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Discussion Starter · #41 · (Edited)
So cleaned up the rail more. Now to epoxy it to the frame and then blend it.
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Hopefully, after coating, you won't be able to tell its a separate part attached to the frame.

I was off on my CAD model on the rail slot spacing, made a math mistake somewhere, but they are filed out to the spec depth and width for the opening. But the spacing is slightly off and one of the rooks is smaller than the rest, i.e. spacing between two slots is off even more than the rest. You have to look really close to be able to tell, and most Pistol Accessories really only interface with one slot on the rail, so I shouldn't have any problem. If it was a rifle with larger accessories, that some do interface with more than one slot, then yes, there could be a big problem with the spacing between the slots being off, even slightly.

I have everything except the Slide and a Red Dot Sight.

I've been waiting for this to come back in stock at Brownell's. And actual Colt Rail Gun Slide.
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While its Identical to the M45A1 slide, except for the Roll Marks, its an expensive gamble to try to fill those roll marks and then Laser Engrave something over it. It might not work at all and look awful. Plus the fact that Brownell's says Colt won't even give them an estimate as to when they will be available again (perhaps things are still being sorted out with CZ), I've given up on the idea.

I've decided to go with the 1911 Builders Stainless Steel Slide. I already got one with an RMR Optics Cut for my Double Stack Project.
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So I've ordered another one and I am waiting for it to be delivered. I cut the rails to the one I have now, and I had to tap this one on with a rubber mallet, waiting for the actual slide to go with it to do the final fitting and lapping.

The version with the Novak Sight cuts is sold out, my original plan was to have two slides, one with the original Novak Lowmount Sights, and one with a Red Dot Mounted on it. So right now, I only have the slide for a Red Dot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
So I'm waiting for a slide close enough to the M45A1 with Novak sight cuts to come back in stock, either the actual Colt Slide or the 1911Builders Slide, I'm going forward with a 1911Builders Slide with an RMR Optics Cut, that I expect I will use most of the time.

So, it occurred to me, its a shame there is no cap plate for the optics cut that you could mount the Novak Sight on it. So I decided to make one.
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The padding on the bottom and top are to deal with the Binder Jet Metal Printing limitations, once its made I will have to remove the padding. With Binder Jet 3d metal printing, the binded stainless steel particles are in a delicate state when the unused material is cleaned out and then put into a furnace to fuse bronze into the sintering displacing the bonding material, so things have to be a minimal depth and bulk or they will break apart or erode away. Once out of the furnace its solid metal, although a sintered metal that has lots of inclusions, can be brittle, inconsistent strength and a rough, stratified surface like most 3d printings.

I placed the order with Xometry, and again had to order two to make the minimal cost per order. Expected July 9th. The thin area where the main block of the Novak sight would go is only .017", so the screw heads are going to have to be filed down and hopefully still fit the Novak sight. As well, thin enough, it could break while drifting in the sight. As well, it will require drifting the sight in and out to remove/install it.

So this might not work out, but it doesn't cost much if it doesn't. As well, it will be a dead give away with the very noticeable reliefs for the screws in the front if not the seam for the plate, that M45A1's don't have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 · (Edited)
After I ordered these plates 3d printed from my CAD models, it occurred to me. Why not just have the plate made with a Novak sight as part of it, well a shape just like a Novak sight. This is what Sig Sauer does on their M17/M18 versions of their P320 for the Military. The plate that covers the optics cut has the rear sight formed/machined into it, you just remove/install the plate with the rear sight in it. You throw in how difficult it is going to be to install the Novak sight in the room there is for the plate, this might be the best solution, although it would be a fake Novak sight shaped into the cap plate.

So I went back and redid my drawing. Too late though, I already have the order in work for the above plates, these CAD models will be for if the original idea goes all to hell.
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Downside, its not going to be easy to coat the sight and plate different colors, I'll need to buy a case of xacto knife blades if go this route. As well the reliefs for the screws that cut into the front of the sight, is going to be a dead giveaway that its not separate sight and just a sight formed into the plate shaped like a Novak sight.

But hey, the whole idea is to have a configuration to show its configured the same as the M45A1, then put on the red dot, which I imagine like my other pistols will have the red dot the entire time.

One thing I learned doing this though, for the first set of plates, I might have the location of the cut for the Novak sight off.

If you look at photos of the M45A1 and most 1911's with Novak Sights, you see the Sight ends with the end of the top of the slide, not forward or aft of the top rear edge of the slide, but right on the rear edge.
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I found two guides on how to make the Novak Sight Cut, I went with the measurements for what looked like the more accurate/correct way to place the cut. When I went to build the fake Novak sight on the plate, using the measurements and angles for the Novak Sight, on my original plate, the sight ended up being forward of the rear edge. So I go and adjust the cut to the other guide for locating the cut, based off the rear of the slide and sure enough it ends right at the rear edge. So one more strike against the original idea, its looking like this might require several tries, it might just be easier and cheaper to get another slide when they become available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
J-B Weld Epoxy, Steel Reinforced, Original Cold-Weld Formula

I plan on aluminum oxide blasting the surfaces and cleaning them with acetone before applying the epoxy.


It advertises the epoxy has more tensile strength than solder and withstands higher temps as well. Most importantly, it doesn't require heating the frame to near temperatures that could anneal the hardening. But like anything, the prep work and cleanliness of the materials to be joined is vital, so I am sure folks will offer stories about how epoxy failed them.

Granted if you do it correctly soldering should not harm the hardening of the frame, but I'm not a metal smith or plumber and could easily screw it up and actually overheat it.
Plus, the frame is stainless steel and I've read that is notoriously finicky with soldering. The 3d print has enough bronze in it, that it is said it take to solder very well. But both surfaces have to take the solder.
Silver Solder is the best, and I have done it, but never on something where I had to damage hardening and temper with the temp, I am sure even using the lowest temp silver solder,
 

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There are no Colt M45A1, CCB, Rail Guns available, haven't been for months and no knows when they will be available again. I can't find any colt parts, I have never seen a new Colt Frame for sale, let alone one of the Rail Guns/M45A1.

So my options are, wait, maybe up to a year or build my own with a frame with a rail on it, which not a single frame (80% or 100%) being sold is even close to the M45A1 rail, or build my own. I've been itching to do an 80% build, so I went that route. The best I can do for slide and ambi thumb safety are going to have to be close proximities, can't get the original nor find anything identical.

Did some fitting tonight, about 98% there....
View attachment 640575

After I afix it, I will blend it and smooth out the surfaces. Filed flat, the 316i takes on a weird color, depending on the angle, it can look silver, brass, copper or bronze....
Which a fresh bronze surface can look brass and copper color with how the light reflects (it is an alloy of copper, which brass is also), 316i is stainless steel particles infused with bronze, so I guess some angles and light the SS shines through.

How to afix it?
Screws, a challenge to do and not be visible, the dust cover doesn't have much depth to give the threads purchase.
Silver Solder, I'd have to use a cheap torch I have, and even the low temp silver solder is still hot enough to reach the temperatures to anneal SS.
Regular Solder, 316i is suppose to take solder really well, since there is a lot of copper in it, but stainless steel is notorious for being difficult to solder.
Epoxy, I just read up on the latest JB Metal Weld epoxy, its stronger than solder, withstands higher temps than solder and chemical resistant, I'm thinking that is the way to go.
Dawson used to make a bolt-on rail, but they apparently caused frames to crack. There may be a thread or threads about it, here.
 

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There is some truth to that, but sometimes one has to be satisfied with 'close enough.' I glanced at some of the M45A1s on Gunbroker just to see what they're running for and that's well outside my price range. But slapping together a pistol that looks close enough? That's tangible.

It's a relatable position. Sometimes if you can't find what you're after, you gotta build what you want. That's what drove my first 1911 build. Couldn't find one built as I wanted so...down the rabbit hole I went.
No denying that. Understandable…we all have our means to work within.

My reference was something within our means. Sometimes we can but don’t because of the perceived value to self. OP has a good project going…

I really like the ‘printed’ sight base…
 
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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
So my slide came in....
Finished the final cut for the frame rails and lapping the rails....
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This is my 2nd time cutting frame rails, this time it seems a little tighter, but there still is some rock...
Have lapped to the point the slide moves smoothly with no resistance.
Cleaned and Dry, no lube, Up/Down, Left/Right, Pitch and Yaw, you can feel and hear the tiniest movement with the clink as it hits metal to metal, but this play is so small you can NOT see it moving at all. But in Roll (rocking) you can feel a little more clearance and it moves just enough you can see the motion of the slide.
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The Novak Sight Cut version of this slide is sold out. That was the original plan, to have two slides, one with Novak Sights, and one with a RMR Reflex Sight. What I'm going to try and not sure it will work, is to have optics cut cap plate 3d metal printed. The problem with that, especially with the profile of the 1911 slide, there will be very noticeable screws and reliefs to fit the screws, so there is no mistaking
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Fitted my barrel, I measure about a .038" lock-up. I have not reamed the chamber, and a live round sits a few thousands over the hood. I have to order a reamer and fix it....

I did a trial fitting of everything....

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So a couple of things, I have to test and measure the barrel fitment, but it appears I have it darn close....
It appears to clear the slide by .010" when unlocked...
Locks/Unlocks smoothly while moving the slide...
Reliably locks into battery with an empty chamber....
With the slide off, but feel, it seems the upper slide stop lug area is contacting the VIS like it should...
Will not close in batter with a round chambered, so just being a few thousands off on chambering the round won't let close in battery, says to me its a pretty tight fit...

I could not get the trigger to reset reliably, about every 10th trigger pull, the Hammer would still catch but the trigger would not reset and let the hammer fall, only taking it apart and removing the hammer was I able to reset it... ....the sear was sticking on the ledge of the disconnector and not allowing the disconnector to slide in front of it and move up to overlap..... ...I had to play with it, analyze it as watched it moved... ....finally it dawned on me, I have a Wilson Combat Trigger that is adjustable in take-up and over-travel in its travel, I had it adjust rather tight, I did not have enough travel in the take up, so that when I released the trigger it wasn't traveling forward enough to allow the disconnector to travel forward enough to slide under the sear and allow it to move up and overlap the sear... ..added roughly a 1/16th - 1/32nd of travel to the take-up and trigger was resetting every time....

So what do I have left?
  • Ream the barrel's chamber to be within spec...
  • Epoxy the rail block to the frame...
  • Cut and file down the EGW Ambi-Safety closer to the proportions of the actual Colt Ambi Safety...
  • Get the Slide Laser Engraved with the Same Roll Marks as the M45A1...
  • Prep and Coat the parts (right now, I'm planning on Cerakote's new even tougher Elite Series, which there is no Desert Tan, but the FDE looks a lighter shade than most FDE, so somewhere inbetween the original desert tan and later zinc brown ion bond coat)....
  • Laser Engrave the frame with my Info as Manufacturer and my serial number with the other marks for the M45A1... (I'm hoping it works, but people have had laser engraving done through masking for paint over the metal, leaving the engraving perfectly masked, to then fill the engraving with Cerakote)....

I made up my own Data Matrix Code to engrave in the same spot as the M45A1....
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I'll do another post on the slide, still debating with myself on excepting good enough or massage it to be closer to the M45A1 slide.... ...things like drilling a journal for the series 80 plunger, filing the serrations to massage them closer to the profile on the M45A1, etc....
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
So the closest slide I can find to an M45A1 slide that is available, is the 1911Builders slide...
But the Stainless Steel version only comes in Series 70....
I built my frame to Series 80 since the M45A1 is that....
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This Series 70 Slide comes with the starboard pocket having the rear radius extended, so I filed down the Firing Pin Stop plate side to clear the radius for the Series 80 lever....

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I'm contemplating drilling a journal to turn the slide into a Series 80....

I also just got in the Cover Plate I had 3d Metal Printed for the optics cut..... .....so it turning it into an M45A1 OSP....
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The limits of metal 3d printing forces me to pad certain areas, like the thin spot, so I still have cut/file those down to get it to fit....
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Cleaned up the cap plate.....
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And I broke it trying to install the Novak Sight. But, I redid the design and have another one coming....

I was off on the sight cut and had to file too much out of the cut to get the sight to fit, and the area below the cut is just way to thin.... ....so trying to file out so much in that area, you can't help but to cut a little into the adjacent surface, which is so thin, it was a perfect stress riser that tapping in the sight resulting in it snapping right at that point... ....the next version that is being made now, is thicker below the sight and more attention paid to the geometry of the cut, so I should get a better result the 2nd time around...
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 · (Edited)
The barrel is fitted, but time to check headspace...
This round is looking rather proud....
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I measured the chamber length to end of the hood at .835" the spec is a Min of .898" (hood touches the breach face at the high spots, it looks like the hood is pressed up against the breech face, but shine a bright light underneath, you can see some coming through except for two high spots)

So I reamed the chamber, my first time ever doing this sorta of 'Smithing'....
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I reamed until I measured chamber length at .905", what I've read is the most popular headspace to set....
Now I've got a few thousands of below the hood....
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I fitted the barrel by hand with files, and it appears I got the hood shortening less than straight, its a bit on an angle...
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Sorry, I had to do a big job on my car all through the long weekend.

I did order the Cerakote though, I'm going with the latest Elite Series that claims to be the toughest coating yet, since the earlier version of Cerakote didn't do so well in military service with the M45A1. I don't know if the complaint about Cerakote for the M45A1 was because its not up to military service or Colt did something wrong in applying it. My Springfield XD-M has the slide Cerakoted, and granted it has not seen anywhere near the use as Military Service, the slide rails have yet to have the Cerakote rub off, nor a scratch or mark on the rest of the slide. There is no Desert Tan color for the Elite Series, so I'm going with FDE, and its a lighter shade than most FDE, I'm guessing it will be somewhere between the M45A1's desert tan and zinc brown ion bond coating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Cerakote order came in....
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These are the two primary colors for my two projects, I have different colors for secondary parts and one project I want to do stenciling, so I have H-Series Red, White and Black. E-series will not adhere to another coat of cerakote, whether that is E or H series. And even H-series you flash the previous coat 15 minutes of heat to partially cure it, before coating over it with a new color, then do a full curing after all the stenciling is done.

In the bottle in liquid form, the colors look a little darker than the final product does in photos, but that is often true of most paints and coatings. So expect the color to lighter when done. I'm confident it will between the Desert Tan and Zinc Brown that the M45A1 comes in at different times.
 

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What kind of oven do you intend to do your cerakoting with? I ask primarily to point out that I used H series graphite black and OD green for my last project and for the life of me I could not get the OD green to come out of the oven without some degree of brown something leeching out of the coating. And I picked through the process meticulously multiple times on the slide and frame to make them passable. Not perfect, or even necessarily good, but I ran out of both OD green paint and will power. The graphite black on the other hand was perfect, first run through.

I suspect it's due to the oven being gas, and not electric, which could potentially be causing an undesired chemical reaction during the cure. I'm still sorting out what I'll do with my current project, but I know parkerizing and bluing are out the window since the rail is stainless and everything else is carbon. Which basically leaves the option of Cerakote or Durakote. I still have some Socom Blue Cerakote, but I might have to get hold of an electric oven just big enough to fit a pistol frame in before I get squirrely enough to try again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Definitely electric oven, the only difference will I use a toaster oven, my regular oven of an old oven I haven't thrown away yet, that I could rig up in the basement to run.

I'm a bachelor, so my oven is rarely used. So I might get away with using the regular oven and burn out the toxins over time before I use it again. Toaster oven is no risk, throw it away and get a new one for $30, but it will just barely be big enough and there is a risk of smudging and screwing up trying to fit in and suspend things in the limited space as well as uneven heating and temperature control.

What you said has me thinking, whatever oven I use, I should do a thorough cleaning before hand. I suspect it might be less the gas oven causing a reaction with the Cerakote, both propane and natural gas are extremely clean burning, and more left over food residue, carbon from burnt residue and contaminates in the oven created fumes that reacted with the cerakote.

Did you outgas the parts before coating? I'd be more suspicious left over oils or degreaser hiding in the part that leached out with the heat and mixed with the cerakote causing the compromise in the color of the coating.
 

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True natural gas should be 'clean burning' if combustion is complete it just gives off carbon dioxide and steam. But if it's a dirty (incomplete) burn, which it may well be in that ancient oven, there will also be carbon and carbon monoxide.

I considered potential food residue and outgassing. It goes without saying they were bathed quite well in acetone - multiple times (at least once for each coating attempt). And by the time I was at the last bit of paint I had the slide and frame were baked really well at a low heat in an attempt to ensure they were properly gassed out. And I used foil on the racks to ensure nothing could drip down onto the suspended parts.

I suppose there could be some other contaminate in there and it wouldn't have hurt to degrease the oven itself. But about the only thing that gets baked in there is the occasional pizza. Nothing that really generates grease drips, and it's surprisingly clean aside from some ash that just kinda lives at the bottom.

I'm thinking if (when) I do it again I'll get hold of a toaster oven specifically for the purpose.
 
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