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This will cause gnashing of teeth

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by arclight610, Jan 25, 2012.


  1. arclight610

    arclight610
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    I'm not trying to troll or anything of the sort, but this may cause some controversy. It is generally perceived in the area of firearms that MIM parts are not as good as forgings or parts made from billet. I knew this even before I knew what MIM stood for or even was.

    Well, I'm in school now for engineering with a focus on manufacturing engineering. Right now we are discussing various metal-processing techniques, and I even get to cast my own steel part sometime next week which should be really fun. Anyways, my textbook says that MIM, when done properly, produces small parts of superior strength to billet. It says also that the injection process produces better grain alignment. I haven't asked my instructor about it, but I will.
     

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  2. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank
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    Who?

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    I get the feeling that the section I put in bold is the key. Firearm companies are going to MIM to cut costs, so it wouldn't be far fetched to think they weren't using the best techniques for making the parts.
     

  3. crazymoose

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    Processes like MIM and various high-tech casting techniques can produce superior products to bar stock or forged machinings. The problem is that MIM can also be done very, very cheaply, whereas even shoddy forging requires a fair investment in machinery and manpower.
     
    #3 crazymoose, Jan 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  4. arclight610

    arclight610
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    Cheaply as inexpensive, or crappy? or both?
     
  5. ronin.45

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    They tend to go hand in hand.
     
  6. fastbolt

    fastbolt
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    Improperly done, poor quality casting & forging can have problems, too, but we didn't abandon those processes just because it was possible for it to be done poorly, and to produce lesser quality parts by the odd company looking to cut corners and save on costs.

    MIM molds can be rather expensive, but are one of the keys to making good quality MIM parts. I've been told that's why S&W has so heavily invested in owning the MIM molds used to produce its MIM parts, and the MIM houses they use are located in the US, as well.

    I see no reason to dispute that info, myself.

    Now, if one or another gun company decides to save money by using less costly MIM parts (when looking at MIM house vendor bids for producing parts and buying the lowest bid parts), then at some point it may become a situation of buyer beware ... just like it was for some cast & forged parts over the years.
     
  7. fnfalman

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    The operative word is "when done properly".
     
  8. fastbolt

    fastbolt
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    The same thing can be said regarding nitrocarburizing, you know ...
     
  9. fnfalman

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    Nitrocarburizing is a simplistic means of surface hardening.

    Your analogy is way off.
     
  10. DonD

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    Anyone have any valid statistical data that suggests that MIM parts found in the products of quality manufacturers are flawed/defective at a higher rate than parts constructed by other processes?

    Doubt such numbers are out there for public consumption and if they were, I'd bet that S&W MIM parts would be shown to be of high quality.

    I think the average shooting enthusiast seriously underestimates the intensity of the "old is better and never change anything" attitude of the very conservative. That attitude would have kept us using horses for transportation. After all, the old Colt SAA in .45 Colt could do most of what we now use revolvers for so why change? It's an attitude I can't understand and have given up trying. Don
     
  11. fastbolt

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    No, it's not.

    Not from the perspective of if it's done incorrectly, there can be problems in the end product that was treated. (Improper temperature in the molten salt bath ferritic nitrocarburizing, wrong quench, embrittlement, reduced resistance to corrosion, etc.)

    It may be simplistic for the vendors who take the time to do it properly, and it's proven itself an enviable process for many applications (also making it possible to use resulfurized, low carbon steels to good advantage) but it can be done shoddily and incorrectly, resulting in a finished product that lacks the quality of one properly done.

    As a matter of fact, how about auto paint jobs? Simplistic, but they can also be done incorrectly, or using lesser quality materials or techniques, also resulting in unsatisfied owners of the finished product.

    The MIM process itself isn't difficult. Not when it comes to large scale manufacturing nowadays. The science is sound and it can produce much more exacting parts and components of complicated shapes, with much less machining, cost and investment of time.

    I remember when casting was considered a less costly shortcut, for that matter, and it can certainly be done using lesser quality materials, resulting in poor parts which once upojn a time helped give casting a less desirable name.

    I remember when the 'lost wax' process was discussed in much the same way for making high quality steel parts as MIM has been discussed by some folks.
     
  12. Baba Louie

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  13. TN.Frank

    TN.Frank
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    MIM? "Made In Mexico", at least in the Fender guitar world that's what it means.:dunno:
     
  14. Brian Lee

    Brian Lee
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    Drop those nuts

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    If you're in school, I've been an engineer since before you were born.

    MIM is like any other metal part in the fact that you can make them out of a WIDE variety of different metals. You can either spend the money on the right metal for a particular job and get great results, or you can use cheap unsuitable crap and make worthless parts - same as it is with parts machined out of solid bar stock.

    Investment casting can also produce parts that are stronger than parts machined from the same type of material. To say that MIM parts are stronger than machined parts usually isn't true - but can be true in certain cases. It also depends on what kind of machined metal you're comparing them to.

    MIM haters & gun rag journalists who throw the term "pot metal" around in gun forums usually talk out of their asses on the subject. Nobody who makes metal parts for a living even uses the term "pot metal". They'd know what the metal is, and call it by it's proper name.
     
  15. Batesmotel

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    Metal Injection Molding.

    Making a part the same way they injection mold with plastic, just with molten metal.
     
  16. SpringerTGO

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    Does this mean that if your instructor concurs, you will request that all of your next handguns parts are MIM?
     
  17. fnfalman

    fnfalman
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    Yet nobody bother correcting them for calling everything "polymer".:dunno:
     
  18. arclight610

    arclight610
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    I think all of my handgun parts are already MIM to be honest. I shoot the crap out of them and nothing has broke yet.

    I don't know if the Beretta 92 or the Benelli M4 have any MIM parts, but I've put countless numbers of rounds through the ones we used for our workups in the Marine Corps.

    The reason that the subject has been of interest to me, is because I'm starting to get more into 1911's. Alot of 1911 owners immediately set out to replace all the MIM parts with other types just because they are MIM. I think I hit the 6000 rd mark with my RIA 1911 GI a couple of weeks ago. Nothing breaking yet.
     
  19. TN.Frank

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    Ahh, ok, is that the same as powdered metal molding? There's a place in Jamestown just North of me that makes parts out of Powdered Metal.
     
  20. SpringerTGO

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    I think it just comes down to what you like in a 1911. If you like the models using MIM parts more than the companies using forged ones, by all means go for it.
    Who wouldn't want a Kimber more than a Wilson, price being equal?:rofl:
     
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