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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys,

This is my first post here so if I say anything stupid let me know.

I've recently decided that I would like to build my own AK's after reading 'The Gun' by CJ Chivers and seeing various posts on picture on the internet by home gunsmiths.

I have a small metal shop and a background in blacksmithing/bladesmithing and traditional metal working but very little in the way of milling experience. I have forges, quenching tanks, drills, welders presses etc. and know how to use them and some experience with gunsmithing but never anything as major as making a whole firearm, other than various recreations of medieval hand cannons.

The idea that an AK can be stamped, pressed, folded etc rather than milled intrigues me as that is where most of metal working skill lies.

I am self taught in most things and am pretty good at figuring out how to do things once I have the parts in my hands.

The problem is that I have never and do not currently own an AK type rifle and so I know very little about the particulars of their components. I own many other guns but have never handled an AK in person. (They are fairly rare in my part of US, western MT, here the AR is king) and as it seems that it costs almost as much to buy one as it does to make one that it would be a waste to buy one to learn on if what you really want to do is make them. I know a lot about AR's and general firearms technology but have only begun to learn about the AK.

What I am hoping I can get help with is what and where to buy components for my first build, from which I suspect I will learn a great deal. As it seems that there are dozens of AK variants and parts, not all of which are compatible with each other I want to avoid ordering parts and tools that do not work with each other or that turn out to be a waste of money. I want to make several rifles and maybe a pistol variant or two so investing in tools is not a problem, I just don't want to waste money on things that I don't need.

What I do know so far is that I am interested primarily in folding 1.5 millimeter flats and do a build in 7.62 caliber although that is just what my instinct tells me I would like the best. My first build doesn't have to be anything special a 'generic' type AK is fine at this point (does such a thing exist?

I'm sure opinions differ but as AK enthusiast what would you recommend as a starter kit? What do I need to know before I putting in orders?
 

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I cannot believe you will have any trouble building one; especially if you can read dimensions and you watch a YouTube build or two.
 

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Google, the build section here and other AK sites and U-Tube have thousands of pages of information, pictures, videos and tool requirements.
The unit cost to build one will be in the $500-$600 range in today's market. Tooling could be anywhere from $100 to $800 depending on your current tools and/or access. It sounds like you have good tool access and shop skills.
Next step is educate yourself from the www.
Trying to detail it here for you, on this thread, is senseless as there is a decade of and thousands of pages of information for AK building on the www.
 

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Using 1.5mm receiver will definitely limit you on what you can build (mostly a Yugo pattern) unless you plan on doing more modifications to the parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Trying to detail it here for you, on this thread, is senseless as there is a decade of and thousands of pages of information for AK building on the www.
Right now that is my main problem, with thousands of pages worth of info its hard to get a handle on where to start. Kind of need to know what questions to ask before I can look for answers. Right now I'm not worried too much about the build itself but more about getting a parts kit and a receiver flat and tools and then finding out that none of them work with each other.

Using 1.5mm receiver will definitely limit you on what you can build (mostly a Yugo pattern) unless you plan on doing more modifications to the parts.
Thanks, thats good to know. What kind of modifications are we talking here, a little filing or a milling machine?

Besides the folding die what AK specific tools do you guys consider essential? Are rivet jigs, and rail alignment tools must haves or optional? Right now I'm looking at AKbuilder.com site a lot, which looks good stuff to me but is there a good reason to get tooling anywhere else?
 

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I'm inclined to say "stick to knives". The golden age of kit building has passed. The parts kits coming in now are chopped to shit.

If you want to build an AK start with a finished receiver from NoDak. You'll have enough of a challenge fitting the new barrel and setting the rivets. Starting with a receiver you know is correct will help things go smooth. If you still think its worth your time then try folding your own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I wasn't asking how to build an AK as much as what kind and which tools are preferred. I can get technical information off the internet as easily as the next guy. Its opinions of people who have actually done it and are into doing it that you come to a forum for.
 

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Look at ak-builder.com. All their tools work. If you have the materials and a welder and a few other tools you can recreate most of them. With a metal shop you should have no problem. And of course the sticky (show me your tools...) gives a bunch of good ideas. Just remember any tools should be made from hardened metals or they will bend. I didn't bother with the jigs for drilling trunnions--easy enough to get around with paper templates. Oh and all your bits should screw machine length. Don't forget the reamers and that all the stuff is metric! The only stuff I purchased other than bits was a shop press and the ram for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks! Yeah, I've spent a lot of time on AK builder working on an order but its nice to hear from someone that their tools are good. I have literal piles of tool steel laying around my shop to make tools but of course without something to copy its hard to make your own tools but AKbuilders stuff seems pretty affordable if your planing on making a few AK's.

What about rail welding jigs? Are they needed or not? I seem to find post by people who do without, are their landmarks on the receiver that you can use for alignment without a jig?
 

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Thanks! Yeah, I've spent a lot of time on AK builder working on an order but its nice to hear from someone that their tools are good. I have literal piles of tool steel laying around my shop to make tools but of course without something to copy its hard to make your own tools but AKbuilders stuff seems pretty affordable if your planing on making a few AK's.

What about rail welding jigs? Are they needed or not? I seem to find post by people who do without, are their landmarks on the receiver that you can use for alignment without a jig?
Once you buy a kit you can pretty easily figure your layout for the tools (where rivets and pins are, barrel pressing etc).

Someone else will have to speak to doing your own receiver. I decided long ago that it was easier to buy NoDak receivers. It's not so much the bending and welding the rails it's more the hardening. I'm not equipped but I'm sure u are. My neighbors already get a little nervous when I fire up my cutting torch.
 

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I wasn't asking how to build an AK as much as what kind and which tools are preferred. I can get technical information off the internet as easily as the next guy. Its opinions of people who have actually done it and are into doing it that you come to a forum for.
The links are so you can see an overview of the type of tooling used and what they require as far as shop skills and complexity and whether to fabricate your own or purchase those seen in use on the videos. Then ask question regarding sources and tool preferences etc., Good Luck.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
  • Someone else will have to speak to doing your own receiver. I decided long ago that it was easier to buy NoDak receivers. It's not so much the bending and welding the rails it's more the hardening. I'm not equipped but I'm sure u are. My neighbors already get a little nervous when I fire up my cutting torch​


  • Yes, I've been doing my own heat treating for a long time now. For me thats going to be the easy part. Its machining that makes me nervous. I have a good drill press but that is about it in that department. Forging, welding, shaping, grinding etc. I have covered tool and skill wise.

    • The links are so you can see an overview of the type of tooling used and what they require as far as shop skills and complexity and whether to fabricate your own or purchase those seen in use on the videos. Then ask question regarding sources and tool preferences etc., Good Luck.
    Got it. Will do.

 
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