The creation of FORSETI AXE was kickstarted based on an attempt to rethink the application of materials in manufacturing tangible products. The architecture of axes was thoroughly explored and researched, including axe typologies, functions, ergonomics, weight distribution, mechanical properties, and more.
A radical design approach was taken in this design project. Enduring sharpness and elasticity are opposite properties of all materials. To design a monolithic axe for maximum cutting depth during impact, it is necessary to integrate heat-treated composite axe blade for enhanced longevity, and a hollow lightweight structure for weight reduction.
After analysis and evaluation of materials and manufacturing processes, titanium alloy and high-speed steel (HSS) were selected due to their outstanding mechanical and chemical properties, such as high strength-to-density ratio (Titanium) and High Hardness (HSS). The two dissimilar materials were applied to the relevant parts to maximise the product's full potential.
HSS provides extraordinary structural strength because it is hard and highly wear-resistant. These qualities were further enhanced in the fabrication of the axe blade through heat treatment. Grade 5 titanium is a lightweight superalloy that possesses high weldability, tensile strength and toughness. To maximise this lightweight property, a lightweight structure is designed and incorporated into the axe’s body, structurally enhancing the tool along with weight reduction and redistribution. Such concealed structure can only be fabricated with 3D metal printing technology.
In order to bring out the ideal properties of both materials, the HSS blade is structurally and seamlessly joined to the 3D-printed titanium body via vacuum brazing, a type of aerospace technology that joins two dissimilar metal without compromising structural strength, forming an intermetallic bond in the process. The joined surfaces of components are coated with silver-based filler, then securely clamped with a specialised fixture before being transported to the vacuum brazing chamber. After the brazing process, the result is a virtually inseparable joint, as two modules become a single entity.
FORSETI AXE is the embodiment of design thinking, material application, and product innovation. However, it symbolises much more than a well-executed utility tool design. The project’s core research aims to lay the foundation for potential development and improvement to automobile, prosthesis, drone, and other structure-related design.