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  1. #1
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    Default Shaper Forming Hot Iron

    This is what I'm calling a "spring yoke" though I'm not sure that's the best name for it. I made it to form shapes around different forms. I've done this in the past by making a matching male and female pair, but the spring yoke makes it a lot easier, since this follows any form within its range--so now I only have to make the male. The arms are forged from 5160. Their position is adjustable for different sizes. There's a single nut in the middle which keeps the arms centered on the form (or off center if the form is asymmetrical). The whole outfit is held in the tool post, just like a cutting tool would be, with the clapper box locked.

    The die plate is just a 3/8" plate held in the vise, drilled and tapped for various attachments. I think I've shown this here before but not with this spring thing. (Anyone have a good name for it?)

    It's hard to imagine being without a shaper. It's one of the most useful machines I have. I use it more than a mill. This one is a 24" geared shaper (belt shifter) made by Smith and Mills some time before 1910, when they discontinued this model.

    Here's a very short video of it working. I hope you enjoy it. Questions are welcome, of course.

    Bending Hot Iron with Shaper and a Spring Yoke - YouTube

    Joel Sanderson
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails bendingyokefront.jpg   bendingyokeeast.jpg   bendingyokeabove.jpg   archinbend.jpg   whole.jpg  


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    Super-duper cool. Thanks for sharing

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    Talk about ingenious new uses for "obsolete" technology!

    Thanks for sharing.

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    I enjoyed watching that. Thanks for sharing.

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    Nice work Joel. I am in awe.

    Bob
    WB8NQW

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    I've seen this done before in a blacksmith shop but the setup was a lot more crude. Yours looks a lot nicer and I like the springs. Thanks for sharing!

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    Please explain the clothing on the person in photo #4, I had to check to see the location of the OP, was Europe.

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    Thanks, everyone.

    Lanso, I'm the person you see, in Michigan. I don't like current fashion one bit. I think jeans are uncomfortable, unsightly, and they're hot and heavy to work in. The knee breeches are late 18th century American reproductions by Globe Thistle. They're very cool, light and comfortable. The shoes are from Jas Townsend and are also 18th C reproductions. They're a very good price and excellent quality with all leather uppers and soles, which is nice around hot iron. So I wear old fashions for taste and for valid reasons. Ha ha! Plus, I drive a horse to work, so I think I have to out-old the Amish that live around me.

    Blazemaster, do you know where you saw this before? I'm curious. I'd like to talk with someone else who's using a shaper for hot work. I sure didn't invent it, but I just don't know anyone.

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    I like it- but I wonder- is it because you have a overhead belt driven shop, that you use a shaper rather than a hydraulic cylinder? Because, obviously, what you have made your shaper into is a bulldozer, which, in its hydraulic form, has been a staple in big fab shops for well over 100 years.

    I like your spring loaded flexible die idea. For repetitive work, it seems great.
    Me, I mostly use the hossfeld bender for stuff like this- after almost 40 years of buying and building dies for it, I can usually do things like your U bends with about 2 minutes setup, and no dedicated dies, male or female.

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    Nice job. I remember watching a previous video of yours quite a while ago. It's nice to see that idea evolve. Looks like a money maker.

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    [QUOTE=Goat Marshall;3098120]Thanks, everyone.

    Lanso, I'm the person you see, in Michigan. I don't like current fashion one bit. I think jeans are uncomfortable, unsightly, and they're hot and heavy to work in. The knee breeches are late 18th century American reproductions by Globe Thistle. They're very cool, light and comfortable. The shoes are from Jas Townsend and are also 18th C reproductions. They're a very good price and excellent quality with all leather uppers and soles, which is nice around hot iron. So I wear old fashions for taste and for valid reasons. Ha ha! Plus, I drive a horse to work, so I think I have to out-old the Amish that live around me.


    That’s great! I respect that.

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    Nice job.

    I have over 200 pieces to bend, 1/2 inch diameter , in Z shape.

    Made a die and considered putting it in the shaper, glowing, just like this.

    But, I feared the bottoming that was necessary.

    This follow through method is a great process.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    I like it- but I wonder- is it because you have a overhead belt driven shop, that you use a shaper rather than a hydraulic cylinder? Because, obviously, what you have made your shaper into is a bulldozer, which, in its hydraulic form, has been a staple in big fab shops for well over 100 years.

    I like your spring loaded flexible die idea. For repetitive work, it seems great.
    Me, I mostly use the hossfeld bender for stuff like this- after almost 40 years of buying and building dies for it, I can usually do things like your U bends with about 2 minutes setup, and no dedicated dies, male or female.
    It's space, money, and taste, Ries. That's all. The shaper cost a whopping $200, and it can machine too. Any time I machine a part that was forged, I start with the shaper if I can, since the tool takes the scale better than a mill's; and if it doesn't, it's just a regrind and not a dead $100 cutter. Plus, it's faster, since I can just let it run and walk away to do other things. I can't do that with my mill.

    I've only ever found one bulldozer, and its size and price made it out of the question for me. I really don't like the Hossfeld. I have one, of course, but it's a pain in the neck for my brain. It doesn't lend itself to shapes made from multiple radii, like this arch is. It can be done, of course; and I suppose a spring loaded pusher would do the job, but I just don't like doing it that way. This kind of operation in the shaper lets me set it up and have a helper make parts, nearly without fail. I've yet to find someone to work for me who can make the Hossfeld behave itself.

    I'd rather bend under the power hammer than with the Hossfeld. I really don't like it.

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    Interesting. To me the hossfeld is the go to tool, and I find it second nature. I do things hot on the hossfeld all the time, much quicker and more accurate than doing it with the hammer, which is 3 steps away. Multiple radius parts are pretty easy on the hossfeld, you just cant do them all in one pull, but for a run of 4 or more parts, its pretty time efficient.
    I understand your feelings- I just think differently.
    Plus, I have a power table feed on the mill, so I run it unattended all the time.
    I dont feel like I have the space for a shaper, given how rarely I would use it, and yet I have a Gorton Pantograph and a huge shelf of type and tables that I use maybe once a year- never said I was rational.

    And, the other thing is- perversely enough, I like spending money on new tools. Gleefully, in fact. Especially if they do amazing things effortlessly. And I have room and power to drag in big ones, if I think I can justify them. I have no excuse for the fact I spent as much as a new Toyota would have, at the time, for my Hebo. I just like the damn thing, it gives me the same warm glow when I look at it that I imagine your shaper does you.

    None of which is to detract from the elegance of your tooling, and your solution for bending.
    The idea of the follower dies that spin and can move to adjust to the male die is brilliant.

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    [QUOTE=Ries;3098204]Interesting. To me the hossfeld is the go to tool, and I find it second nature. I do things hot on the hossfeld all the time, much quicker and more accurate than doing it with the hammer, which is 3 steps away. Multiple radius parts are pretty easy on the hossfeld, you just cant do them all in one pull, but for a run of 4 or more parts, its pretty time efficient.
    I understand your feelings- I just think differently.

    But then again, you do use an air hammer--not a highly controllable mechanical with its absolute finesse. You can't push or make single, slow actions with your out-of-control modern air hammer. No wonder you think differently. Ha! Just teasing, Ries (which I hope was obvious). I don't mean to bring up that old argument again.

    Seriously though, this job, with its dozen arches, probably would have been just as fast on the Hossfeld, though now that I have the spring thing, I'd bet tooling for the shaper will be faster in the future than making a comparable tool for the Hossfeld. Do you have pictures of your multi radius Hossfeld set ups? I'd like to see them if you care to share.

    Here's another thing: if I want to match two curves, on different parts, a forming tool in the shaper is much more specific than an open bending tool in the Hossfeld--at least as far as I've ever managed to make. The pressing-together action is different than the bending-around action. The first picture here shows what I mean.

    On the milling vs. shaping note, my universal has power feed too, but it still needs more attention than the shaper. The shaper traverses all across the part, no matter how large, without any attention--taking up to half an inch deep. The mill can cut that deep too, but it has to be reset after each pass. And for any possibly hard alloy, even annealed, I prefer the shaper. Here's a picture of a die forged from 5160 that I worked with the shaper. It was originally squared in the shaper too. This is where that beast shines.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails finishedarches.jpg   dietopview.jpg   dieinshoeclose.jpg   tilestogether.jpg   tiles.jpg  


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    Ok, you sold me. I need a shaper.
    The hossfeld does several kinds of bending, and the action of the round die in the moving arm, around a fixed radius die, is exactly the same action as your setup. I have v block dies for the hossfeld that imitate a press brake die, fixed radius dies of all sizes, and many more. The hossfeld is merely a way to increase leverage- how you apply that leverage is a function of dies, and there are hundreds of ways to set up dies.
    My biggest love about the hossfeld is the tactile feedback.
    with the shaper, its much more like a punch press- the stroke length is predefined, at a set force, and once its started, you must complete at least one cycle.
    With a hossfeld, you can apply as much or as little force as is needed for any given bend. It can be the slightest bit of force needed to straighten 1/8" flat bar, or 8 feet of leverage to bend solid 1 1/2" round stainless bar hot. And the degree of bend, and amount of force, is not only infinitely adjustable, but can be stopped at any point by the power source- me. So I can bend two bars to the same radius, even though they have different resistance.
    Its more flexible, but its a tool that requires familiarity, and intuition.

    I think most people are just scared by the instruction booklet.

    I really should teach workshops in forging with the hossfeld. But I have such a long to do list...

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    [QUOTE=Ries;3098270]Ok, you sold me. I need a shaper.
    The hossfeld does several kinds of bending, and the action of the round die in the moving arm, around a fixed radius die, is exactly the same action as your setup. I have v block dies for the hossfeld that imitate a press brake die, fixed radius dies of all sizes, and many more. The hossfeld is merely a way to increase leverage- how you apply that leverage is a function of dies, and there are hundreds of ways to set up dies.
    My biggest love about the hossfeld is the tactile feedback.

    Do you mean you have a V-block to which the tool bottoms out? I've never thought of that. That would allow mating male/female dies. And the ability to stop and hold would help with the material memory which, in a fixed cycle (like with the shaper) can produce differences between parts. Hmmm. Interesting...

    There is another side to the shaper vs hand powered tool I didn't mention, and that is that I cannot heat my shop in cold weather without the engine running. Its coolant goes through radiators around the shop and doubles the heat I get; the rest is from a wood burner which isn't enough on its own. I also get my lights with the engine running the dynamo, so my electric bill is cut way down.

    Rustyironism, what do you mean by you "feared the bottoming that was necessary"? Do you mean the dies bottoming out? What kind of shaper do you have?

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    Rustyironism, what do you mean by you "feared the bottoming that was necessary"? Do you mean the dies bottoming out? What kind of shaper do you have?

    I have a 16 inch High Duty G & E, 1935 I think, so, just an 83 year old youngster compared to the Grandpa you earn your living with!

    I made a die to form the ends of some rods, and started in the arbor press.
    This is a sample. The full rods are 5 feet long.

    I remembered seeing your original set-up in the shaper long ago, and, it sure crossed my mind.

    Capable, efficient, and fun!

    But, I feared that the bottoming of the die to get a repeatable form would be hard on the shaper.
    I wondered if the ram floated a bit at the end of it's stroke.

    I was going to do a test to see if the ram stopped in the exact spot on each stroke, but thought it was not worth the chance to wreck the machine for a small job.

    My brother pointed to the log splitter behind me and said
    "what about that?"

    DOH. I bought the splitter to make cranks out of 1 1/2 cold rolled and so it was not in my mind to use it for other bending jobs.

    I still have to make those dies.

    The plan is to heat them with coal.

    What is the heat source you are using to heat those rods?

    Mike
    img_1297.jpg
    img_0513.jpgimg_0515.jpg

    I got this shaper from Dave Vincent. I want to treat it as respectfully as he did!
    Last edited by rustyironism; 12-31-2017 at 04:45 PM.

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    Your shaper should be able to do half inch diameter without any trouble, though it's different than mine, so I can't be sure. As for repeatability, yours is a crank shaper, which is very precise in its return (unlike mine) so it should be fine. I would be surprised if it were engineered to be so weak that it would break under the power that is was designed to have drive it, so if it has the original motor and so on, it should be fine.

    My shaper, being a belt shifter, returns more or less at the same place by blacksmith standards, but not by machining standards. (I'm talking 1/8" + variation.) To get around this problem, I build stops into the dies if the return has to be accurate. It hits kinda hard, the vise flexes a bit, and back it goes, but there's no problem to the shaper.

    I mostly use a coal forge, which is what I used for the arches here. It's a lot cheaper to run than propane of the same size. I'm talking one-quarter the cost per hour, though coal is going up. My fire is rectangular--about 14" long and about 6" wide. This is a lot more convenient than the round fire pots that are being sold today. I can put several small pieces in side-by-side and heat them together. I have the plans for it if you want it. In fact, I think I posted them on this site years ago.

    Are the dies in the picture not yours?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails fire3.jpg  

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    I have not made my forge yet, so, a copy of your plans would be great and most appreciated!

    I know what you do.. works.

    I'll do a search on the site for them.

    Yes, that is the die I made for this job.
    I meant that the dies for the next job, 1 1/2 dia., are the ones I have not made yet.

    Interesting that you hit so hard on a die with the shaper, at a stop.

    I was afraid that if I set it up to my final position, hitting the bottom of the die stroke, that any free play that eventually caught up might put too much shock on a gear tooth.

    I see your point, though.
    I considered the shock involved in any shaper operation, being that that is exactly what they do.

    My mental exercise was thinking of taking a cut on a bar.
    If the cut was too much for the machine, what would give?
    Would the ram stall?
    would the cutter snap?
    would a part break?
    I have not taken such a heavy cut, yet, on this shaper, but, surely that has to be something that happens through the decades of use.


    I wonder if your flat belt drive might be able to slip slightly at the end if more pressure than should be there is met.

    Thanks

    Mike


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