So How’d that CNC 1911 Actually Work?

Jason managed to finish, after much frustration, the complete buildout based off his CNC milled M1911 receiver. It was unusual, in that he took a standard M1911 CAD model for an aluminum receiver, cleaved it in two, and then added screws so it could be easily bolted together after milling. By cleaving it in two, it allowed for easier machining. Today we decided to head out, despite the generally awful conditions, and give it a test fire. The results surprised me:

I should note that Jason was TCWing to keep his hand away from the ‘splody parts, should something go badly wrong. I couldn’t help making the joke in the video. I expected it to go bang, but I didn’t figure we’d empty the 50 round box of .45 without trouble, given how much frustration went into fitting it, and given that it was a cheap parts kit. Seriously, the magazine looked like it could have been manufactured near the Khyber Pass.

Jason brought his 7 year old daughter along, because good parenting should involve stoking your children’s curiosity about experimental home firearm building. Jason brought his .22LR AR-15 pistol along to keep the girl amused, and I do have to say she’s an excellent shot! I had never considered the utility of an AR-15 pistol for teaching kids, but it works a lot better than you might expect. It’s long enough that muzzle discipline is easy to enforce, like a rifle, but you don’t have the issue of badly sized stocks. She also seemed to do quite well with the EOtech sight.

But aside from that, while it wasn’t the most accurate 1911 I’ve ever fired, it certainly did well enough for a 1911 that cost a few hundred bucks. The project still isn’t totally complete, since he plans on attempting home anodization, which apparently involves a nice bath of acid, a high voltage power supply, and a wife who is remarkably tolerant about what you are doing in the kitchen.

11 thoughts on “So How’d that CNC 1911 Actually Work?”

  1. “Cost a few hundred bucks”? So Jason’s time is worth nothing??

    CAN I HIRE HIM????


    Yes, yes, I know the answer; but really when it’s a proof-of-concept/fun-thing-to-do/etc you really shouldn’t use the vocabulary of economic efficiency to describe it.

  2. Tip on the home anno… dont do it in a place with anything metal that you like.

    The hydrogen bubbles tend to cause a mist of acid that flash rusts everything around you. Dont do it in your workroom either.

    1. Thanks! I hadn’t thought of that. I guess I’ll have to wait until the weather gets nice enough that I can try it outside.

  3. Wouldn’t it be easier (and alot safer from the sound of it) to just cerokote the thing?

    Should last just about as long as anodizing if not longer and no deadly fumes to worry about…..

    1. I’m not sure about easier. It would be more expensive. I would need to media blast the parts and I don’t have the equipment for that. Though I wonder if treating the aluminum with alodine would be enough the get the cerakote to stick properly.

      When I made an aluminum AR-15 lower, I used alodine and then duracoat. The duracoat is starting to chip around some of the sharp edges. I don’t know if that’s a reflection of the quality of duracoat or if I somehow messed up when applying the duracoat or alodine.

      1. maybe etch the aluminum with dilute sodium hydroxide before the anodizing. creates pores so the anodizing is deeper, more nooks for coating to hide. i did my Grendel lower thataway

    2. Anodizing actually makes the surface MUCH harder than the base alloy. Anodize AND Cerokote — anodize for wear resistance, Cerokote for color.

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