Metal working existed for thousands of years; it is as old as human civilization if so to fathom its useful existence. Archeological artifacts often shone light on metal tools such as spears, clubs, arrowheads and knives. The Minoan civilization which existed around 3650-3000 BC provided relics of pottery, discs, and copper ingots. Similarly, the Egyptian kingdom that ruled over the snake-long stretch of the Nile River produced tools for farming, writing, embalming and defense. In addition, the American civilization of Maya, Aztec and Inca left metal working artifacts like jewelry pieces used in their religious ceremony. On the other hand, advanced technology made human work easier and more efficient that therefore led to modern processes in metal working. But what is foundry? It’s a metal works factory that forges, shapes and melts metals into castings to produce the desired shape, dimension and size. Unlike marbles and stones, metal does not lend to the artistic sculpting of master sculptors, and thus melting metal is only a way of shaping it into a desired shape. Processes involved in foundry include smelting which is the process of separating pure metal from rock. This rock which is also called ore contains minerals and metals that can be separated using the smelting process. Take for example; bauxite is an ore in which aluminum is derived. It takes numerous processes to extract aluminum metal from impurities of rock. Smelting does this by subjecting ores into incredibly high temperature of 1200 to 1400 Celsius inside used induction furnaces, a two-way process called roasting and reducing. Under these processes, oxides, impurities are stripped off from the ore leaving the semi–pure metal element. This is in turn reduced to yield the purest aluminum. Modern smelting plants employ electronically controlled smelter such as the induction furnace diode used together with induction coil in Mexico, induction furnace SCR in Canada or Induction furnace melting in Toronto. Older than the medieval times, forging is the method of subjecting metal by compression to produce the expected shape. It is typically featured as in the process where a blacksmith forges long blade of steel to finish the long iron into sword. The blacksmith takes a hammer, applies a blow into hot iron or steel to modify its shape. Anvil is used as work surface for striking metal held by a chisel. Heating a metal piece involves using blowtorch or oxy-acetylene gas torch. Moreover, numerous tools result from forging such as swords, grills, knives, arrowheads, figures and jewelries. Forging was often portrayed in fantasy and action movies featured in epic films like King Arthur and the Excalibur. Furthermore, production of figures, shapes and tools involves casting which is done by pouring molten metal into mold. When metal cools, it accumulates itself inside the hallow mold block to form any shape. The mold is either made up of stone or other metals. Afterwards, if molding is done, the mold is removed from casts and undergoes degating to remove excess pieces of metal.
/ / Foundry: The Bedrock Of Tool Making