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"Billet" ... some airgun makers use it ...

August 24 2005 at 9:50 AM
barnespneumatic  (Login barnespneumatic)

I'll start off with a link to some pictures - if you wish to see them. On the page "Man Working" ... you'll note a chunk of solid steel - 2 1/2" by 1/1/2" by about 8" long. It weighs about NINE pounds. Alittle farther down the same page, you'll see pics of the same pc. (after every surface of the block was machined within an inch of it's life) ... weighing about 3 1/2 pounds. That was fashioned from what the vast portion of machinists would call BILLET. http://www.glbarnes.com/man.html

Concentrating on the surface texture of the original chunk of material is splitting hairs. Any decent part is machined, turned, sanded, polished ... in other words ... "finished" before being put into use. Who argues over if a gun stock was made from a rough sawn plank or a plank that had been thru a planer first? The whole thing is sawn, machined, ground, sanded, and finished to make the final product.

For pics of the final finished billet reciever - please look at http://www.glbarnes.com/prairie.html You will see the rough (yeah it was rough) chunk of steel transformed into a highly complex machined part. About six pounds of steel was machined off of the original billet to end up with this part. Down the page alittle (on the man working page), you'll note a front barrel clamp which also contains the mortise socket for the forestock tenon. That aluminum came into my shop in oversized bar stock - relatively smooth outside. Can you see the material removed and the machining operations required to make the completed stock from the initial "billet" of material I clamped into the milling machine?

This discussion of billet vs. bar stock has much to do with the relative size of the completed item vs. the material from which it was fashioned. If a part can be put into service by simply sawing off a length of material and drilling a couple of holes for example ... it's traditionally said to be made from bar stock. If quite a lot of machining is required to make the part (if significant material is removed) it's traditionally said to be made from billet. My nine pound chunk of solid steel might be bar stock (in a shipyard) but it's billet when two thirds of it's mass is going to be machined away prior to finishing an airgun receiver. If my barrel clamp was a thin flat section of material with two holes in it, I'd call it bar stock.

I know alittle bit about billets. The American Bladesmith's Society certified me as a Master Bladesmith in 1983. I've forge welded quite a pile of damascus steel billets and have the achy shoulders to prove it. Once I forge welded a billet of steel - I often used my power hammer and/or rolling mill to shape it into rough bars. Now - they had a rough surface texture and rounded edges. Guess they were still billet in bar length. A session on the surface grinder turned them into precision ground bar stock. It was the same material going thru different phases of finishing. Some blades were forged to shape (hand hammered) right from a chunk stretched off the billet of forge welded damascus. For pocket knife parts, I transformed material into the precision ground bars required to make a precision product.

Finally ... "Cool" was a word refering to the relative state of temperature difference between two objects until the 1950's. In the 1970's, you took note of the subject when you heard the word "Hot" (girl or bowl of soup?). When "billet" is being nearly universally used today to describe an extreme machining requirement to reach the final completed part, I don't see the point in arguing the terminology - unless you don't do much machining from "billet". Personally, I make parts from billet (BOTH uses of the word). I machine objects from 9 pound chucks of steel, and I machine objects from oversized sections of aluminum which arrives at my shop in managable forms. Some start with a smooth outside surface ... until I machine it off. Mostly we use the preshaped forms (square - rectangle - round) to aid in clamping and aligning the materials during initial machining operations. I've never seen one of those custom wheel machines have a mis-shapen, rough, clump of aluminum clamped to it's table to start. All I've ever noted was a gleeming, precision turned, flat and true initial billet of material going into the booth.

Thanks,

Gary


 
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John Lowery
(Login jangus13)
YC

Billet vs cast

August 24 2005, 10:11 AM 

My understanding of the term "billet" from a sales perspective is meant to imply a lot of machine work went into producing the finished product, instead of the cheaper and easier methods of stamping or casting. Machining typically produces more uniform parts, tighter tolerances, than casting or stamping, therefore a part made from "billet" would be better from a precision standpoint. Machining usually cost more than the other methods, so a good sales point to help justify the cost of the finished product is to tell the potential buyer which parts are machined, hence the common use of the word "billet."
I recently purchased an IZH46M and was quite surprised by the amount of machine work that went into producing such an inexpensive gun. Most of the parts are either stamped or cast, but the cast parts still required a fair amount of machining. I guess skilled labor in Russia is cheap. I did notice some of the "machining" was done with a grinder!
I think it is a good word and it is justified to use it, as long as you know what it means.

Later,
John Lowery

 
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Pete A.
(Login 177fan)
YFOT

'Grinding" is a machine process. This is all just "Alphabet Soup".

August 24 2005, 12:10 PM 

Some of the most accurate surfaces have to be 'ground' as a cutting (like a lathe/mill use) tool cannot give as close a tolerance or finish. Almost all machine shops 'grind' something. Precision surface grinding is done to the surfaces of most machine tools (like bed of lathe or table on mill) to make them give the precise run out required. Simple milled or turned process won't give same results.

But this whole deal/discussion/debate is a falicy that I see so often in the process control industry. We fondly call it "alphabet soup". It is when more time is spent on debating terminology rather than the resulting impact. Most typically the debate/argument is between vendors not end users (airgun shooters are the 'end-user' here).

Billet is a fine example. IMHO it really comes under the term of who cares.

If the resulting product is top quality who cares if it started as a billet or not?

Top quality metal products are produced in a multitude a ways. Steel is a amazing material in that you can get many different properties from the same alloy. Different temper, heat treat, suface hardness, ductility, thoughness can all be had from same stuff. This is far far more important than if it is or is not a "billet".

Wendy's uses square patties, Whataburger uses round patties. Who cares as what you want is the best hamburger. Your cardiologist doesn't like either.

Pete a.


    
This message has been edited by 177fan on Aug 24, 2005 12:14 PM


 
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John Lowery
(Login jangus13)
YC

Precision grinding

August 24 2005, 12:20 PM 

I used to work in a machine shop and one of the coolest machines was the grinder! It had a giant electro-magnetic bed that would slide back and forth under the grinding wheel and index with each cycle, very nice. The Izzy looks like it was done with a hand grinder! It does not affect anything, but the part was not squared when a chamfer was cut, so the lines are not parallel.
Another nice grinder was the one that mounted on a lathe. It has been over twenty years since I was in a machine shop, so the "alphabet soup" names of the equipment elude me, LOL.

Later,
John Lowery

 
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RBest
(Login RBest)
AR&P

That was called a surface grinder

August 24 2005, 11:22 PM 

and it's a must have machine for virtually any toolroom. Simpler ones have no automatic advance or back and forth motion. All movements are done manually (very tiring to do all day long). Better ones have mechanical long and cross feed and the best ones use hydraulics for all table motion. The last shop I ran had a real nice 6x18 Brown & Sharpe Micromaster hydraulic surface grinder, plus a really large 18x48 (that's the magnetic chuck size) hydraulic grinder. The machine itself had to have a 15 foot long bed. RB

http://www.airgunshow.net/Bestunes.htm
cscbestunes@aol.com

 
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beammeupscotty
(Login beammeupscotty2)
YF

And thank you Gary.....

August 24 2005, 10:18 AM 

for putting the previous "hairsplitting" in perspective.

Charter member

Noisy Bridge Rod and Gun Club

 
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Quackenbush
(Login DAQ)
YC

You didn't read the definitions link posted by JAxB

August 24 2005, 12:11 PM 

It's not hair splitting, it's the definitions of the steel industry: American Iron & Steel Institute, Crucible Steel Corp., American Society of Metals & ASTM.

http://www.metal-mart.com/Dictionary/dictletb.htm#I25

The misuse of the term "billet", as Tim said, is more about sales & marketing than its true definition.
This was an informational post, it had nothing to do with sales on my part. This is another case of you not being able to present a reasoned discussion, but just another chance to snipe, showing your animosity towards me.

 
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Lon
(Login bigbore)
YF

You have nerve Dennis.

August 24 2005, 1:31 PM 

YOU accusing others of "sniping":

"A breech maker tried to impress people by saying that the breech was made from a billet. The breech was made from bar stock and it’s a mistake to believe that making a breech from a roughly formed piece of metal would make a better breech. But that’s what people claiming to make things out of billets are telling you"

NRA life member.

 
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Cruisers
(Login Cruisers)
YC

Thank You Dennis

August 24 2005, 2:07 PM 

I for one appreciate the information Dennis offered. I've always thought when seeing the word "billet" that it implied a special preparation to justify the high cost of the piece in question.Thanks to him I now know differently.In teaching it's ALL about proper use of terms. Perhaps it changes over time, but the history is very important.

 
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Quackenbush
(Login DAQ)
YC

What BMUS2 called me was deleted, so your rage is misplaced.

August 24 2005, 5:24 PM 

BMUS2 couldn't present a reasoned, intelligent response, so he decided to call names instead.

 
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Lon
(Login bigbore)
YF

Rage?

August 24 2005, 5:46 PM 

Don't flatter yourself! This in addition to your childish antics at Little Rock is all the proof any reasoned person should need to see who REALLY harbors animosity.

I knew immediately that you were pursuing an agenda when I read your original post. I was actually enjoying it until I read the "other gun maker" bit. Spare the public your opinion of "other gun makers", save it for your personal web page.

NRA life member.

 
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james perotti
(Login jpsaxnc)
AR&P

"Billet" was a common term used to distinguish cast steel, from

August 24 2005, 10:25 AM 

forged, forged being billet, not cast. james


    
This message has been edited by jpsaxnc on Aug 24, 2005 10:29 AM


 
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Quackenbush
(Login DAQ)
YC

Resolved! Call your steel supplier and order a billet

August 24 2005, 12:19 PM 

I'm going to keep this only on a definition of a billet and not getting sidetracked into the nonsense side of the discussion. Call your local steel supplier and ask them for a billet in the sizes of steel that you would use for an airgun.

The definition of a billet is well defined by the steel industry, by such entities as ASTM, ASME, AISI, American Society of Metals & SAE. As Tim summerized the term "billet" is misused for sale and marketing purposes.

 
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JAxB
(Login JAxB)
YF

Grinders OT

August 24 2005, 1:16 PM 

A bit of OT on surface grinders is that they are not at all used as much nowadays as they used too be. The modern CNC machines, high speed machineing and regular, will make surface finishes so good they arent needed as much. The reason is that we can use MUCH higher speeds and feeds than was possible with old machines.




 
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Bikerscum
(Login Bikerscum)
YF

Grinders...

August 24 2005, 10:25 PM 

Surface grinders are used day in & day out. You can NEVER achieve the finish, or accuracy of grinding by machining. Speed yes, quality no.



BS







 
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Greg Garner
(Login EGGarner)
YC

Am I missing something?

August 24 2005, 2:54 PM 

All this back and forth about billet, sawn stock, precision ground, surface ground, etc, why is this such a big deal?

"A breech maker tried to impress people by saying that the breech was made from a billet. The breech was made from bar stock and it’s a mistake to believe that making a breech from a roughly formed piece of metal would make a better breech. But that’s what people claiming to make things out of billets are telling you. When I have students in the shop, one of the things I insist on is that they learn “the language”, to know the names of things and their use. If one doesn’t, they’re going to use the wrong terms and “impress” people with how much they don’t know."

A BREECH MAKER? - instead of beating around the bush why don't you just save us all the time and bickering back and forth and identify who you are talking about? I have no idea what the hell is going on, but based on this back and forth I would presume that you and "a breech maker" have some kind of ongoing problem with each other. To be honest, I'm tired of the games and back and forth. Just say in plain English what you are implying with this whole thread. Do you have a problem with Gary Barnes? Who doesn't know what they are talking about? If you are going to provide a consumer warning and save us from all of this false billet talk, don't make me have to figure out who the unknowledgable breech makers are, please just tell me (since obviously you arleady know them).

Greg

 
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airTOMYgun
(Login airTOMYgun1)
YC

ding ding ding...your late

August 24 2005, 3:28 PM 

to the party Greg that's all. For some reason I have never understood, the guy that make Chevys and the guy that makes Bentleys are apt to think they compete with each other and trade barbs. Both great products but not anywhere near the same. IMO

Frank


    
This message has been edited by airTOMYgun1 on Aug 24, 2005 4:58 PM


 
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Greg Garner
(Login EGGarner)
YC

National course

August 24 2005, 4:15 PM 

Frank,

You would have enjoyed the Nationals this year, at least course wise. The 16-30 course was VERY challenging. There weren't any impossible shots, but there weren't any that you could relax on either. Twice I made the 23 yard 3/8" fly that was about 10 feet up in tree, but I somehow manage to miss a 1" at 20 (second shot) and a 1" at 25 (second shot). These two were basically the only shots you could have called gimmes on the course. Luckily the weather was great both days or the difference in difficulty could had been a HUGE handicap for those who had to shoot the hard course on the bad weather day.

Greg

 
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airTOMYgun
(Login airTOMYgun1)
YC

Your right...

August 24 2005, 4:36 PM 

I was glad to see a National event finally average better then a 40. Lets hope the future events take notice and up the ante even more. It is the premere event so lets make it really tough say a 48 or so !!!


Frank

 
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Greg Garner
(Login EGGarner)
YC

A 48T!!!!!!

August 24 2005, 4:43 PM 

Well, I am all for a 48T for the PCP shooters, but a 48T is a bit unfair for the spring gun crowd, unless you limit the targets to a distance of 40-45 yards. We spring gunners like to knock a target down every once in a while too you know!

 
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