ForgingSimulation

Blacksmith / Forging Simulator

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Hello Smithies,

I am currently working on a Design Manual for a forging simulator. However, being that I am not a smith myself, I could use input from your community. The general outline is as follows.


Input / Output - How the user will manipulate the tools and items in his virtual metal working shop.
- A Nintendo Wii controller will be used for the manipulation of the hammer and other various tools as well as the rotation of the ingots.
- Multi-Touch Screen will be used for both viewing and selecting the various points of manipulation.

It is intended so that an average person could pick this up and start working while still having a steep learning curve based off of motor skills. Or also so that a smith with little computer experience could pick this up and still be able to showcase his own abilities.



Without going too far into detail. (Although I am more than willing to if I happen to strike some interest among the community). I am currently trying to decide what information MUST be displayed to the user and its importance level.

Example- A potential virtual BlackSmith would need to constantly monitor the heat of the metal he is striking. So on screen a virtual thermometer would need to be implemented.

Beyond this example I could use more input as to what kind of data and information a smith would need to keep track of on screen. If anyone has any ideas, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, if I am being vague at any point please let me know.

Thanks for your time,
Tom

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I think this question could be considered complex.

If you care to specify your location, perhaps someone here can put you in touch with a smith in your area - with whom you could have a chat with.

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indicate the temp as color on the bar make the hammer so ua can hit too hard and find some one in ya areia to let ya watch and ask questions oh and light level in the room determines the color brightness

id recomend useing a gas forge in the game for simplicity ya have to manage the preshure and wach propane levels but it would simplify youre life alot (fewer varibles than a solid furl forge)

in smithing ya can get hurt ad in scale and make them chose the tongs it will let the metal fly off and get lose every so often
make them make their own tools or buy some

start off with a campfire a rock and a hammer and let it grow from there

ya will be suprised by how complex this can get fast

Edited by tetnum

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I agree, log onto the chat and get some opinions from everyone here. We are always willing to help others learn or spread knowledge of our craft. :)
I do have to admit that you should attend a blacksmithing class or watch a smith in action as part of your research. Seeing and hands on experience with hot steel will help you to understand more than just words on a computer screen.
I've worked as a game developer in the past (mostly music and landscape rendering) and can tell you that this is an art that you truly need to experience to be able to implement the subtle nuances that are associated with blacksmithing.
hope this helps

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Thank you for the quick responses!!!

I am located in Philadelphia, PA. I would be more than willing to travel anywhere in the north east part of the US if of course someone would have me. I am also no stranger to shops and job sites, incase your worrying about having a computer nerd around your work area :).


I will definitely be hopping on chat throughout the next few weeks to get some time to speak with you guys.

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I do have to admit that you should attend a blacksmithing class or watch a smith in action as part of your research. Seeing and hands on experience with hot steel will help you to understand more than just words on a computer screen.


Yeah from day one on planning this I knew it would require a lot of hands on research. Which to be honest is why I really wanted to do this, manual labor has always been more rewarding to me than sitting behind my computer. Just don't tell the other design geeks at my school I said that haha.

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Being as that i have grown up in the video game generation, im 19 yrs old atm. Im familiar with the Wii. Ive been blacksmithing for 5 years so i also have experience with that so let me see if I can help ya out.

When forging metal on an anvil the what ever you do on one side is more or less duplicated on the other. The angle that you hold the metal and the angle that you strike is a key factor as well. The strength of the hammer blows is also a factor as well as the heat. The bar also cools at its smallest point quicker than the larger points.

Heres how I believe forging a scroll should work on the Wii console.

Lets say we start with a 1/2 sq bar about 3 ft. long.

We begin by making a point.

Heat the bar in the forge. The intensity of the heat in the forge could be controlled by a cranking movement of the hand with the right handed controller (assuming it will be a coal forge)

Once it reaches the correct temp. pull it out of the fire using a jerk with the left handed controller.

Bring it to the anvil and adjust your angle. I would say raise the left controller to about 15 degrees from level and then with the right controller which would represent a hammer at an angle and swing down with the hammer angled at about 15 degrees the other way.

Turn the bar or left controller 1/4 turn and continue to hammer as stated above. Harder swings would be necessary at the beginning.

Heat and repeat as necessary. Until a point is achieved the smaller the tip of the bar gets the quicker it would cool and the lighter the blows must be so that you dont just flatten the now pointy tip.

The scrolling would be done on the horn of the anvil. hold the left controller level and then mimic hammering over the horn with the right controller by swinging it at a downward angle and also moving the left controller downward.

This is just a basic example of what I would imagine a Wii forging simulator to be like... I have often dreamed of one of these if you have any questions I would imagine I would be the go to guy for your questions I consider myself a well established blacksmith as well as a huge fan of videogames. PM me if you would like some of my contact info I wouldn't mind discussing this over the phone It may be a bit easier to explain. Also If by the rare chance your located near me I would love to help work on a project like this.

Also get with a local blacksmith or smithing club and get into the shop explain your motives and learn how the metal works yourself.

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Heat the bar in the forge. The intensity of the heat in the forge could be controlled by a cranking movement of the hand with the right handed controller (assuming it will be a coal forge)



One aspect I hadn't even considered yet, amazing to see how fast the juices got flowing.


Bring it to the anvil and adjust your angle. I would say raise the left controller to about 15 degrees from level and then with the right controller which would represent a hammer at an angle and swing down with the hammer angled at about 15 degrees the other way.


Spot on with how we discussed having the player interface with the 2 paddles while striking at the anvil!


Great post! I'll be sending you a PM in the next hour or so.

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I would be willing to show you into the realm of blacksmithing. I have a small shop that is located in Union Mills, Maryland which is roughly about 3 hours from Philadelphia. It is a small shop at a 1797 Grist Mill and Tannery. The tooling and any equipment is not modern by any means as the latest piece is an 1880 drill press. You can even get some hands on in order to know what it is that the simulation needs to look for through your eyes. You can contact me through my web site at The Civil War Blacksmith

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Another factor is blow strength and accuracy. These could be simulated by using one drum pad.

This is a fascinating idea though I don't know how well you can pull it off without smithing experience. Getting experience isn't a problem if you have a little determination, the problem is this. Once you experience hammering hot iron and enjoying the fruits of your labors and growing skills the addiction will pretty much shelve the software development.

welcome aboard, glad to have ya.

Frosty

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I designed and wrote software as a profession for over 19 years.

Beginner classes are offered frequently by the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland, about 2.5 hours from Philadelphia. I highly recommend taking a beginner's class. Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland

One method of modeling blacksmithing is through the use of modeling-clay. Iron bars when heated behave very much like modeling-clay. For example, if you stick you finger in the center of the bar it, clay will move away from your finger in all directions. If you press the side of a pencil against the top of a bar of clay, more clay will move perpendicular to the bar than parallel to the bar.

Taking a blacksmithing class is very highly recommended, and a lot easier than writing simulation software.

Your planned program would be a great programming experiment, but I would be very surprised if there was a market for computer-simulated blacksmithing.

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I designed and wrote software as a profession for over 19 years.

Beginner classes are offered frequently by the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland, about 2.5 hours from Philadelphia. I highly recommend taking a beginner's class. Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland

One method of modeling blacksmithing is through the use of modeling-clay. Iron bars when heated behave very much like modeling-clay. For example, if you stick you finger in the center of the bar it, clay will move away from your finger in all directions. If you press the side of a pencil against the top of a bar of clay, more clay will move perpendicular to the bar than parallel to the bar.

Taking a blacksmithing class is very highly recommended, and a lot easier than writing simulation software.

Your planned program would be a great programming experiment, but I would be very surprised if there was a market for computer-simulated blacksmithing.


Indeed I completely agree that for learning forging, hands on experience would be far better than a simulator.

However, the simulator is actually intended for later use in a fantasy RPG setting. Currently games like warcraft use a numerical based system for deciding skill, which requires absolutely no challenge on motor skills to the player.

The idea is to have players creating custom items which are completely dependent on their own knowledge and ability with forging. The end result would also mean that they will gain some experience with blacksmithing, however abstract it is.

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Once you experience hammering hot iron and enjoying the fruits of your labors and growing skills the addiction will pretty much shelve the software development.


I fear you may be right friend. I've yet to experience my own pang and already I can't turn my brain off.

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O man. Games like world of warcraft, and dark ages of camelot < my personal fav. are already addicting enough. I would say that dark ages of camelot actually got me interested in smithing. Your doing a great thing lol. I quit playing mmorp awhile ago but if features like this are implemented in the future I may just start up again.

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As several have already said, find a blacksmith and spend some time in his shop just watching, followed by some hands on experience.

Nothing will educate you as fast as grabbing hot metal. You will learn that hot is actually HOT !! We are not talking 350*F in your mother's oven baking bread, but in excess of 2000*F and there is nothing to relate it to until you have been there. Grabbing on to metal at "black heat" is an educational experience as well (grin).

You will find that the hammer is awkward, but it must be aimed, adjusted, and used delicately and deliberately to move hot metal in the way you want it to be moved. The metal does not always cooperate, so you must also learn different techniques to move metal in different ways.

Blacksmithing is not numbers and achieving a certain score. It is about learning through hands on experience, learning from failures, learning new and different ways to do things. It is about practice and the amount of hammer time you spend at the anvil, followed by the amount of time you spend reading, learning, taking classes, and educating yourself. With a burning desire to learn and intense study, it should only take a little more than one lifetime to achieve.

Find a blacksmith, get your hands dirty, and learn things that can never dreamed were possible. Then come back and tell us about YOUR experience, and what YOU learned.

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I simulated a blacksmith for 55+ years, I got the black part down good, was still working on the "smith" part when I had to give it up.

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The folks here have given great advice. Glenn sums it up nicely.

Local guilds have monthly meetings where stuff is demonstrated, tools are sold and exchanged, and information is shared. One of the closest clubs to you is PABA Home. I would humbly suggest joining the PA guild and the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland and taking a beginners and a couple of more advanced courses at the Maryland Guild. Their courses are usually on weekends and usually for two weekends. You have also been invited down to visit TheCivilWarBlacksmith (Joseph) at the Union Mills, MD museum shop.

These are incredible opportunities to learn. Where you live you are surrounded by skilled smiths and professional shops, and several blacksmithing guilds/clubs. Grab the opportunities and soar!

Edited by UnicornForge

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Yeah from day one on planning this I knew it would require a lot of hands on research. Which to be honest is why I really wanted to do this, manual labor has always been more rewarding to me than sitting behind my computer. Just don't tell the other design geeks at my school I said that haha.


That's why I don't do computer work like I used to.

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Funny you said that Highlander, because My first college degree was in Programming. I worked as a construction laborer, but by the time I finished the assoc degree, I found I preferred working with the electricians. Which is still my mainstay of work. I only use computers as tools now, and don't program much if at all.

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Thank you all for leading me to the next step of my research. I definitely have some planning ahead of me over this semester. I will touch back here around the end of winter to share what I've learned. I will also present the initial designs for some feedback and critique.

Best of luck,
-Tom

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Hello Smithies,

...
:) I didn't see anybody point it out, but a 'smithy' is the shop where a 'smith' works...

"Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands."

The Village Smithy

Good Luck!

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It sounds like you may want to go into the Guitar Hero type simulation than a realistic blacksmithing simulation. To do a decent job of making a true simulation of blacksmithing would involve lots of things that most people don't really want to learn. Not to mention the time involved in forging real or virtual things. And since it sounds like you would be making weapons and such for a role playing game, there would be the whole heat treating/tempering cycle also not to mention engraving etc.

Most people don't want to/can't really spend the time learning a real guitar (i.e. chords, arpeggio, note reading, etc), when they can get the feeling of "playing" the guitar in a Guitar Hero game after just a few hours of play.

There is more to blacksmithing than just hitting a piece of hot metal with a hammer against an anvil. There are all kinds of tools, tooling and techniques. There are many manipulations of the tongs and hammers against the anvil both fully on and partially on the anvil, not to mention the parts of the anvil (i.e. horn, anvil edges, etc). Hammers themselves come in various sizes and shapes, usually with different shapes on each end. My main hammer has a flat face on one end and a diagonal peened face on the other side. I also have rounding hammers (rounded at each end), ball peen, cross peen, straight peen, hot cutting hammers, and set hammers. There are punching, slitting, drifting operations, chiseling, hot cutting, cold cutting, forge welding, tapering, upsetting, and other methods.

I don't want to discourage you, but most people don't really want that level of detail. If they did, they would be forging in real life and their final products would be real and not virtual. I'll take a real item I hand forged over a virtual item anytime. ;-)

Like others have suggest, you really should get some hands on in real life to see what is involved even at a rudimentary level.

Suggestions for a GH like simulation (Let's call it Blacksmith Hero!) would be as follows.

1) Fire control (i.e. air flow to heat metal but not too much or it burns the metal) Use the Wii controller to "pump" a bellows up and down.
2) Metal temperature indicated by color of item being forged (i.e. yellow hot, orange, red hot, cherry hot, black heat etc). Hitting too cold i.e below cherry red will crack metal. As the metal is being worked, the heat colors will fade thru the colors to down black.

3) Hammer face type. One will lengthen metal when hammered in one direction, one will widen metal in the other direction. One will stretch metal equally both ways. Make the striking of the metal relatively simple. All hammer blows will hit within an area or on an edge of an area. The harder you hit, the more metal moves. For example, you would start out with say this.

Starting bar of metal = XXX. Each X is a segment of the metal.

If I hit it on the 3rd X with the "lengthening" hammer face soft, it would then turn into this

XXXX It adds an X to length.

If I hit it on the 4th X with the "lengthening" hammer face hard, it would then turn into this

XXXXXX This would add 2 lengths.

If I then hit the 2nd X on the top edge soft with the "widening" hammer, it would then look like this

X
XXXXXX

If I then hit the 2nd X on the bottom edge soft with the "widening" hammer, it would then look like this

X
XXXXXX
X

Beginning to look like a sword heh? Keep the metal movement in more of a 2 dimensional direction than a 3D.

4) Quenching/Heat treating. Here you would have to get to the right color (lets say yellow hot) and then quench before it cools down. If you quench it too hot, it would shatter, too cold then it would "bend". Not very realistic, but for a game, it would be just enough to give you the Conan effect of "properly quenching" a sword. You can imagine plunging your Wii remote into the magic quenchant and pulling out the new Excalibur!!!

All of this done in about a 5 to 10 minute time period (real bladesmithing a sword could take weeks). One mistake in the "process" and the whole blade either shatters or bends in your virtual world, but it would be over in just a few minutes and another one could be started again.


I think this would be a good start to give a person the "feel" of making a sword without all the hard work involved in real life. They would get the basic thought/feel about fire control, temperature control, metal movement and heat treating without all of the grunt work of real Blacksmithing.

Let me know if this sounds more in line with what you might like. I can probably come up with more thoughts.

Actually having described the above, I may have to get myself a Wii ;-P

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make it so that you have to repair you anvil and rebuild your forge and replace some tools every so often and have to use different hammers for different jobs

and different parts of the anvil and different material like iron steel bronze silver etc. and the temperature of the metal and the size of the metal and use

the wii nunchuck for the left hand and wii remote for the right hand  :)

 

 

the OP has not returned to IFI since making his post 30 Dec 2008

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