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Friday, August 7, 2009

How are Golf Steel Shafts Made?

From Tom Wishon, for About.com

There are two primary ways to manufacture steel golf shafts. One is called "seemless" construction; the other is "welded tube" construction.

A seamless steel shaft starts life as a large cylinder of solid steel. The cylinder is heated and pierced with a special machine, turning the solid steel log into a large, thick-walled tube. Over a series of stretching operations on very specialized machines called draw benches, the large, thick tube is gradually reduced in diameter and wall thickness to become a thin-walled steel tube five-eighths of an inch in diameter. These shaft "blanks," as they are called, are then subjected to a series of squeezing operations that form the individual sections of diameter reduction called the "step-downs" on the shaft.

A welded tube construction steel shaft begins as a flat strip of steel that is coiled and welded into a tube. The welding procedure is quite different than what most people are used to seeing. Through what is called high-frequency welding, the two ends of the coiled strip are literally fused together without the presence of a second, different material as in the case of most welding. A special machine then removes the excess metal from the outside and inside of the welded tube in a procedure called "skiving." Once formed, the tube is stretched down to the required 5/8-inch outer diameter in the same procedures used in the forming of the seamless steel shaft, with the step-downs formed in the same manner as well.

Once formed into the step pattern dictated by each individual shaft design, the raw steel shafts are heat treated, straightened and then nickel-chrome electroplated to prevent rusting.

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