From Marxism to American Marksman, 3d Printing new Pistol Grips
Yugoslavian M57 Tokarev (7.62x25mm) circa 1960s
All photos of completed project at bottom of page.
In 2014 I purchase the Ugly Duckling of pistols. A heavily modified, drilled, tapped, and died hard in the wool project Tokarev. This thing was missing the trigger assembly, and various parts from the slide. It had some seriously home made wooden grips (think pressed board, a file, and drill; now throw it off a tall building), which I threw into the trash.
After transforming the pistol to a nearly operational state: from home rebluing to new parts & magazines, I discovered it to be inoperable. For the sole reason that the slide action would cause the trigger assembly to, well, disassemble itself without pistol grips to keep it in position. So it sat for almost 6 years, alone, in a drawer…… finally, it was ready to be reeducated and proceed with the process of normalization.
It must have been sitting with books by William Blackstone, John Locke, and Ludwig von Mises, because it called for me to voluntarily give it a new perspective and lease on life.
We take you from start to finish on creating new, attractive pistol grips; Using Reference Photos, 3d Modeling, 3d Printing, Finishing Techniques, Finalizing the Hardware, Fine Tuning, and Mounting. Make sure to consider the software below and prepare for a journey into this restoration.
You can download Blender, GIMP, Cura, & Chitubox through their links, all free software (Chitubox requires free registration). They all run on Mac, Linux, and Windows.
Note: Click on any image to view a large version
The Problem Child
Unfortunately, this guy had been heavily modified, from a welded beaver tail & trigger guard (done quite well IMHO), to drilled holes for the pistol grips, a lanyard delete, and import safety holes with no safety. While the drilled holes may have lined up with a standard 1911, the reverse side wouldn’t of had the correct recesses and protrusions to allow proper operation of the firearm.
This meant I couldn’t just purchase something online. While this would have been the “free market thing to do” we finally decided to create a pair from scratch.
Setting scale, adjusting reference, and generating reference object (Essential for all projects)
First, we must set the scale in blender and adjust the reference photos to represent the real world.
Setting Scale in Blender to mm
Next, we will create a 2d model of the open area for the grip seating, alignment, and scale.
Import into GIMP (or Inksape, if comfortable), and create a Bezier Curve of the open area
Generate a selection from the path (You could skip this, but solves issues if the path is not closed)
Next, Selection to Path, and export to SVG
Finally, open in Inkscape, double click, select any color (which creates a face for Blender), and overwrite/save the SVG file
Note: It is only necessary to do one side because the holes are the same dimension, mirror images, of each other.
Importing Reference Photo & Principle Shape
Next we will set up the reference photo(s) in Blender, and import the SVG file from earlier.
Important: Make sure to take a Y axis measurement of the opening in real life, and then scale your SVG/Curve in Blender to match (an X axis may not work because Blender will measure opposite corner points, which is not what you want). Next, scale and position your reference image to match from Top/Bottom Views (Tip: adjust image transparency to fine tune position)
Modeling Basic Shape
After everything is set up, we are ready to start modeling.
First, convert our curve to a mesh (Tip: these menus can be found by pressing F3 and searching)
Lets Extrude (E), press Enter immediately, and then Scale (S) to our desire grip size
Then, Extrude (E) again, and choose desired thickness, in this case 3mm (3), after, lets press Delete the faces to clean up the geometry for later (Del, select Dissolve Faces)
A Bevel (CTRL+B) with a bit of smoothness (Mouse Wheel Up) is pretty essential. In this case we didn’t use Clamp (C) and choose to clean up the geometry after.
What is a pistol grip without grip one may wonder, and then assert. Now we make sure it may only be pried from one’s cold dead hands in the time between passing and rigor mortis.
There is no right way, while arguably there are a million wrong ways to do this. Here is a summary of how I accomplished it.
Standard Tokarev Grip (Notice grip goes from top-bottom giving lateral/rotational grip)
Now this is where you can get creative, but repeating shapes always call for an array
A rectangle, rotated on the Z axis to match grip, and Y axis 45°
Object copied and rotate 180° on Y Axis(R, Y, 180). Array adjusted, and object re-positioned.
Create a box where we want the bling, the apply a Boolean Difference modifier.
Boolean objected created, using copy of first object. In Edit Mode, Selecting the two extreme X&-X faces, Then CTRL+I to select everything else, and deleting. After that the two faces left are extruded creating the beast below.
Finally we are left with this:
I know that was a lot, and in fact you may need to apply a remesh modifier to some objects if the boolean operations are not operating correctly. Then you can apply a Decimate modifier as not to bog down your computer. I suggest then copying, and the Joining (CTRL+J) everything for the mass boolean operation later in the tutorial.
Now, we have to express ourselves. Choose whatever you wish, however, in this tutorial we choose to pay homage to the US Constitution and Texas.
Download the SVGS here
Going to start with the Texas Flag, import SVG, and scale and position. Then we will reset the the scale using CTRL+A.
Next lets copy the blue section, and in edit model delete the four corners, we’ll be left with a solid star. After, we will set the origin (F3, search origin) and scale each section down.
Set the solidify modifier on each to about 0.75mm. They should all be snapped to the face of the grip, then moved up 0.01mm for the following boolean operation to work correctly.
Now lets set up the other image.
Solidify & “Garnish” w/ rectangles
Convert to mesh
Position & Boolean
Finally, we will use our reference photos to make some holes. I did this quite a few times, and then got different bolts, so the bottom will show the final boolean object.
Let model up a facsimile, Then F3, “Bridge Edge Loops”, Face Each End (F), then extrude the top face 1mm
Now we’ll make some room for the magazine button
Here is the result
Printed a couple of these in the FDM printer to verify the fit and seating. 7 minute print.
Additionally, my pistol required a couple protrusions and recesses to keep the trigger in place, and another to allow the magazine safety to have room to operate.
The opposite grip
I focused on making one side very well, and my strategy for the other side was to use the Mirror modifier. You’ll want to make sure you apply this to a copy of the original.
The Boolean Stack
The process is to use the Mirror Modifier on the X axis at the very bottom. Apply the “Grip” boolean, and then apply the Mirror.
Next, in edit model select linked (L), and delete those vertices.
Follow the above directions to get the results you want, line up the screw holes, apply the booleans. Now we are good to go!
Exporting & Printing
Use the Decimate Modifier, and export both grips in STL.
See our previous tutorial for more details (Set Z up on export to Z)
Use Cura and a FDM printer for prototypes ($$$), position at about 80 degrees tilt, and use a raft with supports.
For Resin Printers, Chitubox does best with a 30 Degree tilt, and plenty of supports
Now we need to make these look “purdy”. We add in each color, and cure in between to avoid mixing.
Fill with PK tool (or similar)
Blue (or “Cyan” darn you Amazon)
Lets wet sand with 600 grit
Finally, I dip a brush into the black and paint a “clear coat” all over, and cure again.
Screw selection from Home Improvement store
Blue the screws
Mounted and displayed.
Thank you so much for checking out another Third Dimension Texas tutorial. We really hope you enjoyed and look forward to see what y’all come up with.
If you have any questions, don’t be shy to contact us.
We would provide STLs, but I believe the screw holes are unique to this pistol and the previous gunsmith’s caprice. If interested in them, contact the address above.
If you are interested in getting started with 3d printing, be sure to check out our store.