MIM, forged, machined bar stock,......

Bender

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So there has been a great deal of discussion about MIM, forged & machined bar stock parts in recent years. It seems many nearly cringe when MIM is mentioned for a 1911 part.

I wonder why that is? I’ve seen MIM aircraft parts for years. The process was first used in the aerospace industry in the late seventies. So this is not a new method of manufacturing. I’m puzzled as to why it’s so looked down upon.

General Electric Aviation engineering division recently created an engine fuel nozzle. Standard manufacturing techniques could not be used to create the intricate shapes and passages of the design. The closest they could get was to make the nozzle in 21 seperate pieces and micro laser weld these together. Even then, the flow data was not meeting the requirements. They created this new nozzle using a rather new technique called additive manufacturing. The name is derived from the manufacturing technique of adding material, vs machining away material from a billet, casting to forging to create the part. This is basically powdered metal that is laser welded together to produce a perfect nozzle that requires no machining, think of a 3d printed part.

Will we soon be complaining about additive manufactured parts in future weapons and possibly 1911s?
 
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OldGunner_43

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"MIM" is not necessarily a bad manufacturing method as Bender points out. It's been with us for quite a long time. Done properly in appropriate applications it is a very useful and reliable manufacturing process. I'd say (without any research) that many custom pistol smiths wouldn't consider using MIM parts in their pistols. They have no need to because they aren't producing guns in very large quantities. The major manufacturers have to decide what makes sense to them with regard to costs versus perceived "value" in the marketplace. I'm in the position of buying guns that are made to my standards, like many Fanatics, and that doesn't include guns with MIM parts. At some point in time, modern manufacturing processes will ultimately replace traditional methods, but I'll hang onto my "old school" standards as long as I can.
 

azpoolguy

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It is in the recipe and the tolerances.

You can get a bad part machined out of bar stock as well if the print the part is made from is not the dimensions you need.

I think the biggest issue with MIM parts came from Kimber and their lack of finish and the quality of the parts and over all builds. You rarely hear about issues with a Colt MIM hammer or sear and there are a lot of 1911 smiths that like to use them on builds.
 
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Slapshot

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It’s cheaper to use a MIM part than a part made from bar stock and I think that gets perceived as a lesser quality part automatically. Like anything new there’s a learning curve and the first parts may not have been perfect so if there were some part failures early in the use of MIM it could have easily been considered junk. Anybody making anything should get better at it and I would venture to say that a MIM part from a quality supplier is probably just fine. I remember when Honda’s and Toyota’s were considers POS’s... I’d say they figured it out pretty quick.


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SLAM37

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This gets interesting to me when we discuss how MIM processes are used to manufacture pistol parts that take a beating -- like strikers. For example, I think the machining time required to build older Glock strikers became a target for savings with Glock corporate HQ. The result was a switch to MIM strikers found in later Gen 3 and all Gen 4 Glocks that has seen some breakage issues on the striker's tip -- something not seen on the tool steel strikers previously used. It has not been a huge problem, but it does happen. I think this is the reason the tip of the Gen 5 striker was made more robust. Here is a pick of both -- I'll let you be the judge:

Glock_Gen5_24.jpg

Same issue faced by the Sig 365. I understand they re-designed their striker as well after some early breakages on the striker's tip. Old design on top, newer on the bottom. Notice the newer design has a gradual transition from the base to the tip for more structural integrity. This striker would take a ton of machining time I would suppose.
Old:
sig_p265_firing_pin_1.jpg

New
sig_p265_firing_pin_3.jpg

Personally, I would be willing to pay an extra $20 for a Glock or Sig that had a striker machined from tool steel vs. MIM, but somebody at corporate made the decision that most people wouldn't, so they went with a more cost-effective route that is taking a few versions to "perfect".
 

fieldgrade

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This gets interesting to me when we discuss how MIM processes are used to manufacture pistol parts that take a beating -- like strikers. For example, I think the machining time required to build older Glock strikers became a target for savings with Glock corporate HQ. The result was a switch to MIM strikers found in later Gen 3 and all Gen 4 Glocks that has seen some breakage issues on the striker's tip -- something not seen on the tool steel strikers previously used. It has not been a huge problem, but it does happen. I think this is the reason the tip of the Gen 5 striker was made more robust. Here is a pick of both -- I'll let you be the judge:

View attachment 1756

Same issue faced by the Sig 365. I understand they re-designed their striker as well after some early breakages on the striker's tip. Old design on top, newer on the bottom. Notice the newer design has a gradual transition from the base to the tip for more structural integrity. This striker would take a ton of machining time I would suppose.
Old:
View attachment 1758

New
View attachment 1759

Personally, I would be willing to pay an extra $20 for a Glock or Sig that had a striker machined from tool steel vs. MIM, but somebody at corporate made the decision that most people wouldn't, so they went with a more cost-effective route that is taking a few versions to "perfect".
A retired SF team sergeant who I have the privilege of shooting with occasionally put 150,000 through his G17 before the barrel was shot out and Glock replaced the whole gun. I think I'm okay with their MIM parts.
 

Babboonbobo

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They’re great in a lower priced gun but in high end I want machines parts. It’s that simple to me.
They make compression molded parts too and they could be molded then sintered and are very strong, think carbide inserts and end mills, they do that with other types of metals (carbon steel, stainless, etc) that could be an in-between for mim and machined?
 

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