Very cool stuff! Love the behind the scenes look at everything!
if you don’t mind me asking what is your background with the 1911? How did you get your start? Is your story posted anywhere? Thanks!
Sure I can give you the short version of how I got to this point in my life, and building 1911's. My story is nothing too exiting or interesting, but for those that are curious here goes:
I was always interested in mechanical things when I was growing up, often taking things apart to see how they worked. This lead me to go to school for engineering, and I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont in 2011. In school I was more interested in 3D CAD modeling and hands on mechanics than the many advanced math courses that are required curriculum. During my senior year at college I was able to spend a little time in the school machine shop. This is where my interest in metal work/machining was born. After college I went to work as a process engineer. I didn't like that the work was mostly paper pushing, and I wanted to do something more hands on. In 2014 I started Fair Haven Machine inc. in the corner of my fathers sheet metal shop. I had purchased a few small machines and did general machine work for local companies, basically whatever came in the door. I eventually moved to a larger shop in the next town over. At that time I did most of my work on a Bridgeport milling machine and small manual lathe, although I did have a CNC "Tree" mill that wasn't very useful because it didn't have a tool changer or enclosure. I don't have that machine anymore, but I have great memories of running some steel production jobs on it with a 3" face mill and it would literally throw hot razor sharp chips all over the floor, it really made a huge mess!
I eventually was able to purchase a used Vertical Machining Center with an enclosure, flood coolant and an automatic tool changer. Now with a machine like that you can do some serious work, if you are able to do the CNC programming. I was able to learn CNC programming, and became very good at it. I bought a used CNC turning center, and it was so useful that I bought another brand new one wich had live tooling on the turret. I was able to hire a few employees and eventually we got into Aerospace machining work. We made all kinds of parts for all the big companies; SpaceX, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Blue Origin, NASA etc. I loved the work, but all the red tape in producing Aerospace parts is a nightmare. There are literally piles of paperwork involved with each job that you do, and the requirements involved in AS9100 Certification are just crazy. I wanted to come up with a product that we could produce with our equipment, using the tolerances and techniques that I developed for Aerospace machining.
I have been around firearms all my life, grew up shooting and hunting here in the Green Mountain state so I was naturally interested in guns. I've always been a hand gun guy, owning and carrying many different kinds of pistols over the years, but one design stood out as my clear favorite: the 1911
. It was the way the gun fit my hand, the angle of the grip, the wonderful trigger, the pleasant "click" as you disengage the thumb safety. I owned several 1911's over the years and worked on them myself completing trigger jobs, changing safeties etc. So naturally, I looked at the different parts of the gun from a machining stand point, and I started to produce slides and frames from forgings. I was not interested in competing in the "production" 1911 market. I wanted to build 1911's with all forged and bar stock parts, no cast or MIM. I was unhappy with the slide to frame and barrel fitting on "production" 1911's and I knew I could do better. That's why we machine our frame rails oversize for final hand fitting to the slide and we fit Kart barrels.
I am now out of the Aerospace machining business, and I am focusing all of my efforts into producing the quality 1911's that I have always wanted for myself.