Friday, September 20, 2013

Making Durable Templates - the key to speeding up production

So, you’re making holsters, awesome!  Now you’ve made a holster you really like.  You have a design and a style and you want to make it again and again and again.  The bad news is that you have to make it one more time.  The good news is that you’ll never have to lay it out by hand again.

Here’s a quick tip on how to replicate your design over and over again with a durable template you can form yourself. First, mold your holster.  Then mold both the front and back again over the first mold.  We’ll use a contrasting brown color for the template mold, but you can use anything you have around for this process.

Layout your holster design, drill your eyelet holes and finish out your edges with a sander/grinder/dremel.  Use eyelets in the holes to maintain alignment while you work, just don’t set them.  Do not polish your edges, leave them sharp and square.

Place your front panel in its corresponding over-mold.  Trace it out with a pencil and then clamp it in place and drill strait through it to mark your eyelet holes.

Remove the clamps and rough cut the template to shape.

Now, grind, sand, file or dremel your template to exactly match your original holster shape.  You might want to take a little extra off as your template tracing will add about 1/16” to the next holster.

Repeat this with the back half of the holster.  Don’t bother with drilling holes or matching the outside profile exactly like the front.  All you need is the top profile and a rough outside cut.  Once you mate the front and back, you can use the front template trace to drill holes and determine the common edges.
Once you’re done, mold another holster and here is what the system looks like.

Yep, this works for taco style as well and you only need to over-mold one side depending on your design.

So there you have it.  Durable templates for repeatable projects.  As always, you’ll find the perfect holster when you do it yourself.