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Heat Stippling Polymer (A Tutorial)

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by AEnemaBay, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. AEnemaBay

    AEnemaBay Marine Armorer

    Jan 1, 2010
    Jefferson City, MO
    I thought I'd start off my time here by posting my tutorial on heat stippling polymer. I know that I didn't use a Glock for this, but this was my first frame and I felt more comfortable doing it on a Ruger. By the way, I turned some of the pics into hyperlinks due to the image limit.

    Here's the start of my copy and paste:

    So you want one of your polymer pistols stippled, eh? Or maybe a synthetic stock, or a handguard? Well if you’re like me you don’t want to spend upwards of $150 for a polymer heat stippling job, so I’m going to show you how to do it for about $15! First of all you’re going to need some materials.

    You’ll need the following (everything is available at Lowes Hardware):
    Weller 25 watt soldering iron (I use the SP23L model)
    An assortment of 10-24 x 1/2" BRASS machine screws (screws that are already flat on top are best)
    A Dremel with cutoff wheel
    A needle file
    Masking tape
    A polymer victim

    Next we'll have to checker the top of one of our brass machine screws. To do this I simply used the existing Philips slots in the screw as my starting lines. I then took my Dremel with cutoff wheel and began to checker my brass screw. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT! I personally use an assortment of screws that range from very deep checkering to very shallow checkering. This, of course, creates either very aggressive stippling or not so aggressive stippling. I also use the tips that come with the Weller soldering iron kit for fine points and edges.

    Once you have done both your vertical and horizontal lines on your screw, break out your needle file and carefully point the tops of the pyramids to gain a more uniform pattern. Or don't if you want a crazy pattern. After you're done thread it into the soldering iron.

    Now, take your victim and begin mapping out where you want it stippled with your masking tape. Take your time here and make sure everything is where you want it in the design that you want it. It would be a PITA to remove the stippling once it's been applied. Our victim for this tutorial is my first generation Ruger P95DC.

    Now with the soldering iron all heated up you can start stippling. If you're still unsure of your abilities I'd suggest practicing on some scrap pistol grips and the like. Take your time and get used to the pattern that your particular screw makes. Twist the iron as you go to change up the direction and blend the dots together. Occasionally check your screw head for melted polymer sticking to the checkering. If this occurs just take a brass brush and brush it out of the screw.

    That's it, it's that simple! You just saved yourself $150! Now if you want a deeper more uniform pattern you can use a soldering tip that you slightly round off. This will give you a "golf ball" like pattern. Here is our victim after only 25 minutes of work.


    I hope this tutorial helps you all. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!
  2. I like the idea of using a screw head. Thanks for the tips.
    Semper Fi Marine. Welcome to the forum.

  3. soomz


    Sep 2, 2005
    Awesome information on stippling. At first its pretty intimidating but with your tutorial it looks like a breeze!
  4. Nice work, and I like the improvised tool heads. Wish I would have thought of that, when I was doing mine =/