Apex’s Field Trip to Santa Barbara Tool and Die

Do you remember Elementary School Field Trips? I don’t know about you, but the night before a field trip seemed just like Christmas Eve, the clock must be broken because there’s no way the night could possibly be so long. I was always so happy, jumpy and excited to be out of class for a day and doing something that simply had to be way cooler than sitting in class. I wouldn’t want to go to bed and when I was finally in bed, I would toss and turn hoping my alarm would go off so I could get up and go on that glorious trip away from school for a day. Well I was nothing like that the night before our company field trip, but I thought I’d just paint that picture for you.

The machine shop that produces our Hard Sears and other parts invited us to take a trip down to tour the shop and meet the people to thank for the quality workmanship. We hopped in Lisa’s truck and headed down to Santa Barbera yesterday afternoon and spent about an hour at their shop.

The folks at Santa Barbara Tool & Die have a great shop with more than enough machinery to get the job done. They have Hydraulic Surface Grinders, Knee Mills, a couple Lathes, Horizontal CNC Mills and even a 6 machine Wire EDM Facility, which peaks my interest because I used to be an EDM Machinist before I became a gunsmith.

Dave Hearth of Hearthco Moonclips is the EDM Manager at SB Tool and the first thing he wanted to show us was the Hard Sears in process.

Apex Hard Sears in process

Here are a couple shots of the Hard Sears just before the final Op

This is where the Hard Sears are deburred. They use a special Rust Inhibitor compound mixed with water for lubrication.

This is the optical comparator Dave used to help us Engineer the Hard Sear, it’s equipped with a DRO (Digital Read Out) to make grabbing dimensions much easier.

On the “Jobs Running” table, we spotted a blank with our name on it….this is for the Apex U-See Rear Sight for the S&W Revolvers. The block right next to it is for the Hearthco 1911 Hammers…coming soon.

Dave’s most famous for making the best Moonclips available, so it’s only fitting we share some of his works too.

Here’s a shot of the blank prior to being cut in the EDM.

A blank post EDM

A stack of blanks post EDM

This is the machine Dave makes his Moonclips on

We would like to thank everybody at SB Tool & Die for the opportunity for the tour.

scott / September 24, 2010 / Random Apex

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