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[Workshop] Hydraulic press for production

A Hydraulic press class is being offered in North Carolina, October
17 October 23, 2011: Classes on Oct. 18 Oct. 22, Tuition for 5 days
of classes, lodging for 6 nights, 17 meals, and all gratuities for
only $900.

Chris Darway: Hydraulic Press for Production ~ Cutting & Forming Dies
Materials Kit & Lab fee $ 145 (Materials kit includes optional
rotating bench pin) This is a fast and simple metal working
technique for the small shop or single craftsman to produce multiples
of a design without having to saw each piece one at a time. The tools
used are a jeweler’s saw, a modified bench pin, and a drill.

The process can be compared to cutting cookies out of dough with a
cookie cutter except for the fact that we will be using mild tool
steel to punch softer metal sheet (silver, copper, gold, etc.). The
effect is the same. We can produce exact multiples of the original
design. During the five day workshop we will go over the design of
the die, layout, sawing and use of the hydraulic press. Each student
will produce several steel blanking dies. I will have samples of
work and will show slides related to the process. I will demo a
method of making a urethane die from a clay model. This opens up
more possible uses of forming with the press.

The materials kit includes: the rotation bench pin, one steel piece
which will yield 3-4 blanks, 4 acrylic blanks, and both styles of
saw blades suggested by instructor. $141.90 of materials kit is
optional if you alreadyhave them. Details are on the website for
Florida Society of Goldsmiths.

I’m going to be nitpicky about one thing in that class description,
since being nitpicky and fussy about making pancake dies has been my
job since 1987. I’m not trying to be a weenie (I don’t have to try !)
Chris, but comparing pancake dies to cookie cutters is inaccurate,
since a different kind of die, steel rule dies, are in fact exactly
like cookie cutters. Pancake dies are more analagous to punch and die
sets, or even scissors. Not that it matters much at all, but for
anyone unfamiliar with the process, the image of a cookie cutter just
isn’t close to what a pancake die looks like.

Also, since this subject doesn’t come up all that often, it’s an
opportunity for a little shameless self-promotion in the form of
showing how far the concept can be taken, again, for anyone not
familiar with the process. Not everyone likes making their own dies,
just as not everyone likes doing their own casting, and because I
became obsessed with the process and started offering the service way
back when, I’ve had the privelige and challenge of having to push the
process along in it’s evolution. Necessity being the mother of
invention, people from ‘all over’ coming to me with their designs to
bestamped out has provided those challenges and forced that
evolution. The sheltech link below is my basic site, and this
photobucket one:

shows pics of some of the more interesting things folks have thrown
my way.

Chris, a 5-day class sounds like it’s going to be pretty thorough,
bound to be engaging and exciting for everyone involved. I don’t give
workshops or teach anywhere but I have been known to answer
questions, so if anything comes up, or if you want a few interesting
samples to show people to get their gears turning, feel free to call
or email me.

Dar Shelton
The Sheltech Guy