We all see and use metal products every day of our lives, but have you ever wondered how they’re made? Different metals have different levels of hardness, meaning some are softer and easier to manipulate and cut than others. In industry, amazing machines are used to slice, bend and even destroy large pieces of metal. We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite videos of metal manufacturing. As well as giving you a glimpse inside factories and teaching you more about metal manufacturing, this collection of videos is mesmerising. From titanium being squashed like marshmallows to parts cut from steel with remarkable precision, you’ll find these clips fascinating – and maybe even strangely satisfying – to watch.
1. High-speed Milling
This close-up shows an incredibly precise milling machine cutting through steel like its butter. Watch those chips fly away in slow-motion! This machine operates using numerical control, also known as CNC (computer numerical control). Guided by a computer, these awesome machines are able to cut shapes for parts with astounding accuracy.
2. Precision CNC Blocks
Want to see just how brilliant a job a CNC machine can do? These parts have been cut with such precision that you can’t even see the seam when they’re slotted together; it completely vanishes. When manufacturing machinery parts, there’s no room for even the tiniest flaws, and a CNC machine ensures absolute perfection.
3. Metal Shredder
This powerful metal shredder makes light work of even the most solid objects, all with a satisfying crunch. Machines like this are used in scrap metal plants to shred metal into smaller pieces ready for recycling. Watch this shredder gobble up an assortment of household goods to see just how powerful it is.
4. Milling Stainless Steel
Another milling close-up, this ‘beast’ of a CNC machine slices through hardy 316 stainless steel with absolute ease. This is a rare oppirtunity to see what actually happens inside a CNC machine. It’s an oddly satisfying watch – and just look at those chips curling away.
5. Hydraulic Press Crush
This is the opposite of a manufacturing process (it’s more like a destruction process), but we can’t stop watching it. Don’t ask us why it’s so satisfying, it just is. Steel pipes are placed under a mighty hydraulic press and melt into crimps like cream on a cake. Delicious.
6. Molten Springs
This video is a compilation of satisfying hot metal manufacturing. You’ll see how glowing metal is manipulated at blisteringly-high temperatures. All the clips are worth watching, but this red hot, malleable metal being coiled into a spring is especially hypnotic.
7. Titanium Squished
Another hot forging compilation. Again, all the clips here are worth a watch, but this one is our favourite. It shows titanium being crushed into a cube. Titanium is one of the strongest metals on earth, so to see it being squished like a piece of Play-Doh by this very heavy duty hydraulic press is pretty impressive.
8. Laser Cutting
Ever wondered how patterns are cut into metal screens and other decorative items? It’s usually done with a laser cutting machine like this one. Elaborate and perfectly-even shapes can be created with lightning-fast speed, as this engrossing video shows. Watch the laser slice through an assortment of metals, including mild steel and galvanised steel of varying thicknesses.
9. Waterjet Cutting
Another process that is used for cutting into metal is waterjet cutting. Water is mixed with an abrasive substance such as stone or glass and blasted from a gun with extremely high pressure. You won’t believe how easily it glides through sheet metal! Waterjet cutting is a great choice for working with sheet aluminium, which can burr with the heat of a laser, and because aluminium’s shiny surface can damage laser cutting machines.
10. Press Brake
A press brake clamps a material, usually sheet metal, between two parts: a punch and a die. This clever machine is used to press crimps and other patterns into metal. It is also known as a bending machine or a sheet metal folder. This close-up video of a press brake neatly pressing metal into shape is extremely pleasing to watch.