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Shot Plate Instructions & Tips 


Safety First! Please use hand and eye protection at all times when using your shot plate.

Steel items (plates, punches etc) are coated in oil to prevent corrosion. Keep steel items oiled to prevent rust, particularly in the die cavities. Always use a punch and do not hammer directly onto the plate.

The most important factor in gaining a good impression when using a hammer/punch is to work on a solid surface. Table tops, workbenches etc are rarely rigid enough to deflect the energy back into the metal. Try using a stump, anvil or thin sheet of wood over on a concrete floor. Use a decent sized hammer – a 4lb lump hammer is ideal.

To prepare your metal, you can either: - Use a torch to melt your metal into a ball, clean/pickle and then place into the die. - Saw a blank (from sheet) slightly smaller than the die. It’ll need to be around twice the thickness (depth) of the die.

It’s advisable to use slightly more metal than you think you need to fill the dies. The excess will create a flange around the die that will aid in removing the metal from the plate after hammering/pressing. Carefully use a narrow bladed knife under the excess metal to lever the impression out of the die. Wipe a very small amount of oil into the die before forming as this will also help removal. Ensure the dies are free from dust and debris before use.

Once the piece has been removed from the plate, it can be trimmed, put back in and the backside filed flat and level whilst being held in the die. Anneal your metal regularly.

Hammering - If using copper, gold or sterling silver, you will most likely need to anneal the metal at least once and hammer again to fill the die. This should not be required if using fine silver or pewter. Take care to direct the punch onto your metal and avoid denting the plate.

Hydraulic Press – Limit the tonnage to 15-20 tons on larger dies and 4-7 on minis. This should produce good results with most metals. Too much tonnage and your silver/copper will deform steel! Hand punches should never be used in a press.