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Mike R

hand forge a ball on end of rod?

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Hello all

I decided I wanted to try upsetting and I thought the ball on the end of a rod looked cool so I tried that. I started with a small diamiter rod and was fighting it bending so I went to a heavier piece of digger chain.

It took a lot of heats and time but I got something that sort of looked like a ball. Now the question is what are the tricks to this?

I watched Uri's blueprint on it but it is for the mech hammer. Should I draw the end out and leave a bit on the end full size so it pushes metal to the end and then is there something I am missing or do I just keep beating on the end with the hammer.

What I did was put the cold end of the rod on the anvil and pound down on the other end. It seemed to swell quite a bit down the rod when I wanted it just at the end to make the ball.

Any hints are apperciated.

Thanks

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Upsetting is tough and there is no good way to do it easily so good job for giving it a go. If you are trying to get extra mass on the end of a bar for a ball you might do well to quench the very end of the piece before you start whaling away on it, this will prevent mushrooming. Another good way to start an upset is with a steep taper at the end of the bar. Seems counter intuitive but once again you combat the fact that the material wants to really spread where impacted. If you are just interested in the ball thing and not the technique of upsetting there are better ways.

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I normaly will forge a collar and wrap it onto the end of the bar then take a welding heat and fuse the whole mass solid and into a cube. Next heat I will forge in all four corners to make it octaginal in profile then forge in those corners and end up with a more or less ball.

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start with stock the diameter or close to your world, then make a spring fuller by bending round bar into a long U, use that to neck in the bar on 4 sides, then hang it over the corner of the anvil and upset it back rotating as you do so.

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Hello all I decided I wanted to try upsetting and I thought the ball on the end of a rod looked cool so I tried that. I started with a small diamiter rod and was fighting it bending so I went to a heavier piece of digger chain. It took a lot of heats and time but I got something that sort of looked like a ball. Now the question is what are the tricks to this? I watched Uri's blueprint on it but it is for the mech hammer. Should I draw the end out and leave a bit on the end full size so it pushes metal to the end and then is there something I am missing or do I just keep beating on the end with the hammer. What I did was put the cold end of the rod on the anvil and pound down on the other end. It seemed to swell quite a bit down the rod when I wanted it just at the end to make the ball. Any hints are apperciated. Thanks


The lesson learnt from this is that upsetting the bar end is not the best way to put a ball end on a bar. It can be done, but there are quicker ways

Upsetting is done for other reasons,ie bulking up the metal to make heel bars or similar, or mid bars for features or for making tools for the hardie hole or scarfs for welding., and any other application where more mass is needed

Small bars are more difficult to bulk up because of their tendency to bend.

If you want to put a ball on the end of a small diameter bar, you can double it back onto itself and forge this end round at high heat.

Other ways have already been mentioned, collar and form, or isolate and reduce the stem as in this situation

post-816-0-61659200-1328443373_thumb.jpg

One quick way is to use a nut of an appropriate size, taper the end of the bar to fit throught the nut then forge weld the nut to the bar as you would a collar, as this one was done.

post-816-0-58149500-1328443165_thumb.jpg

Or you can make them into a faceted cube as here

post-816-0-95997900-1328443679_thumb.jpg

The one where the small bar is folded back onto itself and then formed into a ball was used as a berry on holly or mistletoe, and I don't have a clear enough picture of this to post, Sorry.

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Sorry got side tracked there a bit,

So to go back to the upsetting bit, I find it easier to clamp the bar and then upset the end, to ensure I dont put flats on the bars I made a gadget to clamp the bar whilst holding them secure in the vise.

The two large bars had a 1/16" spacer put in and the bar's diameters I was going to use the tool on were the basis for the drilled hole diameters.

post-816-0-02239400-1328444681_thumb.jpg post-816-0-12962900-1328444738_thumb.jpg post-816-0-29764700-1328444776_thumb.jpg


Ideal for making rivet heads but you could make enough mass to form a ball.

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great pictures john, i had forgotten the weld a nut on way - i always struggle to upset things, its blimmin tricky ..

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A Scottish smith visited my shop once and when he appeared on the threshold, I was forging a lap welding scarf. He queried, "Do ya' stave 'em up before makin' the scarf?" I replied, "Yah, we stave 'em up."

In one of the COSIRA books out of London, there is one lesson that says to short point (or blunt point) the end before upsetting. On round stock, this results in a short truncated conical shape done by square, octagonal, round, and lifting with the holding hand. Then, when the upsetting begins, this tends to push the upset back farther and to give one a little less of a golf tee, valve head appearance. I do this on all of my end upsets. If upsetting without a tool such as John B's, the hot end goes to the anvil, not to the hammer; more control that way. The bright lemon heat length should be about 2 to 2 1/2 times the material diameter. One gets too much bending, if the heat is too long. Too long a heat requires a rapid quench. On short, handling lengths, it can be dunked in the slack water, hot end up. On long pieces, water can be dipper-poured on the near horizontal piece over the slack tub. Very long bars are jumped on a steel plate or solid swage block. In any event, it usually takes more than one heat to get a decent upset.

Upsetting can be done by clamping in the vise jaws, and this is frequently done by keeping the work horizontal to get more gripping surface than if the piece were vertical. The problem with this method is that one can get unsightly vise jaw marks on the work. The advantage is that there is no quick water quench to deal with. We used this method with our head and foot bolts, as the marks were welded away and disappeared.

My helper, Daniel, and I just completed some head and foot bolts (cane bolts) for a large, fancy horse barn. We forge welded collars around the upset ends of the bars for the handles. Each weld was forged into an octagonal shape with a truncated end. Lots of welding and shaping was done over the far, radiused edge of the anvil. Again, referring to COSIRA, "The Blacksmith's Craft" shows how this was done for a bolt head. We used 1/2" round, upset, with a 1/4" X 1/2" wrap.

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that brian b video is so cool - he has so much control... what does he mean by the planishing bows, i know he is shining the surface, but what exactly is he doing with the hammer, i have never done this...

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Lots of light blows onto a black heat as its cooling from high red after initial forging process (More facets and polished effect) or you could rasp on a larger diameter one.

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With regard to Frank's entry, upsetting the end, this is where a side blast forge is an advantage, if the bar is put into the fire from the front opposite to the tue iron, you get a short heat on the end as opposed to a longer heat if you are passing at right angles to the tue (in from the side of the fire)

You have to hold the bar vertical in a bottom blast to achieve this effect.

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Your post mentioned using digger chain for this project. Most all digger chain is most likely 1070-1090-ish spring steel, it has a fairly small heat window of happiness, and doesn't react kindly to water quenching or even forging down below a bright red. If you want to explore the ball forging further, I'd recommend using mild steel.

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Thanks for all the help guys.

It started out as an exercise in upsetting and the ball was just something to shoot for. I really like the look of it. I haven't tryed welding yet so the other methods may be awhile out on the learning curve. I will try tapering the end some and see how that goes. The pics attached show how it folded over a little in a couple places. I found I had to keep pounding the sides of the ball to keep it from folding over.

The Vice tool is very cool John. I saw somthing similar on one of Hofi's blueprints and I will be making one. A post vice is close to the top of my want list but still looking for one I can afford.

Thanks for the vidio Francis. I tried some of the stuff Brian showed thru trial and error as I did this ball but I will have to try agean now I have seen how it is supposed to work.

Mike I figured the digger chain was fairly hard based on the use but I have access to lots of it for free. I intend to get some bar stock from swift steel at some point. Hard to pay for it when you can get so much for free.

post-23108-0-52976200-1328476539_thumb.j

post-23108-0-20129800-1328476547_thumb.j

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Mark Aspery has a YouTube video for making a round ball on the end of a rod. The ball is then used to make a swage set. The ball part of the video should help too.


Brian Pierson

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My first thought was "Digger Chain is NOT the right alloy for a first try"

As to it being free, I guess all the extra time, fuel and frustration cost you nothing? Sometimes "Free" is a lot more expensive that "bought"! (And I am a notorious scrounger who never buys new if he can avoid it!)

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