Custom Metal Forging: What Is The Process And What Metals Are Used?
Custom metal forging is a manufacturing process that dates back to the times of the blacksmith. It is a method that entails heating a metal alloy and forming it into various configurations.
However, custom metal forging has evolved into a precise science requiring a high level of skill and specialised machinery. It is mainly used to strengthen parts and components of machines, equipment, vehicles, and toolkits.
Different Kinds Of Custom Forging Methods
There are different kinds of custom metal forging processes that can be used to make machine parts and components:
1. Press Forging
A press forging utilises a vertical ram to control pressure to a die carrying a workpiece. The method is equivalent to drop forging, but slow pressure is used rather than a series of blows. The slow speed of the ram penetrates the workpiece more deeply, causing uniform plastic deformation.
2. Hammer Forging
Hammer forging, also known as drop forging, is the process of repeatedly striking a workpiece with a hammer to deform it. Hammers come in various styles, including gravity drop, counterblow, and power hammers.
3. Ring-Roll Forging
Roll forging is a heated metalworking process that shapes and deforms the workpiece using opposing rolls. Geometric forms ascertain the part’s shape and measurements cut into the rolls. The part is manufactured by partially rotating the rolls as the workpiece flows through them. The rolls are approximately one-fourth to three-fourths the size of the two rolls. The rollers’ grooves create a cross-section on the workpiece for secondary finishing.
4. Open-die Forging
Open die forging, also known as free forging or smith forging, turns a workpiece by enclosing the metal material within the die but not completely. The process of open die forging involves pounding the workpiece with the die until it takes on the shape and form of the die. The workpiece is heated and then hammered until it attains shape before being placed in the anvil process.
5. Closed-die Forging
Closed die forging, alternatively called impression forging, is when two die halves move towards one another to enclose the workpiece or billet. The heated billet is inserted into the bottom die and is roughly the size of the completed part. The force generated by the dies colliding compresses the billet to produce the desired forged piece. While this process is initially more expensive than other types of custom forging, the investment is quickly repaid due to the finished parts’ accuracy, quality, and strength.
List Of Forgeable Metals
Custom metal forging can form and shape almost any metal. Because metals can be affected by heat and compression, the percentage has increased steadily as the procedures have been studied and developed. Custom forging is used to produce components with excellent mechanical properties while generating little waste. The purpose of the procedure is to bend metals to desired shapes, which provides the metal with fatigue resistance and durability.
While most metals can be forged, alloyed, stainless steels, and carbon are the most frequently used metals. Forging can generate many parts efficiently and cost-effectively using any type of metal.
● Forging Of Alloyed Steel
Alloy steels are widely known in steel forging due to their low cost, accessibility, ease of manufacture, and excellent mechanical properties. Alloy steels are typically more heat resistant and mechanical treatments than carbon steels.
● Forging In Stainless Steel
Stainless steels are made of iron alloyed with chromium. Other alloys are made to enhance the metal’s properties and performance, increasing its formability, resilience, and strength. Stainless steel’s primary advantage is its highly durable corrosion and rust, enabling its use in a broad range of environmental and production processes.
● Forging Of Carbon Steel
Carbon steel is pliable, quickly processed, and forgeable, and it reacts well to heat treatment. Carbon steel’s main advantages are its least expensive, flexibility, toughness, and easiness of deforming and shaping. It is the most commonly used metal for the forging of parts and components in many sectors.
● Forging Of Aluminium
Aluminium is classified as a soft metal due to its low melting point. Despite its lightweight and easy shaping, aluminium is solid and has excellent resistance to corrosion and rust. Most of the time, it is found combined with other metals to improve its natural elements. The ability of aluminium to be constantly reprocessed without losing its characteristics and features is one of its primary advantages.
● Forging Of Copper
Copper, like aluminium, is a soft metal that can quickly form. Copper bars are used in the forging process. Forged copper has a more refined microstructure and preserves mechanical characteristics. Copper forging is a hot closed-die metal forming process that heats the copper via induction heating.
● Forging Brass
Brass is a copper-zinc alloy. Brass’s mechanical characteristics are determined by the proportion of zinc and other aspects. Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc that is tougher than copper but smoother than zinc, with a low melting point. Brass’s formability makes it ideal for high thermal and electrical conductivity applications. Brass, like copper, is corrosion and rust resilient and can be used in areas that require durable and long-lasting components.
● Forging Titanium
Titanium is a strong, low-density metal with outstanding corrosion resistance; it is a pliable and high melting point. Titanium components exhibit properties similar to carbon steel forgings but are significantly lighter. A significant advantage of titanium is its resistance to high temperatures. Titanium’s superior strength-to-weight ratio makes it perfect for aircraft and engine parts, as well as chemical industry valves.
● Forging Nickel
Nickel forgings are used in high temperatures with extreme conditions and require abrasion resistance. Nickel custom forging produces geometric shapes that do not necessitate machining and modify the metal’s grain structure. Nickel is forged using a closed die and hot forging. One advantage of nickel forging is the metal’s ability to retain its flow stress, making it ideal for aerospace, oil, defence, and marine industries.
Because of the numerous advantages of custom metal forging, it has been an essential component of metal forming for several decades. Heavy equipment, engines, and technical equipment rely on forging to produce robust, long-lasting, and reliable features that perform optimally under any circumstances.