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  1. I am making a sheering die for my toggle press to knock out simple squares. This particular die will cut 1" and 5/8" squares. I'm using a piece of leaf spring 3" wide and 3/8" thick. I've not had it tested yet, but my guess is that it's plain carbon between 80 and 90 points. I've used springs before for sheering dies similar to this, but I have to say I prefer 5160, which is typically used in the thicker springs--1" and up. Since this is going to be a hot operation, the alloy is not as critical as it would be for cold. As we all know, the difference in hardness is more from heat than anything else; and in my experience, the biggest enemy is abrasion from the scale, not distortion from power. Spring works for that. It's easy to machine and it's free, both of which let me feel more willing to experiment than with a 50 dollar slab of D2 that's a tool chewer. The first thing is to lay out the holes in their approximate location. Nothing really precise about this other than the corner marks to hold it to the bridge. Then it's drilled. The spring was a tad wide to fit into the die holder, so I ground the edge. Then I put it in its die holder and mounted that in the Garvin die slotter to rough cut the hole square. For anyone who doesn't know what a die slotter is, it's like a shaper, only vertical. The Garvin's ram can be tilted too, to get the relief for the die. It uses a single point tool like a lathe's. It has a rotary table and X Y Z. One corner's cut at a time; it's rotated 90º and then the next is cut, until they're all done. It's pretty rough inside yet, so I take it to the die filer. This also has a table which tilts for relief. It took about twenty minutes to smooth it. Next is to make the punch, but that will be another day. That's when it'll get its final sizing and fit. For now, it's only approximate. Finally, it will be heat treated and surface ground, top and bottom. I hope you enjoyed this. Comments and questions are welcome. Joel