Machines == more scrap faster + you get to arm wrestle with computer programs

One of the joys of machines is that you can watch them make scrap out of good material really quick. Some minor issues with the Plasma robot meant I scrapped some steel earlier in the week. I made some adjustments and got my first couple of actual blanks produced. There are some trade offs. The high carbon steel produces more dross than mild steel. Well it really isn’t “dross” more like bead of re-solidified metal on the backside. I will keep playing with feed rate but I don’t think it will ever really go away. Since it is re-solidified it also has the distinction of being hardened, so I will need to draw the hardness back or stress relieve the pieces. This isn’t a big deal on the 1075 so far. [It will be interesting to see how stainless behaves.]

I have the first 2 blanks ground and ready for heat treat. I want to get a few more pieces cut and ground before I fire up the forge and pull out the quench tank. I was hoping to have more pieces profiled Wednesday but went to make some adjustments in the cad files and spent the day fighting with CAD, the Gcode parser and the gCode itself.. grumble.

Anybody that says that using CNC is cheating “cause you just push a button and get parts” has never spent the time to actually get a CNC machine to produce the desired part starting from “zero”. It isn’t necessarily easy and there is quite a bit of up front work. Not including the initial pen or pencil drawings of the designs I’ve got probably 2-3 full days of work into each design. I’m not sure if it will actually save me time. It most likely will in the long term if I make enough similar knives. What I really like is how accurately I can translate my designs to finished steel.

Anyway Wednesday was full of the grump from dealing with the quirks of the programs, so to deal with that in the afternoon before dinner I grabbed a knife that had cracked in the heat treat many moons ago and decide to finally try grinding a tapered full tang. The blade n question was being clay hardened and water quenched and managed to crack about halfway down the edge. [The dreaded “TINK”] I had cut it off behind the crack and tossed it in the “perhaps I’ll make a bench knife out of that” bin from whence I pulled it to try a tapered tang. For some reason getting into the zone in front of the grinder just makes things better. Anyhow, the taper tang turned out well enough that now I think I’ll use it to test some really fancy expensive glue I have that is now expired. I’m wondering if it really does have as short a shelf life as it claims. I figure I’ll glue some handle slabs on without pins and see how long it takes for them to fall off.

That is the update for now, I did get the G-10 I had on order Wednesday, so I’m still on schedule to have some stuff together by next Wednesday.

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