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    Three steel prods

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    Post by Rizzar Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:26 am

    My first small series of selfmade steel prods for testing purpose.
    Three steel prods 20120910
    Did much theorywork before, but still i am not sure if everything is fine or how heavy they are.
    They are going to get hardened soon, after building a strong string I am going to test them for draw and drawweight.
    For now estimated (calculated, but I consider to be surprised since calcs are not that relieable) strenght is ~210lbf, ~300lbf and ~530lbf.
    Three steel prods 20120911
    Next steps after the design and working methods are approved (and perhaps some crossbows built) to make prods with rolled ends.
    Three steel prods 20120912
    These ends are acceptable for the beginning, but for me the real stuff ist to be medieval style like especially seen at Jens Sensfelders work.
    With the first series I had cut the ends too narrow, so unfortunately there was not enough material to forge them.

    Greetings Rizzar
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    Post by Geezer Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:55 am

    The steel prods look good. Years ago, Darkwood Armory was experimenting with making steel prods. One of their first efforts turned out too narrow near the ends (widened for the string, of course) the prods would actually twist near the ends when spanned. With about the third shot they would throw their strings. When the narrowest part was widened about 50 percent the problem went away. So much for economizing on weight with narrow ends. Geezer.
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    Post by olrono Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:51 am

    Rizzar they look good to me, especially that 'thick' one in the middle. Now I have a question for the Geezer ... Would it be possible to make the steel prods the same size all the way from the middle so as to "look" like a medieval bow? Remember they would be still the same thickness as they make them now only have 'extra' metal going to the ends. I can imagine having 'extra' metal were it is not needed would rob some power from the stroke or 'shot' what ever you call it? But it would look good. On second thought, there's nothing like the real thing! Keep at it Rizzar, I am looking forward to seeing your progress in achieving that "real" medieval look!
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    Post by Rizzar Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:07 am

    Thank you!

    Geezer, With the design it was relatively simple to me, I reduced the thickness to around 40% compared to the center.
    I have one prod from Alcheminc on one of my crossbows, for my opinion, even that one is too narrow, but very fast on the other hand.

    If I want to forge real ends I would make the string area half an inch wider and longer than now, so it won´t be so complicated as with my test parts I (yust 4inches long limb ends) made beside the prods.

    Olrono, as far as I know the medieval bows (mostly) had a taper, too.
    Though it is not so obvious. They didn´t just reduce the wideness, thes reduced the thickness, too.
    So as a original bow looks quite wide, it is similar to one made from a equal thickness with more reduction of the width.
    It all depends on the cross section.

    At that time, good steel was rare and expensive, they didn´t have the choice to waste it with unnecessary material on a limb.
    And as you already mentioned, it makes the bow slower.
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    Post by olrono Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:49 am

    Thanks Riz, I know real medieval crossbow prods were forged and hammed down in thickness from the center to the ends. Now with modern production they just "stamp-out" prods from a sheet of steel and there tapered down in whith to the ends. This technique 'shoots' great but it doesn't look authentic. To tell you the truth, if some one in this country came out with a "authentic" medieval prod with "rolled ends" and all, I don't know what I would do? But I would like to see it! cheers
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    Post by ferdinand Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:32 pm

    Very nice prods!
    So great to hear and learn and share knowledge.
    I hope u can share some experiënce about rolling the ends of the prod!
    The authentic look is so important to me!
    But that is also my greatest problem.
    Leafspring doesnt allow tapering thickness, just not enough material.
    So i guess we are stuck with tapering the width....
    If i could only get the rolling right, that would be a big plus!
    Cant attempt a prod for myself now so wont be able to try rolling and share it with u.
    My sister-in-law broke the timing belt on her car... With little money to spend she asked me if i would help, offcourse i will. But it has proven to be a real task! Small european 4cilinder cars have a lot of damage if that happens, all valves are busted.
    Anyway, back to crossbows.
    Thanks again for sharing, looking forward to ur progress!
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    Post by riverwindflutes Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:01 pm

    Great looking prods Rizzar, I would certainly purchase one when you get it down to a science especially with the rolled ends, Keep up the good work !!!!
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    Post by Geezer Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:52 pm

    Real medieval steel prods are usually tapered much more in thickness than in width. Alchem and Darkwood taper their prods about 50 percent between center and an inch short of the ends (then they get a bit wider for the nock) Medieval bows taper a bit... maybe 25 percent, but certainly not 50. They taper substantially in thickness, and are hammered very thin, then rolled-up for a strong, lightweight nock. Not having done a direct comparison, I can't say which shoots better, but the modern system is certainly cheaper to make, given hydro or laser cutting. If you want a properly thickness-tapered prod with rolled ends, you're gonna have to talk to either Digitarc in Belgium, or Sensenfelder in Germany. Geezer.
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    Post by Rizzar Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:23 pm

    As Geezer mentioned before, my fist choice, since i am from germany) would be jens Sensfelder, he is doing great work for a really fair price (finishing and finework is your part).
    I did not see any authentic style rolled ends from digitarc, does anyone have experience with them? Their online catalogue just offers pin tips.

    But there are reasons why i didn´t just order my prods:
    first I dont want to wait up to 4 months for an order.
    second the costs for the produced ones are lower
    third the experience from selfmaking is outstanding
    and fourth, with prods where you can see this type of taper comes really much material, I even will have problems spanning the larger ones, since i do not have any spanning device.

    I would assume the minimum prodpower would be around 500lbf to see anything from the taper.
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    Post by Rizzar Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:13 am

    Todays simple work:

    Three steel prods 20121010

    A rough test piece for rolling the prod ends in future builds.
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    Post by JMC Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:38 am

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    Post by Geezer Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:27 am

    Digitarc and rolled-ends.
    Some years ago, the Customer from Hell ordered a crossbow from me. He provided a steel prod with rolled ends.... I was under the impression it was made by Digitarc, and maybe it was. Anyhow, it looked very correct, drew @ 350 lb at about 7 inches, but didn't shoot terribly fast.
    I suppose I could locate the customer and ask where he got the prod, but quite honestly, if I never hear from him again, I'll count that as a Good Thing!
    Not going there. Geezer.
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    Post by olrono Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:34 pm

    Rizzar wrote:Todays simple work:

    Three steel prods 20121010

    A rough test piece for rolling the prod ends in future builds.

    Congratulations you are on the way! bounce bounce bounce
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    Post by riverwindflutes Sat Oct 27, 2012 6:02 am

    \Love the look of the rolled ends, How much for one of your rolled end prods ???
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    Post by 8fingers Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:28 pm

    Seems to me that a swadge block with a stop would give you consistent tips. Maybe a hydraulic press would be faster than 'armstrong' forging.
    I worked in an industrial supply shop that did a lot hoses and cables. I think that their presses might even be able to shape your tips at relatively low heat. Our press could crimp collars onto maybe 1 1/2" cable, doubled to make an eye, cold.
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    Post by Rizzar Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:54 am

    Thank you

    @Geezer thx for the Digitarc information

    @Riverwindflutes: unfortunately i will not be selling these prods in the near future, especially overseas. It will take a lot more time if i consider to do this later. i am still in the developement phase to get some prods for my own use.

    @JMC I made a quick look on your website, impressive work, seems like you are not just building for fun, great

    @8fingers the point of forging by hand is, it takes a lot of time to develope forging skills to build propert tips. In fact you can make your work easier by using pressing devices.

    consider this is a raw test piece, the final ones will have a bit better and a longer "thumb" shoulders to hold the string in place

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