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I Forge Iron

Forging a bottle opener (or two).


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I homebrew.  I am a blacksmith.  This project was bound to happen.  Forged from 1/4" mild steel, here is my stab at the bottle opener idea.  The fly press tooling punches out a 1/4" slug in one heat.  I need to build tooling for the taper and then I'll post more.

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Rigoni Ironworks bottle opener.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Edited by JRigoni
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Very nicely done J. I love to see a proper production run and a good product.

Ethan: This isn't a new technique, this is how people who know how to turn a profit work a product. The only thing we have in life is our time and a person ought to make the most of it. What this is is a good example of most bang for your buck.

A person making one or two bottle openers like this would spend more time setting the screw press up than just punching, drifting and finishing a couple openers. Yes? If you're going to make say 10 it starts to cross the break even point where it takes less time to set the equipment up. Making 50? Heck, the first ones would be starting to rust before you got the last ones punched and drifted.

I'm betting Mr. Rigoni was able to blank, (Cut the stock to working lengths or blanks) punch & drift Them all in a couple hours. His screw press has professional looking clamping tools and should be darned fast to retool for the next step. Heck, he may have even designed production tooling and only need to shift the dies to the next position. In that case he can probably blank, punch and drift around 50-100 / hr.

Production technique gets a lot of negative attention with blacksmiths but the old timers know how important it is to plan and sequence projects, lay out the tooling, tools, plan where we're going to stand, how far we will move and when. This is basic production technique. For a good example of forethought look how Mr. Rigoni has hangers to hold the openers after each step ready for the next step. Yeah, they're just a piece of rod but they're exactly the right tool, can you imagine how long it'd take to take one from a box or pile on the table top, position it for the next step? Now multiply that few seconds by every opener. Seconds add up you know.

Thank you Mr. Rigoni, I feel your post should be pinned as an example or how to of how multiple products should be made, it reminds me of working in Father's shop. Sometimes the beauty or artistry in a part is in how it's made more than the finished product. For example who thinks a bottle of Miller is beautiful? Ever seen a bottling line in operation? I'd post a link but all my Googlefu is finding is party planning or images of beer bottles. Oh well. <sigh>

Frosty the Lucky

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Agreed, seconds add up. We make millions of parts at work a year in total with some jobs being hundreds of thousands each.  100,000 seconds is 27.77 hours. 

Now this also plays into price points for the market being served, and profitability for the maker. Generally speaking, custom one offs can get more than mass produced items due to their originality. That is why you can get a coffee mug at Wal-Mart for a couple of bucks, but a hand thrown mug by a potter can run $25. 

Conservation of motion, and maximizing capabilities of the material and equipment = $$

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Skill is making some thing hard look easy. Excellence is preforming something difficult with a high level of skill.  Maybe not that hard but a lot of experience and skill displayed in efficiently getting results, I love that kind of thing;-)

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Thanks everybody, the punch I machined from a piece of 4140.  The swage block I designed, had the forms waterjet cut and built the stand.  I thought about removing the corners, but forging them in saves on material and time.  I made the punch undersized so that after breaking down the corners it came out the right diameter.  I'm having issues with the spring swage build so I might forge the rest of the tapers to size. 

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The quick method I use for cleaning up corners is a top swage on a bic. I've tried forging or cutting the corners out before punching but seeing as I have to drift it anyway and I can clean up the corners as I drift it seems like repeat work.

My latest bottle opener doesn't work so well, I made it twist rather than lever to keep to the "church key" theme. It's for the pastor. Unfortunately it's not easy to use so I call it a bust as a practical opener. Maybe it's a left handed opener, maybe there's a practical joke there. Hmmmmm.

It's resting on a soap stone wood stove tile, the little white square is the plug I carved from a welding chalk (soap stone). I didn't let it get hot enough to flow but the glass frit vitrified and is stuck and stable. A little more tweaking and it may be worth the hassle.

Frosty The Lucky.

carved_s_stone_back.thumb.JPG.a4bab3b279

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I just noticed that the dimple impression is teardrop shaped, that is a nice touch.  I like that!  It is the little things that differentiate between; good, better, and man that is the coolest thing I have ever seen...  :-)   Pretty nice design.

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This is good stuff!
You wouldn't happen to have a video of the process laying around somewhere? LOL
After looking at the tooling photo I can't figure out how the opener is held down when you retract the punch.

Do you have overheating issues with your punch?

Do you use the flypress to drift the hole to round?

Do you use the flypress to set the bottle cap lifter?

Thanks

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I might make a youtube video of the process.  There are two bars that hold it down so the punch doesn't stick.  I cool the tool in oil.  I machined it from 4140 and there is no wear/warp so far.  I use a swage block and anvil to drift open.  The taper and ball depression are under the power hammer.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you, I am using a No.5 fly press from Old World Anvils.  It is 5 tons at full strength.  If I had a little more cash at the time I would have gone with a 6 ton, but it works just fine.  It is no replacement for the power hammer, but it does what the hammer can't, and that is precision, one movement actions. 

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