Metallurgical skills placed SDM students second globally

The sword made for the  Mineral, Metals & Materials Society competition was designed and...
The sword made for the Mineral, Metals & Materials Society competition was designed and hand-made by undergraduate students.(Humberto Giles-Sanchez)
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 3:47 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Mineral, Metals & Materials Society competition had some South Dakota Mines students perfecting the old art of sword making.

The competition that took place back in March had a team of 6 undergraduate students using what they knew about sword-making, putting their skills to the test against the world.

“I think we learned a lot of good ways to push the art forward. Not to mention how to get the project done but also achieve the metallurgical goals that we wanted simultaneously,” said South Dakota Mines student and president of the ‘Bladesmithing’ club Antonio Romero.

The team placed second internationally during the knife and sword-making competition with the sword they made inspired by a US model 1860 light cavalry saber. Romero said that by working on such a project they were trying to replicate the success that the 2017 Bladesmithing club had during the competition but with their spin on it.

“So we were also trying to live up to what the previous team had done. They did pattern welded steel, so we decided to do a different crystal structure, along with isothermal transformations, and other stuff we thought would be cool,” said Romero.

The unique metal treatment method they used to create the blade involved placing the red-hot sword in molten lead for an hour giving the blade a unique steel structure called bainite. But before they were able to work on the design aspects of the sword, heating and hammering were first on the list of tasks to finish. According to some of the team members, this was a ‘heck’ of a team effort.

“We got to four at one point. One person moving it on the anvil, three people hitting it with a hammer to get the right shape,” said South Dakota Mines student and member of the ‘Bladesmithing’ club Nicholas Stogdill.

Stogdill added the experience of working on such a big project involving metallurgical processes propelled him further into pursuing a career in the field of blacksmithing. Saying that that summer he was able to intern at a local shop because of how well he and the rest of the team did during the competition.

“Getting to the level of production and development is the goal I am really looking for in the field,” said Stogdill.

While the second-place placement left the team wanting to learn more about their unique industry. They say this only motivates them, even more, to come back next year for first.