Monday, October 29, 2018

A Guide to Open Die Forging

Also known as smith forging, open die forging takes its name from the fact that the dies—the surfaces
that make contact with the metal being forged—do not enclose the piece. Instead, the metal flows
freely except in the limited areas where the dies are placed. Open die forging is an important technique
for many manufacturing applications. Here is what you should know.
Capabilities of Open Die Forging
Open die forging allows both rough and finishing shaping work to be done on metal of sizes ranging
from very small to incredibly large. In fact, some open die forges can handle pieces that are 80 feet
long and weigh a whopping 136 metric tons.
Open die forging is difficult, though not impossible, to use for pieces with a great deal of fine detail.
Therefore, except for art pieces and other specialty operations, open die forging is typically used to
create discs, blocks, hugs, shafts, cylinders, flats, plates, sleeves, and other relatively simple shapes.
It is often used to rough-shape ingots in preparation for further forging of a different type.
Common Metals
Steel and similar alloys are the most common metals used in open die forging. However, the process
also works well with a variety of other metals, including alloys of copper, nickel, and titanium.
Open Die Forging Process Operations
While closed die forging can be automated, open die forging is entirely under the control of the
metalworker. The forge operator must continuously orient and position the metal being worked as a
hammer strikes and deforms it to create the desired shape. The dies resemble tools rather than molds
and since the metal flows freely except where it is in contact with the dies, the metalworker must
carefully manage the forging process.
There are three common open die forging processes that are typically performed first, regardless of the
type of metal or what the finished product will be. Taken together, they prepare the metal for further
Cogging: Cogging is used to reduce a raw bar of metal to the desired thickness. It uses an open die
drop forge to successively deform the bar along its length.
Edging: Generally performed after cogging, edging uses a concave open die to form the metal into the
desired width.
Fullering: Fullering uses a convex open die to thin out sections of the metal as needed.
Benefits of Open Die Forging
Open die forging has a number of benefits over other types of forging. It refines the metal grain,
improving strength and reducing porosity. It improves wear resistance and fatigue resistance. The
improved microstructure reduces the chance of voids.
No single forging process is right for all applications. It is always important to speak with an expert who
can help you decide which process has the most benefits and the fewest drawbacks for your particular
Ready to Start?
Atlas Bronze is a leading U.S. distributor of bronze, copper, brass, iron, and more. Contact us today at 1-800-478-0887 to place an order or learn about our custom products.

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