Forging Beginner Guide — Open Die vs Closed Die Forging

In today’s society, the industry of forging has become very present, and considering how it is what creates most of the metal appliances, tools, and materials needed for a wide variety of other industries, this might not come as a big surprise.

First of all, these types of processes are often referred to as metal fabrication processes, which, as shown over here, can be described as the process in which raw metallic materials are used to build or create machinery and appliances, from medical equipment necessary to fulfill complex or simple medical procedures to regular stainless kitchen knives, styling scissors, chairs, and tables, the metallurgic industry provides amenities that are often necessary to carry on with various activities and projects.

This can include materials that are used during construction projects or overall materials required to planes, ships, and even rockets or scientific equipment required for research.

On the other hand, we can say that forging can be described as the process used to create these metallic materials used during metal fabrication processes, and they are both heavily linked, commonly englobed as two sides of the same coin.

Now, when it comes to forging, we can say that there are three main types of techniques:

  • Open die
  • Closed die
  • And rolled ring

Each one, as you might have guessed, has its own advantages and disadvantages, and is used for specific creations when it comes to metals. In this article, however, we will mainly focus on two methods: Open die and closed die forging.

Open Die Forging

Before any procedure is undertaken, the method that will be used is definitely considered before proceeding, just because, as said earlier, each one provides a range variety of benefits that can be used for the advantage of the creation process.

Something to note is that each of the methods mentioned before is capable of creating high-quality products as long as they are supervised by skilled and knowledgeable staff using adequate equipment. The thing about products created using open die forgings is created through a technique that is considered the oldest of the list.

Also known as smith forging or hammer forging this technique is one that has evolved through mankind’s history and has adapted itself to the introduction of new tools, technology, and machinery, for the sake of keeping itself relevant to today’s standards.

This specific process is famous because it does not completely encase the materials that are being worked with. This material is, of course, heated until an adequate temperature is established, then, with the use of two dies (a bottom die and a top die), the material is hammered in a continuous and consistent manner.

The bottom die is often attached to the floor in something that could be described as a metallic structure and the top die is the one performing the hammering. The compression of the heated metal allows it to be shaped in the desired way, and it has the benefit of being very easy to deal with without too many costs when it is used in materials with the right size, which are often small metal parts.

Closed Die Forging

This one can be very similar to open die forging, with the difference that, as claimed at, the materials that are being manipulated are confined in between a top and a bottom die, and it requires an incredible amount of force to achieve specific shapes.

The greatest benefit of this specific type of working method is that it can be used to achieve more complex patterns on metallic material, or when the material that will be used is too small to be worked with using the open die method. For example, this technique is commonly used to create net-like shapes on metals.

The level of complexity that can be achieved with it depends on various factors, however, such as:

  • The size of the product
  • The shape that wants to be achieved as well as the shape of the material used
  • The specifications required for the final product

To achieve some outcomes, several dies can be used during a single project, just to make sure that the finished product is created as intended.

Let’s Talk a Bit About Rolled Ring Forging

Just for the sake of it, let’s briefly discuss the third method used to manipulate and shape metals: the rolled ring forging method. This process uses two curved dies and excels at shaping metals in a more curve-like shape, which, in some way, is very similar to dies, or rings, if you think about it.

Overall, this specific technique is used in forges due to the fact that it is capable of creating very complex shapes at a very low cost, and the final products tend to be very durable, resistant, and capable of being used for a wide variety of purposes.