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Sheepdog in West Texas
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people have made great inroads into 3D printing in metal these days...

with the correct printer, building materials and some knowledge of 3D printing programs you could be up an running in a fairly short time.

About that patent ... can't answer that one.

Love the idea though.
 

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My cousin is a big shot at the patent office in DC, but I am not asking him. We don't talk much because he's a liberal.

Manufacturing it does not seem like that big of a deal. A lot of this pistol's small parts are stamped and formed sheet metal and the frame is no more complex than a 1911 frame.

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.
 

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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 imagine that's what Todd Bailey said at first too. :biggrin:
 

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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.
 

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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.
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.
 

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I wish HK would do another run of them. They did with the SP89/sp5k. It hasn't been that long since they were last made so it seems like putting them back into production wouldn't be too great a challenge.

One can hope for that and an HK94 type pistol!
 

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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 .

https://youtu.be/DehW94gLRKM

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 !

https://youtu.be/J1jvt1A4_Uk
 

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Discussion Starter #18
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 .

https://youtu.be/DehW94gLRKM

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 !

https://youtu.be/J1jvt1A4_Uk
So all we need now is someone who won the lottery...
I would pay to buy one
 

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Priest of the P7
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A few million start up is maybe more than demand would pay for. If you were going to do this, you would have to produce a pistol that was substantially below market price. Let's somewhat arbitrarily say by a couple million you meant $2. Let's say we wanted to price the pistol at $1K for mathematical ease, even though that figure is maybe a bit higher than a lot of buyers would want to pay considering you can still sometimes get a vintage P7 for that amount. You would have to sell two thousand pistols to break even on the machining -- then there's finishing, assembly, testing, distribution, marketing... How many pistols would you need to sell to profit enough to make it worth the venture?

Personally, I of course think anyone in their right mind would want a P7, but I think one would have to do the due diligence of some market research to ensure the demand was there and I'm not sure that it is.
 

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This conversation entails a sh*t load of things to consider. The first thing that would have to be agreed on is the time frame and terms of the ROI . This would not be the right investment for very many people , assuming a short term payback . It would take a core group of people that understand the benefits of the design , dedication to a quality manufacturing system , and a well thought out marketing plan.
You and others on this forum would buy one , and maybe some of your friends , but I'll bet 80 % of the people that are in the gun business today don't have a clue what a P7 is . It's going to be just like the guy that started selling glocks did years ago , it's going to be ONE P7 at a time. A good market could be to Security orgs , LE in some cases, anyone wanting to buy the safest most accurate pistol made. The potential upside is huge. It's gonna take a lot of educating or one on one if you will to get it going . At some point , if you do it right , it will develop legs of it own and help build momentum in the marketplace .

Obviously , one of the first things to do would be to determine the cost. It's not going to be fair to compare the selling price of a new P7 manu'd today to one from years ago . You should be able to offer a better product today. There are newer alloys today as an example. There might and should be room for improvement in the design . I don't know , it's an interesting conversation ....

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