My E-mail to Kimber and their reply Regarding the MIM parts in my TLE II


PDA






Master Blaster
June 23, 2004, 03:00 PM
Greetings,
Three months ago I bought a new TLE II.
I am considering carrying it on a daily basis as my CCW defense gun.
There is one problem though. I have read about and seen pictures of two of the mim parts in my Kimber that have broken unexpectedly on other people.

Those parts are the firing pin safety, and the slide stop.
I find it hard to trust an MIM part in a high stress application such as this especially when it could cost me my life should the gun refuse to function when I need it most.

How frequently do these parts break, is there some defect in them that causes this to happen? Are there any non mim parts that I can use to replace these parts???

I am really disappointed that after I spend $800 on a handgun that I may not be able to rely on it due to cost cutting measures such as using cheap mim parts where machine barstock would be a more reliable solution.

I look forward to a prompt response.
Sincerely,



Andrew R. Cohen M.B.A.

Their Reply to Me:

From: Devin Antonovich [DAntonovich@kimberamerica.com]

METAL INJECTION MOLDING : MIM


MIM: A process in which powdered chrome moly steel is mixed with a polymer carrier, placed into an oversized mold, and sintered. The part shrinks to size in the process, then heat-treated.

The result is intricate parts which are:

- extremely accurate

- more dense than investment cast parts

- 98% of the strength of a forged part

Many of the important internal parts on a Kimber are MIM parts:

Slide Stop

Thumb safety

Grip safety

Disconnector

Sear

Hammer

Strut

Magazine catch


Note: The ONLY Polymer part on the Kimber is the mainspring housing.


Springs: Wolff

Very Informative and responsive to my concerns EH????

If you enjoyed reading about "My E-mail to Kimber and their reply Regarding the MIM parts in my TLE II" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
meathammer
June 23, 2004, 03:35 PM
Wow! Nice to see they addressed your question. :rolleyes:

They could at least admit that failures do/can occur. Maybe give you some kind of solution or say they are looking into the problem.

krept
June 23, 2004, 03:46 PM
they just told you what to replace, right? :D

seriously, I DOUBT they'll ever issue a "yeah, we screwed up" statement or even an "upgrade" as other situations have been called.

btw, I wonder what some of the unimportant parts are?
cheers

Majic
June 23, 2004, 03:49 PM
There is nothing wrong with the process. It's used quite frequently in many manufactoring applications. The problem comes from lack of quality. Like anything else if the attention is not paid to detail then any machanical device can break.
As the MIM parts is all that Kimber uses now you should expect them to fully stand behind it. To not do so would open the door for lawsuits against them. Just go to the aftermarket for forged steel parts to swap out to get your peace of mind. Just remember any part can break be it forged or cast and considering the number of units Kimber puts out you may never have a problem with your MIM parts.

McNutt
June 23, 2004, 04:01 PM
Is their claim of "98% of the strength of a forged part" incorrect? If it's true then I don't think it should be an issue.

Kruzr
June 23, 2004, 04:17 PM
Is their claim of "98% of the strength of a forged part" incorrect? If it's true then I don't think it should be an issue.

It's correct and when they are, it isn't an issue. Some get by that aren't as strong. From what I've seen, they either break early in life or not at all.

MIM Tutorial (all you want to know) (http://www.megamet.com/tutf.htm)

R.H. Lee
June 23, 2004, 04:23 PM
OK. I have a stupid question. What is the functional difference between Colt, Kimber and Springfield, if they all are production pistols with MIM parts? Why are Colt and Kimber so much more expensive?

7.62FullMetalJacket
June 23, 2004, 04:24 PM
You tell them that you have a concern about 2 MIM parts and they list 6 more for you to worry about. :rolleyes:

Grump
June 23, 2004, 04:40 PM
The vast majority of the time, I consider a 2% difference negligible.
- more dense than investment cast parts
That tells me nothing about its strength compared to investment cast parts. Anyone know this?

With what little I know about manufacturing, it seems that the modes of defect/failure o*should* be known and quantifiable..."our precesses result in unservicably defective parts 0.3% of the time", for example. That would also mean that they *should* know how to detect those defects.

So, what I wanna know is: how can the defective parts be detected, and does Kimber do that? Seems like a little x-ray inspection could find internal voids or similar problems that lead to the few spectacular failures we've seen photographed. Kimber needs to let us know why we should trust them to have ALL their MIM parts performing at 98% of the strength of forged parts.

Correia
June 23, 2004, 05:02 PM
Accountant hat on. Some of you guys have never worked in a mass production manufacturing facility have you? :D

Kimber went with MIM to save money. If they need to X-ray or magnaflux every single part to make sure that it is perfect, that defeats the purpose of going to MIM to save money to begin with. Machine inspections take time and trained operators both of which equal money.

I'm willing to bet they do spot tests, and they probably have some sort of manufacturing engineering quality testers in place, but very rarely does a company have sufficient mark up on a product that every single part can be checked. Some companies do stuff like that, but their products ain't going to be cheap.

They aren't going to tell you what their failure rate is. Every manufactured part in the world has a failure rate of some kind, and I'm willing to bet that if you contacted the manufacturers in those industries they wouldn't tell you what their rate of returns was either. Can you imagine? In whatever profession you were in, how would you respond if a customer contacted you and asked how often you screwed up, and when you answer most of the time you don't screw up, how would you feel when that customer got angry at you? :)

Plus if you are brand Y, and you flat out admit that 3% of your parts are going to break, brand X (your competitor) is going to flog you in the market with that. Brand Y breaks 3% of the time! Even if brand X breaks 7% of the time, they sure as heck ain't going to admit it in public, and now they are outselling you.

I've seen two MIM parts break in the last three years. Both were thumb safeties on brand new guns in IDPA matches. In that same time I've seen an expensive, top of the line brand new bar stock extractor break as well. Any type of manufactured part can break. If you are really worried about it, the customer service guy gave you a list of parts to replace.

R.H. Lee
June 23, 2004, 05:21 PM
Accountant hat on. Some of you guys have never worked in a mass production manufacturing facility have you?

Any savvy entrepeneur would cut back on the bean counters-they're overhead and don't produce a nickel of revenue :neener:

cerberus
June 23, 2004, 05:36 PM
I have three new Kimbers a Custom TLE II Tac Pro II and Ultra Carry II they all have Kimber supplied MIM parts. And so far after about 2700 rounds of 230 gr. Blazer Ammo. all parts are holding up great. If I have any failures I will post them for all to see.

Correia
June 23, 2004, 06:18 PM
Riley, I work for saavy entrepeneurs. Sadly none of them can balance a checkbook to save their lives. :p

Monkeyleg
June 23, 2004, 06:42 PM
I've posted on this subject before, but will do so again, this time with a question at the end.

I have three Kimbers. One is six years old, has nearly 20,000 rounds through it, and no part has ever broken. The other is five years old, has thousands of rounds through it, and never had a part break until I dropped it and broke the safety (among other things). The new thumb safety broke almost immediately, and I could see the air cavity. The third pistol is eight months old, and doesn't have enough rounds through it to even mention.

From reading other posts on this subject, it would seem that the primary failure of MIM parts is due to air pockets. It would seem to me that this failure would happen sooner rather than later, as it's not so much an issue of the part not being durable, but rather the part having a pronounced defect.

So, the question: is this a correct assumption?

Daniel T
June 23, 2004, 07:26 PM
What is the functional difference between Colt, Kimber and Springfield, if they all are production pistols with MIM parts?

I didn't think that Colt used MIM parts.

Blueduck
June 23, 2004, 07:38 PM
As for the e-mail if you had not figured it out, many companies now use computer programs that try to "guess" your question based on words or phrases then send out a "standard form" e-mail to answer the question they assume you were asking. Sounds like this is what Kimber is using-next step up from voice mail I guess..

More you think about above concept more it sounds like something from a British sitcom:mad:

cerberus
June 23, 2004, 08:54 PM
I think it's like GM Ford and Chylsler you have no real chance of geting real answers to your quality questions. The only chance left at Kimber is with the Custom Shop and Denise the shop manager. Sending e-mail to their marketing Dept. is time just wasted.

WonderNine
June 23, 2004, 09:50 PM
I didn't think that Colt used MIM parts.

Colt switched to using a few MIM parts a few years ago. Recently, I believe they stopped using the MIM extractors because of all of the breakage problems they were having. They also use a MIM sear (but the hammer is not MIM) and I believe a MIM magazine release. There's a couple other parts that are MIM that I can't think of right now. I believe the grip safety is cast. The frame and slide are forged. There's a list of MIM parts that Colt uses on 1911 forums.

If forged parts are not any better why do you almost never hear about broken parts on old BHP's.

mete
June 23, 2004, 09:50 PM
Let me put on my metallurgists hat on. Denser than investment casting ? --That's BS. ...98% of the strength of forging ? -- depends on how it's made....To repeat my previous comments on the subject - there are many variables in the MIM process; what alloy is used, how it is heat treated ,how the part is designed ,etc. If everything is done properly ,MIM parts will do the job well.

JohnBT
June 23, 2004, 09:55 PM
"So, the question: is this a correct assumption?"

It seems like all the posts I've seen on the subject over the past 5 years were about new guns with less than a thousand or so rounds through them.

I cannot recall ever seeing a thread about old Kimbers breaking. I bought mine in 1999 and have fired more than 10k rounds. I have replaced some parts, but only because I bought a how-to book. :)

Everytime a MIM thread breaks out I wonder why we've had gunsmiths for hundreds of years if those old forged steel guns never broke.

John

Old Fuff
June 23, 2004, 09:57 PM
First of all, it is generally agreed that MIM parts are being used for the principal purpose of saving the manufacturer money, not to make a better product.

Then Kimber says: "MIM: A process in which POWDERED CHROME MOLY STEEL IS MIXED WITH A POLYMER (plastic) CARRIER, placed into an oversized mold, and sintered. The part shrinks to size in the process, then (is) heat-treated.”

Now if you guys want to stake your necks on a combination of powdered metal and plastic that's your business. It is quite possible they work, and work well over the long run.

It is also possible that for various reasons, not the least being a lack of comprehensive quality control, and a propensity to pick the sub-contractor with the lowest bid, that they will break - usually at the most inopportune time.

As for myself, I use guns that are “pre-powdered metal,” and sleep well at night knowing that when mine were built the number crunchers and bean counters weren't in charge.

I may change my mind, but not until the rest of you risk your lives for a long time finding out if I'm right or wrong.

wintermute76
June 23, 2004, 10:53 PM
Kimber went with the lowest (lower at least) bidder on their tooling and it does show. They don't make all bad parts, but enough that it gets noticed.

How many MIM failures have been seen in Smith and Wessons? I know that Smith has some MIM revolver hammers, triggers and some 2" .38 barrels. Also their new SW1911 has MIM slide stop and ejector at least.

Better tooling, better parts.

MIM is a good process, I"ve heard the same 98-99% density and negligible reduction in strength. Cast parts are anywhere from 60% to 80% dense.

Zircon
June 23, 2004, 11:50 PM
Monkeyleg
Senior Member

Registered: Dec 2002
Location:
Posts: 1651

I've posted on this subject before, but will do so again, this time with a question at the end.

I have three Kimbers. One is six years old, has nearly 20,000 rounds through it, and no part has ever broken. The other is five years old, has thousands of rounds through it, and never had a part break until I dropped it and broke the safety (among other things). The new thumb safety broke almost immediately, and I could see the air cavity. The third pistol is eight months old, and doesn't have enough rounds through it to even mention.

From reading other posts on this subject, it would seem that the primary failure of MIM parts is due to air pockets. It would seem to me that this failure would happen sooner rather than later, as it's not so much an issue of the part not being durable, but rather the part having a pronounced defect.

So, the question: is this a correct assumption?


__________________
Dick


The flaws in MIM are typically small voids (air pockets, if you will.) The longevity of the part depends on the size of the flaw. If the voids are very small they will do no practical harm during the lifetime of the part. The larger the voids are, the more deleterious. If they are very large, such that the crossectional area is compromised, then the part can fail the first time it is loaded, because there is insufficient "meat" to carry that load. As the voids get smaller the crossectional area increases to theoretical, however, the voids can serve as nucleating sites for subsequent cracks. With repeated loading the cracks grow out of the voids, and progress across the part. This failure mechanism (under repeated loading) is known as fatigue.

The plastic carrier is only used to keep the metal powder in an arrangement which is the shape of the final part. It is removed during the early part of the heating or sintering process, known as the debinding step. As the metal powder densifies under the heat of sintering the voids are minimized in number density and in size, but they are never eliminated. For all practical purposes, however, if the voids are very small, they will not serve as fatigue crack initiators. This is where proper process controls are required. Controls such as powder size and shape, amount of binder, debinding, sintering temperature and time, sintering atmoshpere controls, etc.

The easiest attribute is to just measure the density of the part. If it meets a certain requirement then it can be presumed good. Certainly radiography would not be appropriate to determine porosity, because of expense, and the fact that the porosity would likely be too fine to image on the radiographs.

One method to assure high density and lack of voids would be to hot isostatically press (HIP) the part. This process is often used on critical aerospace castings to "squeeze" out any remaining porosity from the casting process and to achieve near 100% densification. Of course this costs money, and I doubt if Kimber or anyone else is willing to go to this extra expense.

Oh, regarding density of castings, the number is much higher than 60 to 80%. At those densities any casting could be considered scrap. The numbers are more like up in the very high 90's for a well made casting.

Zirc

7.62FullMetalJacket
June 24, 2004, 12:27 AM
Zircon,

Good explanation and welcome to THR . :)

MIM is used in many industrial applications to make parts. Each of us must consider the qualities of MIM and the potential for failure. No process is perfect and QA/QC is of the utmost importance. That these failures happen on life-saving instruments is disconcerting.

I am in the same school of thought as Old Fuff. I would prefer to not rely on MIM parts for a carry gun. A race gun or competition gun or even target gun would be acceptable because failure may lead to embarassment, but not likely death.

We are not talking about a weed eater or a drill press; we are talking about a tool that is used in the last line of defense. It needs to go bang each and every time you need it. Until Kimber gets the Quality Control under control, they will not get my money.

Zircon
June 24, 2004, 12:57 AM
7.62,

Thanks for the welcome. No quibble from me. I do have a Kimber, and I replaced the slide stop with a billet steel part, even though the original MIM piece did not fail. I think the stop is one of the more heavily loaded parts based on function and crossectional area.

Parts like the strut, thumb safety and grip safety are relatively lightly loaded and not likely to fail unless there is a gross defect in them. (And, yes, someone will come along and tell me that theirs have failed, but so far mine has not with several thousand rounds through it.) I'd probably have replaced the sear/hammer combo also, but I don't particularly want to screw with what is already a nicely tuned trigger.

I feel compelled to post on the MIM vs. wrought steel issue as there has been a lot of bunk spread around regarding MIM. It's certainly not perfect, but then neither is billet steel. Improper heat chemistry, sulphide/phosphide inclusions, improper heat treatment, inadequate thermomechancial processing, and a host of other process variables can afflict wrought steels and render them susceptible to fatigue, just like MIM has it's own set of problems. Nothwithstanding, Kimber does seem to have some reputation for failures in their MIM parts.

I thought the original post was very valuable because over on the 1911 board there has been a ton of speculation into what parts were MIM on the Kimbers. At least we get it straight from the horse's mouth here.

Zirc

Wildalaska
June 24, 2004, 01:00 AM
Keep in mind that the MIM parts Kimber uses probably costs them, after mold amortization, about .05 each...


WildsohowcometheyaresoexpensiveAlaska

R.H. Lee
June 24, 2004, 01:07 AM
Mr. WildgetacolteverythingelseisjustacopyAlaska:

What current manufacture Colt parts are MIM?

Master Blaster
June 24, 2004, 09:38 AM
Alot of pseudo science gets tossed around when ever there is a mention of MIM parts.

For example the issue of density is irrelevant as presented.

Here is why: Density = mass / volume

Lead has a higher density Grams per CM3 than steel, but no one will argue I hope, that the higher density of lead makes it an appropriate material for a slide stop.:rolleyes:

So the statement that a MIM part is 98% as dense as a forged part is basically meaningless, unless the chemical formulation of the steel is identical, the ductility and the hardness are also identical, and the thickness, and width of the part is identical.

A cast lead part has 200% of the density of a forged steel part but is obviously not as strong by any stretch of the imagination.

I have a 1999 Kimber that I have put 7,000 + rounds through with no part failures. My newer TLE II has about 1500+ - rounds through it as well.
It does seem that the newer guns have more failures, which is a quality control issue, the magnitude of which I am attempting to gauge.

As far as the MIM proccess goes I thought that baking the part in a vacum furnace removed the binder and took care of any voids.?????

The broken slide stop which I saw on line broke at the thinnest area. Remington has a excellent information area on MIM which is used in all of their rifles for various parts. They mention that there is an acceptable ratio of thickness to length and stress, after which MIM will fail. The slide stop seems to be pushing that ratio as far as I can tell.

:confused:

mete
June 24, 2004, 10:18 AM
Zircon, I'm glad to see another metallurgist here ! ....MIM is a newer development to Powder Metal parts .PM has been used for years in the gun business Remington has made it for at least 40 years for the gun industry and others . They specialized in high density parts , approaching 100% density. The comment about 60-80% density may be referring to PM where low density parts are made for filters and pre-lubricated bushings etc. Dan Wesson was ,I think , the first gun company to use PM extensively...... MIM is just another fabricating method . Proper design, proper choice of material ,proper heat treating and proper quality control are all necessary regardless of the fabricating method. QC is not an easy job , it is a job for everyone and it's a constant job to ensure that good quality is maintained . While some blame companies for wanting higher profits , how many shooters are willing to buy an expensive gun ? People have told me I'm stupid , crazy, a fool etc for buying an expensive HK P7, but it still works after many years and lots of use .

Sean Smith
June 24, 2004, 10:48 AM
What current manufacture Colt parts are MIM?

MIM
sear
mag catch
disconector
plunger tube

CAST
safety lock
grip safety

FORGED
slide
receiver
barrel
slide stop

MACHINED from bar stock
hammer
all pins
bbl link
bbl bushing
trigger fingure piece
ejector
firing pin
firing pin stop
extractor

http://www.1911forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62993

TechBrute
June 24, 2004, 11:28 AM
You want a pistol that has no MIM, get a Wilson Combat. Of course it's more expensive...

Why are Colt and Kimber so much more expensive? So much more expensive than what?

The going price for a Springfield Loaded seems to be around $650.
The going price for a Kimber Custom II seems to be around $600.

Seems like about the same price to me...

TLEs go for around $660 on Gunbroker. Once you pay shipping and FFL, it's about $700.

R.H. Lee
June 24, 2004, 11:33 AM
So much more expensive than what?

Actually, I had Springfield in mind. Colts go for $200+ more than a comparably-equipped Springer here in California, but maybe that's just HERE. I never considered Kimber because, well, the name sounds sorta pansy to me.

But that's just me.

TechBrute
June 24, 2004, 11:37 AM
Well, you pay for the Colt name more than some of the other names.

Daniel T
June 24, 2004, 11:54 AM
Well, you pay for the Colt name more than some of the other names.

Well, the NRM 1991s are going for around $600, so I guess you're not paying that much more for them.

...

MIM
sear
mag catch
disconector
plunger tube


Thanks Sean.

spacemanspiff
June 24, 2004, 12:35 PM
replacing the MIM parts is no biggie...if you spread it out over time the cost is minimal. spend $50-75 a month on them and have your favorite smith make sure they are installed correctly. so far i've replaced the slide stop, firing pin stop, bushing, and recoil spring. next up is going to be the MSH, the mainspring, sear and hammer. after that its the grip safety, and i'm thinking about a new barrel.

after that, i'm still pondering whether i want to get another kimber, or just get a sig 1911 that has no mim part. the cost would be comparative after replacing all MIM on the kimber.

45auto
June 24, 2004, 01:56 PM
What I don't read about is MIM parts breaking in Springfields and Colts.
I also don't read about MIM hammer and sears breaking either...in any brand. Or I just missed it and there is some breakage.


Is that because most people never shoot enough rounds through one gun to "test" the durability of MIM parts or the people that do shoot a lot of rounds "pitch" the MIM parts for better parts soon after they buy the gun?

Don't know. :)

Majic
June 24, 2004, 01:56 PM
or just get a sig 1911 that has no mim part.
The Sig has no MIM parts, but makes up for it in cast parts. They also haven't been receiving stellar reviews either. They seem to function, but some people have been nitpicking them to death. For the price they should be better, but almost any new 1911 on the market will sell.

Majic
June 24, 2004, 02:09 PM
Hammers and sears are hardened so the bearing surfaces don't wear out rapidly. By design they have to take a beating so the hardening process probably adds some strength to them.

cerberus
June 24, 2004, 05:22 PM
QUOTE= by RileyMc

"I never considered Kimber because, well, the name sounds sorta pansy to me.

But that's just me."

Thanks for the laugh.

Zircon
June 24, 2004, 09:53 PM
Master Blaster, I think maybe you're taking the density term out of context. Density is in fact a critical attribute for MIM and cast parts. It's true you can't compare a part made of lead (with high density) with a part made from titanium (relatively low density) and assume that the lead part is stronger because it has a higher density. 'Taint ever gonna happen.

However, if a steel part is supposed to have a theoretical density of 7.9 grams/cc and it only has a density of 7.8 grams/cc, or 98.7% of theoretical, what do you suppose happened to the other 0.1 gram/cc? It's likely taken up by void volume within the part. So, when we speak of density in terms of a percentage of theoretical, it is a very important number. Fully dense parts do not contain voids. Voids help nucleate cracks under repeated loading. This is a well known fact, and there are literally tens of thousands of pages referring to this phenomenon in the metallurgical/scientific literature.

The high temperature sintering does not always eliminate the voids, and in fact there is almost always some small void fraction in parts consolidated from powders at high temperatures. Densification occurs because the the voids contain surface area. This surface area within an otherwise solid mass creates additional "energy" (in a thermodynamic sense) within the part. The part wants to get to a state of lowest energy and it does this by eliminating the surface area. However as the surface area is eliminated, so is the driving force to eliminate it, and eventually there is a point of diminishing return.

In order to achieve 100% density one fix is to hot isostatically press the part. This imparts additional work or "energy" on the part to supplement the pore surface area reduction process. HIPing utilizes high temperatures, 1600 - 1700F, and very high pressures of gas external to the part, 30,000 psi or so, to literally collapse the porosity and squeeze it out of the part. Because this is a batch process that takes a day or so to complete, it is necessarily expensive.

Where MIM seems to fail in using it on a 1911, is that the part geometry, shape and size is already set in concrete. There is little allowance for porosity within some of the more highly loaded 1911 parts. If a pistol was being designed from scratch, the MIM part could be increased in size by 3 or 4% and it would function just fine - even with small amounts of porosity because the mechanical loads transmitted to the part would be supported by a larger crossectional area, and internal stresses in the part would be low enough to preclude crack initiation and growth.

I hope this helps you understand a fairly complex process.

Zirc

Master Blaster
June 25, 2004, 09:36 AM
Thanks Zircon, How does the formulation of the alloy affect the strength of the MIM "steel" part? is there a standard formulation for stainless and for carbon steel that is used in MIM??????

I know in knife making different alloys and small percentages of trace elements affect the ductility and the hardness, wear resistance, and other properties.

Does the same hold true for mim?

What about the heat treating??? Since Harder is not always a good thing for a part since if it is too hard it becomes brittle.

It would be interesting to test Kimbers mim against Colt and Smith and Wesson's

Lastly at one time I heard that Chip McCormick made the small parts for Kimber and many of the other 1911 manufacturers including some of the customs anyone have any idea if this is still true???

Thanks

Zircon
June 25, 2004, 10:22 AM
Yes, all the usual suspects apply for finished attributes of the steel. Chemical composition is very important for hardness, strength, and toughness, as is the heat treating recipe. I honestly have no idea what composition Kimber or others specify for their metal powders. At one time on the 1911 forum I offered to do a failure analysis on a broken part, but no one took me up on it. The failure analysis can identify composition, hardness (and from that infer the mechanical strength), and the failure mode (i.e., did the part fail from gross overload, from fatigue, or from any number of other mechanisms.)

Zirc

45auto
June 25, 2004, 11:05 AM
Great info Zircon.

It's good to hear "they" are using the HIP process on airline parts... at least. :eek:

JohnBT
June 25, 2004, 03:34 PM
"When Jack Warne was a baby, his family moved to the town of Kimba [Australia], which is pronounced "Kimber." It is an aboriginal word meaning "brush fire""

Copied from an article in Field & Stream

_______________

Aren't most of the Springfield slides and frames still made in Brazil? That should save them a few $$ compared to the homegrown Colts and Kimbers.

JT

rick_reno
June 25, 2004, 03:43 PM
I thought the original post was very valuable because over on the 1911 board there has been a ton of speculation into what parts were MIM on the Kimbers. At least we get it straight from the horse's mouth here.

I believe that list from Kimber is a partial list of the MIM parts in their guns. I'd poke around on the 1911 forum for the complete list. I have seen more part breakage from Kimber MIM parts than others - it could be that they're selling a lot more pistols than any of the other makers and that statiscally the parts breaking is the same across the industry.

My Kimber GM is about 6 years old and nothing has broken on it.

Someone suggested a Wilson to avoid MIM parts - Wilson stopped using MIM parts in their pistols about a year ago.

From: Nicholas Moraitis [mailto:nick@wilsoncombat.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2004 9:27 AM
To: 'Wilson Combat Info'
Subject: RE: Product Question

Over a year ago we started using Bullet Proof parts on all our pistols, even the CQB and KZ.

Thank you

Baer does not use any MIM parts in their guns. Rock River might not use MIM (it's hard to know what they're using) unless it's a customer supplied part.

Wildalaska
June 25, 2004, 04:23 PM
My understanding is the Kimber mim is done in Israel.

Wildandiwasntkiddingabout.05eachAlaska

Master Blaster
June 28, 2004, 09:13 AM
Here is BUL's site, I read that they are now Kimber's part supplier for the MIM parts as welll as the frames for the polymer 1911.

The guide rod looks just like the one in a Kimber but that does not mean anything since mine appears to be machined.

http://www.bultransmark.com/index2.htm

The thing that makes me wonder if this is true is the fact that when I went to BUL's site, there is no link to or mention of Kimber at all.

They do mention that they are making polymer frame s for Springfield!!

bountyhunter
June 28, 2004, 05:35 PM
Is their claim of "98% of the strength of a forged part" incorrect? If it's true then I don't think it should be an issue. It is technically correct but misleading. It means basically that the final part is about 98% as dense as a forged part. It does not mean the failure rate is the same.

Any part put in a mold (cast or MIM) has the potential for a casting viod (air gap) in the mix which results ina weak spot. The thinner the piece, the more likely the part is to fail if such a defect is present.

MIM parts are subject to a second defect when the metal powder particles are not uniform in size or the slurry (polymer/powder mix) is not completely mixed. It will make "lumps" in the metal which are different density and can fail there.

A MIM part properly made is an excellent part. Unfortunately, I have seen many which looked awful and not just Kimbers. The SW hammers and triggers are very inconsistent in finish. Another upside to a forged/machined part is that if it has an internal defect, the stress of grinding on it will probably break it before it gets used. An MIM part goes straight from the oven to the gun. X-ray would show the defects, but obviously that would be too expensve. IMO, long thin pieces are not good candidates for MIM production parts because the quality control is not there.

DBR
June 28, 2004, 10:29 PM
Am I the only one who noticed that the person from Kimber who wrote the email response was an "MBA" (Masters in Business Administration = bean counter) not an engineer? Doesn't mean the info is wrong, but the source is likely not an expert in anything but cost control.

Zircon
June 28, 2004, 11:13 PM
Lot's of engineers out there have an MBA as well. I don't think you can necessarily make such a leap to a conclusion.

DBR
June 29, 2004, 01:01 AM
Not to insult anyone in particular, but in my 35 yrs or so in engineering and design, including the management and hiring and firing of real practicing engineers, most "engineers" who went on to MBA were not very good engineers in the first place else they would have gone on to get a MSc in engineering and pursued a career in engineering - not aspired to "management". I have seen too much of this in the real world to change my opinion now. YMMV

JNewell
June 29, 2004, 07:43 AM
Am I the only one who noticed that the person from Kimber who wrote the email response was an "MBA" (Masters in Business Administration = bean counter) not an engineer?

Check again, it was the Kimber owner who put his MBA title after his name, not the Kimber rep.

Master Blaster
June 29, 2004, 09:22 AM
Yes tha MBA is Me, Not the guy from Kimber.

I am not an engineer, nor do I play one on the internet.

The MBA is from my work email signature, which, I did not delete in its entirety. The MBA can be a useful degree for getting a promotion and moving between industries and careers which I had to do 5 years ago.
My previous employer paid for it, and it took me 4.5 years going to school at night to get it. Some schools hand these out like candy. The school I went to required very hard work and a 3.0+ average before they would grant it.

It helps keep food on the table and guns in the armory.

:D

If you enjoyed reading about "My E-mail to Kimber and their reply Regarding the MIM parts in my TLE II" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!