Forging Ahead

Manufacturing Processes: Forging Metal


Week three of manufacturing processes and we head into the more medievil processes: forging hot metal.  Glowing red, molten metal is poured into a mould, (of various forms), cooled and then bosch, a metal form is born.  In essence, this is how the process is carried out for one off items, to mass manufactured, highly intricate components.  


The video Paul showed us of someone making a sand mould at home, melting his own aluminium and then forging his own catapult handle, was really inspiring.  It’s something that has given me inspiration to try myself, but also, an appreciation of how this technique can be used to create unique items with a beautiful finish.


The task:

Design and make a counterbalanced lamp, using forged metal techniques, (and other, previously taught metal processes).


Before I started this task, I really needed to make a decision into which CAD package to use.  After speaking to someone on the course who I respect and is doing stirling work, and who also made the shift to Solidedge, I wanted to know what they thought.  They had made the shift back to Solidworks, citing Edge wasn’t great for rendering the final image.  I also spoke to one of the course technicians and they said that Fusion wasn’t powerful enough (yet), so recommend Works as well.  Decision made.  Time to re-learn Solidworks!

After much faffing around and struggling with the sketch design I had for this task – the sketch went into recycling by mistake, so nothing to post on here, whoops – I set to work.

SW isn’t friendly to use!  I forgot about this.  I had to modify my original design to accommodate my current CAD skills, but here is the final result:

lamp 1.JPG
The Swoop Lamp in brass and aluminium.




Wow, I have really forgotten how awkward SW is!  The number of times I had to go back, remove some parts and then rebuild, was getting silly!  Speaking of parts, this is something I chickened out of.  I normally make an assembly and built parts within it, but I just made this as a single part; as such, I couldn’t split this baby up into it’s constituent components for an exploded view.  Foolish.  Please rest assured dear reader, they are all there!  I fib you not.  Am I happy with my CAD choice and the overall finish?  Yes and no.  Classic.  Yes, as the results look good, the render is very convincing and I know that the industry use this software, so it is a sensible choice.  No as the package is a pain to use.  I tried Fusion and managed to make the frame much faster and it looked much more organic; the idea behind this lamp.  Regarding the design, I am happy…enough…for now.  Needs to be much less conventional.  Lessons to learn?  Think up, less down; more middle rather than centre; less orange more than triangle.  What does this mean?  Don’t be normal!



This has now been handed in for discussion and feedback.  Good work.  End of feedback.  Whereas previously, the designs were placed in front of the group for detailed discussions, they were merely looked at for seconds and then…that was it.  I am glad that I managed to complete this exercise so I was able to bring my CAD skills back up to a decent level, but really, there was no point in me spending time in rendering the images, putting them into a document and PAYING TO PRINT THEM!  Printing is not free or environmentally sound, so why on earth have I bothered?  I expected a fair critique into how my product could, or couldn’t be made, what techniques I should have used, and how to improve the design; ensuring I understood the topic and got the best out of it.  I didn’t.  I don’t know if my product generally could be made.  I think it could, but wouldn’t have minded some feedback to indicate this.


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