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I Forge Iron

Graduating Metallurgist, B.S. (read: soon to be unemployed metallurgist) ;)


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You have quite a lot of material here. Very cool! I am interested in welding metallurgy and material science in general. I also enjoy music and DIY projects. Even better if I can combine all three, right? Right!

current project: 1954 Bob Moog theremin

Theremin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I have attached the design plans below and may soon start a thread on the build focusing on the metalworking. I am fabricating a steel stand about 3 feet high (welded), 2 metal spheres (cast) and hand crafting the electronics housing (will involve a torch, a vice, a little elbow grease and some aluminum sheet. The wiring is going to be the hard part here but the metal is going to be the FUN part.

Project status: acquiring parts and materials

I work as a research assistant to a welding metallurgy professor at the Colorado School of Mines, Dr. Stephen Liu. My research under him is currently focussed in two areas.

1)My Job - Determining the mechanism for failure in explosively cleaned coal fired power plant steels.
Basically, steel tubes crack when you put a stick of dynamite next to them...sometimes. Who knew?

2)Senior Design Project - Determination of a method for measuring the temperature of an explosion weld's interface (it happens in about a microsecond)

Anyway, since the economy has most prospective employers scared for their bank accounts they no longer want to fund academic research, meaning I may be taking an unexpected break from school before returning for grad school. One potential plus...free time!

I look forward to spending some of that time in interesting discussions here! (oh yeah and getting free advice) :cool:

The downside...probably not as much explosives. :(

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Welcome aboard Xplode, glad to have you.

They probably shouldn't've let the coal boiler go out before attempting to explosively clean it. Still, I have to agree, WHO could've guessed something might crack detonating dynamite in a boiler. :rolleyes:

The theremin project sounds like a lot of fun and a super opportunity for some serious artistic expression. The things seem to cry out for a steam punk approach.

Some pics if you're not familiar.

steam punk - Google Image Search

For a guy like you to want to join a bunch that is addicted to playing with fire, hitting things, making noise, smoke and layer upon layer of sooty grime, I . . . It's . . . Uh. . . . AHEM. You are SOOOO going to fit right in. ;)

Oh yeah, pics. We're picture junkies too so we for sure want to see some pics of what you're doing.

I need to think about taking an explosion's temperature a bit and get back. A couple ideas are speaking to me right now.


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Well if you get a chance to visit/interview at EMRTC (Energetic Materials Research and Training Center) here at NM tech; look me up and we can tour the explosively done art on Campus and have a beer together.

They have had a firing freeze I know of but a friend of mine says that have been hurting to back fill some positions when it thaws...

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Xplode, welcome to the nut house! I am also a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines in Physical Metallurgy. I have a very close friend who completed his PhD in welding metallurgy there and is semi-retired. Just for personal ammusement, he is working in Seattle running the worlds largest E-Beam welder making parts for the F-22. If you would like to talk to someone who has trod the road you seek, send me private message and I will give you his email address. Good luck with the explosives thing. When I was a student there, you could buy dynamite at the local feed and seed. We did a lot of casual research in the clay pit on the other side of Hwy 6.

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Cool! E-beam is pretty sweet. Thats got to be some vacuum chamber! Its a bummer people have to go and muck up a good thing like buying dynamite at the feed and seed. For stump blasting right? :cool:


I may have to do that. Would you know Vilem Petr? He graduated there (PhD - something to do with mine design and explosives) a while back. He runs the explosives show at the school's experimental mine in the mountains. He would have made an impression. :P He's got some interesting stories about the Czech army.

Maybe this summer?


Explosive forming is similar to explosive welding except you don't want your forming metal to stick to the die. Your friend probably could have done it room temp with no problems. Also, its typically done under water to distribute the explosive force better, and you would want to draw a vacuum in between your die and workpiece so your setup doesn't blow itself up....kind of like this:

Explosive Forming Metal Forming Process

For the steam tubes they have to (usually) shut down the boiler and try and knock off chunks of slag attached to the heat exchangers so they can work work on the boiler without having to worry about a slag boulder falling 50 feet and crushing them and their scaffolding. This is achieved by putting a stick of dynamite on the end of a long rod through a service door and getting it near the slag. but not too close :P and BOOM.

I'm looking at how the steel ages in the boiler (some of these tubes are 30+ years old!) and how that affects the explosive loading sensitivity.



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Can't say I know him; I work at the Array Operations Center that shares the NM Tech Campus but is not part of NM tech. Instead it's "owned" by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory as part of the Very Large Array 50 miles west of here. (Actually the project I'm working on is being built in Chile at 16000' but our computing team is based here.)

We could probably put you up for a night or two if you get down this way, as long as you can deal with a cat and dog...(and my daughter hasn't moved back in...)

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