I know, how many puns can I wedge into my posts on blanking? How long is a blank…?
When describing blankers earlier, I never mentioned how they actually operate. Once you have cut out the blanker, you have to turn it up side down and pull the middle of the blank (rather than the outer frame section) towards you, in order for there to be space to insert your metal. Using the desired metal, that has been rolled (unrolled stock is too soft and might just get stuck rather than shear cleanly, this part was missed in my previous tuition and yes, it makes a difference), you sandwich it in the opening you created in the blanker.
Once the metal is sitting snugly between the two leaves of the steel, you pop the whole thing (with inside portion of the blanker facing up) onto a press. Then squish it! The press crunches down on the metal and shears it, hopefully cleanly. We used a fly press, but in a class I did back at Curtin the hydraulic press was preferred – which is what Helen says she uses in her studio. She also rigged up a pretty good system to press with a large vice, involving two thick (3-4mm) sheets of steel and some gaffa tape.