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Totenkopf (Mechanical) (OP)
21 May 08 2:02
I have been trying to find out what the Glock and other polymer pistol frames are made of. A few places have said that the Glocks frame is made of "polymer 2" but what exactly is that?
Helpful Member!  Demon3 (Materials)
21 May 08 12:20
My best guess is glass fiber filled nylon. POM would be second guess. I found no Google hits stating it so I can only guess.

If you shave off a small piece and burn it and it smells like burning hair then it's nylon.

If you do a TGA and measure the weight% of ash you will get the amount of filler because the polymer burns leaving the fillers.

There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted.
- James Branch Cabell

mcgyvr (Mechanical)
21 May 08 12:43
Some are made from Zytel Nylon (Smith and Wesson)
Helpful Member!  CoryPad (Materials)
21 May 08 16:04
Glock does not publish the material, claiming that it is a trade secret.  There is anecdotal evidence that it is DuPont Zytel brand glass-reinforced polyamide 66.  Glock competitors Smith and Wesson and Springfield state that they use Zytel, which is useful comparison data.



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Pud (Mechanical)
21 May 08 19:00

If I were specifying a material for such I would be looking at stuff like Grivory, made by EMS Chemie - partially aromatic nylon, Ixef by Solvay a polyarylamide, or similar stuff. Mainly because (IMHO), customer service is better (in the UK)

Zytel by DuPont is an industry standard nylon sold at a premium price (IMO). Many others sell equivalent materials...


Helpful Member!  patprimmer (Publican)
21 May 08 23:40
DuPont certainly demand a brand name premium unless the usage is very very high.

Zytel is one of many first class nylon compounds.

For firearms chassis, I think heavily glass filled nylons are the obvious choice.

The more glass the less the difference between various nylon types, but 6 is easiest to mould and aromatic nylons like Grivory and Reny normally have the best overall performance.

PET and acetal also have a fairly similar balance of properties to nylons, but each has it's own special features that may suit some parts.

Long glass fibre has somewhat better overall properties than  normal glass fibre. You can verify fibre length by dissolving the nylon in strong acid then looking at the fibre under a microscope.


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Totenkopf (Mechanical) (OP)
23 May 08 18:31
Thanks for all the replys , they have been a big help.

Are there any sources explaining how to make molds/work with these kinds of polymers?
patprimmer (Publican)
23 May 08 18:51
The design and manufacture of injection moulds is a highly technical trade or degree. Instructions are way beyond the scope of this forum.

The tooling for a hand gun chassis will be complex and if you don't already have substantial skills, you need to employ a toolmaker. The cost of the tool will be many thousands of dollars, probably several tens of thousands.

The tool will need to withstand hydraulic pressure from the plastic of up to 20,000 psi. It will need to be hardened tool steel to resist wear from the hot glass filled nylon.

You will need to predict shrinkage and tendencies to warp. The significant differential in the shrinkage of glass filled nylon for the across the flow and along the flow directions will take some skill, data and experience to predict.


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Totenkopf (Mechanical) (OP)
23 May 08 20:48
Thanks patprimmer. I know there was a guy in South Africa making polymer frames for Browning Hi-Powers in a one man shop ( here is a link with some pics if you're interested ). I don't know what tools he is useing or have his contact info or I would ask him. I did find this place however they will do rapid prototypeing for small runs of parts (50 pieces and up) for around five grand. They use Liquid Resin Casting for the small runs. Would Liquid Resin Casting work for something like a pistol frame? Or should I just machine what I want from a block of aluminium and hard anodize it?
patprimmer (Publican)
23 May 08 21:07
If you are doing small runs, you should use hand laid fibreglass, like boats and surfboards, however I really doubt that is how Glock do it.

As they make thousands of parts, they will tool up for mass production and the tooling costs will be absorbed over thousands of parts.

It seems you are a cottage industry and not working on a real commercial project. It also seems you have little knowledge of engineering and I fear you might get dangerously over your head. Poorly engineered firearms firearms are as much danger to the person firing them as they are to anyone in front of them. They are a precision made highly engineered piece of equipment.


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Totenkopf (Mechanical) (OP)
23 May 08 22:22
Thanks pat. I have made pistols and rifles before. I have also milled frames from blocks of aluminium and they have all work great, and I have put more rounds then I can count through them. So I know I can do it that way. It just takes so long and they're so many machineing operations that I was looking for an easier and for this particular pistol more unique way to do it.

 Your right, I don't know anything about working with polymers, thats why I am trying to get a little info( my area is metal, if someone want's to know the best steel for a knife used in a specific application, what S90V is, or the differnce between damasteel and damascus then no prob). If I wanted to start a small company suppling speciality frames then injection moulding would definitely be the way to go. But I already own one company (no it has nothing to do with fierarms) and that keeps me busy enough. So in your last post I guess you're saying that Liquid Resin Casting won't work for a part like this?
Totenkopf (Mechanical) (OP)
23 May 08 22:46
You saying something about fiberglass got me thinking. Fiberglass wont work for this but carbon-fiber would.

I don't know much about making carbon-fiber either. The only things I have used it for is making knife handels and gun grips, but I am sure it will work for what I want. If I make the rails from aluminium or steel and lay the carbon-fiber to it, I should be able to make what I need. It would be light enough and more unique then polymer. Thanks patprimmer I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.

I am almost sure I am gonna go with carbon-fiber now, way cheaper and I can control the results. But curiosity is still gonna make me ask would Liquid Resin Casting work or not.
patprimmer (Publican)
23 May 08 23:18
You need the glass fibre for strength. The materials used by Glock are most likely 40 to 50% glass.

Fibreglass will work as it is stronger than injection moulding compounds. Carbon fibre is stronger in many regards but is expensive and has very little elongation at break so it can behave in a brittle manner. A lot depends on design, fibre orientation, fibre vs resin ratio, the resin used and how well it is cured.

Carbon fibre is a lot better looking and machines a lot easier.


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plasgears (Mechanical)
24 May 08 12:29
To support wear durability you may want to compound with a lubricant like teflon. There is lively debate about the benefits of molded-in lubes, but this may warrant development testing. The reinforcement is basically abrasive, and a lube way counteract it.
unclesyd (Materials)
24 May 08 13:35
Several of the advertising sites for different accessories have the same information about the frame being made from GF Zytel.
Look at the specifications.

Whatever material you choose you might want to talk to the gentleman at Mold Essence about your molding.

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