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  1. #1
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    Explosive Bond Composite Fusion

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    My dad and I ran across a custom 1911 builder who claims to have developed a new way to build gun frames. They are using explosive bonding to combine stainless steel with aluminum. So, they are combining a durable smooth slide with a light body. He says they have patents and are going public with this at SHOT show this week. My dad was convinced and put down a hefty down payment to get in on the first run of these. I've done web searches to find out if this is flim-flamery, but I guess since this is new, there is not a lot of information available. I'm curious if anyone here has knowledge that might aleve my skepticism?

  2. #2
    Member Gunners_Mate's Avatar
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    no idea. suppose we'll find out within the week. either way, however, I don't much see the big deal. many companies already use steel slides on aluminum frames, the weight saving's of somehow combining aluminum and steel in the slide is probably going to be largely negligible, not to mention has the con of creating a more snappish recoil anyway. however, being new and "exciting" I'm sure it'll sell for a pretty penny, for a little while at least

  3. #3
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    I make it a practice never to buy the "first" of anything.
    Usually, the bugs have been caught and ironed out by Version Two, so my practice is to buy Version Three.
    ...If the company lasts that long.

    Thermite welding has been around for at least 50 years, and was once standard engineering practice.
    The problem, therefore, would be not in the technique, but rather in the application of that technique.

    Packard, we need you here...

  4. #4
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    Bonding aluminum to steel is a tricky thing to do. It's usually performed through the use of a bi-metal strip of aluminum and steel that has been bonded together through explosion welding or some other method I don't recall (a friction of some sort I think). The steel and aluminum parts are then welded to the similar metals on either side of the strip.

    I'm of the same mind as Gunner's Mate on this one though. Not sure of any large advantage of an aluminum slide/frame with some bonded steel parts. I suppose if they could make large parts of the frame and slide in aluminum, and reduce the amount of steel significantly, they'd end up with a firearm that's measurably lighter though.

  5. #5
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    We were told that the bonding process happens at the molecular level and since everything but the slide is aluminum, the weight reduction is significant.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    All "bonding," except perhaps that of balsa-model-airplane cement and Scotch tape, occurs "at the molecular level."
    Statements like that are just hyperbole, not fact.

  7. #7
    Senior Member denner's Avatar
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    "Explosive Bond Composite Fusion", I don't see how this process would make the frame lighter, but would make the frame more durable? A combination of aluminum and steel as opposed to just aluminum? In any regards the process sounds radical.

  8. #8
    Member rgrundy's Avatar
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    I'm interested in seeing how this works out. I believe that this explosion welded material would become a battery if it comes into contact with an electrolyte so it may not do well if you sweat alot unless it has a coating. There is also the differences in thermal expansion qualities so it may warp. It's quite an engineering feat if it works. Just need to hide and watch. Like Steve said don't buy the first one unless you just love to experiment.

  9. #9
    Senior Member TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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    nothing new here, a quick google search and i found 10 companies already doing this.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedDeBearFrmHell View Post
    nothing new here, a quick google search and i found 10 companies already doing this.
    Yeah. Thought so:
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    ...Thermite welding has been around for at least 50 years, and was once standard engineering practice...
    Thanks, Ted.

  11. #11
    Senior Member TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Thanks, Ted.
    i had your back all the way

  12. #12
    Member hud35500's Avatar
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    Sounds like laminating wood to form rifle stocks, or Damascus steel. Both processes make a strong, rigid product, but doesn't reduce weight by much, if at all. Seriously expensive, I would think. I am curious to see it though.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Funny: "Damascus" steel is not really stronger than a homogeneous product.

    It had originally been invented to make wrought iron stronger and more flexible. But when bladesmiths realized that the real strength and flexibility came from the hammered-in addition of carbon (from the fire's charcoal) to the iron, patterned "Damascus" was relegated to decorative uses like low-pressure, fancy-looking shotgun barrels.
    Japanese bladesmiths also hammered carbon into their iron, but they knew more about what they were doing, chemically speaking. They would make blade edges of strong, high-carbon steel formed by micro-laminating wrought iron, and then enclose them in hammer-welded-on "sheaths" of low-carbon steel made in the same manner, finally etching the result to reveal the transition between the two differently-formulated metals.

    Carefully formulated, crucible-made steel is far, far superior to "Damascus" pseudo-steel. I believe that, nowadays, it's even better than Japanese blades.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the feedback. Since he thinks its probably not worth paying such a high price to get in on the ground floor of this technology, I think my dad has decided to get his deposit refunded.

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