The Steampunk Forum at Brass Goggles
April 23, 2014, 05:55:12 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Official Facebook page: Brass Goggles
 
   Home   Blog Help Rules Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: How to build a brake drum forge...  (Read 15590 times)
jringling
Immortal
**
United States United States


convicted Rogue and Vagabond…long story…


WWW
« on: April 14, 2009, 09:00:12 pm »

Years ago I wanted to build a forge for small smitthing projects, but I never got around to it. I have been bitten by the bug again and want to build a forge out of a brake drum. I thought about joining a blacksmitthing forum but changed my mind for afew reasons:

1. There is enough combined knowledge here on the BG forum to get my questions answered.
2. At least one person here has already built a forge from a brake drum, so I look forward to the voice of experience.
3. I am not able to follow too many forums at the same time... brain too slow...

There are a lot of sites with advice and plans, but I still have some questions that need answers...

I have a large drum from a scraped military vehicle. It is very heavy, but unlike most drums, it is steel (not cast iron). Can I use this, or should I track down a cast drum? I'll post a picture when I get a chance...

Will I need to line the drum with fire brick or some other material? I don't think the old rivet forges were lined but they were very shallow. The drum I have is pretty deep and I am sure the sides will get hot.

My first steps will be to build the stand, but I am sure more questions will come as I get this project moving...
Logged

jringling
Immortal
**
United States United States


convicted Rogue and Vagabond…long story…


WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2009, 01:38:00 am »

Here are pictures of the drum...
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Logged
johnny99
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States



« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 08:42:35 am »

      Hi. being a working blacksmith, and having built more than a few forges myself I feel I might contribute.
steel/cast iron will  not make any difference.  Lined/unlined, it'll work either way. It will be more efficient, and cooler if you line it. But it's gonna get hot enough to burn you either way! Simplest way I know to line it is to go buy a $3 bag of kitty litter, and soak it in water for about a week.  What you will end up with is squishy bentonite clay,  use that to plaster the inside of your forge a couple of inches thick, then let it dry nice and slow over a week or so.  The only problem I see with that drum, is that the hole for the hub looks a little small to make an effective twyr.

     Now a couple questions for you if you  don't mind. One, do you have a way to weld?  Two, what kind of fuel are you going to use (coal, charcoal, wood)? Three, what are you planning to use for an air supply?
     If you could tell me these things, I can give more specific advise on construction.

     Hope this helps
Logged

We have enough youth. How about a fountain of smart!
fciron
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


Getting it hot and hitting it hard


WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 09:15:58 am »

Second Blacksmith weighing in with his opinion: Exactly what Johnny99 said.

I would grind the rivets off that wheel hub so that I had a larger hole to work with for my tuyere (air hole).

Basically you want to bolt a plumbing tee to the bottom of the drum, air comes in the side of the tee and the bottom of the tee can be opened to dump out the ashes. The same bolts can hold a small plate w/  a bunch of holes above the plate as a grate above the air hole. Most of the details are dependent upon the available equipment.

Other than that, remember, this is not rocket science. The purpose of a forge is to deliver more air to the fuel so that it burns hotter. There are still people making a living by pumping air into a hole in the ground with a flour sack. You may be able to build a better forge with more info, but it is next to impossible to fail at building a forge. (Not so true for gas forges.)
Logged

Unless surgically removed my tongue will remain planted firmly in my cheek at all times.
jringling
Immortal
**
United States United States


convicted Rogue and Vagabond…long story…


WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2009, 11:22:21 am »

One, do you have a way to weld? 

Two, what kind of fuel are you going to use (coal, charcoal, wood)?

Three, what are you planning to use for an air supply?

Yes
Charcoal and maybe coal if I can find an easy local source (without just walking the traintracks)
Haven't decided yet. I would like to find/make a hand crank blower, but will probably end up using a small squirrel cage fan.

Thanks!
Logged
jringling
Immortal
**
United States United States


convicted Rogue and Vagabond…long story…


WWW
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2009, 11:26:01 am »

I would grind the rivets off that wheel hub so that I had a larger hole to work with for my tuyere (air hole).
 
Other than that, remember, this is not rocket science.

What you are seeing on the inside are the back side of the studs. I could probably drive them out, but that will not make the center hole bigger. It would give me a ring of small holes around the hub.

Are you SURE it's not rocket science?  Grin
Logged
johnny99
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States



« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2009, 06:06:08 pm »

 Hi.
     Fciron pretty much covered the rest of the design, either a plate w/holes or several pieces of say 5/16 round tacked parallel across the twyr opening to act as a screen to stop larger chunks of fuel from falling down into your air intake. A 2" plumbing T (don't use galvanized, You do know about FUME FEVER right?) turned like this  -l   with your air source feeding into the horizontal pipe, and exiting out the upper vertical opening, where it is either welded or bolted (try a plumbing floor flange) to the bottom of your forge body. The lower vertical will have either a swinging or sliding piece of plate covering it to catch ash, which can be opened for cleanout. In a pinch you can just screw a pipe cap on the bottom, but it really is worth the extra effort to build the dump gate.

     An airgate in line where your air supply feeds into the T ( I like butterfly plates like you see when you look down the throat of a carburetor) is always nice, but not strictly necessary depending on your air source.

     Charcoal is a beautifully fuel to use, and a good choice for this design. As you won't have to worry about dealing with clinkers collecting in the bottom of your forge. For charcoal, I would suggest going a head and lining the forge with clay, shaped into a funnel. This will reduce the amount of unusable space at the bottom of the forge, and give you a hotter deeper fire, without wasting a bunch of fuel. The biggest downfall of charcoal is that you use a lot of fuel, so anything you can do to maximise your efficiency will be well worth the effort.

     As far as air sources go,  a hair dryer from the second hand store is probably easiest n cheapest ( definitely needs an air gate) and they tend to burn out quickly. a squirrel cage is simple cheap and effective ( requires either an air gate, or a rheostat to control air flow). If you want to build your own, google "Japanese box bellows" for a really nice fairly easy to build air supply, or I believe Anvilfire.com has plans on their site for a more conventional blower out of plywood. If you are in the Denver area, you could just contact me, and I could hook you up with a blacksmith blower.

     Hope this helps
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 06:08:56 pm by johnny99 » Logged
Otto Von Pifka
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


goggles? they're here somewhere.....


« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2010, 09:15:00 am »

while the collective brain is pondering this all, could I ask a question?
would a little shop vacc be way overkill for an air source? it has the smaller hose like a house vacc has for attachments.

I used to just dig a hole in the gravel driveway and bury a bit of pipe to hook the vacc to but I could pull it out alot to reduce the air going in, it would just diffuse into the gravel.

I need a small heat source for melting a bunch of zinc, as I have to cast a few cannon balls.
I need to keep the heat relatively low but stable. I've never done more than cast lead and its alloys, zinc is new to me. from what I have read, I need around 800F. a brakedrum forge would be overkill but I think it would come in handy for other projects.

any help would be... helpful. Grin
Logged
Captain Quinlin Hopkins
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United States United States



WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2010, 11:46:51 am »

jringling:
Since this is from the beginning of last year one might assume you'd made more progress.  How did this ever turn out anyway?  Let me know if you still need a bit of advice.  And just to make it even simpler here's what I do.  I don't use a gate on the bottom, the hole you have is actually quite large and could use something to partially cover it so the coal doesn't fall through. I use a straight pipe leading down into a water bucket below(stiff dryer vent works well), and a T in the side to get the air in.  thus, the air can only escape by passing through your fire, and any slag that starts to clog up the works falls into your water bath.  Very convenient.  and definitely get some clay or refractory cement and give yourself a nice ducks nest shape.  you can get a bucket of refractory from a fireplace shop. 

Otto Von Pifka:
Shop vac is definitely overkill.  What you need is a high volume, low pressure setup(hvlp).  The small battery powered fans used to inflate air mattresses are more in line with what you want.  Though they are extremely noisy and would be better wrapped in something to kill the noise.  and they are not really designed to run for hours.  so you might want to think about adding a heat-sink to them to help keep them from burning up.  
Build yourself a small blower fan with a gate to control the airflow, and you'll be much happier(quieter).  

« Last Edit: August 03, 2010, 11:48:52 am by Captain Quinlin Hopkins » Logged

Sincerely,
Captain Quinlin Hopkins (Hoppy)

Do not ignore the freedoms of someone else, for eventually you will be someone else! 

DFW Steampunk Illumination Society
Narsil
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United Kingdom United Kingdom



WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2010, 12:50:29 pm »


Casting zinc is not something I would really recommend as a DIY project. Zinc fumes are very dangerous and in any simple foundry setup its very difficult to avoid significant exposure.
Logged







A man of eighty has outlived probably three new schools of painting, two of architecture and poetry and a hundred in dress.
Lord Byron
jringling
Immortal
**
United States United States


convicted Rogue and Vagabond…long story…


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2010, 12:57:37 pm »

It is nice to see this thread still has life, even though I have made NO progress on building my forge. I still have the drum and material to make a stand, but have not had the time to work on it at all...

soon... one day...
Logged
escherblacksmith
Officer
***
United States United States


« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2010, 04:13:40 pm »

Others have covered the key bits, I'll add in 2 nuggets and a truth.

Nugget 1:
Coal as found in houses and along railroad tracks (which is not recommended as in the US it is illegal, which I suspect is true elsewhere) is usually anthracite or an equally hard coal.  This does not work well for a small home forge as it needs a continual draft to keep going.  If you want to go mineral, you will need Bituminous (preferably low-sulfur).

Nugget 2:
Charcoal and mineral coal (bituminous) have roughly the same btu per pound.  But, the mineral coal is quite a bit denser than the charcoal, so you need less volume of it.  Having used both, I prefer charcoal in an urban environ (tends to piss of the neighbors less -- although I use propane now almost entirely.), but I prefer the process of using mineral coal.  Something about the dance of converting coal to coke to heat.  Maybe it is just me.

Truth:
I have talked to a lot of smiths, and invaribly, all that built a forge for the first time (out of scrap), always built a better one later on.  So, build it, just get the stuff together, shoehorn, glue, weld and get her lit.  Then, after you use it a few times, you'll realize what you need to change it make it better.  As an example, my first was using a stand made from old plumbing pipes, and an 16" wheel from my old intrepid.  With firebrick and sand.  It worked, mainly as an test bed for figuring out everything I really needed. 

Good times.

So, just do it, who knows, maybe you'll get lucky the first time!

Logged
tophatdan
Zeppelin Overlord
*******
United States United States


I'm not Steampunk, I Live Steampunk....


WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2010, 07:12:43 pm »

i would hunt around antique shops and the like, i see hand cranked blowers in those places all the time... cheap too...
Logged

you gotta love livin babe, cause dyin is a pain in the ass -----
 frank sinatra
jringling
Immortal
**
United States United States


convicted Rogue and Vagabond…long story…


WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2010, 07:16:44 pm »

i would hunt around antique shops and the like, i see hand cranked blowers in those places all the time... cheap too...


If you see them cheap, pickem' up... take a look around on ebay and see what they are selling for... not just listed, but SELLING... last time I looked it was crazy... Ebay has killed the reasonably priced antique shops in my area. Now everything is WAY over-priced...
Logged
tophatdan
Zeppelin Overlord
*******
United States United States


I'm not Steampunk, I Live Steampunk....


WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2010, 02:17:38 am »

wow, i have a couple of them myself in the garage (always intended on buildiung a forge) i think the most i have payed for one is 30$
Logged
jringling
Immortal
**
United States United States


convicted Rogue and Vagabond…long story…


WWW
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2010, 02:24:27 am »

wow, i have a couple of them myself in the garage (always intended on buildiung a forge) i think the most i have payed for one is 30$

Can I interest you in a trade?

 Grin
Logged
tophatdan
Zeppelin Overlord
*******
United States United States


I'm not Steampunk, I Live Steampunk....


WWW
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2010, 02:27:19 am »

lol, i dont know, what do you want to trade for it?
Logged
Periodjuice
Deck Hand
*
United States United States



« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2010, 04:59:25 am »

A X shape with a bar small enough to go through the middle of your brake drum with holes drilled into it and the ends capped, and the bottom bent and attached to the blowing part of a air matress blower uper is very similar to my set up, though I have a water heater cut in half, its big enough to make swords from leaf springs and a variable voltage dimmer switch wired into the power cable of the blower can go low enough to blue them nicely. I dunno if you'll  have power to your forge area but a car battery with an inverter works well if not, even so if the fan is 12v all the better. Something people tend to overlook, cowling, very important stops gusts of wind from blowing ash all over the place and cooling your fire signifigantly, and helps the brown coal fumes when lighting from you know exfixiating you. but then again maybe you just want to use a crucible to melt metals down for whatever reason, I melt aluminum cans in a cast iron pot for recycleing. and that usually pays the $200 for the 2 tons of coal I'll use a year.
Logged

If you don't understand it, consume it.
CptFancyBreeches
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Maker/Airship Captain


« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2010, 07:36:31 am »

DO NOT CAST ZINC! zinc when heated creates a toxic fume with is fatal, for this same reason do not heat galvanized steel because it is coated in zinc.
Logged

Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc
Professor Ambrose Maycock
Officer
***
United States United States


« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2010, 07:48:06 pm »

Having built a few forges myself and one portable brake forge for my hobby making pattern welded steed knives and swords. I figured I  would share the plans I have used for making my brake forge. Hope they help.

Video Part 1
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Video Part 2
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Logged
CptFancyBreeches
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Maker/Airship Captain


« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2010, 10:00:09 pm »

Purgatory Ironworks! that guy inspired me to make my first brake drum forge years ago
Logged
Tower
Guest
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2010, 02:34:23 am »

Not to discourage you from building your own forge but if you can afford it a propane forge is way easier to feed unless you have a ready local source of good coal.  If your just making hardware the quality of your fire isn't that important but if you are doing any work with tool and knife steels its very important that you use coal with a low sulfur content and that you are able to maintain a neutral fire.   Propane forges have none of these problems although I will admit, coal is more fun and maintaining  a clean coke fire is an art in itself.

This is my main forge, (the whisper lowboy) I've had it for ten years now and the only thing I've had to do is replace the liner a couple of times.  Its really an excellent model and gets plenty hot enough to make damascus.

http://www.nctoolco.com/pages/foreges4.htm
« Last Edit: December 24, 2010, 02:35:59 am by Tower » Logged
Wormster
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United Kingdom United Kingdom



WWW
« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2010, 05:55:17 am »

WOW!! Purgatory Ironworks videos, I was laying in bed contemplating sleep, now nearly 5 hours later my mind is fizzing with ideas! Re kindling old hobbies and fascinations!! (bugger might not bother with sleep - you're a long time dead, and, death is just a long sleep!!)
Logged

We are the BEC,
And this we must confess,
Whatever is worth doing,
We'll do it to excess!
Hektor Plasm
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United Kingdom United Kingdom


All-Round Oddfellow


« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2010, 10:42:51 pm »

Ahhh...

What I really like about this forum is this:-

At the start of the thread, there was a comparison drawn about asking here, and going to blacksmithing forums to look at building a brake drum  forge thread. I have also looked into this, and the main difference is that here, the emphasis is on how to make this work whereas on the blacksmith sites, the main focus is on the reasons why  you shouldn't.

That is one of the main reasons that Brass Goggles is an open tab in my browser at all times.

Can do, Ladies and Gentlemen.

That is the motto here.

 Smiley

Have a fine 1911 in 2011!

HP

Logged

"all die! o, the embarrassment."
H Plasm Esq. ICUE
torkbox
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States



WWW
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2011, 03:12:50 am »


Other than that, remember, this is not rocket science.

IIRC on details, one of the more interesting ones I saw used a 20 lb. propane tank split down the middle from top to bottom into 2 halves. The upper half was lined with kaolin sheet and the lower was filled with a wood-ash paste, formed in a channel, and allowed to dry. A perforated pipe was run through the channel out one side, and that was connected to the blower. The upper piece of the tank was connected to the lower with a hinge and a handle was attached to open it. Coal fed, it was used to forge large, Bowie-sized, knife blades and it appeared to work great. You are right, it ain't rocket science and they can likely be built more ways right than wrong.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.151 seconds with 17 queries.