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What about electrolysis drilling?
Weaponeer Forums : Barrel Information

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  Choscura

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Posted: February 28 2010 at 12:34pm | IP Logged Quote Choscura

electrolysis has already been used to rifle barrels and it's used to remove material in lots of applications... but what about drilling? it seems like if you got a rig set up properly, it could drill, rifle, and profile at the same time.

I'm not saying this would be fast- there isn't enough surface area for it to work quickly- but for a homebrew thing, it seems like you could set this up with a modified DC/AC converter in an electrolytic solution in a tuperware container, plug it in, and basically just leave it overnight every night for a month and at the end you've got a finished barrel. maybe this is too slow for some people here, but between work, school and family life, this is an ideal timeline for me.

maybe if some mad scientist/obsessive physics genius tried his hand at this, they could find a way to pull the chips out with electromagnetism generated by the shaft of the electrolytic drill rod... but this is just a thought.
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  tommerr

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Posted: February 28 2010 at 3:52pm | IP Logged Quote tommerr

Chemical machining is rough and dirty metal removal. Barrels must be very accurate and high tolerance. EDM work creates endless micro cracks which must be ground away. Every micro crack is a failure point.
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  Choscura

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Posted: March 01 2010 at 3:17am | IP Logged Quote Choscura

Well, then what about using this to drill the initial 'pilot hole' and then reaming from that point with a conventional reamer? This seems like it's potentially a cheap way to drill deep accurate holes in steel with no fuss, although it would be time consuming.
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  tommerr

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Posted: March 01 2010 at 7:19am | IP Logged Quote tommerr

Give it a try. If you have researched this, please post some info leads.
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  Choscura

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Posted: March 03 2010 at 1:22pm | IP Logged Quote Choscura



Here's a picture of what I think will happen to the barrel. No measurements, but a rough mock-up of the material directly removed by electrolysis- the internal circle indicates the material in direct electrolitic contact with the anode, the second circle indicates the radius of material that will also be removed with a rough tolerance (probably somewhere around +/- 1.5 mm)



This is a picture of the anode I think would be a logical solution to the problem of removing material from a large area. the sheath would limit electrolysis to the inside of the bore only, but the bit will only move forward after enough material around the outside has been removed.

The way I'm considering going about this currently is with an AC/DC converter from an old cell phone charger, some 5 mm straight rod from an old dot-matrix printer with some kind of tubing (possibly a few layers of drinking straws) shrunk over the outside before being trimmed and shoved forward.   The 5mm (I'm going to have to double check this measurement) rod will give an initial bore diameter between 5 and 8 mm, with a likely diameter of around 6.5 mm. if another 1.5 mm needs to be reamed out, that's still under 10mm- well within the tolerances for making a .45 caliber barrel.
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-Choscura

"There are always challenges with weapon production: if you are going to choose a weapon based solely on it's ability to be easily produced, the stone comes highly recommended."
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  blurrededge

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Posted: March 03 2010 at 1:41pm | IP Logged Quote blurrededge

Images aren't showing up for me...
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  Choscura

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Posted: March 03 2010 at 1:51pm | IP Logged Quote Choscura

sorry about that, just fixed it. let me know if you still can't see 'em.
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  jeff47

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Posted: March 03 2010 at 10:37pm | IP Logged Quote jeff47

Having done some electro chemical experiments on blade corrosion in the lab for a razor manufacturer many years ago, I can tell you that it will be extremely difficult for you to control what gets taken off and I think your time frame of about a month may be overly optimistic.   

I would agree with Tommerr, I have a feling that you're going to wind up with a barrel that 'cones' down inside and producing a concentric hole in a straight profile will be a huge challenge.

I'm not an electrochemical expert and I'm not saying it's impossible (and it's probably well worth the time to try it out even if you fail you should learn something cool) but it's going to be challenging to say the least.

That having been said I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Good luck, I hope you post some pictures.
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  mt-ac

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Posted: March 08 2010 at 1:11am | IP Logged Quote mt-ac

Check out this information rifling from the web site related to this topic

http://firearmsid.com/Feature%20Articles/ecr/electrochemical rifling.htm

Sure hope I typed that correctly [IMG]smileys/smiley5.gif" />
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  dcorb

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Posted: March 08 2010 at 6:38am | IP Logged Quote dcorb

mt-ac wrote:
Check out this information rifling from the web site related to this topic

http://firearmsid.com/Feature%20Articles/ecr/electrochemical rifling.htm

Sure hope I typed that correctly [IMG]smileys/smiley5.gif" />


I was going to edit the link but the edit button seems to be missing:

http://firearmsid.com/Feature%20Articles/ecr/electrochemical rifling.htm
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  pictsidhe

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Posted: July 22 2015 at 5:56pm | IP Logged Quote pictsidhe

I've been looking at ECM and EDM as possible ways to machine strange shapes in hard steel with an adapted tabletop cnc router.
ECM can produce a mirror finish, but will produce a conical hole. While material removal is fastest where the distance between electrodes is small (the workpiece is one electrode), removal continues over the entire exposed electrode. Taking multiple cuts will help there, especially if you can anticipate the amount of coning and cut accordingly. ECM does need very good tool control, I don't think there are any DIY kits, you'll need to be able to build your own control system or your wallet is going to suffer horribly.
you'll also need to drill vertically. hold a rod horizontally and look along it. The bend is thanks to gravity.
EDM eats it's electrodes, which would again produce conical holes. It also melts the surface of whatever you are machining. the surface ends up being orange peeled. heat treated materials can be affected.

While I'm quite likely to use one of them for some odd shaped parts I need to carve accurately in very hard steel, I wouldn't try a barrel myself.
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  Choscura

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Posted: July 25 2015 at 2:00am | IP Logged Quote Choscura

LOL, this is a blast from the past, but all new data is welcome.

So, my solution to the conical holes problem is to insulate all but the 'head' of the anode. Since it seems reasonable to think that there will be a 'sphere' of EDM influence from this point, the aim is to move the head through the piece at a consistent enough speed that the growing sphere will stay within the tolerances of a barrel's bore, and then refine the shape from there afterwards- so drilling an initial pilot hole, in other words, and then reaming from there to land diameter, and then using the same principle to EDM grooves into that (less difficult- once the bore is straight, it can stabilize a rifling head).

So, I'm actively researching this, and I'm keeping my notes mostly on paper, but I'm also posting stuff in the "my wikiweapon project" thread in the DIY section of the forum. I'll be posting developments there as they progress. I just mocked up a receiver today from styrafoam, actually. It may not be appropriate quality to cast, but it's step one in getting there.
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-Choscura

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  backbencher

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Posted: July 25 2015 at 9:08am | IP Logged Quote backbencher

Doesn't S&W EDM their rifling? We've talked about this in another thread, just don't remember where.
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  pictsidhe

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Posted: July 25 2015 at 8:45pm | IP Logged Quote pictsidhe

The experts find parallel holes extremely difficult, it's not really reasonable that you could expect to do something they've been trying to crack for years.
EDM is not electrochemical milling (ECM). EDM doesn't do parallel holes either, but for a different reason, it eats its 'drill bit' while drilling
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