Monday, January 30, 2012

Cooking with CTone

I used to think I couldn't cook to save my life, but this weekend I discovered that I have some talent. In this case, I'm not talking about cooking food; I'm talking about cooking plastic!

Like a black hole, I've been pulling in all sorts of tools for a special project that I've been working on for about half a year, and while I was at it I picked up some tools for making kydex holsters. I successfully made three holsters this weekend, though I only have pictures of one. This is the second holster I made, this time for the P30 -- here is the inside piece of kydex sitting with it in the kydex press while the outside piece cooks in the oven:



The first holster was for a PM9, and the learning curve told me to block the ejection port and tape it with blue painter's tape. I tried to get a picture of the inside of the oven, but it came out kind of gross, so I deleted it. After the piece cooks for 8 - 10 minutes (270 degrees worked best for me), I slid the piece off the bottom of the flat cookie sheet and onto the press, quickly sat the gun on the pencil marks I made, and locked it down:



Here's what it looks like when it's done cooling, which takes around 10 more minutes:



I cut two pieces, leaving an ear on the front side to fold over for a "wedge" to tuck the grip for AIWB carry:



As you can see, there's plenty of definition from the molding. Too much, actually; you have to work the piece over carefully with a heat gun to fine tune it, because if you don't the gun will be stuck fast. It's easiest to mold each side by itself so you have time to possition the gun properly and get a good mold. The two halves are held together with rivets, and to do that you need rivetting dies which I used with an arbor press. I really should have taken pictures of that process, which I'll have to do with the next holster I make. Once the two halves are riveted together, I trim them to shape on a bandsaw and rough finish the edges with a belt grinder and a 120 belt, finishing up with a file and some hand sanding:



Not the greatest picture, I know. I took that one first thing this morning in my dark kitchen as the youngest Beast slept several feet away in the Swing of Peace. There's a bit more to it than acounted for in this post, but I assure you it's easy (except for belt clips; those are a PITA). You can make a kydex press with some lumber, a couple of cheap hinges, and a yoga mat, but this press wasn't too spendy, so I went that route. Basically, for the price of a decent kydex holster, I have all the tools I need to make as many holsters as I want. Cooking is fun!

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