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I have searched here and Google and not really finding what I'm looking for. I have a nice 1911 that I want to make a display case for. I want to hold the gun in an inlay lined with felt and also have a magazine with it. What is the best way to get the right dimensions for the inlay? I'm sure there is an easy way to get it just right without trial and error but being new to this I'm probably over thinking it! I started to do a trace of a bitmap photo but the dimensions seemed to be off as I was cleaning up the fine details I won't be needing.
 

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A digital drawing pad would allow you to trace the outline wouldn't it? You'd have to tell your cut file how deep.
 
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Seems to me that you could lay the pistol and magazine out as you want them to show, then carefully trace around each. This could then be transferred using carbon paper to a thick piece of the same material with which you make the overall box. Double or triple check for size and accuray of the outline. Then trim it with a plunge router, just oversized enough to allow for the felt. Drop this into your finished box and you have a nice display.

You could using flocking for the lining, or felt. I would also consider drilling at least two holes on each side of the grip so you can get it out of the case without having to grab the trigger to lift it out.
 

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Here is how I have done a handful of foam cutouts for cases.

I made a template using Fusion360. The template has parameters for length and height of the slide, overall length and height, grip angle, etc. That covers the basics for most autos. Things like the trigger guard and any unique profile of the grip, etc have to be added as appropriate, and with however much detail you want. I will say I arrived at this method after several attempts trying to capture every last detail of the shape. In the end less turned out to be more. On odd shaped protrusions like some sights or hammer, I tend to just cut a relief oversized rather than match it exactly.

So far all the pieces I've done were from the typical black or grey foam that comes with many cases. I have also done some tests in more rigid EVA foam. The EVA machines very nicely, and may be something that would work well for what you're trying to do.

Here's a screen shot of the template I made in Fusion. I will find some pics of the finished pieces also.


Brian
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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That's one of the most powerful features of Fusion 360, like Brian said. The ability to have one model and just modify the parameters means you can fit just about anything without redrawing. I'd love to see some pictures of the finished cases, too, Brian.

David
 

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Mike
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I have searched here and Google and not really finding what I'm looking for. I have a nice 1911 that I want to make a display case for. I want to hold the gun in an inlay lined with felt and also have a magazine with it. What is the best way to get the right dimensions for the inlay? I'm sure there is an easy way to get it just right without trial and error but being new to this I'm probably over thinking it! I started to do a trace of a bitmap photo but the dimensions seemed to be off as I was cleaning up the fine details I won't be needing.
It is best not to use pictures off the web to fit measurements to or fit vectors to. The problem, these pictures might be taken at a slight angle so your vectors could be off enough then parts might not fit.

Best thing is if you can find vector files from a manufacturer or from someone that has already created a file. Next best way is to have the actual item and take measurements from there.

This is just for items that need to fit with other items well. If the project is something like a sign to take up space on a wall then less than perfect pictures will work just fine.
 
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Seems to me that you could lay the pistol and magazine out as you want them to show, then carefully trace around each.
Yes, that worked nicely when I did it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the replies and the PM!
It looks like I was really over thinking how to do this. Now I have plenty of options. I'll probably do a few display cases now if it is this easy! LOL I guess this is definitely part of the learning curve with this machine and the capabilities of the software.
 

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It is best not to use pictures off the web to fit measurements to or fit vectors to. The problem, these pictures might be taken at a slight angle so your vectors could be off enough then parts might not fit.

This! is exactly what I ran into when trying to use images, even ones I took. Even an image taken square and centered has some parallax error.


Another thing I didn't mention, but you should do. Before cutting the pocket into your actual material, get some foam board from the dollar store to use as test patterns You can make several cuts on a single sheet to work out any issues with your template, and make adjustments to adjust how tight or loose fitting the result will be, before cutting the actual material you want to use

Brian
 

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Here's some tests using EVA. This cuts very clean. Probably more firm than one would want to use for a transport case, but I think it would work great for a display case. Maybe some allowance needed for whatever lining you use. You can see even at half depth the mag will stay in the pocket when turned upside down.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Those look really nice and functional, Brian. Good job!

Ok, some questions - what foam is the black and where did you get it? Same with the EVA, where did you get it? What feeds and speeds and bits did you use to cut these? I have a couple of projects where I need to do basically the same thing but haven't started looking yet for supplies.

David
 

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The black foam came from some packaging for a computer, but it is similar to the typical foam that comes in many hard cases for guns or other equipment. I believe it is a polyurethane type. The EVA is a yoga block:smile:

I would have to look at what I used for feeds. Tool was a 1/4" 2 flute low helix upcut. I don't know that that is best, its just the only 1/4" end mill I had at the time. Climb cutting left a rougher surface in test cuts, these were cut conventionally.

Material was held down using double face tape.


Brian
 
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