Making an AR15 lower out of beer/soda cans

Making an AR15 lower out of beer/soda cans

Joined: September 11th, 2014, 5:40 pm

September 25th, 2017, 5:32 pm #1

https://youtu.be/zBWjA_5ptSk

This seemed like exactly the thing you guys would be interested in...
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

September 25th, 2017, 6:21 pm #2

... You knew the "but" was coming, right?

It's interesting how thoroughly the guy was set up to cast aluminum- that's a well-built and well-used furnace, he's got a good design for the mold boxes, that looks like a professional crucible, etc. His machines are mid-grade imports, but quite serviceable, and so on.

And then he uses beer can metal for it all?

I'm going to have to assume he was using the beer cans just for the example of it- "Making a receiver out of beer cans" is more clickbait-worthy than "casting my own receiver out of aluminum".

Cans are generally 300-series aluminum, for the deep-drawing properties, with a 5000-series for the lid and tab. These can be cast- almost any aluminum can be cast- but it's a poor choice. (To say nothing of the fact you get almost nothing per can, due to slag losses- the guy likely melted down about a thousand cans to make that frame.)

It's possible the guy skipped showing us the step of adding silicon and copper to the melt, but the look of the cuts and the shrinkage at the gate suggest he didn't bother.

If he was doing that "for real", he'd have been much better off taking scrap aluminum that was already cast- car transmission cases, old lawnmower engines, etc.

But still, complaints aside, overall a cool video, and a couple of neat tricks in there. Still worth a watch.

Doc.
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Joined: January 24th, 2017, 4:37 pm

September 26th, 2017, 12:30 am #3

... by taking shallow-angle shots at water. Generally not a good idea.:-/
AD ASTRA, AUT VIAM INVENIUM AUT FACIUM
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Joined: September 12th, 2014, 3:32 am

September 26th, 2017, 1:15 am #4

... You knew the "but" was coming, right?

It's interesting how thoroughly the guy was set up to cast aluminum- that's a well-built and well-used furnace, he's got a good design for the mold boxes, that looks like a professional crucible, etc. His machines are mid-grade imports, but quite serviceable, and so on.

And then he uses beer can metal for it all?

I'm going to have to assume he was using the beer cans just for the example of it- "Making a receiver out of beer cans" is more clickbait-worthy than "casting my own receiver out of aluminum".

Cans are generally 300-series aluminum, for the deep-drawing properties, with a 5000-series for the lid and tab. These can be cast- almost any aluminum can be cast- but it's a poor choice. (To say nothing of the fact you get almost nothing per can, due to slag losses- the guy likely melted down about a thousand cans to make that frame.)

It's possible the guy skipped showing us the step of adding silicon and copper to the melt, but the look of the cuts and the shrinkage at the gate suggest he didn't bother.

If he was doing that "for real", he'd have been much better off taking scrap aluminum that was already cast- car transmission cases, old lawnmower engines, etc.

But still, complaints aside, overall a cool video, and a couple of neat tricks in there. Still worth a watch.

Doc.
... the lower receiver on the AR series does have to withstand nearly the pressure that the upper receiver takes.

I've seen people make lower AR receivers out of nylon cutting boards and wood.

Certainly an interesting video, though.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

September 26th, 2017, 6:21 am #5

Yes, I'm well aware of the capabilities of the AR lower, and indeed have seen them made from everything from plastic cutting boards melted together to 3D printed.

I guess my point was that it was more... clickbaity, than truly educational. There's thousands of videos showing people making lowers (as noted above) from all sorts of materials, and a thousand more showing people making furnaces and casting aluminum.

His merely combined the two, which made for a fairly interesting video, but really, taught us nothing at all new, except maybe for bad gun handling.

Honestly, all this guy did was cast a block of bar stock that had three pre-drilled holes in it.
What I'd much rather see is somebody taking an existing lower, waxing and coring it, using IT to ram the molds, and make a much more dimensionally-close casting.

Or 3D print a 5% larger master out of a burnable filament, coat it with slurry, melt it out and then cast it. With a bit of practice, I suspect you could get close to an 85% lower.

(No, wouldn't be as cheap as factory lowers or even off-the-shelf 85% lowers are today, but then, this guy wasn't exactly doing it to make money or do it cheaper than store-bought either. )

Doc.
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Joined: February 26th, 2015, 2:02 pm

September 26th, 2017, 1:10 pm #6

I think perhaps the point was "Hey, look at me! I made a gun outta beer cans! LOL!" and on that level, it works.

I doubt this was really intended as a serious guide on how to make your own lower.
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Joined: January 11th, 2016, 8:57 pm

September 26th, 2017, 9:08 pm #7

It was probably an informal date, but everything DID go wrong!

Think of Sandy's comments to Cara; the boys annoying Doc; Swampy ending up wearing a candle; drunk bunny demanding his car; the flowers etc delivered to Cara while Doc was at the bar - not a propitious start to a relationship! Hilarious, yes, but definitely NOT how I'd like a date to go.
Breakfast.com halted. Cereal port not ready.
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Joined: January 11th, 2016, 8:57 pm

September 26th, 2017, 9:13 pm #8

Did I put THAT in the wrong place!
Breakfast.com halted. Cereal port not ready.
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