TK861's Build Your Own MG34
|Building an MG34 (Heavy Rifle)|
First and foremost, I must give TOTAL credit to TK818 for his original plans. Without them, this project would have never crossed my path. You can refer to his section by visiting here. (and you should - I'll be referring to them in this text)
I offer my own steps for building this as I'm not a prop builder by nature and I might have something to add by describing this project. Special Thanks to William Prescott for his patience in assisting me (by building the jig) and supplying the workshop tools (drillpress/bandsaw). Without Bill, I'd still be scratching my forhead thinking "how the heck do I drill these holes?".
INVEST in a Dremel... and you'll need a drill press. A bandsaw will help in the initial cutting stage.
LIST - At a Glance
STOCK AND BARREL ASSEMBLY
For the heck of it, install the rear site as per the supplied kit plans, using kit supplied attaching hardware. Take note of the supplied metal locking pin (dowel). This will be used to secure the PVC barrels to the kit stock (so don't misplace it).
Cut out an 8-1/4" section out of the front barrel assembly. The first cut is made just in front of the rear site (approx. 1/8" in front of the site). The next cut is made 1-1/2" aft of the forward site (refer to illustration below). A bandsaw is very handy for these cuts. You will now have the stock, rear site and front site/muzzle assemblies.
That was the easy part. Next comes the barrel assembly.
a length of 1" diameter PVC pipe to 31".
Cut a length of 1/2" diameter PVC pipe to 33-1/2".
Okay, that was simple... now it gets tougher (unless you're into prop building)
A jig must be built to ensure the cooling holes are drilled with proper alignment. Ours was simply a wooden base board with parallel guide pieces. Once constructed, the Outer Barrel material (PVC) fit snug into the jig. A piece of 3/8" dowel was used as a key for indexing as we drilled each hole.
I believe the cooling holes should be 1/2" diameter. I used a 3/8" bit, but now think 1/2" would look better. Drill them 2" on center. Before drilling the holes, compare pics of actual MG34's to get an idea of your pattern. I drilled side holes first (going through both sides of barrel in one pass), then drilled the offset holes on a 45 degree angle above and below the side holes. The first side hole should be located 3 to 3-1/4" aft of the front end of the pipe/barrel and work your way back for approximately 19". Once again, it helps to refer to pics of actual MG34's.
NOTE: Check to be sure you stay in alignment as you drill away. I found the slower speed of a drill press inadequate for drilling PVC. It shook the material too much and caused much vibration. The net result was shredded PVC. Set the RPM to a faster speed (medium worked well). Try a test piece or two prior to working on the actual piece - Not a big deal as PVC is so cheap. Even if you mess up, just cut another length.
I used a 1-1/2" PVC drain pipe with an elbow 90. The darned thing accepted the 1" Outer Barrel PVC quite snug, and also fit snug into the rear site assembly. You'll note an approximate 3"-4" length of "reinforcement" barrel on an actual MG34. TK818 used thin walled copper pipe... a great idea. I simply couldn't find a cheap source of copper pipe at the time. The overall length of this pipe is 6-1/8" after the elbow is removed.
Cut the "end" off each 1/2" diameter end cap. The result is a ring of sorts, that I used as a spacer to help keep the Inner Barrel centered within the Outer Barrel. You will notice these units in the illustrations.
Now the real fun begins as you begin to assemble components.
Insert the 6-1/8" pipe into the front end of the rear site assembly. The plastic piece fits extremely snug and stops at certain point due to internal molding. 4" remains exposed.
Place the two 1/2" PVC end caps on the Inner Barrel. These will fit quite snug and don't necessarily need gluing. One end cap is placed 2-1/8" aft of the FRONT end of the Inner Barrel. The other cap is placed 26" aft of the FRONT end of the barrel.
Place the rear site assembly onto the stock unit.
Insert the Outer Barrel into the rear site assembly. Push the barrel down until it extends to 19" out from the front end of the rear sight housing. Take note that the Outer Barrel will be visible through a hole in the stock directly above the grip.
Once you are certain the holes are aligned, place a mark on the Outer Barrel in the exact center of the hole of the stock. Drill a hole just large enough to permit the kit-supplied locking pin to be inserted into the Outer Barrel.
Insert the Outer Barrel back into the stock assembly and check to be sure the pin goes through the Outer Barrel. It's best to make the hole snug - not loose - this will prevent the barrels from sliding back and forth (and rotating).
Insert the Inner Barrel into the Outer Barrel and allow 2-3/8" to extend past the front end of the Outer Barrel. A small section of the PVC end cap will be exposed. Now place a similar mark on the Inner Barrel at the aft alignment hole (as you did with the Outer Barrel). Drill a hole through the Inner Barrel and check to be sure it is properly aligned.
Obtain the 12" support brackets. Using a Dremel, remove the small hook ends (tabs). Refer to TK818's drawing (bipod section) for a good view of this detail. Cut an approximate 1" section out of each bracket, 3-1/2" from the curved end of each bracket.
Instead of drilling the brackets and using screws to fasten each section of the shortened bracket, I simply used Cyanoacrylate glue. The bond is strong, but I'm certain TK818's method is stronger.
Place the 1-1/8" length of 1" dowel between the 'heads' of the two brackets. Drill pilot holes and then screw an attaching screw (1/2") to each bracket.
Place the 1-/2" length of 1" dowel atop the bracket assembly. Drill a pilot hole vertically extending through the longer of the two dowels and partly into the bracket head dowel. Thread a 2" screw firmly in place.
Place the bracket assembly on the bottom of the front site/muzzle unit. Carefully mark and drill two pilot holes and secure the bracket to the muzzle unit with (2) 3/4" screws.
The bipod is ready for attaching to the barrel. I drilled a pilot hole through the top of the barrel extending down into the top of the 1-1/8" bracket dowel. Next, I widened the hole only on the Outer Barrel so that the attaching screw (1-1/4") will fit snug atop the Inner Barrel.
Drill a similar hole (on center with other cooling holes) approximately 2" forward of the bracket leg flanges. I cut a 2" length of 1/2" dowel and placed it between the bracket legs. Insert a 1-1/2" screw and fasten securely into the dowel.
The MG34 was now ready for painting - there are some other hardware accessories that may be affixed to the barrel to make this project look a little more accurate. I have become lazy and haven't attached 'em. <grin>
After 2 coats of silver base paint and 4 coats of ultra-flat black, here's what the finished model looks like:
I'll be attaching a few pieces onto the barrel and MAYBE a trigger. Here in So. Cal, I just don't want the thing to look that realistic for now.
Showing inside details, pix of each of my Buckets
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