:13 pm

CByrneIV wrote:Also, how are you going to line bore the rear ring? You don't have the clearance for that with a mill as small as the X2/SX2.


Hell if I know, "I'm a DoctorLawyer, not a machinist!"
I'm always fascinated by the efforts to regulate things that don't need to be grown in a specific place with specific climatic requirements, things that schools turn out thousands of graduates every year who are trained in all the techniques and steps necessary to make things, and which the "precursor" machines are all for sale everywhere at (now) reasonable prices. This one I linked to might not be the best suited for this purpose, but I take it that it could be done.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby bella88 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:16 am

The lower receiver is no different than a standard AR-15 receiver I have also been looking for a AR-15 upper receiver.
ar15 lower receiver

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby HTRN » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:35 am

So the X2 is technically feasable, but just barely, making it a hassle to use. I thought it would work, but then I rarely use mills that small.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Windy Wilson » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:11 pm

So, the X2 is not big enough. What would the next-size-up, the just-big-enough machine be?
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby HTRN » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:04 am

Windy Wilson wrote:So, the X2 is not big enough. What would the next-size-up, the just-big-enough machine be?


Forget the "next size up" - when buying machine tools, always buy the biggest work envelope you can afford/have room for, because invariably you'll have a job that's too big for the machine soon enough. I suggest an IH mill. As a bonus, the column mill design is better for CNC conversion that Bridgeport style machines, as the Head setup is stiffer.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby toad » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:15 pm

Just machining out the trigger trench looks non-trivial to me if you want precision parallel interior surfaces.
properly space apart. I would guess you have to have a pretty rigid spindle that can handle a large enough diameter end mill that won't chatter or push off at the bottom of the cut. If you were just doing the trigger trench what would be the recommended size of end mill??

I remember a number of guys that started projects that got ruined on the price of the cutting tools they needed. I remember one guy with his own shop with a really large lathe that he used to bid on projects from other shops that didn't have a big enough lathe to do. He said he bid on one off and per contract he had to mill one slot in the piece and found he had to go out a buy an end mill. It ate up about half his net profit on the job.

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby toad » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:17 am

I remember many moons ago trying to find a GSA surplus tool and cutter grinder. Even a pretty worn was just too expensive.

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby HTRN » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:48 pm

2K is what you'll get for a smallish bare bones machine. A KO Lee with a decent number of accessories? You're looking at 5 grand and up. Frankly, any machinetool you can buy used for less than 2 grand tend to be either too small, too thrashed, or so obscure/obsolete nobody wants it(case in point: Large shapers and frequently screw machines often go for scrap these days).
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby Windy Wilson » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:09 pm

Well, thank you all for the very thorough answers. It got really esoteric really fast, but you all laid it out pretty clear for someone who has never done any machining at all (I've built some crude things out of wood). I was able to follow along (to my mind) pretty well, even though my only exposure to non-woodworking machinery was a glimpse of an auto-insertion machine and a solder tank(?) in the Automation Lab at *** aerospace company.
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby toad » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:55 pm

HTRN:
The last time I laid hands on a shaper was in 1983, and that was after 1965 in a training school. They were tricky to set up, and didn't have the versatility, IMHO, of a milling machine but the had the advantage of just using a single tool bit. You could shape the tool bit for rough out work or finish work. In the training school I used one to machine out a large V-block and finished it on an old hand powered surface grinder. My last job using one was to cut an internal key slot on the inside diameter of a large pipe. They'd made an extension bit holder so it could get inside the pipe. Eurk! I just flashed on a shaper with digital read outs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaper
If you want a new shaper you can get one from India IIRC. errrh.....

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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby HTRN » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:13 am

Shapers do certain, VERY limited jobs well, mostly involving cutting recesses/keyways that have to be square, rather than radiused. Stuff that would otherwise have to be done with a sinker EDM or a broach setup(may not be possible in blind holes). Other than that? They're boat anchors. I will say the smaller ones are usually more valuable, as they're popular with hobbiests - up to maybe 12 inch, mostly stuff in the 8-10" range. The big 20" shapers? scrap for the most part when they come up for auction. Planers are in a similar situation(Interestingly, planers are popular for cutting pressbrake dies, because they induce less stress in the work, causing less distortion).
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Re: AR-15 "Off the books"

Postby toad » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:11 pm

:jacked:

You had to go and mention planers. We were using planed large flats of hot roll for jig and fixture tables. We started getting plates that not only were rough as cobs but that we couldn't get level. They were warped. We sent some spies down to the tooling machine shop and the problem was the "operator" would just clamp the plate down then start hogging material off of it. He wouldn't put shim under the parts where he clamped and the plate wasn't touching. Then he'd turn the plate over and hog it again. So to use the plate we had to shim or get parts ground down for locators, drill jig plates, and stuff. It made putting tooling reference point on fun also. It was a union shop and we couldn't get him to do it right, moved or fired. :evil:


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