After magnesium is extracted, refined, and made into an alloy, it is time to form the magnesium alloy into materials used in structural engineering with the help of Magnesium machining. Today, there are many advances in alloy forming, in the area of magnesium sheet technology. The sheets are used increasingly to replace other metals like iron and aluminum. The new sheets are formed using heat, but other magnesium alloy materials are formed using one of five methods: hot, cold, press brake, stretch, and drop hammer.
Heat is the optimum tool for forming magnesium alloys. Magnesium sheeting especially requires high heat. The sheets are formed at various thicknesses without sacrificing strength. The process is performed by applying heat to the lump of metal while applying pressure to shape the hot metal. Only light pressure is required compared to other processes. Alloys are often produced from hot forming. Hot forming processes allow magnesium sheeting and other manufacturers the opportunity to create a high volume without sacrificing product quality. The Innovative Thixomolding technique used to make magnesium alloy sheet is a heat forming process.
This is another hot forming technique. The metal is stretched at very high temperatures over forms to shape it. In some cases, the tools used to shape the metal alloy are heated using radiant heat. This is a way make metal products without the wrinkles.
Drop Hammer Forming
To make asymmetrical shapes, shallow forms, and other custom shapes, drop-hammer forming is used. This also is a hot formed die shaping technique. It uses high heat and is a way to reduce shrinking after the metal is shaped.
This category of forming processes is not used on magnesium often. It is reserved for making slight adjustments in shaping the metal, as it does not form well at all without heat. The metal in wire form is bent and pulled at high speeds. Magnesium alloys shorten during cold forming; so slight bends and alterations are made.
Press Brake Forming
Magnesium sheets can be formed into cones, cylinders, rings and into angles and other custom shapes. The alloy is placed in a machine where it is pressed with a die to make the wanted shapes. The dies are made of steel or rubber (if it is to be cold formed). A gas torch is used to heat the metal as needed. The press used can be hydraulic in forming magnesium alloys with rubber dies. This method is more of a shaping process for the material.
This is a general overview of the categories of processes used to shape magnesium alloy, especially magnesium sheets. The primary difference between the use of these processes on magnesium and other alloys is the need for heat in order to significantly form the magnesium alloys.