What Is a Press?

Metalworking Is Literally a High-Pressure Business

You watch as a seasoned blacksmith takes a piece of red-hot iron with tongs out of the forge and lays it on his anvil. He picks up his heavy hammer and starts to beat the metal into a shape. You marvel at the skill of this craftsman in shaping the metal to his will, perhaps comparing him to a sculptor. While that is an apt analogy, what you ar...

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What Is a Forge?

Bending Metal to Your Will

While forging—the verb—is what a blacksmith does with hot iron, a forge—the noun—is what heats up the metal for the blacksmith to work. Heating metal to make it more malleable dates to prehistoric times, and even though presses and other forging machines have greatly improved the efficiency of the process for large scale modern production, quite a bit of hand forging...

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What Is a Grinder?

The Daily Grind

A common tool found in machine shops and metal fabrication facilities alike is the metal grinding machine, usually just referred to as a grinder. While certain types of grinders can remove large amounts of material in an operation, many are used for smaller jobs, such as more intensive finish work where they smooth the rough spots left on a workpiece after all other operations ...

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What Is an EDM?

Not Your Standard Metal Fabrication Machine

The employee at the used machine tool company witnessed a new arrival being brought in. It looked very different than any of the other machines they had in stock, like lathes, leaf brakes, or plasma tables. The machine was largely white, almost pristine looking when compared to most of the machines they carried. It was boxy in shape but had a tall ex...

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What Is a Shaper?

Time to Shape Up

When the term “shaper” is heard these days, most people in the U.S. and Canada think of the manually fed woodworking tool that uses a powered rotating cutting head. (The machine is known as a “spindle moulder” in the United Kingdom.)

The metalworking machine tool of the same name is not as well known among modern machinists, but it was once held in high esteem and found in a ...

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What Is a Drill?

You Know the Drill

The drill is one of the oldest—and most common—tools known to humankind. After rocks and clubs were first used to pound things, along came tools for cutting material away from o...

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