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I have read that when John Browning was designing this weapons - from the single shots and levers up to the autos - he made his first patterns out of wood so he would have a physical reference as to how things fit together. After he worked out the glitches in the wood model he would make a metal pattern. This seems like a pretty good way to do design and would probably work today for anybody who doesn't have computer aided engineering programs.

Anybody care to comment in greater detail?

RIKA
 

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Rika,
I beleive the use of wooden forms and patterns was the accepted mode of prototypical design. In the world before cad cam (not so long ago) I remember pattern makers in Navy machinist ratings using such.
It sure beat the play-doh method I was using!
SatCong
 

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Sam Colt is alleged to have carved his wooden model of his revolver while working on a sailing ship.

Now days a three dimensional model of each part can be made with a technology called "rapid prototyping". A company called Parametric Technologies made great inroads with this approach. A suitable plastic is "carved" by a computer controlled laser to replicate the desired part for demonstrations.

When I applied for my firearm action patent (6,715,399), my dad made a "working" model of it from wood, plastic and aluminum. Every lawyer that ever handled it pinched a finger in it.
 
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