Q: Titanium guide rod for pistol?

I have a couple of Kel-Tec pistols, P11 & P32. Both have polymer guide rods. Nothing wrong with them, but there's something about a "plastic nail" in a weapon. Kel-Tec offers a steel replacement, but I think I'd like to try it in titanium. These are feathrerweight pistols, so the Ti seems appropriate. Should be an easy lathe project, but I have never tried to machine titanium. So what do I need to know - carbide/hss? I'm sure MH will have SFM recommendations. Cutting lubricant?

Also, any metalurgical reasons not to use Ti? On the P32 it passes through polymer guide hole. On the P11 it's an aluminum guide hole.

Reply to
Rex B
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Some plastics have better lubricity and wear resistance than metals. Vespel polyimide handles higher speeds and temperatures than a bronze bearing, and it can survive temperatures that would ruin steel's temper and melt aluminum. So don't assume that just because it is plastic it is "lame".

Even if the part you are replacing is plain nylon, a metal part may damage other parts or have inferior performance in an aplication

Grade 2 titanium and other unalloyed titaniums are as easy to machine as 304 stainless steel. But they can also gall.

"Aircraft grade" 6AL-4V is probably the stuff you want. It is common and quite a bit harder and stronger. It can be cut with carbide or HSS, but your SFM is lower (I'd try 50 FPM) and your feed rate is relatively HIGH.

Titanium is pretty flexible compared to steel, requires a greater force to cut, and is a remarkable heat insulator. This leads to chatter and messed up tools. Use coolant, low RPM, a high feed rate and a shallow depth of cut and you'll have no problems. Some people use HSS for milling due to the lower cutter cost. For a lathe I'd use carbide.

Titanium is known for high strength, low weight, and a high melting point. It is not known for great abrasion resistance, and it does oxidize in some hot environments.

The project does sound reasonable to me - But I would scrutinize what the old part was doing and make sure TI is a good replacement

Reply to
Polymer Man

The guide rod is about 3" long, has a double recoil spring running the length of it. It's a straight rod with a head, just like a nail. Diameter is ~1/8, the head is about 1/4"

I don't shoot them much, and I field-strip and clean them every time. Assembling that plastic guide rod into a an otherwise well-machined metal assembly just doesn't seem "right". But they give no problems, and I'm not aware of any failures. The factory offers a steel pin, for no other reason than that people ask for them.

That's exactly what I was looking for, thanks.

Reply to
Rex B

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