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I know that cold forging allows for sleeker designs because cold forged aluminium is stronger. Are there any other giveaways that indicate a certain manufacturing process?

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    Note that sleek doesn’t necessarily indicate a good manufacturing process or strong materials. Hollow crankarms look quite beefy but are actually lighter and stiffer than a solid counterpart. I’d look at the weight first and foremost, unless you are heavy or ride off-road.
    – Michael
    Jan 22, 2021 at 16:50
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    I'm not aware that any cranks are cast. Even cheap Ashtabula cranks are forged.
    – Adam Rice
    Jan 22, 2021 at 17:49
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    The topic caught my interest after reading this blog post stating the specialized ST crank being cold forged while the ST-4 is gravity cast.
    – user430
    Jan 22, 2021 at 18:15
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    Maybe even less widespread at the moment, but cranks may be also manufactured by CNC'ing and even 3D-printing. May 19, 2021 at 7:33

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quoting Chris Bell:

Unfortunately all aluminium cranks look similar to the untrained eye so it is worth taking advice when buying a pair. Don't be fooled by the deliberate misuse of the term 'forged' as I've even seen that label written on the backs of poor-quality cast cranks. Fortunately, however, many cast cranks are perfectly strong enough for normal use.

From https://cornant.uk/info/cranks.html

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