Wednesday, February 13, 2013

High Standard Thumb Saver

High Standard Thumb Saver

About a month ago I made a magazine catch for my High Standard Supermatic Trophy pistol by hand.  It worked well enough that I thought other High Standard owners might be interested in it.  So I decided to look into having my Thumb Saver mass produced.

I drew up a CAD model and submitted it to a plastics manufacturer to see about having the part injection molded.  While the cost per part was very low, the set up costs for making the dies was prohibitive.  I didn't think I could sell enough to ever recoup my expenses.  Plan B was to have the part 3D printed.  The cost per part is higher, but there are no set up costs.

So, I optimized the CAD model for 3D printing and ordered a sample.  I redesigned the part a few times to increase strength and minimize volume.  A few tweaks and a few samples later, I had what I was looking for.

Too small!

Note to self: check measurements carefully.  My CAD file was in centimeters.  The printing service defaulted to millimeters.  The first prototypes were just a little too small.

too weak

I had to find the right printing process with the right material.  Some plastics are too weak for anything beyond a prototype.

Too thin.

The next version was better but I felt a few areas were too thin.  So I beefed them up for greater strength.  I also removed material where it wasn't needed.

just right

rear view

The final part is printed in nylon; strong but flexible.  I think it should provide years of reliable service.  I use it  every time I shoot; it makes loading so much easier and faster.  This one is designed for the military grip models.  If there is enough interest, I may make one for the slant grip models as well.  If you would like one for your High Standard, the Thumb Saver can be ordered here.