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Thread: Making my own grips?

  1. #1

    Making my own grips?

    Ok all, slightly intoxicated, but I think I am thinking of this correctly...

    I want to replicate my Dye clear grip panels with a twist. I have had them for 10 years, they are yellowing and I would like to make a variant of them.

    I was thinking, If I made a mold, for just a simple suggestion to myself using plaster of paris, or wver it is... dries like ceramic. do you think i could successfully make a mold of the grips? Using a wax release and a product at a local shop (epoxy resin, I have made an entire bar top out of this, 30"x60'+ using 2 gallon kits and 5 gallon buckets, it had vendor pieces inlayed in 1/4" of resin and is in use today at a local bar... crystal clear, I know how to get it glass clear and mix etc...). I wanted to make a mold out of something durable, say something I could produce 20-30 sets (IF they turned out well and people had interest)

    Here is the twist, I want to inlay real carbon fiber in the grip, colored, original... whatever. I was thinking if I fill the mold 3/4 of the way and let it dry, I could cut out a piece of carbon fiber from a template and inlay it just short around the edges, then fill the last 1/4 of the mold and have the CF encased in the resin.

    I have never worked with CF before... will it soak up the resin uniformly? will it float in the resin? I had to inlay some pictures and coasters in the bar top i did, i had the luxury of being able to glue them down before hand but I wont with this .

    Any suggestions are welcome, Id like suggestions on a material to use for a mold (relatively cheap and avaiable to buy same day) and maybe a method or other material to use other than resin to accomplish a clear finish and have the ability to inlay colors or CF.

    Sorry for misspellings, Im a little toasty

    Also, Id most likely use a shallow tupperware for the mold, fill with whatever medium to make the mold, press the grips in, release the entire thing and have a nice block mold to work with...


    EDIT: I also know the resin will yellow after time, but in working with it before, I know that mixing it "hot" (more hardener than resin) it combats the yellowing quite well

  2. #2
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    Big Evil on here has done some grip panels in the past and may be able to give you some pointers. IIRC, RobertSr here has done some grip panel work as well. I know he does custom jewels, and for some reason thought he did panels as well. They may or may not give you pointers since they both sell the products they make so not sure if they want competitiion. From my understanding in speaking with Big E, the material he was using to make the molds for the panels cost an arm and a leg.

  3. #3
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    I have a bunch of experience with molds from both model making and reproducing grips for paintball guns....

    1) It's not that easy.

    2) Its expensive. The rubber for them molds is almost 3xs the price of the plastic.

    3) Any kind of clear plastic or resin needs to be degassed with a vacuum chamber. I have some of the clear material and I plan on making myself a DIY rig when the weather gets warmer and giving it another shot.

    4) The best bet for custom carbon fiber looking grips is to just send something to get hydro dipped. There are tons and tons of choices for colors and styles.

    5) Plaster is NOT the best material for making a mold from. It will shrink and crack.

    I think I covered it... but dont let me deter you

    "I'm not happy unless you're not happy"

  4. #4
    I'm not really deterred at all actually, it kind of makes me want to do it more.

    Hydrodip- I don't want the outside covered, I want depth to it, also this doesn't help if I want to make completely clear ones.

    I take it the product gets de gassed for bubbles? I know for a fact a hair dryer brings bubbles to the surface of resin and pops even the tiniest bubbles. Still, I will look into it but that's not what I'm worried about right now

    I know the plaster wasn't suitable. I just threw it out there because that's all that came to mind at the moment. I wasn't aware of many other products to use for molds... guess ill start looking around!

  5. #5
    So I've done some research and pretty much landed at Smoothon.com.... after looking at 30-40 different mold materials I ended up on Reoflex urethane for the mold. Its recommended for resin molding and isn't that expensive, $25 for a trial kit... don't think id need much more than that since the molds only have to be 2"x4"x1/2" or so...

    The only think I'm stuck on is there is different numbers (10,20,30 etc) does this refer to the hardness of the urethane? Or how pliable it would be? From what I understand and have googled is this particular line requires no release agent for resins.. which is nice

    Thanks all

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cokrkilr View Post
    So I've done some research and pretty much landed at Smoothon.com.... after looking at 30-40 different mold materials I ended up on Reoflex urethane for the mold. Its recommended for resin molding and isn't that expensive, $25 for a trial kit... don't think id need much more than that since the molds only have to be 2"x4"x1/2" or so...

    The only think I'm stuck on is there is different numbers (10,20,30 etc) does this refer to the hardness of the urethane? Or how pliable it would be? From what I understand and have googled is this particular line requires no release agent for resins.. which is nice

    Thanks all
    10,20,30 - look at the demold times. Usually its the only difference.

  7. #7
    All of the demold times show 16 hours. The only thing it shows is, "elongation at break" ( I have no idea what that is) it shows 20-40 @1000% then 50 and 60 are lower, but 50 and 60 have a longer pot life so I'm assuming that's why ( doesn't really matter to me as it will be mix and pour once)

    Also, in association to the numbers it says "shore A hardness" I'm assuming that's the pliability of the urethane... 60 being nearly solid?

  8. #8
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    can you do a small batch big enough to make one set of grips to see how it turns out and to answer some of your own questions?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by need4reebs View Post
    can you do a small batch big enough to make one set of grips to see how it turns out and to answer some of your own questions?
    As I see what you are getting at with trial and error here is my thinking... by the math if I can get the mold right the first time I can make two full mold castings (4 grip panel sides) with one $25 kit. Then with the same size resin kit I should be able to produce almost 10 full sets of grips. there are no smaller sizes than the "trial size", if im going to "trial" Id rather do it for real with a correct materials for a mold, flexible for getting pieces out etc... Thats what Im trying to know. The carbon fiber I think if its pre soaked will be no problem inlaying so Im not worried about that anymore, its more on the method of doing the mold at this point.

    Also In thinking about design more, I will probably use clay to make a grip panel that I can change the design/pattern on so I dont infringe on using dyes exact grip, it will just be the shape. Should be able to bake it then work it into my own creation using more clay/sanding/ tooling.

    evil, do you think the process of using baking clay as a medium to build grips would work? too fragile? I dont think pourous would be an issue since I can sand it/water down clay to fill pin holes or whatever


    Edit: I just read up on this "Shore A hardness" and it has at least given me enough info to go for the hardest one this company sells (60)... Around that hardness is the equivalent of ruber tread on shoe soles, should be plenty strong and pliable enough to pop out the dried resin
    Last edited by Cokrkilr; 02-15-2013 at 03:07 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cokrkilr View Post
    evil, do you think the process of using baking clay as a medium to build grips would work? too fragile? I dont think pourous would be an issue since I can sand it/water down clay to fill pin holes or whatever
    If you are asking if clay grips would work...way too fragile. They get bumped and they will chip and crack. Frankly just tightening down the screws will probably crack them. If you are asking about making a clay mold it will only be good for your first set of panels. If you leave the clay wet then removing the first set will destroy (warp) the mold getting the panels out. Fired clay will be hard and thus removing the panels will be *really* difficult. You want a mold that will be flexible but won't be destroyed the 1st time you use it. Rubber is your best bet.

  11. #11
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    I don't think that is what he meant. He want to make grips out of clay, then use those to make molds so he can make grips.

  12. #12
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    These are a few leftovers from years back when I was fooling around with molding.




    Your finished product will only be as good as the molds you make and your molds will only be as good as your original parts.
    I've used machined molds with a home made rubber injection system, which worked great and I also made many different molds from various materials from smooth-on.
    The plastic grips had about a 2 minute demold time, the rubber inserts were 16 hours (I believe) but I was doing 6 molds at a time so it was not a big deal to wait.
    The Emag panels with the circles were injected plastic into machined aluminum molds, and the others were poured plastic into rubber made molds.

    Personally I don't think clay would be a good medium to make grips from. You would be better off with wood or plastic unless you have access to a milling machine, if you do I would start with aluminum, your molds will turn out way nicer if you do.

  13. #13
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    As someone with a little bit of art background, I don't know if clay would be the best medium for making your grip that you will mold because clay shrinks as it dries.

  14. #14
    Thanks for the feedback everyone! I really only have access to basic garage tools... grinders, drills, dremels... you know...

    I had taken into consideration that the clay was going to shrink, I was thinking if I made.it about 10% larger out of clay and then baked it I.could see where I was at as far as size goes and sand/ shape from there. But if the consensus is it probably wont work I can try something else. I was a carpenter for 4 years and have chisels and all that fun stuff. I was just thinking clay would go much quicker as for the design process... oh well.

    If you ended up with that many extras then maybe I should just plan on doing this for myself. A nice little project with no demand... maybe put any extras I can make up for grabs. I'm going to try it though, I am probably buying the rubber tonight when I get off work. Just depends on how late I get out of here!

    Thanks again everybody!

  15. #15
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    Sounds like wood would be your best option, all you would need is a saw, drill, rasp and some sand paper. Just don't forget to seal/varnish the wood and give it a good sanding afterword.

  16. #16
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    Of course if carbon fibre is the look you're going for, you can buy it in sheet form and work it with a drill and sander/dremel more or less like a wood panel (although you'll want to make the long cuts with a hacksaw). Just be sure you're dealing with the dust it throws off 'cause that stuff is brutal. CF also uses up your abrasives pretty quickly. Over all though, a pair of these would probably cost a fair bit less than making plugs and then moulds and then castings- especially if you're not familiar with casting parts.

  17. #17
    The main thing I'm going for is having clear grips again my dye ones are yellow and they don't sell them anymore... just the crappy carbon fiber look alikes that really just look like a checkerboard.

    The cf would just be a fun thing to try, like with the colored weave stuff deep set in some 1/4" thick epoxy... mmmmm-hmmmm.

    I had also thought about buying carbon sheets in a couple different colors and seeing if you could accomplished a finish like a fancy laminate rifle stock?

  18. #18
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    That would probably be a job for micarta or g-10. If you're looking to diy you can even make your own micarta, and it doesn't puke out the brutal itchy cancer dust like g-10 or CF.

  19. #19
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    I googled "clear dye grips" and found a few places that seem to have some NOS and for only like $10. Try www.productionpb.com

  20. #20
    Thanks for the research OPBN, but Im looking to replicate these grips shown below. I have only found them in the extremely crappy finish of "checkerboard" (Dyes terrible version of carbon fiber using black and white)

    Heres what I want! But I will style my version a little different, I may try to incorporate the "wave" design of my Benchmark rail into the grip, tie it all together

    By the way, Luke, since I have your attention a little bit in this thread... Ive been kicking around an idea that would be SWEEEEEEET if you could do for a decent price... im going to pause right now and go to paint and include a terrible pic of what id like to mill.... some one off amazingness...


    Ok, grip first.


    Now, forgive my horrible mouse-manship, Luke, but you should get the idea


    Maybe make the radius around the back oval almost exact to the oval, to keep some meat in the rail around the valve area. Ive been thinking about this a lot recently... ever since I went to your damn site and saw all the bad butt rails, but I really like mine. and I think It would end up being awesome... with some hand sanding contouring back into the frame around the waves so there isnt a hard edge, it would just "flow", haha... let me know if its something youd take on. I have a pneumag kit coming in now so Ill have the marker apart for a bit while I fit it (realistically maybe a day, lol)
    Last edited by Cokrkilr; 02-16-2013 at 04:40 AM.

  21. #21
    You can buy a carbon fibre mold kit here:

    http://www.eastbaycomposites.com/

    I bought their carbon fibre only kit, to wrap existing grips with CF.
    I have done some other bits as well.


    Untitled by markwhensley, on Flickr




    Untitled by markwhensley, on Flickr

  22. #22
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    Odd, the ones I linked to seem to be pretty close to what you have and if you look closely actually have some sort of finger impressions that mimick the groovy frame simliar to what you are wanting to do. Slap some CF film on the back of them and you're there. No worries, just trying to help. Good luck.

  23. #23
    OPBN, the link you posted is for dye sticky grips, they are a wrap around .45 grip similar to a hogue grip for a regular ol' 1911. While they are a nice comfy grip, and I've owned a few sets in my day, its just not really what I'm going for.

    And when I was referring to the wavy milled pattern it was intended to be in the grip panel itself, not around the front like a wrap around style grip... to mimic the lines in my benchy rail

    For example, if I left the outside smooth section of the panel the same, then the area where the where the dye logo and little nubs are I still left recessed a little bit, but did 3 of the waves like ones in my rail in it.

    Hopefully that's a little more detailed as to what id like to do

  24. #24
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    My bad, didn't realize they were wraparound. www.paintballgateway.com has just the panels.

  25. #25
    OMG! have you ever been open mouth kissed by a man!!! How the heck did you find those!!!! I have seriously scoured tons of paintball websites and Googled a bunch of different terms and came back with nothing...

    Now its decision time, do a project or take the easy way out?

    Thanks OPBN, that's awesome man

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cokrkilr View Post
    OMG! have you ever been open mouth kissed by a man!!!
    That's a story for another thread.

    Just typed in "dye panels clear". PB Gateway has a lot of older stock. Glad to help.

  27. #27
    Seriously? I searched probably 10 different name combinations and all I ever came back with was the printed ones.

    Thanks again though!

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