One of my preferred clients found out that my father has been teaching me how to operate his milling machine in our spare time. They decided to aid me in my efforts and donated a small pile of scrap aluminum to be mangled. Included in the pile was an AR-15 forging that had been destroyed when an end mill broke off and wallowed out a few pin holes. Their attempts to salvage the lower failed so they destroyed the fire control potion of the lower which was partially milled out and then allowed me to use the sacrifice the solid aluminum magazine well to the milling machine gods.
Not wanting to waste a totally cool looking piece of aluminum I decided to convert it into a business card holder for my office. Who wouldn’t want half a gun receiver for a card holder, right?
It’s not a particularly hard project and it was the perfect choice for learning about feed speeds and listening getting a better understanding of how the whole process of metal mangling works. In fact the exercise demystifies a lot of what goes on in in a proper CNC Mill. It’s a shame that most high schools don’t have full metal shops anymore. Even my local community colleges have fairly restricted manual machine shop courses. Everything is about learning to input G-code into a computer these days.
Being able to shred and mangle metal with your bare hands (ok not actually with your bare hands, but they are involved in the whole metal mangling party) will is really really really cool. Even if you’re horrible at it.