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.


  1. $16.00 is way too much. The cost of FDM printing that part is less than $1.00. Is the price that high because of Shapeways or because of the royalties that you set?

    1. It is because of Shapeways. The part is cheap if you own the printer. Commercial 3D printing prices are based on volume and they are not cheap. I checked several sources and Shapeways was one of the cheapest. Even the tiny ones I printed by mistake cost about $1.50 each. Also, these aren't FDM parts, they are laser sintered which is a better (and more expensive) process.

  2. Well the cost per part is higher, but there are no set up costs.This series of tables is specifically designed for horizontal mounting only.