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Case Studies

Case Studies

Our wide range of alloys is used in a variety of applications throughout the engineering industry. Within our range we stock proprietary alloys – available only from Columbia Metals – which are widely specified in safety-critical and high performance applications demanding exceptional mechanical properties.

Our product mix is complemented with outstanding levels of customer service and technical support. This combination has led to hundreds of precision engineering companies relying on Columbia Metals as a valued and trusted supplier.

In this section, explore some recent applications of our products and understand why engineering companies choose to partner with Columbia Metals.

Case Studies

Beryllium Copper

Timekeeping Balance Wheel

As an independent watchmaker, David Cottrell maintains a keen eye on metallurgical advances in order to ensure that optimal materials are used in his timepieces. In his search for specialist metallurgical materials, he approached Columbia Metals to obtain some beryllium copper for the production of his balance wheels, a centrally important timekeeping mechanism that functions similarly to …

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NS101

Drop Point Hunter Knife

With a lifelong passion for making knives, Clive Witton has relied on Columbia Metals as a supplier of nickel silver for almost 10 years. When embarking on a recent project to make a Drop Point Hunter, a design made famous by legendary American knifemaker Bob Loveless, he naturally looked to Columbia for supplies. The drop point …

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Coldur-A®

Shakespeare's New Place

‘I say ‘tis copper’ – Henry IV, Part I [III, 3] On 20 August 2016 a ‘grand bronze-studded oak door,’ as the Guardian newspaper called it, swung open onto Stratford-upon-Avon’s Chapel Street inviting people into the new gardens of what was once William Shakespeare’s family home and final residence. New Place, as it was called, was a medieval house …

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NS104

Musical gongs

It was music to the ears of Columbia Metals when Philip James got in touch in search of nickel silver sheets to make a gong. Nickel silver has unsurpassed sound resonating capabilities and Columbia Metals stocks the alloy in sheet form in several thicknesses. Philip, a musical instrument maker from Bristol, has been passionate about …

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CZ101

Chelsea Flower Show

The opportunity to exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show – arguably the most famous flower and landscape gardens show in the world – led Gloucestershire-based designer David Murphy to seek the support of Columbia Metals. With almost 30 years’ experience in the creation of one-off garden centrepieces, David required several brass sheets to produce a …

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NS101

Model railway wheels

For more than 50 years, Gear Services (Letchworth) have been manufacturing a range of 4mm scale model railway wheels under the product name of ‘Ultrascale’. For scale modellers, their product offering fulfils a vital niche in the market and relies on the highest quality materials. “When we started out, the tyres used for the wheels …

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DEF STAN 02-833

Spitfire Propellers

Interpreting material specifications dating back to the 1940s is a regular part of the work of Hercules Propellers, a specialist aircraft propeller design and manufacturing company based in Gloucestershire. One of their recent assignments was the replacement of critical parts from Spitfire propellers using drawings and specifications from the WW2 era. “The original Rotol drawings …

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Colsibro®

The supply of bespoke motorsport components is the main activity of Loughborough-based O D Engineering. With a proud reputation in motorsport engineering, the company uses only the highest quality materials to ensure maximum reliability for the components it manufactures. “One of our key customers commissioned us to make valve guides using Colsibro®,” outlines Dinesh Parmar, Director …

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C106 copper tube

Rolls-Royce engine cylinder blocks

A passion for Rolls-Royce cars and an ambition to perfect the design of cylinder blocks are the twin engines of Kent-based Ameeco Engineering. The company uses C106 copper tubing as part of its Rolls-Royce 20hp cylinder blocks that are now supplied worldwide. The Rolls-Royce Twenty was produced between 1922 and 1929. Designed by Sir Henry Royce, the …

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Colsibro®

Motorcycle racing engines

The restoration of original MV Agusta racing motorcycles is a passionate interest of Mark Kay, the director of MV Meccanica Verghera. His company has elected to use Colsibro®, a trademark alloy of Columbia Metals, to replace the motorcycles’ original cast iron valve guides. “Having produced replicas of the 1972 3- and 4-cylinder engines we are always …

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Coldur-A®

Wooden yacht keel bolts

Andrew Edmonds, the proprietor of Compass Marine Yacht Surveys, was tasked with the almost complete rebuild of a 35m long wooden motor yacht dating back to 1942. When Andrew first surveyed the vessel he recommended that all the keel bolts be replaced as many were no longer visible or were very weak. For this application, Andrew …

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Nibron Special®

Extra high strength cupronickel

Oliver Valvetek produces an extensive range of needle and ball valves used in hostile subsea environments around the world. The high strength and corrosion resistance offered by Nibron Special®, available only from Columbia Metals, has made this alloy the perfect choice for gate valve override stems designed and manufactured by the company. “We have a longstanding …

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Coldur-A®

Tonypandy Cup winner 2014

Contemporary blacksmith Andy Hopper AWCB used Coldur-A®, a proprietary alloy from Columbia Metals, to design a staircase handrail that was awarded the prestigious Tonypandy Cup by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. Andy was initially approached in 2009 to design a staircase handrail for a property with an original Georgian exterior and a modern interior. The property …

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Coldur-A®

Chandelier candle holders

The use of Coldur-A® for chandelier candle holders at a world famous theatre is one of the more creative applications for this versatile alloy. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the candlelit indoor theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, approached Columbia Metals when searching for a suitable material for exactly this purpose. “Coldur-A® silicon bronze forges well, has a lovely …

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Trojan

High strength copper nickel silicon

Guy Croft Racing Engines have specialised material requirements for the build and maintenance of Fiat and Lancia competition engines. For the manufacture of valve guides and seat inserts for a cylinder head, Guy Croft uses Trojan, an extra high strength copper nickel silicon alloy available only from Columbia Metals. Trojan is based on a similar …

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Alloy 718

High strength nickel superalloy

Swedish manufacturer Tractive AB approached Columbia Metals when searching for a material to replace the need for a protective coating on a critical steel component that was under frequent stress. Using the technical advice and expertise provided by Columbia Metals, allied with the support and responsiveness of the export sales team, a solution was quickly …

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DEF STAN 02-833

Nickel aluminium bronze

H I Fraser, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, manufactures products that are used in pneumatic, hydraulic and hyperbaric fluid systems. When the company required a material to manufacture nuts in a gas supply system, they turned to Columbia Metals for the supply of DEF STAN 02-833. “We use this material in a NAB nut in a …

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Coldur-A®

Silicon bronze alloy

In his search for a suitable material for making mirror frames and tables, blacksmith Oliver Dakers relied on the support of Columbia Metals. He required a material that could be both hot and cold forged and was pointed in the direction of Coldur-A®, a trademark alloy of Columbia Metals. “The technical help provided by Columbia’s …

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