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Monday, November 26, 2012

Fold forming copper flat to 3d

The scraps that are lying around my shop are all subject to use. The first picture shows a 1x2 inch scrap cut from a roll of copper flashing. The first thing to do is a straight fold. This is done in the center of the long side by clamping the metal in a vise and beating the edge over  to a 90 degree angle. It is then removed from the vise and hammered flat. The third section shows the open edge cut to a gentle curve.

The first real work involves hammering along the folded edge with a cross peen hammer. This will stretch the metal making the ends begin to curve. After a pass along each side the metal is annealed or heated to red hot and quenched in water.

Next is another round of pounding on the edge of the fold with the blows coming at right angles to the edge. Both of these are done on a flat surface and after both sides are hammered once again anneal and dry the metal.

The final pass is done with a smaller face hammer over a curved surface to minimize contact and further stretch the edge.

Next the metal is annealed for the last time and then the attention turns to the open edge on the inside of the curve. Use a butter knife or screwdriver or a bench knife to open the folded metal. Once the opening is started you can force it open with your fingers.

As the edges are pulled out from the center, the ends will curve toward each other.

As the edges come out into a shell or pod shape you can begin to decide how far you want to go. At this point it looks like a pea pod and you could stop here and fill it with beads or other items.

Opening further along the pod shape will close the ends more.

I opened it fully to achieve a full circle and then decided to use a rotary brush with brass bristles to polish the out side.

This is the result. I made it into a pendant by fitting a bronze band over the ends and closed the tips together.

A simple beaded chain finishes the pendant. This is one of many possible treatments.. Give it a try, fold forming in copper is easy and fun.