In September 2017, we launched a new American-made cribbage peg option for our Travel Cribbage Board, which we called “Cast Pegs”. Well, this sent us on a journey of discovery into the world of metal fabrication. Let us share what we’ve learned with you:
It turned out our new cribbage pegs are not actually “cast” metal, they are “precision milled on a CNC lathe.” Here’s what that means.
“Cast” metal is an additive process where metal is melted down and poured into molds. It takes a lot of electricity to melt metal down but it is very efficient with materials, because the waste can be melted down and re-used. However, casting compromises structural integrity, because it creates bubbles or air pockets in the metal, which also makes it imprecise. At its worst, it can look like this:
“Forged” metal (in case you were wondering) is cast and then pressure-treated for more structural integrity.
“CNC milled” metal is a reductive process where solid rods of metal are reduced down, like whittling down wood, on a turning lathe controlled by a computer. It is sometimes referred to more simply as “milled” or “machined” or “turned”, because it uses a computer-powered lathe to spin the metal rod while tools remove material. “CNC” stands for computer numerical control. It may create more material waste from the metal filings but it is much more efficient in terms of energy, because it takes less energy to power the machine than to melt down metal. And because it is reducing a solid bar, it has more structural integrity, and is measurably more precise, evenly balanced and weighted. In other words, perfect for the hand weight and feel needed for playing cribbage!
Our precision-milled cribbage pegs are made in America and are delightful to play with on our Travel Cribbage Board!