Forge copper

Copper is a versatile non-ferrous metal, which can also be excellently formed. One of the forming processes is the forging of copper. Below we have summarized the forging of copper for you.

Copper has been processed for millennia

Copper is a relatively soft metal and also widely used. So it is not surprising that the Neolithic period followed only the Copper Age and then the Bronze Age. Bronzes are copper alloys with a copper content of at least 60 percent. Historic bronzes are tin bronze. Brass is an exception. The copper content is over 60 percent, but it is not bronze.

Deformation techniques for copper

Copper can also be easily deformed due to its properties. Here, two deformation techniques are in focus:

  • Cold forming
  • the hot forming

Cold forming of copper

Cold forming of copper is also known as copper rubbing. In particular, it must be taken into account that the structure of the copper deforms. By soft annealing then the structure is improved again (recrystallization).

The hot forming or forging of copper

Hot forming is the forging of copper. Here is the peculiarity that the processing temperature must be above the recrystallization temperature. Thus, later work hardening is permanently built up. Depending on the workpiece (unalloyed copper or copper alloy), the forming temperature is between 750 and 950 degrees Celsius.

These copper and alloy workpieces can be forged

Not every copper or alloy workpiece is equally well suited for forging. In particular, the following copper and copper alloy workpieces are particularly suitable for forging:

  • unalloyed copper
  • Copper-tin alloy (wrought alloy)
  • special brass
  • Copper-aluminum
  • other low alloy wrought alloys

The drop forging of copper

The slug (copper blank) is brought to forging temperature. This corresponds to the recrystallization temperature. With an upper and a lower forging tool (die), the copper is transformed. It can be forged gradually. The particular advantage: the copper is very well kneaded during die forging.

The hollow forging

Hollow forging is a forging of a copper object that is hollow inside and forged from inside to outside. The forging is preferred to a metal cutting or later cutting work to refine the mold to a minimum. Forging steel punches are injected in different sizes, so that also different sized surfaces can be forged.

Why forge and not another machining technique?

Compared to forging, there are other processing methods that could achieve similar results. However, the quality is crucial. The copper structure is finer and more homogeneous after forging, and forged copper objects have a higher surface quality.

Tips & Tricks

Forging copper is one of the oldest crafts. Thus, the profession of coppersmith or boiler maker is often even referred to as the oldest craft in the world. Already from ancient Egypt records are known about the professional forging of copper. Only with the Romans began a greater emergence of bronzes, that is, copper alloys.

Video Board: blacksmith forging copper