I have a smooth arched stainless mainspring housing I want to stipple. Do you guys have any tips on how to do it? I figured a mainspring housing is a relatively safe way to get started versus the front strap.
I can practice on some bar stock if needed too.
I am probably going to cross post this over at the 1911forum.com to get some more ideas.
Start out with light taps. It doesn't take as much force as you might think. Before you start on a gun part, grind a few punches to different shaped points to experiment with a piece of scrap. Position the punch about 1/2" above the surface and tap with the hammer. Let your hand act as a "spring" to pop the punch back up.
I've done it on wood grips before, but never metal. You will need hard tipped punches I think? See what Brownells sells for it.
grind a 4 sided diamond point, then dull the tip....like already posted, let your hand act like a spring...I hold just above the work... don't get too close to the edge....as you work over the area, the metal will work...keep the punch as vertical as possible to the surface, it's easy to allow it to slip if you get lazy... if you do a frame, a fixture that allow it to rotate makes doing the front strap a lot easier
when you get adventurous, an air chisel set on 70psi will do it very quickly, but don't do it the first time...it's easy to blow a hole in the front strap of your 1911 (ask me how I know)
edit; a vibrating tip engraving tool does a neat job on a thin frame like a Browning P35 high power....not near as aggressive as real stippling, but provides some surface
I haven't tried one yet for stippling but Starrett makes a very handy snap punch. I think they would work very well for this task. I have used them thousands of times for spotting a drill point and they are the cats ass.