Topic: Metalworking

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Gauge blocks, a system for producing precision lengths

Technology Sweden Metalworking

Gauge blocks (also known as gage blocks, Johansson gauges, slip gauges, or Jo blocks) are a system for producing precision lengths. The individual gauge block is a metal or ceramic block that has been precision ground and lapped to a specific thickness. Gauge blocks come in sets of blocks with a range of standard lengths. In use, the blocks are stacked to make up a desired length.

An important feature of gauge blocks is that they can be joined together with very little dimensional uncertainty. The blocks are joined by a sliding process called wringing, which causes their ultra-flat surfaces to cling together. A small number of gauge blocks can be used to create accurate lengths within a wide range. By using 3 blocks at a time taken from a set of 30 blocks, one may create any of the 1000 lengths from 3.000 to 3.999 mm in 0.001 mm steps (or .3000 to .3999 inches in 0.0001 inch steps). Gauge blocks were invented in 1896 by Swedish machinist Carl Edvard Johansson. They are used as a reference for the calibration of measuring equipment used in machine shops, such as micrometers, sine bars, calipers, and dial indicators (when used in an inspection role). Gauge blocks are the main means of length standardization used by industry.

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Wringing

Technology Sweden Metalworking

Gauge blocks (also known as gage blocks, Johansson gauges, slip gauges, or Jo blocks) are a system for producing precision lengths. The individual gauge block is a metal or ceramic block that has been precision ground and lapped to a specific thickness. Gauge blocks come in sets of blocks with a range of standard lengths. In use, the blocks are stacked to make up a desired length.

An important feature of gauge blocks is that they can be joined together with very little dimensional uncertainty. The blocks are joined by a sliding process called wringing, which causes their ultra-flat surfaces to cling together. A small number of gauge blocks can be used to create accurate lengths within a wide range. By using 3 blocks at a time taken from a set of 30 blocks, one may create any of the 1000 lengths from 3.000 to 3.999 mm in 0.001 mm steps (or .3000 to .3999 inches in 0.0001 inch steps). Gauge blocks were invented in 1896 by Swedish machinist Carl Edvard Johansson. They are used as a reference for the calibration of measuring equipment used in machine shops, such as micrometers, sine bars, calipers, and dial indicators (when used in an inspection role). Gauge blocks are the main means of length standardization used by industry.

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Low-Background Steel

Metalworking Materials

Low-background steel is any steel produced prior to the detonation of the first nuclear bombs in the 1940s and 1950s. With the Trinity test and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and then subsequent nuclear weapons testing during the early years of the Cold War, background radiation levels increased across the world. Modern steel is contaminated with radionuclides because its production uses atmospheric air. Low-background steel is so-called because it does not suffer from such nuclear contamination. This steel is used in devices that require the highest sensitivity for detecting radionuclides.

The primary source of low-background steel is ships that were constructed before the Trinity test, most famously the scuttled German World War I warships in Scapa Flow.

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Powder metallurgy

Engineering Metalworking

Powder metallurgy (PM) is a term covering a wide range of ways in which materials or components are made from metal powders. PM processes can avoid, or greatly reduce, the need to use metal removal processes, thereby drastically reducing yield losses in manufacture and often resulting in lower costs.

Powder metallurgy is also used to make unique materials impossible to get from melting or forming in other ways. A very important product of this type is tungsten carbide (WC). WC is used to cut and form other metals and is made from WC particles bonded with cobalt. It is very widely used in industry for tools of many types and globally ~50,000 tonnes/year (t/y) is made by PM. Other products include sintered filters, porous oil-impregnated bearings, electrical contacts and diamond tools.

Since the advent of industrial production–scale metal powder–based additive manufacturing (AM) in the 2010s, selective laser sintering and other metal AM processes are a new category of commercially important powder metallurgy applications.

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Shot tower

Architecture Firearms Metalworking

A shot tower is a tower designed for the production of small diameter shot balls by freefall of molten lead, which is then caught in a water basin. The shot is primarily used for projectiles in shotguns, and also for ballast, radiation shielding and other applications where small lead balls are useful.

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Wootz steel

Technology India Metalworking

Wootz steel is a crucible steel characterized by a pattern of bands. These bands are formed by sheets of microscopic carbides within a tempered martensite or pearlite matrix in higher carbon steel, or by ferrite and pearlite banding in lower carbon steels. It was a pioneering steel alloy developed in Southern India (Tamilakam present day Tamil Nadu and Kerala) and Sri Lanka in the 6th century BC and exported globally. It was also known in the ancient world by many different names including ukku, Hindvi steel, Hinduwani steel, Teling steel and seric iron.

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Guédelon Castle

France Military history Architecture Military history/Fortifications Military history/French military history Archaeology Military history/Medieval warfare Metalworking Military history/European military history Woodworking

Guédelon Castle (Château de Guédelon) is a castle currently under construction near Treigny, France. The castle is the focus of an experimental archaeology project aimed at recreating a 13th-century castle and its environment using period technique, dress, and material.

In order to fully investigate the technology required in the past, the project is using only period construction techniques, tools, and costumes. Materials, including wood and stone, are all obtained locally. Jacques Moulin, chief architect for the project, designed the castle according to the architectural model developed during the 12th and 13th centuries by Philip II of France.

Construction started in 1997 under Michel Guyot, owner of Château de Saint-Fargeau, a castle in Saint-Fargeau 13 kilometres away. The site was chosen according to the availability of construction materials: an abandoned stone quarry, in a large forest, with a nearby pond. The site is in a rural woodland area and the nearest town is Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the northeast.

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