Monday, December 16, 2013

Projects Are Born From Lesser Ideas

Hat tip to Robb at Sharp as Marble for linking to Sebastian who, in turn, led me down the rabbit hole to a home CNC-made 19-by-God-11, made by a reader named Jason.  Very picture rich post here
There are two novel, even inspirational things about this 1911.  First, it's made of aluminum instead of steel.  I'm sure that has been done in the world of 1911s, but doing it makes the home machining easier (it might be possible to use an alloy that can be heat treated and hardened after cutting it).  But the real inspiration is that Jason started with MILSPEC plans for the 1911 and split them down the middle, so that two halves are bolted together to complete the gun.  The one set of cuts I couldn't figure how to make with my micro mill was to hollow out the magazine well.  Cutting it in half fixes that.  Going in through the grip, the well is deep, and deep cuts with light duty machines are risky propositions to start with.  The other problem is that even with the most rigid, big machines, cutting with a long bit is likely to have problems with the cutting bit bending over its length.  When cutting out large amounts of metal like a mag well, the best tool to use is your drill press.  It's the cheapest, most effective way to remove cubic inches.  You just need to be careful because drill bits wander a lot, long thin bits are the worst, so leave a thick margin to clean up with your milling machine.

The barrels, slides, and all the other parts aren't hard to find - I think Brownells has virtually an entire catalog of them.  He had to do some fitting and filing to get the gun to fire, but fire and cycle it does, nicely. 

As a bonus for those it will matter to, this appears to be a Taig mill, another micro mill of similar size and capabilities to what I have. As CNC mills go, they are not all that outrageously priced and capable. 

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