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Old 01-30-2012, 01:23 PM #1
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Vintage Matrix milling - Ironman style, pic heavy/worklog

Heres what I have been working on for the past couple of weeks. I had an old, beat up Gen-E (pre-Dye takeover) Matrix body that I wanted to work on as a milling project. And yes, I am actually milling it, NOT using a dremel. Dremeling is NOT milling! Sorry, pet peeve of mine...

Anyways, I was always fond of the LA Ironmen old school Matrix with the dead tube and a lot of meat removed, so I thought that would be the way to go.

First off though, the machine I have is a Microcarve MV2 cnc router (www.microcarve.com <-- Awesome machine, btw) that uses a Bosch Colt palm router as the spindle. Now, for someone who is unfamiliar with machining, a router is not really meant for aluminum. The machine is very sturdy, but is not quite as rigid as a mill, and the palm router is not meant for aluminum, but for plastics and wood. So, I had to go very slow and choose steps carefully. Also, this was my first run at milling a gun, so several factors played into the final results not being quite the best. However, I learned a lot this first time, and I will know what to do (and what not to do) the next go around.

Here is my worklog of sorts:

First off, I needed to mount the body of the matrix sideways. I also wanted to support the body on the underside to prevent bending during cutting. Problem 1. the side of a matrix is no where near flat, so i needed to come up with a solution for a support:
I first mounted the body to a 1"x1" aluminum square rod.

Next, I drew up some supports that would match the underside of the gun and give a flat mounting surface. They are made out of 0.75" MDF:


Here are the supports with delring rods keeping them together:


Here is how the supports fit against the body. Pretty stinkin well!

The body was wider than the 1" barstock (of course), so I had to elevate it above the table with some 1" OD spacers. Turned them down to withing a couple of thou, then lapped them down to darn near even. These had to be the same height, or the whole body would be sloped to one side:

It was also crucial that I get all 3 axes level before I ran the program. You will see what happens when I dont do this later . I used a dial indicator to make sure it was perfect:

And here we go! I used a 0.25" 2 flute end mill for the roughing cut.

Doh! Brain fart #1. I had to stop and start the program. I didnt set my z-height right and had a crash here at the back. No worries though, scrap body:

Going back with a finishing pass with a ball nose mill. I added some tear drops to the meat in the side for a little flair. I went for an old school dark angel esque milling profiles:

Here is the finished product. Brain Fart #2 is on the top tube near the rear. During the crash earlier, the body got the slightest bit off center thus causing one uneven milling line, seen here. It could come out if I were to sand it better, but it being a trial run, I didnt sand much. Just enough to get the heavy milling lines out of it.

And yes, that eye hole in the rear was there when I got the body. The teardrops look worse here, but its just the lighting hitting the bottom funny. They are more even than they appear:

Some light sanding improved it a fair amount:



Not too shabby:


Again, not perfect, but for a first run, on a machine not made for aluminum, using a router not made for aluminum, a couple of crashes, and light sanding, not too bad! Im really proud of it, and now I know how to make the next one more clean and perfect!

Last edited by thermodynamics : 01-30-2012 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:39 PM #2
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Sick. Nice work! How do you plan on making the eye covers? Just bending sheet?
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:50 PM #3
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Thanks! I actually havent gotten there just yet. On the "final" version, I may leave it blind and leave it clean. It depends on if I can make a nice looking eye cover. If I can come up with something that doesnt look janky, I might put some eyes in it.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:29 PM #4
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Excellent work. Are you a machinist by trade, or is it just a hobby? I would love to pick up a similar type of machine and teach myself how to do it.

I saw your post in Vintage OT, and I feel your pain with having to get out of a condo to really dig into it. I'm in the same boat.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:36 PM #5
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what cam program did you use?
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:36 PM #6
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No, Im just a hobby "machinist". I have a benchtop lathe, and now this machine. Im an engineer by trade, so I have a good bit of Cad experience, and a couple of machining tricks I picked up from professors. But no, this is just something Ive always wanted, and its the best I could do in a condo lol. I will say that this machine was very affordable, and I got a whole lot of bang for my buck with it. Its a great little machine. Plus, it was a good bit easier to learn than i thought. The software was the hardest thing, and that just takes some time to get used to

I used Meshcam for this. Its the only one Ive used, but seems pretty simple. Its free for 30 days, but Ive found out that it only counts down the days if you shut off your computer...So, I leave my computer/Mach3 running pretty much all the time lol.

Last edited by thermodynamics : 01-30-2012 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:16 PM #7
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Hah! is that a cnc router your using to cut aluminum? I have to say I would never thought that would have worked. Looks great tho man!
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:53 PM #8
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Thanks! It means a lot coming from you xsv, Ive seen your cocker work.

And lol, yes it is! Like I said, im really pleased with it since it came off a machine and a spindle not meant for aluminum. The next go around will be much smoother too. I could have gotten out most, if not all of those machining marks if I had sanded it better and polished it.

Edit: Since you guys like this, you might like these. .45 Hollow point volumizers, also for the vintage Matrix:



Compared to a 9mm



Credit goes to Matoca for the idea. He wanted volumizers for his custom guns that resembled real bullets. Ive made him 6 sets so far, need to make him 4 more. My pics dont do them justice. Check out his thread in the Annodizing sub forum to see them annod. They look much much better once he got done with them! I also made him the dual-bullet looking ones if you see those pics (sorry, just had to show off for a bit lol)

Last edited by thermodynamics : 01-30-2012 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:54 PM #9
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That's some really nice work for using a machine not meant for it. I would have never thought to look into a machine like that to do milling work.

Hopefully you will keep posting your work!
I'm always happy to see people who still want to do custom gun work at home
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:42 AM #10
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Thanks! Well, I live in a condo, so even a mini mill would be way too big. This one is big enough to do what I want with it and is in a small package.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:10 AM #11
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Venturing out I see? Im going to ship the stuff to you today, at least thats the plan.

Gwheztler is supposed to ship the Aardvark frame, I need dimensions on it and what you opinion is on reproducing it. Maybe even shaving a stock similar.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:32 AM #12
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Lol yeah, i figured Id make a post here, it seemed to fit. I also wanted to show off your vollies lol.

Sounds good, shouldnt be hard at all. Its basically just facing both sides, right?
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:35 AM #13
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:00 PM #14
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Thanks! Well, I live in a condo, so even a mini mill would be way too big. This one is big enough to do what I want with it and is in a small package.
I dont what you would do, if you seen some of the machines I use at work
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:19 PM #15
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Ive used a couple of much bigger manual machines at school (bridgeport), but never got into the big cnc machines. Im hoping to get a small taig mill, or harbor freight mini mill and CNC it someday when I have a garage...But until then, a desktop router will have to do!
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:40 PM #16
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Nice work. Good stuff with a router.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:59 PM #17
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Great work
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:17 PM #18
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Thanks guys
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:28 PM #19
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Sub'd. Very impressive. I may have to hit you up for a pair of those bullets
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:01 PM #20
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Ive used a couple of much bigger manual machines at school (bridgeport), but never got into the big cnc machines. Im hoping to get a small taig mill, or harbor freight mini mill and CNC it someday when I have a garage...But until then, a desktop router will have to do!
At home, I have taig cnc mill and cnc lathe but at work I'm spoiled with big mazaks and haas
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:00 PM #21
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wow nice job on the hollow points. Think you can do any more?
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