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MIM's the Word


Last year, Cobra introduced a wedge that was produced with a new manufacturing process called Metal Injection Molding (MIM). This year, Cobra introduced a full set of irons made with the same process - the Cobra King Tour irons.

This begs the question - What is MIM and how does it compare to forging and casting as ways to manufacture golf clubs?

MIM has its roots in the 1950s as a way to mold ceramics. Traditionally, MIM has been used to make small parts for various commercial and industrial products such as medical and dental equipment, firearms and aerospace applications.

Manufacturing irons by MIM has similarities to casting. Fine 304 stainless steel powder is mixed with a polymer binder to form what's called a feedstock which is then injected into a mold to create the rough iron head.

The raw head is then heated again to melt out most of the polymer leaving just the metal. Then the heads are heated yet again to just below the steel's melting point to remove any remaining binder and to fuse the steel particles together. This process (known as "sintering") creates a clubhead that's very dense and it's this density that's key to the enhanced feel of the best forged irons.

The MIM process is consistent and repeatable. It makes it a very viable alternative to investment casting or even forging as a means to make iron heads. Cobra claims the resulting irons are extremely soft at impact, softer than even the best forged irons. 

The jury is still out on that (until we get a set that we can test back-to-back with a premium set of forgings). Rick Shiels has tested the Cobra King Tour irons and said in his review that they felt slightly harder at impact than his P7 MCs.

Cobra sought to improve the Cobra King Tour irons by using tungsten low in the toe of the clubhead, which should serve to pull the sweetspot away from the heel and center it in the clubface and provide an added measure of forgiveness. 

Cobra also uses a thermoplastic urethane insert behind the clubface to dampen vibrations and improve feel further.

Lofts look to be more traditional than competing player's distance irons with the pitching wedge at 47 degrees and a 34 degree 7-iron, which should please many better players that eschew the stronger lofted player's irons.

Can't wait to get a set of these to put through their paces. Watch this space.