Forging University: Lesson #3 – Forging vs. Torch Cutting
The third topic in our 6-part discussion compares forging and torch cutting. Before reading further, take a quick look back to Lesson #1 and Lesson #2 to review forging basics. You can also check out Anderson Shumaker’s Forging page for more information.
What is Torch Cutting?
Torch cutting uses a torch connected to a specialty fuel tank to create a high-temperate flame that cuts through metal. The metal is pre-heated, and the resulting high-heat flame melts the material. Also known as oxy-fuel cutting, this method is favored by plumbers, fabricators, and welders, as correct technique produces a sharp, clean edge. Torch cutting relies on one of 4 main fuel types: propane, acetylene, propylene, or methyl acetylene propadiene (MAPP). This type of cutting requires a speciality tip that produces a cone-shaped flame, which creates a simple way to rapidly cut metals without needing a saw. The specific fuel type determines which tip to use for optimal results.
Torch cutting is very portable and is often done in the field. It requires little upfront investment and it’s an appealing alternative to a costly plasma cutting unit.
Forging vs. Torch Cutting
While torch cutting has its advantages, open die forging and ring rolling provides:
- Far less material waste and lower overall cost
- Much greater material size capabilities and grade flexibility
- Continuous grain flow, finer grain size, and higher overall product strength
- Eliminated laminations and porosity at sight of cut
- Greater versatility in shapes and finishes
Additionally, torch cutting can be very dangerous if not done in the right environment or by skilled hands. Oxy-cutting fuels are extremely flammable, and using the wrong torch tip or an unclean tip can quickly create a serious situation. Cutting on the wrong materials (such as concrete) can also have dangerous after-effects from the high-heat of the flames.
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