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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Seems quite a few folks "GAG" when the subject of Glock pistols is brought up. When they first arrived as the Model 19 in 9mm Luger caliber, that particular ammunition was not all that great, performance wise. So, I had no interest back then and lugged my "all steel" Caspian Arms .45 auto all around.
When the Models 22 & 23 were brought out, my interest piqued a bit and I ordered one:

I also ordered a pretty crappy Kydex holster for it and was disappointed with how that holster wore finish off the slide, so I sent it off to have it "Robar coated". I did find some liking for the .40 S&W caliber and this gun became my carry pistol when the seasons required extra thick clothing. I also ordered a Diamond D shoulder holster rig.
Shooting much of the .40 S&W ammunition, I found that muzzle flip was quite snappy, so I then sent it off to Mag-Na-Port to have some slots EDM'd into the slide and barrel:

My feeling is, that made things a bit better with muzzle recovery to the point I could get back on target a bit quicker. Again, others MMV.
I do remember all the hullabaloo on TV about the NEW Glock pistol being invisible to airport security, but that myth was busted in short order. And despite all the trash talk concerning Glock pistols, I find it very interesting that THEY sorta paved the way for many other handgun manufacturers to also go that route to the point that today, we see many other pistols being accepted with plastic grip frames. Interesting. :cool:
 

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The main reason we see so many polymer frames is one word. Cheap Polymer frames can be produced much cheaper than metal frames with minimal secondary operations before assembly. Most expensive part is the slide and internal parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
CNC machines do multiple tasks, not just kick out one specific subject. Ever see one? So, how much do plastic injection molds cost?
You seem to be quite knowledgeable on this sort of thing, so I was just asking. And if the plastic frames really are are CHEAP, how come the pistols cost so much?

Here's a hint bubbs, plastic injection molds, with complex multiple cavities, as in a pistol grip frame, cost $100,000.00 and up and have a limited life span. CHEAP?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The main reason we see so many polymer frames is one word. Cheap Polymer frames can be produced much cheaper than metal frames with minimal secondary operations before assembly. Most expensive part is the slide and internal parts.
You should take a [email protected]@K into, and learn about how Ruger does investment of "metal" casting. Extremely minimal machining is done with the "metal" parts as cast and steel is ALWAYS much better than plastic.
 

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CNC machines do multiple tasks, not just kick out one specific subject. Ever see one? So, how much do plastic injection molds cost?
You seem to be quite knowledgeable on this sort of thing, so I was just asking. And if the plastic frames really are are CHEAP, how come the pistols cost so much?

Here's a hint bubbs, plastic injection molds, with complex multiple cavities, as in a pistol grip frame, cost $100,000.00 and up and have a limited life span. CHEAP?
Not sure what you consider a limited life span but the hydraulic mold presses can easily run 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance. The molds themselves will last forever with minor maintenance. The cost of a mold press will be amortized over several years so it is pretty much a write off.

If you are an expert on the CNC machines how much does a CNC machine ready to run cost?

You ask how come plastic pistols cost so much. That is just economics 101. They cost so much because the companies that make them make a very good profit on them. You might ask how much is a gun worth? It is worth whatever a person is willing to pay for it. If Glock can make a G19 for say a ballpark figure of $100 and sell it for $500 they have made a nice profit on it. As long as people are willing to pay the price that gun makers are asking for their guns they will not reduce the price. Supply and demand as long as they are selling the profits will keep on rolling in.
 

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You should take a [email protected]@K into, and learn about how Ruger does investment of "metal" casting. Extremely minimal machining is done with the "metal" parts as cast and steel is ALWAYS much better than plastic.
Steel is always better than plastic. Depends on how you define better and for what application.

Ruger is not the only company to use investment casting the process has been around for several years. If done properly the parts come out ok but a lot of the cast parts do not stand up to wear like machined parts. Depends on the process and what level of QC is involved with the parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Steel is always better than plastic. Depends on how you define better and for what application.

Ruger is not the only company to use investment casting the process has been around for several years. If done properly the parts come out ok but a lot of the cast parts do not stand up to wear like machined parts. Depends on the process and what level of QC is involved with the parts.
You're kidding?
 

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Um. You're both right.

Injection molding plastic has the advantage of the parts costing pennies a piece, after paying for the very expensive mold(s). The mold would be made on a CNC machine. The life of the mold would depend on the material. More difficult material to mill would last longer. And once the first mold is programmed into the machine, many molds can be run off with just the expense of material and time. They would need enough molds to run multiple pieces at a time, or the worker is waiting for that one mold to cool most of the time.
Plastic surfaces would be finished when they come off the mold, and not machined. So the mold has to be perfect. Surface finish with plastic is best straight off the mold. Any sanding or abrasive polishing will always result in oxidizing. The only way to restore the surface glaze is heat or solvent. The nylon (fiberglass reinforced) that they like for grip frames is not weldable because it turns to clear liquid when melted, so I don't think it can be re-glazed with heat.
Trim the flash off the edges and where the pieces of the mold meet. Some notches and holes are made after the piece is molded, like the notch for the safety on grip frames that are available in pro and safety version.
Molding plastic is not particularly hard on molds like stamping steel. Molds should last pretty long.
Is the manufacturer screwing the customer when they sell them something made out of plastic because it costs pennies a piece to mold? Not if the customer considers how much it would cost to make that plastic piece themselves.

Investment casting is similar to sand casting. A molded wax positive is packed in sand, then melts away when the metal is poured in, leaving a copy in metal. The biggest advantage is reduction of material cost, because you are not standing knee deep in shavings to whittle a piece out of a solid bar of material. Cast metal pieces do require machining, because the surfaces are not perfect (look at the surface of a aluminum intake manifold, steel exhaust manifold, or cast steel spindle, where the non-critical surface has been left natural), and the metal at the surface is not as good and consistent as the material beneath the surface. But this knocks it down to the last couple steps of machining, and eliminates a huge amout of labor time.
The frames and a lot of the inner pieces of the P Series pistols is that famous investment casting. Lots of machined surfaces.

CNC is labor intensive and slow. Anything that is not close to the shape of standard bar is going to end up cutting a lot of wasted material, paid for, and on the floor in little chips and shavings.
But CNC is going to be used to make the molds and do the finish work on the metal molded pieces.

Something I remember reading about Glock is that the designer/company owner was a curtain rod manufacturer, and used his expertise in stamped metal parts in the design. A lot of those internal parts that are cast in the Ruger P Series, are stamped in the Glocks. The rails on the Sigs, at least the kits, are also stamped.

I like plastic for control surfaces and places that get handled. I'm less a fan for structural pieces made of plastic.
I deal with a lot of 25+ year old plastic that has dry rotted, sun rotted, and become brittle. It gets to a point that it just starts turning to powder in your hands. And then you need a new replacement. It is not good for something to be handed down to children and grand children. There won't be new grip frames for discontinued 2000, 2010, and 2020 Rugers available in 2050. There aren't new frames for P95s, P97s, and P345s available now. And that nylon can't be repaired by welding.
I am also seeing the weight reduction as counterproductive to use, because the weight of a steel or aluminum frame acts to reduce recoil. That was a big deal when the Glock was introduced. We were even trying to reduce recoil on 9mms with spring kits, and the Glocks were slighted for not having enough mass to be easy to shoot. Of course, everything at that time was a full sized duty pistol. In the years since, the concern has become more for small size to hide, and light weight so that it does not fall or tire the carrier.
Meanwhile, for shooting competitions, they sell weights and thumb braces for Glocks, to make them easier to operate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Steel is always better than plastic. Depends on how you define better and for what application.

Ruger is not the only company to use investment casting the process has been around for several years. If done properly the parts come out ok but a lot of the cast parts do not stand up to wear like machined parts. Depends on the process and what level of QC is involved with the parts.
Was there someone here denying that? If you were to actually [email protected]@K into investment casting it goes back in time a very long way. Jewelry was, and still is made using that process. I spent 47 years in manufacturing, and there's only two levels involved with Quality Control procedures, thorough and NONE.

I know of one guy who's been feeding off the "government" teet since he was 39, and wouldn't believe a dang thing he ever typed on his keyboard, only because he has ZIP experience in any laborious endeavor.
 

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You might want to go back to your post #6 you stated steel is always better than plastic. In some applications steel is better in some applications plastic is as good or better than steel.

As far as quality goes any company that wants to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction will have a very through QC/QA program in place. A lot of companies have gone to a lot of time and money to be ISO certified. Does being ISO certified mean every product made is a good one, no but if all of the procedures and QA checks are followed then your percentage of good products will be very close to 100%. Companies have come a long way with their QA programs in the last 47 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Um! I'm not the one living under a ROCK, that's a picture of "Captain Obvious", ever seen him before? It's a pertinent reference to your obvious statement concerning manufacturing getting better at Quality Control over the last several years. :rolleyes: Sheesh!
 

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Um! I'm not the one living under a ROCK, that's a picture of "Captain Obvious", ever seen him before? It's a pertinent reference to your obvious statement concerning manufacturing getting better at Quality Control over the last several years. :rolleyes: Sheesh!
Well you have truly enlightened me. I now know who Captain Obvious is. Another piece of worthless trivia to add to my collection.
 
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