Forging is one of a small number of manufacturing processes. It involves the formation of metal through the use of localized heating and forces, and is a process that dates back to the ancient Mesopotamians. Due to technological changes, the process is now much quicker and durable than ever before, which is why it has become one of the most preferred manufacturing methods.
Hot vs. Cold Forging
While the old methods of forging needed heat, technological advantages mean that it can now be done through cold methods. Both can be used for the shaping and forming of metals for all sorts of needs, including horseshoe making, ornament creation, and more.
Hot forging requires extremely high heaters, since metal has high liquidating points. It needs to reach a recrystallization heat, around 2,300F! The largest benefit is the lower energy need for forming and shaping the metal. Excessive heat helps to weak the metal enough to bend and shape as needed.
Cold forging is done at room temperature in the majority of cases. It can be cheaper, since there is not the need for the extremely hot furnace and extra protective gear. There are some metals that can not be forged through cold methods, including carbon and steel. They are just too strong. When cold forging it is easier to control the painting, which means more uniformity and a better finish is possible.
Either method of forging will give you some benefits. You still get metal to work to your will, without breaking it. The metal retains its own strength, which is something that some of the other manufacturing processes can not offer. The costs are low compared to many other manufacturing processes, whether working through hot or cold forging.
Different Types of Cold Forging
Now when it comes to cold forging, you will need to choose the method right for your needs. There are four different methods available.
Open vs. Closed Die Forging
The first two types are open and closed die forging. Open processes do not have any pre-cut profiles, which allows the metal to flow where it wants. The only place that it will not reach is past the die that it put in place. It's also known as smith forging, and works best with projects that are over 200,000lbs!
Closed forging works similar to open die, but it will use molds to help control and shape the metal. A hammer is also in place to force the flow of the metal into the die. This is best for the long-run projects, as it can be extremely expensive to do otherwise. The costs are all upfront ones, so if you're doing lots of projects throughout the years to come you will find that it is most cost effective in the long term. The biggest benefit of closed die forging is the excellent strength the metal will have once it is shaped and cooled.
The third type of cold forging is using a press. This uses metal within a stationary die and a compression press is used for the shaping. Continuous pressure is applied until the desired shape is achieved. It is the longest process of the lot, but it is the easiest for monitoring and controlling. There are no limits to the size or shape that can be done with this option, and it can also be done with hot forging.
Finally, roll forging uses wires and rods for the process. Heated metal bars are used to roll out the metal into the desired shape. It is one of the cheapest methods, and eliminates flashing within the metal.
Now it's up to you. Which type of forging will you use for your projects?