Posted on

DRD® Holster Molds

WHAT IS A DRD HOLSTER MOLD?

Pretty fast, it became evident that to control the precision and features of our holsters, we’d need better control of the molds themselves.  We asked the question, “Is that even possible?  What would it take for us to control the entire process of holster making—from the molds all the way to the finished product?”

First, we tried polystyrene molds as documented in our Blog.  Next, we tried making our own master molds.  The molds we produced were beautiful, but had the same inherit problems of shrinkage and lack of control over added features and blocking.  We hadn’t solved anything.

Was there a way to make a mold from a real gun without risking damage to the real gun?  A way to hold onto the exact precision of a real gun?  A way to engineer the molds accurately and include feature details as part of that mold?  Could we find a repeatable, scientific process that would eliminate shrinkage and poor fit issues completely?

That question began an odyssey of discovery.  Turns out, there was a positive answer to that question—not an easy answer, but an answer.  The path is complex and requires unique skillsets from multiple and deep computer software capabilities to machinist acumen.  Is it worth the trouble?  We think so.  Our DRDTM molds produce elegant, precise holsters.  Simple design.  Outstanding execution.TM

Using cutting edge software, real guns are imported into 3D CAD software as exact replicas of the original.  Once imported into CAD, the replica is modified to accommodate draw, reholster, retention, sights, and detent operations.  That engineered 3D CAD model of the real gun is then CNC’ed to match the dimensional precision of the original gun.

Everything required to create a precise holster mold is defined during the 3D CAD process:

  1. The retention area is designed to maintain rigid, adjustable, and even distribution of tension.
  2. The trigger guard area is precisely modified for each individual gun to provide an audible and tactile ‘click’ when fully seated in the holster.
  3. Blocking is added to deliver snag free draw and reholster operations for the protruding and recessed surfaces on the gun.
  4. The mounting blocks for belt clips are designed into the mold.
  5. Every need of the final holster is CNC’ed into the mold so that nothing must be balanced on, taped to, or added to the surface of the mold during the Kydex forming operation.

Give our holsters a try.  You’ll like what you see. 

©EagleWorksHolsters®. All Rights Reserved

Simple Design.

Outstanding Execution.™

Posted on

CZ 75 Shadow Line Molds for Holster and Double Magazines

CZ-75-Shadow-Line-Second-half-of-Poly-Mold

CZ 75 Shadow Line
From Making a Mold to Making a Holster

In an earlier post, I shared what I’d learned from Red Feather Gear’s excellent videos on making a gun mold.  I ended up making a mold for the CZ 75 Shadow Line and for a double magazine carrier for that same gun.  In the slideshow, you can see polystyrene molds for both projects.  The poly is 0.08″, available on Amazon in 12″ x 12″ sheets.  The poly was heated to 350 degrees, and vacuum pressed. The resulting detail was excellent.  The products used for filling the poly molds is also covered in the first post.  The mold took two hours to harden enough to remove from the polystyrene; the magazine took a little longer.

After the CZ 75 Shadow Line mold had cured for twenty-four hours, I did some epoxy putty work to make it smoother to draw and reholster.  The holster is a straight drop.  I’ve had a chance to compete with both the gun and magazine holsters this week, and am happy with the results.  Both holsters work well.

©EagleWorksHolsters®. All Rights Reserved

Simple Design.

Outstanding Execution.™

Posted on

Molding a CZ 75 Shadow Line

Mold for Kydex Holster, CZ 75 Shadow
Mold for Kydex Holster, CZ 75 Shadow

Making a Mold for a CZ 75 Shadow Line

So what to do when there’s no mold gun available for your specific gun?  That’s the problem I had with my new  CZ 75 Shadow Line.  The only mold I could find was a replica blue gun, which was expensive, and would need lots of modifications to make it holster-mold ready.  So I  looked around YouTube for mold-making solutions.  First, thanks and thumbs up to Red Feather Gear. Great, clear videos on the subject of making mold guns–extremely helpful.

Sometimes, however, no matter how good the video instructions, you have to fail before you succeed.  The first mold attempt hemorrhaged epoxy like the devil taking a whiz, so bad, in fact, that the mold was a total loss.  There was no way to clean it up enough to use again.

For the second attempt, with the luxury of perfect 20/20 of hindsight, I made a few changes.  I won’t go into the details that Red Feather Gear has already covered well, only what I learned.   Wherever I mention a specific product, I’ve included a web link to the source.

  • I used 0.06″ polystyrene, available at Amazon.  The poly was heated to 350 degrees, confirmed with an infrared thermometer.  In the initial, failed mold, I had noticed that the detail was lacking.  The first poly had been heated to 320 degrees, again confirmed with an infrared thermometer.  The higher temp offered much better detail in the final mold.
  • The mold release agent, Smooth-On Universal Mold Release, was applied by spraying it on a small paint brush first, and then applying the silicone based release to the interior part of the mold with the small paint brush.  I was careful to keep the release off the edges that would have to be sealed.
  • With the release agent in place, I snapped the mold together, and then wiped down all exterior seams with alcohol.  If any release agent is in those seams, the hot glue will not seal the mold.
  • I applied two layers of hot glue around the seams, and once applied, popped the mold in the freezer for a few seconds to dissipate all the heat left in the glue.
  • I used foil tape, readily available at Home Depot, over the top of the hot glue.  I worked it into the seams gently, and when the foil tape split or tore, I placed another piece over it.  Two layers are better than one.
  • When cutting back to the center-line on the first half of the mold, I did a rough cut first and then used a 12″ disc sander to clean and flatten the edges back to the center-line.  When the second half of the mold was made, the prep on the first half made a much better fit that was easier to seal.

The epoxy used to fill the mold was from Reynolds Advanced Materials, in Tempe, Arizona.  Great folks, extremely knowledgeable and helpful.  Because the mold will need to withstand high Kydex temps, they recommended,  Smooth-On EpoxAcast 670 HT.  Its more challenging to mix, not one to one, and will require a scale that measures in grams.  The ratio on this product is 100A:16B.

The second mold was perfect–great detail, no leaks.  I let the epoxy cure for two hours before removing the polystyrene mold.  While removing the mold, one half of the polystyrene shattered and will not be usable for a second mold.  I used this method, however, because I only needed a single mold of the gun.  If I was in the mold-making business, I’d have made a rubber-mold that could have been used over and over.  Red Feather Gear also has videos on that process.  The CZ 75 Shadow Line took about 10 ounces of material by volume.  One kit of the EpoxAcast 670 HT was a little less than fifty bucks, and should be able to mold three to four guns, depending on the size of the gun.

So today I’m going to mold a double magazine carrier for the CZ 75 Shadow Line.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

©EagleWorksHolsters®. All Rights Reserved

Simple Design.

Outstanding Execution.™