The 1911 80% is much harder than an AR15 80%. Disclaimer again. These two resources have given me a lot more confidence and I think you should check them out since they cover more than I ever could:
There’s many ways to skin a cat, and probably even more ways to finish your Tactical Machining 1911 80%. My resources are pointing me towards a drill press and cross slide vise. Those combined with the jig should make quick work of the hammer pin, sear pin, and even barrel seat. The hardest part I foresee is the slide rail. I’m going with shallow cuts with my vise and finishing up with files and lapping compound.
A mill would probably be the best, so if you know someone that has one, I’d go that route. But as for me, here’s my setup:
- Drill Press ($200): Craftsman 12-inch Drill Press. Edit: Several of you have said the chuck only goes up to 5/8 inches so it will not hold the 18mm end mill below. You will need to buy a different chuck. Please let me know which one you went with down in the comments. The top selling Drill Press on amazon for $160 for the budget conscious. It is 10-inch which will be plenty but still has the chuck problem.
- Vise ($45): 4″ Cross Slide Vise, also seen the same thing at Harbor Freight
The vise came in pretty “Made In China” condition. I took it apart, cleaned everything, oiled, and tightened everything up. I’ll probably tighten it up even more when it comes time for the slide rail.
This is based off the info from TM. Let me know if I made any errors.
I tried to go as much Amazon as possible:
- 4mm Drill Bit ($3)
The other drill bit is listed as a #43 bit on the TM site but looking it up (and verified by its Facebook team), it should be #35 (.110 inch).
- Forney #35 Drill Bit ($8)
I found a reasonable 18mm Ball End Mill on Amazon. Edit: Updated to 4-flute which should help bit chattering with previous 2-flute version. Link goes to the search results since they seem to go in-and-out of stock quickly.
- 18mm Ball End Mill 4-Flute (~$70)
3/32 x 3/8 Key Seat Cutter:
- I went with this Whitney 3/32 x 3/8 Key Seat Cutter ($17)
- Tekton Needle File Set ($6): Held up great so far for quick frame/slide work, has square file perfect for the slide rail
- Digital Calipers ($20): Held up great for 3 years so far, sharp edges so you can etch with the Dykem
- Dykem Layout Fluid ($6): Easily see the cuts on your frame
- Bubble Level ($8): Check if everything is level, or use a smartphone app
- Wilson Bushing Wrench ($4): Good to not mar up your slide
- Wheeler Lapping Compound ($38): To finish up your slide to frame fitting
- Pin Vise ($12): Holds the burr to hand turn the plunger tube chamfer
- Burr Set ($5): For chamfering the plunger tube hole
- Sandpaper ($4): General fitting
- Craftsman Plastic Tip Hammer ($14): You’ll need a pretty good hammer for slide fitting
Nice to Have Tools
You’ll probably want to pick some of these up from Brownells to make your life easier:
- Ed Brown Sear Jig ($50): For the trigger job. Probably not needed if you went the drop-in match trigger route.
- Square Ceramic Stone ($25): Super fine stone for sears and other surfaces
- Plunger Staking Tool ($32):The plunger tube seems really annoying to install correctly so I got the tool.
- Beavertail Install Jig ($30): Let’s you easily file down the frame. I put it on and it looks like Tactical Machining’s frame fits perfectly, so it is not needed.