Checkering Fixture

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by Integrity Arms, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Anyone who has gotten into even the hobby end of gunsmithing, realizes rather quickly how expensive tools, fixtures, and the mill itself can actually be. I found out right away as I kind of got put into this without having the plan to do so.. I had a buddy who wanted some custom work done to a few of his guns, and I had did a few things for him with the meager hand tools I had. So, he decided one day to go out an buy the previous mini mill I had and said if I did a few guns for him, then it was mine. So, in short I was hooked right away, did his guns and then jumped his butt cause it was costing me a fortune. I had multiple things to buy to even make the mill functional to start with, collets, vise etc..

    Anyway a forum member here who shall at the moment remain nameless jumped right in before I even knew him, and before I think either of us realized we were only a few hours apart geographically. Anyway he begin sending me mills, and various other tools and saved me an absolute fortune. So, fast forward to today and nothing has changed, other than I have been able to do a few small things to try and repay the favor, even though he has never asked for anything in return..

    So, just awhile back I mentioned needing a checkering fixture and I come up with an idea based on a frame holder I had here... Presented the idea, and bam about a month later I have a checkering fixture.. Anyone who has tried to buy one realizes quickly that there is only currently one on the market and it's around $800 or more. Now while I am sure it's a good one. I think mine is the best lol. Cause not only is it top of the line quality, the machining and building of this fixture is impeccable. Again some of you will know who built this and some will not. I ask that those who do, please don't mention any names. As I am sure he doesn't want to build 100 of these lol. However I would be more than happy to share particulars and then some will be able to figure it out based merely off the pics.. So, Just wanted to share this I will be using it as soon as I finish up a few other project..

    Oh, and it's not just a checkering fixture it has or will have multiple uses, and can and will be used for multiple different front strap treatments. Once I get a little practice with it that is.. I also purchased a mill long enough to true up the front strap and undercut the trigger guard.. I can't wait to put this baby to work.. Checkering jig 009.JPG
  2. bnaples

    bnaples Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2013
    Will be watching your progress. Would love to learn to do some of this.
    Steve Owens and WWB like this.

  3. FWoo45

    FWoo45 Well-Known Member

    Jan 13, 2017
    That sure is a nice fixture. I'm no professional but I work with steel for a living and can tell a quality jig when I see one.
    Steve Owens and ZoidMeister like this.
  4. Shocker2000

    Shocker2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 6, 2016
    Looks like you could square up the front strap with that jig as well. Interesting design. Congrats!
  5. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Well, looks like I will be ordering a couple 80% stealth frames for initial practice and set up.. I called them today and they are going to shoot me some pictures of some that may be as cheap as $50 ea.. Great deal for what I will need them for, I will be able to practice Vis cuts, rail cuts, front strap checkering the whole 9... Great wtg imho..
    DukeSoprano and FWoo45 like this.
  6. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Yes Sir I bought a cutter to do just that. I am a little concerned that I should of went with a 5/8 instead of a 1/2 inch but the price was nearly 2-1/2 the cost. If I go slow I should be able to use the 1/2 if not I will have to bite the bullet and pick up the 5/8 one. I'm sure the 1/2 will true the front strap, just don't know about it being rigid enough at that length to do the undercut as well. But, have a feeling I will be using it a lot. So the 5/8 is probably in the foreseeable future. ;)

    Having this on my machine already as well the set up is extremely easy for this, depth of cut, and the best tool to use will be the challenge.. Also maybe able to learn to do scallops and other designs so won't be limited to just checkering. Will be spending a lot of time with this fixture lmbo..
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    ronin11 and FWoo45 like this.
  7. switchback

    switchback Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2014
    Congratulations, Steve, the checkering fixture will make life (and your hands / fingers) so much better. Such a fine deal. Keep pushing forward!
    Steve Owens likes this.
  8. Babboonbobo

    Babboonbobo Avatar is back to my favorite things!

    Nov 18, 2014
    On its way back:)
    ronin11 and Steve Owens like this.
  9. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Yes I think this fixture is going to see a ton of use LOL getting all the numbers worked up to be ready to start practicing but I think it's going to be really easy to indicate this thing the way it's set up and once I have it set once it'll be really easy to repeat.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    FWoo45 likes this.
  10. A45GUNNER

    A45GUNNER Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2012
    It's all comin together Steve
  11. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Definitely ready for some practice now, finally a plan come together today and things happened quickly for a change. 8 practice frames. Frames 001.JPG Frames 002.JPG Frames 003.JPG
    Longbow, john_anch_ak, WWB and 3 others like this.
  12. Bender

    Bender Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Aug 15, 2011
  13. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Lots of practice ahead, Not only on spacing, but on using the proper tooling to get the best results, there sure is a lot to this stuff and a lot to learn. But, I am finding the kuhnhausen manuals a lot easier to navigate as of late.. So, that in itself has been a big plus. I wish they'd get this damn variance done so I can get the FFL app file.
    john_anch_ak and FWoo45 like this.
  14. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Many of you know I am a novice at this. I am learning a bunch pretty quick, but I have several obstacles to over come. I don't know tooling very well, don't know the measuring instruments very well, and I just go out of a very challenging mini mill. All of you also know how expensive this stuff can be, cutters, fixtures, parts, other tooling etc... Well my CC is really stacked on a zero percent offer and I haven't been able to buy any guns that I would of like to have the last several months.. I am getting down to the Nitty Gritty and I still have my FFL app fees, photos and some other things I have to cough up more money for.

    Long story short, for those that machine checker would you please share with me what tooling you use, or if you don't let me know what you think the best for cutting the horizontal and vertical cuts on the front straps and ms housings? I can't really afford to go out and buy any more tooling I can't use after I get it and try it you know. I need to get the right tools and be done with it. Thanks for any help you can give me.
  15. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Well phase one a huge success, I might have to go with a 5/8 ball end mill as I didn't appreciate the tool flex, but success on any level after all these months is like a breath of fresh air... Thanks to all who contributed and put up with me and helping me to work the bugs out. And the best part" it's a .406 Radius lol started at 1/2" and front strap is a bit thin, but these are practice frames so checkering will have to be 25lpi.. Checkering true front strap.jpg
    Longbow, azpoolguy and DukeSoprano like this.
  16. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Now to set up for the verticals, not to bad for 1st attempt.. A few small errors U can't make on a keeper, but this one is more of a functional test than an aesthetic one. 1117180254.jpg
  17. A45GUNNER

    A45GUNNER Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2012
    It's comin together Steve It looks like ya all got the bugs worked out of the fixture Let the line start formin!
    FredZ likes this.
  18. FredZ

    FredZ Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Aug 7, 2017
    Yep what gunner said.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Steve Owens likes this.
  19. azpoolguy

    azpoolguy Well-Known Member

    Jul 4, 2013
    I dont know how I missed this thread the first go around.

    Very nice fixture. I learned early on when I started to work on my own builds to just pony up the money for tools. It hurts when you compare the cost of tools to buying new pistols but the more you spend the easier it gets. ;)
    Steve Owens likes this.
  20. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Mike this fixture was a group effort on the part of Babboon Bobo, Myself, and Mike Mac.. I kind of come up with the idea for the design and those two "Tool and Die Makers" made the vision happen. With the limited availability as far as fixtures and the Keller being way too big for my machine, There were more obstacles to overcome then you could shake a stick at. I Build the outside part or the holding part of the fixture 3 days last week, been like 6 months in the making lol. But, I do need to buy a 5/8 end mill as the 1/2" little too much flex.. And a biggerr cutter for the grooves.. But, you are right. I got a boat load tied up in everything. Hand Checkering just wasn't for me lol.. But, I knew I wanted to be able to do it in the long haul.. So, basically this was a conglomerate effort lol.

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