Making a Conversion Extractor
people have written to ask about what happened to the
Dragoon Conversion project that was featured in the first newsletter about a year
ago. It is time for us to formally return to that project even though it has
made a few appearances throughout several articles in the last few
Cutting excess material from the outside diameter of the extractor housing.
After using the lathe to remove excess material, we filed and polished the outside of the extractor to a near mirror finish. We then removed the dead center from the tailstock of he lathe and replaced it with a quarter-inch drill bit. We then used the lathe tailstock drill bit to bore a quarter-inch diameter hole down the center of the extractor housing. Using a normal drill bit allowed us to only drill a couple of inches down the housing shaft.
Drilling a pilot hole before using the quarter-inch drill in the tailstock. This special short bit is designed for a very short hold with very little deflection.
With a quarter-inch pilot hole drilled down through the new housing, we removed it from the lathe and moved it to the drill press equipped with a long quarter-inch drill bit marked with tape to indicate the desired depth of the hole. We slid the housing onto the drill bit and raised the drill press bed up to allow us to lock the housing in a vise to maintain alignment of the drill to the center of the housing. We then began drilling.
The long drill bit ready to begin drilling down the center of the housing. Note the tape on the drill that tells me when to stop. Also note the bottle of cutting oil with brushes and a syringe.
Why use the drill press instead of continuing to drill with the lathe? Drilling with a lathe is not easy as lubricant tends to drain quickly out horizontal hole allowing the bit to overheat. This is solved in production machine shops with hollow drills and high-pressure lubricant pumped into the hole. We do not have such elaborate production equipment.
Moving the drilling operation
to the drill press allowed us to keep the housing vertical where the
lubricant would remain in the bottom of the hole during the cut. We did
constantly add drilling lubricant to the hole as much of the lube was
carried out of the hole with the chips. We let gravity work for us instead
of against us.
We passed the end mill down the extractor housing to complete the slot. Then we used a small file to remove any metal that was lifted up by the milling process. We also ran the file up and down the slot to give us a nice clean slot for the extractor to ride in. We hope to get a real milling machine before long to make this kind of work much easier.
Milling the eighth-inch slot down the extractor housing to provide a guide for the extractor rod.
Next it was back to the lathe with the old stub hat was left over from making the ejector housing. We chucked in the lathe and turned it down to the same outside diameter as the extractor housing. We then turned down the first half-inch of material to the same outside diameter as the inside diameter of the extractor housing. We then polished the part and parted the new part from the lathe using a hacksaw. We need to get a good parting tool for our lathe so we can do a better job of parting. Parting is the process of cutting away the stock on a lathe while it is running.
The completed extractor laid out between a ruler and the extractor housing that will be used on the Dragoon project.
That completes the process of making the new extractor housing for our conversion projects. The assembly went together easily and fit as it was intended. The extractor moves smoothly against the spring and the spring holds the extractor tightly against the end cap of the housing. We feel this is a much better extractor than we made before and the old one has been thrown away. The only thing left to do is to drill and tap the end cap to lock the cap in place with a small screw. That will be done after the extractor has been mounted on the revolver so we can decide how to best orient the retaining screw.
With the center of the
housing drilled to the proper depth, we moved the housing back to the lathe,
but installed the stock in the chuck and used a hacksaw to cut the housing
at the appropriate length to allow a quarter of an inch of material at the
end. We then turned the housing around and chucked it in the opposite
direction than before. This exposed the blank end of the housing to the
tailstock where we installed a drill that was slightly larger than the Ruger
extractor rod and drilled the appropriate hole to allow the extractor rod to
exit the end toward the cylinder.