Creating and object from a piece of metal is truly an amazing process. When looking at sculptures and metal structures one may take for granted the time, effort, and ingenuity that were required to form and create the object being admired. In fact, forming and shaping metal is challenging. Many people have devoted lifetimes to careers that focus their lives on the bending and shaping of metal.
The study of metal really is a science known as metallurgy. More specifically, the term metallurgy refers to the science responsible for studying the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements. Metallurgy is commonly used in the craft of metalworking. Metalworking, therefore, refers to the trade and practice of creating things, structures, etc. out of metal. Metalworking can be an art, hobby, industry or trade. Professionals such as blacksmiths and silversmiths have studied the trade of metalworking. Others such as jewelry makers and artists utilize metal to portray emotional states in society or to simply make the world a more beautiful place.
It is unclear when humans first began using metal for daily use, but the importance of forming and shaping metal is recorded in history. Historians believe that the first metal used was gold. Gold is a unique metal because it exists in the environment in its natural state. In other words, heat is not required to extract the metal from the ore when using gold. Gold can simply be melted down in its natural state and formed. Sooner or later, early civilizations began to use copper to make tools, weapons and jewelry. It was not long before it was discovered that tin can be added to copper to make bronze. Thus, the Bronze Age was born. The naming of historical eras after the metals that were the most influential supports the idea that metal is of vital importance to civilizations. Eventually, the extraction of iron from ore was discovered and the world moved from the Bronze to the Iron Age. Iron continues to be a widely used metal today.Being that metal has historically been so important that periods of time were named after the most popular metal of the day; it only stands to show how important metalworkers have been throughout time. Today, many of the structures and objects that people use everyday would not exist without metallurgy and the metalworkers who study the science of metals.Many techniques are currently used to bend and shape metal. Nowhere is technique more important for working with metal than in the area of industry. Industrial needs require metal to be formed in various shapes in order to provide the consumer with things like automobiles, household tools and appliances, and machines. Several metal forming machines and equipment have developed over the years for industrial purposes. A roll former is one example of a tool used to shape metal for industrial purposes. Roll forming is a technique where metal is shaped by several different stands. Each stand, or set of rolls, bends the metal slightly until the metal is formed to a specific requirement. Roll forming machines can be built to form metal into a variety of shapes and several tools including roll form taps can be applied to shape metal to a specification.
Metallurgy continues to be an indispensable science that can be attributed with advances in metal forming. The importance of developing and using metal forming techniques and equipment such as a roll former and roll form taps aide metal workers with providing the public with the metal desired in and efficient and timely manner.