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Ed Caffrey's Workshop Talk to Ed Caffrey ... The Montana Bladesmith! Tips, tricks and more from an ABS Mastersmith.

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  #1  
Old 02-01-2006, 09:48 AM
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Bob Sigmon Bob Sigmon is offline
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Press Dies

The Hydraulic Press is coming along fine. Now to the business end.

Let's see your favorite Press Dies.

I've designed this Flatter and Drawing die (based on Ed's dies in the video)



Any comments or suggestions? Is the drawing die wide enough?

Bob Sigmon
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  #2  
Old 02-01-2006, 01:01 PM
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Bob, my setup is about like yours, except that my drawing dies are about 2" wide. Works really good for me. The 1" die will work fine, but will leave lots of little waves, in fact twice as many as a 2" set, not that it's bad, but it'll take you twice as long than if you were using a 2" set. You'll need more heats than if using a 2" set, but, again, it'll work. That 5" flatter should prove to be nice, but make sure the steel is heated for the entire length. If say 2" was cold, and 3" hot, you'd put a lot off stress on the die and die holder. I also have a set of "V" dies, both small and large, and a cut-off die, and a "nearly cut-off" die. I use it to cut through my damascus billets, except for the last 1/8th" or so, then fold the billet after grinding it clean.


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Old 02-01-2006, 05:42 PM
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Robert,

Thanks for the tips. This is just drawing and I can make the drawing die 2" with no problem. I ask these questions so that I can get feedback just like this. I'd rather redesign on paper than to have to make another set of dies.

I'll be making an pneumatic hammer when this press is complete, so I'll have another set of dies to make and more questions to ask.

Show us some pictures of your favorite dies, guys! Share the wealth.

Thanks,

Bob Sigmon
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Old 02-01-2006, 06:44 PM
plain ol Bill plain ol Bill is offline
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Bob the dies I use more than any others on my press are similiar to your picture. But since I am not a great artist like you I will just try to explain them instead of drawing. Where you have the draw die (which is great by the way) mine are flat and 2" wide. The back ones are 3" wide (I believe) but they are 10" long. The length makes for GREAT flattening and/or finishing after running through a draw process and you have a bowed billet. I also run a billet through those long dies at just below welding heat after running a billet under the hammer to thin it down after the press quits (home-made Kinyon style air hammer) http://www.billsblades.com/Images/Air%20hammer.jpg . This gives a good finish and straight steel.

I have a BUNCH of different dies, but like I say those are the ones I use 90% of the time.


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Old 02-01-2006, 07:39 PM
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The wide portion of my combo dies is 6", when your building dies, keep in mind that if your welding damascus billets, think about the size (length) of the billets you start with. I initially had 5" dies on mine, but found that in order to weld damascus billets with "one press" the billets could only be 5" long. Back then I was purchasing pre-cut bars of 1084 & 15N20 that would equal out when cut in 6" lengths......I was wasting 1" of each bar of steel. This doesn't sound like much, but when you go through 300-400lbs of steel, you get quite a pile of 1" cut-offs. Once I realized how much steel I was wasting, I went to 6" dies (which stuck out about 1 1/2" on each side of the die holder) Even using 3/4" thick dies I quickly found that I was warping the portions of the die that were sticking out past the die holder. I solved the issue by welding in 3/8" thick gusset plates on each end of the die/holder.

Another thing to note is not to waste your money on stuff like 4140 or such for the dies. No matter what you do, or type of steel you use, it will deform from the imense heat/pressure over time. I use plain old A-36 hot roll, and just tack-weld the dies in place on the holder in such a manner that I can easily grind the weld off and change the die(s). When a die gets too deformed, I just cut it off and weld a new chunk of A-36 in it's place.

The smaller portion of my combo dies are 1 1/2" wide X 3/4". I initially had the small portion of the dies set up just as you have pictured above. I found that any radius (for me) on those dies created more probelms than they solved. I often times would actually pinch a bar/billet in half before I realized what I had done. I finally got so frustrated that I cut off the radiused dies and went with the 1 1/2" X 3/4". Combined with stop blocks it makes for a very good "drawing" die.

If the rest of your press is as impressive as the photos of the slide, you may find yourself in business building presses! Yea, it looks that GOOD!


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Old 02-01-2006, 09:17 PM
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Bill,

Now that's an AIR HAMMER!!

Bill and Ed,

Thanks for the info. I'll change up the design tonight and make the flatter longer and the drawing die wider and a bit thinner with no arch. That's not much of a change for what looks to be quite a bit of increase in performance.

You guys are the best!

Bob Sigmon
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  #7  
Old 02-02-2006, 06:17 PM
SamLS SamLS is offline
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Ed, would a slight crown on the large flat die be beneficial like a 10 FT radius or so for welding Damascus?
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  #8  
Old 02-02-2006, 08:18 PM
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Here's the updated drawing of the Flatter/Drawing Die. . .



Should the edges of the dies be square, rounded (slightly), or a slight mitre?

Bob Sigmon
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2006, 08:32 PM
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I wouldn't worry about putting a radius on the die edges. They'll get rounded off in a hurry anyway. I do enough work with my combo dies that the drawing portions get changed about once a month.....the egdes get so squashed out and they become radiused anyway....sometimes to the point of uselessness.


On the picture you posted....make sure that the die plate comes all the way out/under that smaller section of die, otherwise it will only last until you really bear down on it... then it will bend...even though is is 3/4" stock.


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Old 02-02-2006, 08:52 PM
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Thanks, Ed.

I'll just make the plate below the dies 1" thick, bring it out under the drawing die and support it to the lower/upper die mount.

Might as well beef it up now, rather than later.

Bob Sigmon
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  #11  
Old 02-03-2006, 05:38 PM
plain ol Bill plain ol Bill is offline
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It's a personal choice but I did radius the outside edges of my dies using a grinder and prefer them that way. It gives the end of a push on a billet a softer edge than a sharp edged die will. If that is weld sketched in on holding the dies to the holder don't put that much on. A 1/2" tack on either side will hold them on and make it a LOT easier when time to replace them comes.

I fully agree w/ Ed in that the leading edge of that die needs support. The anvil should extend to at least that point and the die holder also or you will be bending things - especially w/ that big boy cylinder.


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Old 02-03-2006, 05:57 PM
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Bill,

I was just doodling and got carried away. I'm just going to tack the dies on so that I can remove them easy when they need to be replaced. (I hope that I get to use the press that much!)

Thanks for the input! I'm printing all this out so I won't forget anything when it comes to the final design.

Bob Sigmon
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2006, 03:08 PM
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Plain ol' Bill's Favorite Dies

Bill was kind enough to send this picture to me of his favorite dies for his metal muncher press.



Thanks very much! All the input that I'm receiving is really helping me to tighten up my designs for my press.

Bob Sigmon
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2006, 09:30 AM
Dan Graves Dan Graves is offline
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Would railroad rail make a good die?


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  #15  
Old 02-08-2006, 10:39 AM
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The RR track material itself would make a good die, but not a section of RR track. The web is too thin to take the force that a press produces........I tried it and if anything is out of center when you apply the pressure, the RR track will just fold over.


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