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Hammer handpiece tips

 Well, I just got the foredom 30 hammer handpiece, and I hate the
tip. It leaves dreadful marks all over the bezel. I filed and sanded
down the tip a bit and the impressions got a bit better. Is this
what you're supposed to do? 

Yup. As supplied, they’re often not so useable. At least emery it
with fine paper to get it good and flat, and fine enough textured so
it doesn’t leave you with a polishing nightmare. A very flat tip
will, with practice, leave you with the smoothest surface, so long as
you’re not letting the edges of the tip dig into the metal. Convex
ends on the tip move a bit more metal, but then leave mini hammer/pein
marks instead of the smoother little flat marks of the first type.

Some of us have quite a selection of various tips for hammer
handpieces. Flat ended in various widths and profiles (round, or
rectangle are common, as well as a half round shape that’s often quite
useful). And then various degrees of “peen” tip, ranging from a
slightly convex curve to a small tightly ball ended tip that leaves a
terribly rough surface, but sure moves a lot of metal around. And I’ve
a couple of them with a texture, like a chaser’s “matting” tool.
Another is like a little cross pein hammer and leaves a nice
decorative texture.

And don’t forget the “lazer” ™ tip. You can buy one, or make it.
It’s an annealed tip with a small diamond bezel set into the steel,
with the pavilion up. One of those melee you chipped on some pave
setting job, or one you accidentally burned, will work fine so long as
the pavilion is intact. I like single cuts better for this, but I’ve
seen both single and full cuts used. It leaves a nice bright sparkly
finish on the metal. Commonly enough used, these days, so it’s no
longer quite so unusual. Take care to avoid kitschy use… The width
of the tip means it won’t quite get into the smallest details, so
I’ve also made up a steel tip ground to a narrow point, almost like
what you’d have if you broke the ball burr end off a very small ball
bur, only then sharpened the remaining burr shank to a tiny 3 sided
chisel. That then fills in the details and crevices where the "lazer"
won’t quite reach

Also note that the tips are often supplied in a not terribly hardened
condition, sometimes fully annealed even. You can either anneal them
totally for various shaping operations, or harden and temper them.
they last longer that way. Be sure, though, to only harden the
working end of the tip, not the whole thing including the threaded
end. The threads should remain annealed/soft, so that if something is
going to be damaged, it will be the threads on the replaceable tip,
not the hammer handpiece itself. One setter I know even silver
soldered a bit of carbide to the end of one, for use in setting the
channels on 18K white gold, which is especially hard, sometimes. I’m
not sure why that harder tip would move more metal, but he says it
does. he also has to keep resoldering the darn thing, which he snaps
off at least once every few weeks. But that’s not so bad, considering
he’s using his hammer pretty much full time…

Also, if you want to spend some serious money, Frei and Borel sells a
set of hammer handpiece tips in many of the above mentioned shapes,
for the Badeco hammers. These come fully hardened. Nice tools, if
you can justify the cost. The badeco tips will also fit the fordom

Peter Rowe