Die Forming - trying it out

I was on the bored side last night - cleaned up the counters  and just was  BLAH feeling

I got out my Die forming stuff -  which at the moment I can really only try the round dies  as I'm waiting on some poly euro and to make some dies to fit my 3" holder

I have the bonny doon round non conforming die set   and gave it a try  using my floor press
I used 26g without annealing - did some rolling mill pattern on it first which probably hardened it - and I should have heat annealed it to soften again
the round is restrictive to size - the edges not bad on first sample - I just did not press hard enough - second sample better- but then I went a bit too far and tore it a bit - of course next try will be heat annealed and maybe put some lube on it too 

the second try -were with Potter USA metal round dies - no box to hold in the poly puck 
but it turned out ok -  I did a rather bad job on texturing the metal but I did heat anneal before forming 
I got it almost to right pressure - I was impressed on how easy it was -  I have to think now about putting a pressure gauge on the bottle jack so I can determine better than just how many pumps 
All in all a cool test - and took me way to long to play with - I have to thank RoseMary's Clay for giving me the incentive to give it a try 
Tore a bit at the center of heart -at the point- hard to see 

Cut around - but would have looked pretty good riveted to something 

I did this with the floor 12 ton  press I got from Princess auto 
 Mine is blue but its identical (cross bar height is adjustable)
You get two  solid steel pieces that sit on the cross bar you can sit your dies on to press down  against - 
the center press  vertical bar under the bottle jack rests on the solid brass or steel plates that press down onto the dies
I am contemplating having a base welded to the cross bar that I can put pegs in to hold the dies/box in place -  Princess sells this for 120.00   (I think I got it on sale for some ridiculous price of 65.00 at the time- with die forming in mind  ) 
yes a cool compact small press would be great but  the cost plus shipping verses a floor model I can move around out of the way  for under 100.00 - sort of made my decision 
bought this in 2008  - first  real use 7 years later - !!!!


  1. That was fun! Have you ever made two hearts or other forms and soldered them together to make a hollow bead? I'm looking forward to doing that again. I have a lot of sterling silver beads I made a hundred years ago, but will stick with copper or brass today. Ready to cut more die shapes. I have too many projects ... And not enough time!

  2. Thanks for the share. I'm itching at the bit to get a hydraulic press. I've been looking at the PotterUSA presses and it'll cost over $1,000 with taxes and shipping. Then add on exchange for Canadian dollar and it's OUCH. I've started my stash fund and should be able to set up in 10 months LOL. I like this idea as it's much more afordable but takes some tweaking. I have read that un annealed metal gives cleaner edges.

    1. Aliciareihl55@hotmail.comJuly 9, 2016 at 1:28 PM

      Potter does layaway with money back if you change your mind

  3. The hollow bead thing is next - I bought 4 of the potter metal dies in shapes I would like - heart - round edge square - round - and shield to start - but I picked up my poly today to make patterns of my own
    I think so far from what I have learned if you want clean edges the metal is your best bet for dies - especially if you want lots of usage - I think edges become softer with wear - they suggest using a brass cap on the plexi to keep the edge and get more uses out of your form - but will have to experiment experiment experiment - and yes never enough time in the day to play - I bought some 1/4" plex here in canada - 2ft x 2ft works out to about 2.19 each compared to rios pack of 4 which is 2.49 u.s. plus shipping so there are some saving you can do locally - even the press - I really dont need to go out and buy the little one when the 12 ton I have works quite well - on tweeking - yes easier to get someone to weld you a part locally at a metal shop than pay for shipping of heavy parts