Friday, September 2, 2011

Get Convenience First

I’ve had some interest in time and motion study since I read the book, Cheaper by the Dozen, sometime in the 1950’s. So, when I am planing a forging session I attempt to plan it heat by heat.

When working with small blanks or short material I want to form them into shapes I can easily pick up as early in the process as possible. Sure as can be, some pieces will find their way to the floor and as long as they are short and flat they will be difficult to pick up. At the very least this wastes time and motion and the distraction may risk losing something else to overheating in the fire.

In the image, Repoussé Sunflower center volume.JPG, I show how it may be possible to establish useful initial volume with the fly press. In the image, Sinking heart volume.JPG, the rounding hammer and swage block are used to establish some volume. Granted, if these pieces land on the floor concave side down, they may still be difficult to pick up (think magnetic pickup), but I’ve improved my chances of easy grasp to at least 50/50. I can skew the favorable odds more by working that initial volume more toward a potato chip shape, dome and bowl, rather than just the bowl or dome shape. I’ll just admit I don’t know the proper topological names for those shapes.

In the image, Various Handle Lengths.jpg, I offer the example of how I first drew out some of the 3/8” round handle length from the 3/8” x 3/4” flat bar blank so I had more to grasp and could do without tongs for the remainder of the forging of the cane bolt slide.

Those two techniques are rather obvious. Using the convenience bend is less obvious but becomes intuitive with some experience. As forging processes become more sophisticated and complicated the issue of obstruction comes up more and more. Planning convenience bends is usually the solution.

Sometimes the bend is just a fold-forge-fold back type. Sometimes it is a bend and twist-forge-bend and twist back type. Sometimes it is difficult to use the bend without leaving a trace of the process in the finished work. Planning a bend of long radius in which the stretching/compression deformation is subtle is often helpful.

Formulating general strategies, such as these, for my work has been helpful.

Back from a week vacation to southern California to see kids and granddaughter, it was disappointing to find the 106º heat still entrenched. The long anticipated break my come next week. In any event, it looks like head down work ahead for several months. It’s nice to begin feeling rested and full of new ideas.

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