I imagine that's what Todd Bailey said at first too. :biggrin:Manufacturing it does not seem like that big of a deal...Current generation CNC machining centers could punch them out with no trouble at all, and the materials would be superior to those of the 1980's as well.
I have not looked at one completely disassembled but come on, how hard can it be? I have worked in manufacturing engineering for a long time and seen some pretty amazing pieces made; I do not believe that it would be that hard. Whether or not people would pay for them is another issue entirely, I would not, I don't like them that much in the first place.He who thinks CNC machining a P7 frame would be easy is very mistaken. Can be done, yes. But nobody would pay the unit price.
So all we need now is someone who won the lottery...I've thought about this for some time . Back in the 70's all they had were VMC's, Vertical Machining Centers . They were slow and didn't hold many tools . I don't remember RPM's and HP but they were slow compared to now . Also the thing with a VMC is getting rid of the chips . Back then they didn't have through the Spindle coolant either I don't believe. As with today , or anytime really , getting rid of the chips in a hurry is critical . VMC's were accurate and slow , but it was all they had at the time and HK knew how to build the right tooling to hold groups of parts and could make some decent volumes in a given time period I'm sure . That was kinda old technology , it works just fine , but it is slow compared to when HK started making the P7 and when HK quit back whenever it was . And when the guys retired that knew how to use the machines and the fixtures , you quit making 'em .
3D printing ? No. Way to slow and they don't have materials yet . They are developing new materials all the time though mainly for Aerospace at this time. But it will come eventually .
Horizontal Machining Centers ( HMC ) . Now you're talking !As an example Adcor Ind. is using primarily Makino HMC's . These are high HP ( 32HP ) and fairly high RPM (14,000 ) . These are high torque , high rpm machines that can reduce a 195# blank of 316SS into a 17# part in NO time. Gravity and spindle core cooling gets rid of chips very easily . You can remove a lot of material very accurately in a hurry . These machines are at least 2 pallet ( Tombstone ) machines so while you are working on one pallet , you are loading/unloading on the other. You can also do more work since you can work on 3 sides of the part . Adcor has a new Pallet System that holds 110 Pallets . We keep the Tombstones loaded with the tooling required to hold the customer's particular parts. There is no setup time that has to be charged to the customer ! When a customer orders 1 part or 1000 the cycle/setup time is the same all the time . There's more to it than that , but it's pretty simple actually . Tool change is< second , chip to chip is 2.5 seconds . These are 40 taper machines that will spin a 25 pound tool , heavy enough. They can remove about 300 cu inched of aluminum/minute .
BTW, the reason Adcor Industries got in the gun business , we were asked by Colt Defense for some help back in the mid 2000's. WE were machining 2000 uppers a day , did that for several years . A lower is easy anybody can make one . The upper is where the geometry is and it's a little more complicated to get it right, every time
The reason I'm going into this somewhat detail is to say that things have changed in the machine tool Industry a lot since the 70's . I know HK didn't quit making the P7 until say 2000 , but I'll bet their process didn't change .
So ,can the P7 be made today ? You bet yur ass it can ! The frame today would be a piece of cake . You could almost finish a frame in one operation with a HMC . The startup cost would be a little steep . You have to have solid production capable HMC's that will hold a consistent tolerance . As an example on our A61 HMC's because of the machine’s rigidity, we can maintain plus or minus 0.0005 " in most metals . The machine capability is there today, better than it was . It's hard to say how much it would cost . If you had all the metrology and everything else that goes with a first class operation ( an AS9100 shop) and capable equipment , personnel . a supply chain willing to invest their time , you're still talkin' a couple of million to get going . You would have to take drawings and turn them into models. Generate all the manufacturing eng. stuff . build tooling for the Stone's , assembly fixtures , gauging, etc.
I'll bet the cost per pistol would surprise folks . It wouldn't be as much as you might think . Once you get the process right ,the P7 wouldn't require hardly any fitting. Being made out of quality steel it would machine pretty easy.
Who knows . Somebody around here's got the money . If you had a core group of engineers that had a stake in it, it could get done . Anyway, here's a HMC making some chips . It's kinda cool , it gives me wood , Ha ! You can see how easy it gets to different surfaces .
This video is a Hass ( which LaRue and just about everybody else in the gun business building stuff use ) vs a Makino . kinda like Glock vs HK !