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Metal working badge brainstorming  RSS feed

 
Posts: 1442
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I think this needs to be broken into two basic categories right off
Cold working and hot working.

Cold working is most of tournament metal work and includes cutting and grinding skills as well as bending and forming and joining by crimping, riveting, bolts, or screws. Minimal if any use of heat for working the metal.

Hot working includes black smithing and all the forms of welding, plus the hot forming of sheet metal.

Making a knife from an old file might be a good hot working project.

Making a watering trough might be a good cold working project.

Making your own forge would be an example of an advanced hot working project. (That would actually not use much in the way of hot working skills, but is really a basic skill for a blacksmith)

A solar oven might be an example of a more advanced cold working project.

You could combine the two for shovels and spades.
 
pollinator
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Good intro thoughts, Peter.

Peter Ellis wrote:I think this needs to be broken into two basic categories right off
Cold working and hot working.
...
Hot working includes black smithing and all the forms of welding, plus the hot forming of sheet metal.


Just wanted to add that hot working, besides welding, can: a) be done without forge; b) be done with a torch. For certain applications, those who do not have a forge or ready access to one via a neighbor or something can make do. I use an oxy-acetylene (O/A) setup for this - but other oxy-fuel setups (oxygen-propane, oxygen-gasolene, etc) are sometimes used. I use the torch, a vise, hammers, tongs, pliers, etc with flat-bar stock, round-bar, etc. For some shaping I'll put a piece of pipe firmly into my vise and bang the yellow-hot metal around that, since I have no anvil horn. I have no anvil at all, but I do have a 20" section of large I-beam and a shorter section of railroad rail.

Still a forge is desirable if you can acquire or build one. It's the capital investment for a moderate size forge that has stopped me. Acetylene is kinda expensive to use with the torch, but it's also involves ongoing expense when most guys these days seem to use propane to run their forges - not that you have to (coal, oxygen-charged charcoal, etc). With a forge you have the cost of buying it or building it, plus it requires some room in the shop or shed, plus cost for the fuel. So I use my torch.
 
gardener
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I don't know if seperating it would really be beneficial since both approaches are often used on 1 piece. Many times you start hot and finish cold.
 
Posts: 151
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Thanks for getting this started Peter!
 
Peter Ellis
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I think it important to keep them separate. Feedback helps make my point .

For example, I cannot think of an example where hot work is involved in making ductwork. You don't need hot work for roofing or making gutters. Stock tanks can be made with no hotwork.

Hot work does not require a forge, quite true. To my knowledge most hot forming of sheet metal is done using torches, for several reasons. It is typically bar and round stock where a forge comes into its own.

Hammer skills cross over and can be learned either way, but adjusting for the different way metals behave under the hammer when hot or cold is a skill set itself. Likewise, when working hot you need to know when to stop and reheat and when working cold you need to be aware of work hardening.

Sure they overlap. I think they are different enough to treat separately. Out in the world the trades certainly break it out into lots of pieces.
 
master steward
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Now that we have declared sand badges for a lot of aspects, we now need to flesh out the sand badge for metal working.   So I am hoping that this thread can be for brainstorming.

What we need is artifacts.  So we can say "weld up a trailer" but not "do some welding."  I think the first post in this thread is off to a great start!   So one of the suggestions in the first post is make a knife from an old file.  Maybe ...

sand badge:  make a crappy knife out of something that is not currently a knife
  (and we might suggest four or five different recipes)

straw badge:   make a pretty good knife out of something that is not currently a knife



Making a watering trough might be a good cold working project.  



Which metal would this be made out of?



A solar oven might be an example of a more advanced cold working project.



Good one!   Are there some youtube vids of people doing this?



What might be a sand badge level welding project?


The knife project would have quite a bit of grinding.  Maybe we could require getting some experience with using a plasma cutter?


What might be a riveting project?


One thing I'm thinking of is that if we end up hosting about 3 PEP1 events each year, we might end up accumulating a lot of whatever is in the sand badge.  So maybe we need to think about what we might need a lot of.  

We could also do something like "Archie list" where we define three to twelve projects that are all about similar duration and people learn that same basic stuff.  And in the sand badge we say "complete one".   And in the straw badge we say "complete the Archie list" or "complete three more things from the Archie list".   So it could be good to have a list that features really small and quick welding projects.




 
pollinator
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Here are ideas to get started:

Weld a trailer hitch to a tractor implement
Weld a chain clevis to a tractor bucket
Weld 2 flat pieces together flat (butted) at least 4" long
Weld 2 pieces at 90 degrees. At least 4" long

Forging:cold
Make knife from something not a knife. Handle not required? Search carbon contents for applicable metals (circ saw blade, handsaw blade, file) shaping only? Quenching required?

Forging hot

Maybe baby steps. So many processes or experiences to "make a knife"

Bring metal up to temperature. Hammer it into something ugly that looks like nothing useable.it should be thinner that what you started with.

Quench something (harden it). Reqires heating until magnet doesnt stick to it. Dunk in quenching liquid. Test that file glides over it vs "grabbing"

Heat metal and fold it. Finished product should be thicker than what you started with.

Make a grab handle out of rebar. Flatten ends. Arch rebar. Drill holes in flat end (drill vs forge?)

Put hole in metal by heating, then hammering into hot metal with a round chisel.
 
pollinator
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I would think sand badge level tasks might also include repurposing or improving something. So instead of having a bunch of new stuff you might for instance end up with a repair/resharpening of shovels, picks, or other tools for a cold project. Just thinking hammer<grinder<lathe/press in terms of advanced skill. Hot project might include making angled pipe from straight pipe for a tunnel or other frame. Less advanced hot project would be welding a broadfork out of a pitchfork. More advanced might be replacing the pinions or attachment points on your excavation gear for hot.

These are tasks I am having to learn, and once you have the skill developed a little on a small project,you are more comfortable using the tool in an integrated project.  And you learn when you really "need" another piece of kit versus just MacGuyvering something with your existing setup.
 
paul wheaton
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The "tool care" badge already has a lot of sharpening and stuff.    So I'm thinking that metal working is going to be more about fabricating stuff.  Maybe fabricating a tool which then needs a LOT of sharpening in the tool care stuff.
 
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One simple thing might be to make a center punch.  This would involve cutting some sort of tool steel bar stock, grinding down an end to a point, and hardening/tempering it.  It's a simple basic tool that I use all the time for making circular disks or marking a spot where I'm going to drill.

Another basic tool would be to make tongs.  A short blacksmithing workshop I once had in college with a visiting artist we all made a pair of tongs.  Fairly simple, but I did need to learn a bit about how to hit the metal to make it bend in the right directions so the two ends would meet up.  I still use that set I made, though they are truly crappy, ugly tongs.

For riveting I like another simple project for a different type of tongs.  I'm a metalsmith working mostly in non-ferrous metals where we use what's called the pickle to clean our metal.  Copper tongs are generally used in the pickle since any sort of steel will cause a reaction that plates all the metal in the pickle with copper.  (fellow students who have silver pieces in the pickle get really pissed off at you when you do that!)  Anyway, these tongs are basically two pieces of work hardened copper riveted at one end.  I'm regularly dismayed at how many people pay way too much money to buy inferior copper tongs when making these should really be a basic beginner project students could do on the first day of class.  It's too late in the day now, but perhaps later I'll go out to the studio and shoot a photo of mine so you get a better idea of what I'm talking about.
 
Posts: 266
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You are mixing hard stuff with simple stuff.  For example a simple hitch welded to a mild steel frame is a fairly simple operation.  But a complicated hitch welded to a medium or high carbon steel frame is a completely different ball of wax.  There again welding high carbon hooks to a medium carbon bucket or high carbon cutting edges is a higher skill operation while welding low grade hooks to a mild steel bucket is lower skill.  Plus these are high risk skills if done poorly.

Cold forming a water tank without real tools is a fairly difficult operation.   With a hammer and a sand bag it is possible but real effort.  In a fully equipped shop it is a nothing operation.  How are you measuring this?

Hardening a high carbon steel is simply a matter of turning it bright yellow hot and quenching.  Anyone with access to a heat source capable of that can do it.  The metal will be hard but it will also be completely brittle.  Controlling the quench and the draw afterward is where the art lies.  So there again how are you measuring it?  For knives an example would be hammering the knife thru a mild steel object like a nail without damaging the cutting edge.

There again welding covers a huge range  forge welds, Gas welds, MIG welds, stick welds, TIG welds as well as soldering and brazing to have on the list.  So how are you doing the welds and how are you testing them?  If I take a low power MIG I can make a weld that looks pretty but I can literally chip the weld intact out with a chipping hammer.  Just making the bead is a small skill.  Making a bead that has good qualities is a different measure.  There again equipment matters.  Making a a stick weld with 2 car batteries, a pair of vice grips and 2 pairs of jumper cables is completely different than a modern inverter welder with high frequency start.

The center punch is a little clearer.  But even there equipment matters.  On the lathe it is really easy.  In the drill to the grinder it is fairly easy and freehand on the grinder it is tougher.  But it is easy to clearly test afterward.  Too hard and the point shatters and too soft and the point mushrooms when used.  10 or 20 solid dimples in mild steel with an intact point is a clear test.
 
steward
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I know so little about metal working that I'm reluctant to chip in with my two cent's worth. But as it's my job to do so . . . I will.

Paul wants to get the Sand Badge nailed down first. So let's concentrate on that.

In my uninitiated mind, I envision the Sand Badge tasks to not involve welders or forges or other big honkin' equipment that the average person doesn't have. I'd like it to be something accessible to most people. But I don't know what that would entail!

Any ideas for something that can be made with some pieces of metal, and maybe a hammer? :)

We need a list of tasks for the Sand Badge, so Paul and Shawn can move forward with the Kickstarter. Help!
 
master steward
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I would like to see a project that creates a gate latch
 
Tracy Wandling
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I would like to see a project that builds something artsy, or for the garden - trellis for peas and beans; garden art; weather vane.
 
David Huang
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I've been thinking about making a quick illustrated how to post for creating a basic pair of tongs for my blog.  I know I suggested this as a beginning level project earlier in this thread.  Hopefully I'll have this done soon and link to the post here.
 
master steward
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Making a set of tongs is a great sand level project.  I've made really basic ones with two pieces of flat bar.  Drill a hole through them for the pivot point.  Rivet them together.  Twist the grabby part 90 degrees so it can hold something.  Draw out the handles to be round and longer.  

Involves heating and smacking with a hammer (charcoal grill could heat it up in a pinch, anvil or rock to pound on).  Cutting pieces to size.  Drilling is great experience (oil to cut with, working up through the drill sizes).  Making a rivet is great (1/4" round stock piece, heat up with torch or in the grill, insert and smack to mushroom it).  Drawing out the handles is also a key task to learn.

Once it's all done, you have a tool and can make 10 that are better to hold various size pieces of metal for black and blade smithing.  I'd guess it would take 2 hours if you have the stuff together.  

My start at a Sand badge (4 hours of work??) is:

  • Make a crappy pair of tongs
  • Make a crappy knife from an old file or railroad spike
  • Make some spirally pretty metal art from copper tubing and some other pretty bits and bobs
  • Maybe make a leaf on the anvil from round steel.  It's a basic blacksmithing starter project but you'd really want an anvil to do it with.

  • Straw badge could introduce welding (use two different methods), soldering and torching since that requires fancier equipment.  I consider anything with hitches or moving equipment that is intended for the highway to be a much higher level badge.
     
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