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Stockmakers obsolete

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by mad_dawg, Feb 8, 2013.

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  1. mad_dawg

    mad_dawg Member

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    The rise of 3D printing is going to put pressure on today's stockmakers and fitters.

    Imagine a person just scans their receiver or takes a "stock" picture of their gunstock and tweaks the dimensions in a 3D modeling program. The stock is printed and tried. If it fits great! If not, grind it down and change dimensions and reprint.

    These things can print in any color or combination of colors, with texture,and even with embedded internal parts for weight or dampening.

    If it looks like wood, acts like wood, feels like wood, and is scented like wood (or whatever else you'd like it to look or smell like) and costs a fraction of custom-made...what's not to like?

    Lead, follow, or get out of the way.


    I have provided you a glimpse into the future...thank me later.
     
  2. Stl Flyn

    Stl Flyn Well-Known Member

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    I think what the 3D Solid CAD Systems, along with 5 Axis CNC Machines, are going to do is, eliminate the need for a "Fitting stock" to duplicate. I would think that all you need to do is buy one PFS stock, and all of the various grips. Once you have the dimensions needed, you draw it up, or scan, in your example, fill it in, and feed it into the CNC program, and in minutes you are sanding and final fitting. Problem is, it will take allot of stocks to make up the extreme costs involved.

    Dennis DeVault, or Larry Garroutte may be able to do this, but your average stock maker would be in debt for a long time. So your claim as to Stock makers becoming obsolete may be a little aggressive.
     
  3. Dickgshot

    Dickgshot Well-Known Member

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    We only use wood for stocks because that's what they used a hundred years ago.
    With adjustable ribs, combs, pads. extended chokes, add-on weights; the traditional appearance of guns has all but disappeared. Wood stocks are almost an anomaly.


    I have a Jack West stock on my 1100. I don't worry about accidentally banging it against the car door, getting oil on it, or water. Granted, it's not
    beautiful - but neither am I.
     
  4. Stl Flyn

    Stl Flyn Well-Known Member

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    To add to your self proclaimed response. If you wanted to be beautiful, outside anyway, look at how much it would cost. LOL. Anything is possible now days, its the cost that gets in the way.
     
  5. mad_dawg

    mad_dawg Member

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    I think the printer hardware will be owned by a contract 3D printer...just send them the file and your stock will be shipped to ya... Not everyone will need the hardware. Rapid Prototype model...costs will be spread around everything printed, not just this one niche example. Innovation drives cost reduction hopefully.

    Remember the future is what you make it.

    And yes, the thread was meant to provoke thought. Aggressive? Maybe, but in a good way.
     
  6. NJCOP

    NJCOP TS Member

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    There are people who prefer traditional means and high quality workmanship and naturally grown hardwoods. I'd be one of them when it comes to a bolt rifle or non-tactical shotgun. Its sort of like owning a real Rembrandt or a re-print of one. One has texture and depth and is valuable and the other is the other is a modern day piece of cr_p.

    Sort of like modern vs. traditional archery. I'll take a recurve over a compound and day of the week. Have a few hand made ones and they are as pretty to look at as they are to shoot.

    Stock makers will be around for some time. They would have been gone already with the advent of our current synthic units if that would have been the case.
     
  7. skeet_man

    skeet_man Well-Known Member

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    Synthetic/Composite for stocks is vastly superior to wood in every way except one, appearance. And even that can be enhanced with paint or wood grain dips. I'll take a cheap and durable (practically bulletproof) synthetic stock over a VERY expensive and fragile wood stock every day of the week. I wish Devault had gone further with his custom composite stocks, it would have gone a long way toward making a custom stock a more affordable proposition.

    I don't know if the technology is quite there yet to make a usable stock on a 3d printer (I don't know if you could make one strong enough to use as an every day use stock given the raw materials you can run currently), but if it isn't, it will be pretty soon.

    Certainly the technology is there now to make a complete stock on a CNC. Kolar has been doing that for some time on their custom stocks. With a good CNC machine and a CMM, you could take a try stock, render a 3d version, and duplicate it exactly, requiring VERY minor or no fitting to the metal. The days of using a stock duplicator, and spending hours to properly fit a stock to the action are coming to a close very quickly. I'm really surprised nobody has come out with a DIY line like Wenig has, once you have the CNC program, you could be cracking out stocks as fast as you could load the material, and your only cost at that point would be the wood and some electricity. You wouldn't even have to make RH and LH versions, just make one or the other and a mirror image. If a customer wanted 1/4" more on the comb, or 3/16" more cast, it would only take a few minutes to modify the design.

    I don't think you'll ever be able to completely eliminate a "fitting stock", where you tweak and adjust to the customer on site with wood rasps and bondo, but you could make it extremely simple to replicate that stock once its fit to the customer. You could even have a system whereby a fitting stock is made, and the exact measurements could be duplicated for different actions, so if you wanted say 3-4 guns to fit exactly the same, you wouldn't have to have 3-4 stocks fit to you from scratch.
     
  8. southjblue

    southjblue Active Member

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    I feel like COP----I'm having one built(WALNUT) and for 1000s----That's just me.Nothing worse to me than a PFS on a highgrade gun,but again that's me.There comes a time in life when $$s don't mean much and you should enjoy what's left or your kids will and it will go fast-----What's nicer than a beautiful piece of walnut attached to a beautiful hand engraved receiver,but that's just me.I know some will say all I need is a piece of pipe hooked up to a receiver and all it has to do is shoot straight but that's not me---Remember the guy that says---My Ford will take me anywhere your caddy will---Well that's not me.
    Wood makers will be around as long as there are those like me----Just saying.

    George@SJB
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Member

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    I'm with you george. When I take a pigeon gun to Alaska in September I might be interested in a composite Perazzi stock.. but that's just me.

    I like English or Turkish Walnut simply because there is nothng (to me) like a beautiful oil finished stock..
     
  10. Hotrod67

    Hotrod67 Member

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    To me, it's all about the wood. All the different kinds of woods from around the world is just amazing. Combine that with the bluing and you have a thing of beauty. As long as there's wood, I'll never have composite.....Dan.
     
  11. turmite

    turmite Member

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    This is a subject I can relate to, on both sides. I make stocks, though not too many shotgun stocks, and I know a guy who is developing a 3d printer that will be inexpensive enough for every household to own one, which is his goal. I have seen the controller for it make things move and have seen some of the parts printed in his tests.

    What about a printed stock that is printed with the true colors and figure of the finest Turkish walnut? This is the type printer he is working on. Not necessarily for stocks, but for general household use. Another version of it allows the printing heads to be attached to a standard milling machine (cnc of course) or a cnc router and the size of the machine movement dictates how large a part you can print!

    Personally, I am with Dan on this. Give me real wood and real metal and real beauty! I have seen stocks that were hydro dipped using a turkish print, and it still looked like a fake piece......which it was!

    Mike
     
  12. Dennis DeVault

    Dennis DeVault Well-Known Member

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    A friend called this afternoon and told me about this thread. This is very interesting and for me I started the search about this 10 years ago. The recent rise of 3-D printing has it's possibilities but we are a long away from this happening. Here is why. The plastic in 3-D printing today will not take the pounding of recoil. About 5 years ago I made 7 plastic stocks from a material called Last-A-Foam, the material was great to work with but it had a serious problem. Of the 7 stocks made 4 were for the butt fit style of receivers like Ljutic, 1100, 390 or 391. The other three stocks were for tang style guns like Perazzi, Beretta etc. This material was even weight specific and could be made in any density, great. The problem with the material and most plastics they are notch sensitive. Any tool mark on an internal surface and you have a stress riser where it will fail. I made the last stock for Steve Carmichael's daughter and after two years it broke in half right through the wrist. Steve sent the stock back and upon inspection there was a very small scratch line in the interior of the stock and that is where it broke. We ate the cost of replacing all three of those tang stocks and that is when we quit the experiment as the company that supplied the product was not going to stand behind the project. Over the last 4 years we have had folks in here to display laser imaging and that is very interesting as well but at this time not practical. We have made Beretta forends and they were so good they slid on the gun with no sanding required to make them fit. Now lets take about cost, the program that we need here to produce the models to even 3-D print is $ 45,000.00, the cost of a programmer to program and operate a 5 axis machine is $50,000 to $1000,000. Then the machinist to run the machine. when you put pencil and paper to all of this it just does not add up and we are a long away from making this happen but I agree it is in the future. As for making a fitter obsolete that is an area that will not suffer in the future. It is one thing to program a stock but unless you understand how to reduce recoil and how to take away the art side that will not make me worry about losing my place in the industry. So the long and short it has been at least 15 years since we have looked at this technology and I suspect I will be long gone before I see it come around. Just my thoughts but this is a great topic and well presented.

    Dennis DeVault
     
  13. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Dennis, in all fairness, the Last a Foam is a completely different material that what is being used in these 3d printers. There is a wide array of materials available for 3d printing that may, or.....may not work for a gunstock. I cannot speak to that because I haven't done it or seen it. I do know however that the technology is different that the Last a Foam.

    Technology has come down in price a lot in the last 5 years. I currently use Rhino 3d both version 4 32 bit and version 5 64 bit. I have a cam package for Rhino that offers full 5 axis simultaneous motion that retails for less than $4k making my full cadcam less than $5k. This software also outputs APT robotic code allowing the user to make use of 5 or 6 axis robots in place of cnc machining centers. Personally I think that will be the future of cnc like you and I would use.

    Mike

    ps.....not comparing myself to you either lol
     
  14. grunt

    grunt TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    interesting thread..
     
  15. dflo

    dflo Member

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    Mike and Dennis~

    Well you can make a stock with FDM using Polycarbonate. I have done this with rifle chassis for prototypes. I have a PFS grip in the works as we speak. The price for just a grip no metal inserts is $515.00 with a 2 day turnaround. Expect a full stock to be almost double. If you find someone with an FDM machine that has a large enough working envelope.

    But now down to what it takes to make a model to print a stock. The preferred software would be Catia, Alias or Unigraphics these run $18,000.00 plus add ons, you can easily have $50,000.00 wrapped up in a full blown Catia seat. There are plenty of lesser 3d software packages like SolidWorks, Inventor, Rhino, and ProE these are full of faults that will make you spend more time in work arounds than actually producing a model. All 3D modeling packages can do the parametric portion of the model well. The problem comes in when you model the surface portion of the stock. The lower end software just does not have the capabilities to make a high quality non-parametric surface model that does not have gaps, ridges, and imperfections. Not to mention you have to be a fairly proficient Designer to make them look and function well.

    The next alternative is to 3D laser scan an existing stock and generate a model from the point cloud. Well the best quote I received to do this was $450.00 then you still have to clean up the point cloud and have it "printed". You still will need a stock to scan and it that is custom fitted well that is not cheap either. So for about the same money as you would end up in a plastic stock you could pay Dennis and his crew and have a nice fitted wood stock that most of us all drool over.

    The conclusion is yes it can be done. But, is it cost effective NO! If you want to do your own, have the software and the ability to use it. This is a fun project just do not keep track of your time and expect any type of return.

    Dale

    Here is a screen shot of the Perazzi PFS Grip.


    [​IMG]
     
  16. high 2

    high 2 Member

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    Dennis, I'm feeling pretty sorry for you and myself about this. I guess we're just dinosaurs on our way out. I'll come to your shop and take all that useless wood off of your hands for 10 cents on the dollar ;). I know technology is changing everything in our lives, but there will always be room for true craftsmen. We can now doing machine engraving but how can you compare that to something my buddy Bill Mains turned out with his hands and the God given talent he had.
    Larry
     
  17. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised no one has used film dipping to put a wood finish on a set of jack West synthetic stocks. I think it would look a lot better than that awful carbon fiber that is a withered fad.

    I had planned to build an alternative caliber AR15 this year and have the synthetic furniture dipped in fancy walnut film. Alas, the panic has set that project onto the back burner.
     
  18. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Dale, I of course have never used Catia, but I can get a seat of Rhino 5 for $995........Let me think about this for a minute.....I think I can do the work around several times over for the difference between that and $18,000! ;) lol Then again, I heard Catia was something like $30k.

    While I was typing my response to Dennis, I spent about 30 minutes on a skype chat with the fellow who has designed the new 3d printer I mentioned. It is not FDM and it does not use thermal. When available, one large enough for me to make a rifle stock will retail for around $....!

    Brian I can't find the photo, but I saw a photo of a over/under stock set dipped with a very nice English print a few years ago. The problem is, it just does not look like wood....not really! Close....but not really!

    Mike
     
  19. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I know the Beretta Extra Wood stocks have fooled some people. They are plain stocks that have been dipped in fancy wood film. Someone here mentioned a year or two ago that he or someone he knew tried to alter the stock with disastrous results.
     
  20. southjblue

    southjblue Active Member

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    How many guns with synthetic imitation will you find in a museum 100 yrs from now????Just junk in my opinion---Sorry but fact--With all due respect,that should be the end of this thread----Just saying----George@SJB
     
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