Swaging is a metal forming process that uses cold hammering action to permanently shape the end of a tube, rod or wire. This is an effective alternative to other machining processes that require heat and can result in significant waste in the form of scrap metal.
The swaging process is used to create an effective joint in applications that require high levels of strength and flexibility. Examples include recreational ropes course cables, sailing rigging components and furniture legs. It is also used to connect fittings to pipe or cable, to improve their strength where they meet the ground, such as on casters that are often found on industrial equipment.
The primary types of swaging machine are tube swagers, rotary swaging machines and a specialized tool for swaging hose ends. Each has a specific die configuration that can produce the desired shape. These dies are inserted into the end of the tube or rod. The swager is then pressed by an actuating mechanism to apply a constant hammering force that shapes the end of the stock. The swaging process is often used to flare or bell the ends of tubes to accommodate specific types of fittings and can even shape the internal profile of hollow items.
Tube swaging involves inserting the rod or wire into an appropriately sized hardened steel swaging die. The end of the stock is then reduced in diameter using a mandrel that may be shaped and attached to the die. The swaging process is highly flexible, with the ability to produce an almost infinite variety of internal and external profiles, as long as the final shape has a continuous cross-section.
Rotary swaging machines can be used to produce a wide variety of specialized parts and assemblies. A key advantage of this type of swaging is the speed with which the work can be completed, which is significantly higher than that of traditional machining methods. The swaging process is also capable of producing complex shapes, such as internal ribs, splines or contoured surfaces.
In most cases, the swaging machine is a cold working device although in some situations the stock may be heated prior to swaging. This is often necessary in the case of forming long or steep taper sections, large reductions or when working with some materials that have low ductility at room temperature.
The iCrimp hand swaging tool is an excellent choice for swaging small ferrules. Its compact pistol-shape design helps to reduce on-the-job fatigue while its ratcheting mechanism makes it easy to use. The tool can be used with or without the handle, and it has integrated cutters that help to reduce on-site cleanup. If you need to swage larger sleeves, however, this tool will likely not be suitable because it requires substantial hand muscle to close the compound jaws. For those who are looking for an alternative, the hilmor compact swaging tool is a great option. It is smaller and easier to operate, but it still has the power to swage 1-5/8 inch tubing while providing control for a perfect finish.