Tip! Alternate Tab Removal Method

no4mk1t

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So yeah, fret cutters if you have them. But what if you don't, and you only want to build one or two and are a cheap bastard like me. Well, if you own a Dremel, the answer will only cost you about $6.


Been using this bit to bevel the forend on M1's for years. Turns out, it does a nice job on the P80 tabs too.
Set the speed fairly high to prevent chatter. Buzz off 90% of the tab, and then slow down and get deliberate. Take very slow, light cuts. For the final passes, let the smooth portion of the cutter shank ride on the plastic jig. You will be left with very little file/sandpaper work to finish.
Unlike the sanding drum, you can get right up in the corners and it doesn't clog with melted plastic either.

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After cutting, before filing/sanding.
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Cool! Thanks for posting.

On the old forum via Youtube, I posted a different alternative method.

I used the fret cutters on my first build, but they left a rut and white stress lines in the frame. Not a functional issue, but it bothered my esthetic senses.

I came up with this approach on my 2nd build. It uses cutting disks (and a STEADY hand!). Though, I'll admit your method is probably "safer!"

Here's the video! See what you think!



 
Looks like it works fine.
Gotta be real careful though with your thumb that close to the disc.
 
Looks like it works fine.
Gotta be real careful though with your thumb that close to the disc.

Oh, yeah! Admittedly, it's a "scary" way to do it. Fortunately, I've got good / steady hands. But, I should probably preface that one with, "Do not try this at home!" Ha! Though I did put "proceed at your own risk!" in the title. :outta here:
 
This is basically how Polymer 80 intended the jig to be used. Great tool for it too, thanks for posting it. I've never used or liked the fret-cutter idea, exactly for the reason Racer88 ended up with a cosmetic issue on his first Build. A clean, sharp hobby-knife or utility razor-blade does very good with several scoring-passes followed by a final through-cut, or carefully grinding/cutting the tabs away with various Dremel tool-bits (this is probably one of the best I've seen, though diamond wheels also work very well without the likelihood of being called 'Lefty' for the rest of your life, as with a saw-blade spinning at 6,000 RPM... -Sorry!:LOL:
 
Most definitely going to try this method on the next frame, thanks very much.
 
One tip I will recommend that I didn't do on the first frame, is to put a piece of masking tape over the slot for the take down spring. Leave it there until the tabs and channel are finished.
Keeps you from having to pick out the plastic bits with a pin.
 
One tip I will recommend that I didn't do on the first frame, is to put a piece of masking tape over the slot for the take down spring. Leave it there until the tabs and channel are finished.
Keeps you from having to pick out the plastic bits with a pin.

Very good tip!
 
Utility knife (box cutter) method is slower but less risky and does a much cleaner job.
Just leave the frame in the jig and score/cut the tabs off using the top of the jig as a guide. Very little clean up needed and it only takes about 10 minutes. Rails look like this with little clean up.
20220419_133709.jpg
 
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".... A clean, sharp hobby-knife or utility razor-blade does very good with several scoring-passes followed by a final through-cut,...."
Utility knife (box cutter) method is slower but less risky and does a much cleaner job.
Just leave the frame in the jig and score/cut the tabs off using the top of the jig as a guide. Very little clean up needed and it only takes about 10 minutes. Rails look like this with little clean up.
Agreed. IMO, this is the safest, cleanest method. It also requires no specialized tools, so investment cost is lower too.
 
So are the fret cutters (which I have, but have not used yet) no longer the preferred method?
It is definitely a personal choice thing. Fret cutters are very fast, and require minimal clean-up, but I never really thought of Building to be a race (I actually spoofed that on the MGB Forum, maybe I'll try to repost that here). The cutters actually compress and tear at the polymer, distorting everything around the cut and often leaving discolored blemishes on the remaining surface if you cut too closely. I wouldn't even consider using them for the Channel plug, as they push the frame out and have been known to cause damage to the towers. The rail areas are more forgiving, since the tabs have somewhere to go, but the cutters still tear. Personal choice is yours, but I would suggest trying them on a spare material first to see if you are okay with the results...
 
I made my own "fret" cutters by reshaping standard end cutter. I left a tiny bit of the top angle so that the cutter still leaves a tiny bit of material to be removed from the frame. I then use a triangle scraper to finish cleaning up the tabs. I use the scraper to finish the channel too.

A trick when using fret cutters is to gently squeeze the tab along the entire length to score it before making your final cut. There is less chance of tearing the material or leaving divots when you score the tabs first.

There is no right or wrong answer here as long as the finished frame looks good and is fully functional. Use the method you are most comfortable with.
Thanks for the replies. All my knowledge is from MGBs vids. I note that he did the scoring first. I understand there are many ways to skin this cat. Years ago when an associate did his, we just went at it with a file in the jig. It worked, but certainly wasn't FTQ.
 
Whichever method you use, it is more about did you FTQ it? Or did you rush it and the results reflect that?
If the results indicate FTQ, the path you took to get there is less important than the end result.
I chose the Dremel and wood router bit because I already had these tools and from previous experience knew they could do the job if I did my part.
 
I like those tools @sprink that would be something I think I would try.

I’d need a lot of super glue around to secure the slashes on myself if I used a razor.
That’s a dangerous tool in my hands 😆

I personally like the fret cutter method, scoring along the tab (per @bapegg description) before the cut off. Leaving a hair of polymer to finish it off with a dremel cutter and polish to an FTQ finish.

No right or wrong way to get er done. Just as @no4mk1t says it’s all about building the best firearm you can…FTQ baby !!
 
For me, first time i did our first GST-9's, it was a razor cutter & file, followed by sandpaper & buffing.
Then I bought a suggested nipper from HF. One nip and I stopped. Yuck.

Then I scored a NEW (& usually spendy) HOSCO MIJ Fret Cutter for a ridiculously low price (!!) and tried my first SC frames.

Problem is, the fret cutter's jaws are too wide to properly flush cut those SC front tabs straight across between the towers, so I tried cutting at a slight angle for clearance where the center of each tab was cut higher, like a very shallow roof peak. I did NOT know about pre-scoring the tabs before cutting, btw. That ended up with some white 'stretchmarks' after nipping, but i filed the peaks, wetsanded and buffed it out pretty well.

The next GST-9 and PF940C's cut across evenly, but again, I wasn't aware of the pre-scoring trick. Same cleanup. I did a few more projects of like kind (two more SC's)...now the PF45 is downright luxurious in space to get those jaws in there. lol. So I think with refined technique, the fret cutter solution is still very viable (and you want the HOSCO cutters btw, as it's sharper, far better quality steel and as a result stretches material far less than the others)...but I like the dremel cutoff idea as well...albeit with kevlar gloves for me.

While I'm a nitpicking nut about details in general, a few of my frame's internals may not quite be deemed FTQ by SOME, but to me if you have proper clearance, operation, and overall clean work; it's not like I drive my car around town with the hood up, you know?

Whatever floats your boat, but in managing an out of control 2 acres of my deceased FIL, and my wife and I providing managed care to my MIL who has Alzheimers/Dementia, we have only so much time to nitpick the underhood details. When I can, you can bet I will. hehe Cheers!!
 
I made my own "fret" cutters by reshaping standard end cutter. I left a tiny bit of the top angle so that the cutter still leaves a tiny bit of material to be removed from the frame. I then use a triangle scraper to finish cleaning up the tabs. I use the scraper to finish the channel too.

A trick when using fret cutters is to gently squeeze the tab along the entire length to score it before making your final cut. There is less chance of tearing the material or leaving divots when you score the tabs first.

There is no right or wrong answer here as long as the finished frame looks good and is fully functional. Use the method you are most comfortable with.
Now I have an excuse to procure another project, perchance?? Thanks for the tip on the technique here.
 
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