Hooked on Forging

On Sept. 14 and Oct. 21 several mines students and faculty gathered at local blacksmith Dan McNeil’s shop for their first hands-on forging experience. These two forging events were geared towards introducing new members of the Colorado School of Mines Materials Advantage Club (CSMMAC) bladesmithing team to the art of forging. The bladesmithing team is currently in the design phase of their competition blade and will begin forging the knife soon.

At McNeil’s shop, the students and faculty learned how to forge a simple hook, which introduced them to many basic processes of forging that are the building blocks of the craft.

Students learned how to forge a square taper, turn it into a round taper, create shoulders, and hot punch a hole. Hot punching a hole was a new and very novel idea to several of the students with mechanical engineering background, because a hot punched hole removes less material than the actual hole that is left behind. Just based on a conservation of mass this idea is contradictory and does not make sense. For example, if you drill a one-inch hole in a one-inch thick plate you remove a cylinder of material that is .79 cubic inches. However, the same size hole hot punched will remove less material but leave a .79 cubic inch cavity, so where does the difference in material go? The extra material is displaced to the side of the hole by the punch as it is hammered into the material.

This displacement of mass allows a blacksmith to put a one-inch hole in a one-inch bar, a technique completely unique to the process of forging! This is one of the cool techniques the students learned, in the near future there will be more opportunities for students to get hands on forging experience.

At the end of the day all the students and one of the professors finished forging their individual coat hooks. If you are in the MME department, look for this coat hook project or something similar as part of a lab in Forging and Forming, MTGN 464.

This event and future events are hosted by CSMMAC Bladesmithing team. If you are interested in joining the bladesmithing team or learning about forging stop by a CSMMAC meeting on Mondays at 5pm in HH202.

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