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The 55 Forge Blueprints


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#1 Glenn

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 12:06 PM

BP0133 The Original 55 Forge ©

BP00238 Simple Side Blast 55 Forge ©

BP0333 The 55 Forge © with a Supercharger

BP1048 Side Draft Chimney See pages > categories > Blueprints > Hofi Series

 

Finding parts to make a forge

 

To be added later
Modifications


If someone questions your standards, they are not high enough.

Do not build a box, that way you do not have to think outside the box.


#2 Glenn

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 12:11 AM

IForgeIron Blueprints
Copyright 2002 - 2007 IFORGEIRON, All rights reserved.

BP0133 55 Forge ©
by Glenn Conner

The name "55 Forge" is copyrighted, Glenn Conner 2004

This is NOT a heavy duty forge. It is NOT expected to last a lifetime. But, it is quick to built, works well, and is cheap to produce.


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Locate a 55 gallon drum that contained motor oil, or a known substance. No use killing your self by getting a drum that has contained poisons, toxic substances or other unknowns.

_________________________________
There is a very real danger of explosion at this point.. If you picked up a drum that was reused and filled with a highly volital substance, you will not hear the BOOM. Even an original drum only containing only oil can be dangerous. If you have any concerns, or have never cut into a closed container before, pay to have these cuts made by someone else. Read and understand the disclaimer at the bottom of the page before you go any further.
__________________________________


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Mark and cut the drum 6" from one end.




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Locate and mark the center of the head. Place the air tube over the head and trace around it. Cut out the hole for the air tube. Either end will do, but the one with the bung hole has a "drain hole" installed already.



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I wanted to make the 55 forge last a bit longer, so I made a heat shield for the air tube. You can see that there are no measurements involved other than trying to get the tube in the center. Cuts were made on the lines shown. This is a scrap piece of 1/8" plate or 11ga.





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Yes it will fit through the hole.

Update: I found this was not needed as the ash from the fire protected the bottom of the forge from over heating.



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Flair the air tube.




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This is done cold as it is thin material and I do not have a working forge - yet.




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Now it will not slide through the plate.




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With a chisel, cut a piece of 1/4" round stock about 1" to 1-1/2" larger than the diameter of the air tube. If you use a cold chisel, you only need to cut about 1/2 way through the metal.



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Then you can just bend and break it into two pieces.




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Flatten one end only. Not much just to about 1-1/2 the original diameter. Make two of these pieces.




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Drill 2 each 1/4" holes in the air tube just below the flange. Insert one of the pieces of 1/4" round stock and mark where you think the other piece of round stock could pass under it. Drill two more 1/4" holes as to not interfeer with the round stock.

Insert the first piece of round stock and flatten the "other" end. Repeat for the second piece of round stock.




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Slip the air tube into the heat shield plate. This will form the grate for the fire.

Update: I found flaring the end of the pipe was not needed. The round bar held the pipe in place without the flair.


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Remember if you put a "T" in the air tube that you should cut a hole for the air to enter the vertical pipe. As you can see, I chose to do this step AFTER the "T" section was welded in place and could get no air into the vertical tube. Cut the hole first, and everything works well.




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Air tube and hear shield plate in place. The edge of the drum may be sharp. You may wish to roll or fold the edge over to prevent injury from the sharp edge.

Update: You MUST protect the edge of the drum. You can cut a 2 or 3 inch wide section from the drum. It will look like a hoop. Cut the hoop and fold it in half the long way so you now have a 6 foot long piece of metal that has a U shape. Place this over and around the edge of the drum to protect you from being injured. Drill several small holes in the drum and lash it down with wire.



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If you wanted to use a brake drum as a fire pot, it could either be just put in the 55 forge or a hole cut in the pan to accept the drum.

Update: The brake drum is NOT necessary, it was a modification to see if the forge could be improved.

I found a hole could be cut in the bottom of the drum just large enough for the brake drum to fit into but catch on the rim of the brake drum and hold it in place. This allows the fire ball to be contained to the size of the brake drum diameter. It also keeps you from having to fill the 55 Forge with material (ash) to the top of the brake drum. In a later design I found a single disk rotor works just as well.



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The 55 Forge at operating temperature, in fact welding heat.




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Air tube after 3 hours of forging. I did find that the "grate" was large enough for a good supply of air while small enough to hold the clinkers, ash etc in the pan.

Update: I have used this same grate and burned fines, or coal dust as fuel. The grate works.




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This is an inexpensive set up that is quick to build.

You can line the bottom of the 55 gallon pan forge to make it last longer. Use clay, firebrick, or 3 parts sand to 1 part Portland cement (source for the recipe is Frank Turley) as a liner.

Do not try to over engineer simple. Do not try to complicate simple. A forge is nothing more than a container to hold a fire with air added to increase the heat of the fuel. For those that scoff at the idea of a 55 Forge, compare it to a rivet forge made from thin tin, or a pan forge. Be sure to measure the thickness of the pans, diameter of the pans, and all the other "stuff", and be sure to write it all down for reference. When you finish, just follow the smoke as I'll be forging using the 55 Forge.

This is the basic 55 Forge. Several modifications to the 55 Forge that will be shown in other Blueprints.

Update: I found the bare 55 gallon drum with the auto exhaust pipe for an air pipe was all that was needed. The inch or so of ash that would naturally build up is all that is needed to protect the bottom of the drum from heat. This forge was run hard at welding heat for 8 hours and worked very well. It was left outside in the weather, rain, snow, summer and winter. The end of the air pipe burned off after about a year, and a new hole was drilled for the rod. It took maybe 20 minutes. After a couple of years the pan started to show signs of needing replaced. The pan was replaced as I recall in the third year.

Final thoughts:
I have used the 55 Forge © with many modifications. I keep coming back to the original design because it works. Later designs eliminate the need to weld the air pipe which makes things even simpler. As stated earlier, this is NOT a heavy duty forge. It is NOT expected to last a lifetime, It costs little or nothing, and takes under an hour to build and works well. The 55 Forge © is a great forge to play with while you look for, or build your perfect forge.



*** Disclaimer ***Life is dangerous. Use good sense in everything you do. Research and understand the dangers of each action before you start, and protect yourself and others. If you get hurt, you have only yourself to blame. The use of any electronic or printed information is solely at the user's risk.


If someone questions your standards, they are not high enough.

Do not build a box, that way you do not have to think outside the box.


#3 Glenn

Glenn

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 12:15 AM

IForgeIron.com Blueprints
Copyright © 2002 - 2006 IFORGEIRON.COM, All rights reserved.

BP00238 Simple Side Blast 55 Forge ©
by Glenn Conner

The name "55 Forge" is copyrighted, Glenn Conner 2004


How do you quickly build a forge, that a beginner can use with little experience in construction techniques? The 55 Forge © Blueprint addressed that but required a little welding. The Simple Side Draft is another version of the basic 55 Forge ©, but without the fuss.


Locate a pan, plow disk, bottom of a 55 gallon drum, or a flat piece of dirt. I chose the bottom 6 inches of a 55 gallon drum for this blueprint only because it was handy.


Use caution if you cut into any 55 gallon drum or closed container.

_________________________________
There is a very real danger of explosion at this point.. If you picked up a drum that was reused and filled with a highly volital substance, you will not hear the BOOM. Even an original drum only containing only oil can be dangerous. If you have any concerns, or have never cut into a closed container before, pay to have these cuts made by someone else. Read and understand the disclaimer at the bottom of the page before you go any further.
__________________________________



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I grabbed the first pipe handy which turned out to be 1-1/4 inches inside diameter.


Update: You MUST protect the edge of the drum. You can cut a 2 or 3 inch wide section from the drum. It will look like a hoop. Cut the hoop and fold it in half the long way so you now have a 6 foot long piece of metal that has a U shape. Place this over and around the edge of the drum to protect you from being injured. Drill several small holes in the drum and lash it down with wire.


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To leave a little ash to protect the bottom of the pan I placed it on a brick.



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I used additional brick to fill in the space till I could get enough ashes to replace the brick.


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Some old ash and clinkers in the middle and then started a fire using sticks from the yard.

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Add a little coal and you get a bit of smoke.


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The fire breaks through and the smoke is burned.



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As the coal catches fire the smoke is consumed.



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And you have a good bed of coals

The fire did not have the aggressiveness I have come to expect from a bottom draft forge so I changed the pipe to a smaller pipe, this time another piece of scrap pipe with a 1 inch inside diameter.



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Wad up a couple sheets of paper and set them on fire.

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Add some sticks from the yard.


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A little air to get the sticks to burning.


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Then add a little coal to the top of the sticks and a little more air.


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It is indeed a little more aggressive fire with a more concentrated blast. Did not take long to get the 3/8 inch rod up to yellow temp.

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This shows the ball of fire that the Simple Side Draft forge produced..

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As a simple, quick to make forge, the Simple Side Draft 55 Forge © is worth considering. A section of pipe, an air supply, some coal and you can have a forge. It is not a complicated set up, and certainly will get metal hot enough to forge.

Use what is available to you in your area. There are many ways to build a forge, and each has merit if it works. Assemble the parts and see what happens. Do not be afraid to change things. Keep what works and improve the design with each new model.

Each forge and each fire pot burns a little differently. Find the sweet spot in the forge you are using and figure out what how to use that forge to it best advantage.

When you get enough money ahead, purchase or make a heavy fire pot and purchase or make a more permanent forge. This is just one step as you travel along the road of blacksmithing knowledge. Ask questions, learn, and ask more questions. then pass the knowledge on to others.

Final thoughts:
I have used the 55 Forge © with many modifications. I keep coming back to the original design because it works. Later designs eliminate the need to weld the air pipe which makes things even simpler. As stated earlier, this is NOT a heavy duty forge. It is NOT expected to last a lifetime, It costs little or nothing, and takes under an hour to build and works well. The 55 Forge © is a great forge to play with while you look for, or build your perfect forge.



*** Disclaimer ***Life is dangerous. Use good sense in everything you do. Research and understand the dangers of each action before you start, and protect yourself and others. If you get hurt, you have only yourself to blame. The use of any electronic or printed information is solely at the user's risk.


If someone questions your standards, they are not high enough.

Do not build a box, that way you do not have to think outside the box.


#4 Glenn

Glenn

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 11:42 AM

IForgeIron Blueprints
Copyright 2002 - 2011 IFORGEIRON, All rights reserved

BP0333 55 Forge© with a Supercharger


The name "55 Forge" is copyrighted, Glenn Conner 2004
by Glenn Conner



This is NOT a heavy duty forge. It is NOT expected to last a lifetime.
But, it is quick to built, works well, and is cheap to produce.


There is a very real danger of explosion at this point.. If you picked up a drum that was reused and filled with a highly vilatile substance, you will not hear the BOOM. Even an original drum only containing only oil can be dangerous. If you have any concerns, or have never cut into a closed container before, pay to have these cuts made by someone else. Read and understand the disclaimer at the bottom of the page before you go any further.




Start with a 55 gallon drum (or a 205 liter and adjust dimensions). Remove the "bottom" (the end without the bung holes) from the drum. The bung holes can later be used for drainage. The cut metal has razor sharp edges, so be very careful.



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The hole is marked at 2" above the bottom and 1" below the curve of the 2nd ring. This worked out to be 18" in height. There is nothing special about these dimensions. They were chosen because that height does not obstruct my view to the back of the drum when it is used as a forge. The width of the hole is 22". There is nothing special about these dimensions. They were chosen because this seemed to be a good size width with which to work. I did put the big bung hole at the center of the opening.


A later version of this opening was 4 inches down from the 2nd ring and 20 inches wide. This reduced the opening size a bit to create a little more draft and still had ample room to work.


I do not like square corners on the openings, so the radius for the bottom corners was drawn with the dog's stainless feeding bowl. I wanted the top a little more rounded so the radius for the top corners was drawn with a brake drum from a Chevy truck. They were used only because they were within arms reach.


The cut metal is very sharp. I suggest that you fold about a 1/4" of the metal back on itself (toward the inside of the drum) to form a "soft" edge or in someway protect yourself from the sharp metal edge.




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The rotor was chosen for the fire pot as I plan on running the forge hot and hard. This rotor has the right size opening to fit the exhaust pipe that I was using for the tuyere.


The rotor is not needed, as the exhaust pipe can be made to stick up an inch or two and the ash will insulate the bottom of the drum from the heat.




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Check the Blueprint BP0133 the 55 Forge for construction details for the grate and exhaust pipe assembly. The end of the exhaust pipe is faired and 2 pieces of 1/4" round bar are used to form a grate. The exhaust pipe is welded to form a "T" to create an ash and clinker reservoir and an air inlet.




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The finished forge with the brake drum fire pot, and tuyere.




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A second 55 gallon drum with both heads removed was then placed on top of the 55 Forge and tack welded into place. The supercharger!!


The two support drums are only for the photo, as the forge will be used on a stand I will construct later.




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The first fire in the new forge. Construction time about 2 hours. Assembly materials were two 55 gallon drums, a brake rotor, two short sections of auto exhaust pipe and two jig saw blades, ( I broke one by getting it in a twist). The tack weld can be replaced by 3 or more sections of flat bar bolted to both drums. Total cost was $3 in jig saw blades as the rest was scrounged materials obtained free for the asking. Save the drum heads and the metal cut to form the forge opening. It can be used in future projects.


The fire creates a draft up the 6 feet of 24" diameter chimney and in doing so sucks in air through the opening. This fresh air then mixes with the smoke from the fire, (I have noticed the little tornados of air and smoke being mixed at both sides of the opening), the fire burns the smoke, which creates more draft from the heat, which pulls in more air. The end result is smoke being burned, and what is not burned is diluted with fresh air. The forge was designed for outside use so the 24" diameter chimney is not a problem. Using the same coal, same blower, same fire pot, and the same tuyere as the original 55 Forge, the 55 Forge with the Supercharger (the 55 gallon drum on top) produces much less smoke.




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You may wish to cut a 2" hole in the back of the forge so you can pass stock through the fire and out the hole in the back. This will allow you to heat the center section of a piece of stock.


Notice the "cone" in the center of the photograph. This is the natural shape of the fire in this forge. You can use fire brick and clay to form whatever shape or depth fire you want.



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The grate is simple, two pieces of 1/4" round bar.




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We put the 2" bung hole at the front of the forge so cleaning out the fire is easy, just rake everything over to the hole so it drops into a waste container.


The 55 Forge is a neat forge, but when you add the Supercharger - WOW!



Update on the Supercharged 55 Forge ©:


The cut edges of the drum are extremely sharp and MUST be protected in some manner. Either slit a piece of light wall tubing, cover the exposed edge, and lash it in place with wire, fold the metal over upon itself, or bolt or weld on a piece of flat bar to cover the exposed metal edge.


The auto exhaust pipe used to get air to the forge finally gave out after several years of service, and being at welding heat for many hours. You could have easily make a clean cut on the end of the pipe and drilled a couple of 1/4" holes for the grate and been back in business within half an hour.


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Instead, we welded a piece of 2" heavy wall pipe to the rotor in place of the exhaust pipe. A 3/8" bolt was welded across the pipe for a grate, and works very well. Currently we are using clay to shape the inside of the rotor for a little more efficient fire. It is not needed, but is a part of fine tuning the forge to work best for the operator.



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The front opening is sufficiently large for most work If you want to work the middle of stock for bends, or twists, a hole needs to be cut in the back wall of the forge. You will need a 3rd hand to support long stock in the fire.



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The 2" bung hole at the front is a wonderful way to easily clean out the forge before the next fire. Just remove the bung, place a bucket under the hole and scrape all the ash toward the hole. You do need to cover the Supercharger at night as it seems to attract water any time it rains.




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The 2 drums high are reasonably stable but still a bit top heavy, so precautions should be taken to secure them in some fashion.


During start-up you should poke a hole in the coal to let the smoke burn, and with good fire maintenance, the Supercharged 55 Forge © smokes less than any forge I have used.


We have tested the Supercharged 55 Forge © and find the opening to be about the right size. It gives ample room to work and a good view of your work and the fire.


This is not a heavy duty forge. It is a way to get started in blacksmithing with very little cost, using only a jig saw and drill to build a forge, and a forge hood to remove the smoke from your work area. The reduction of smoke from the coal fire to a more acceptable level is an added bonus.


Additional material

A later version of this opening was 4 inches down from the 2nd ring and 20 inches wide. This reduced the opening size a bit to create a little more draft and still had ample room to work.


I have used this forge for everything that would fit in the opening and it has worked very well. There is little or no smoke in the work area. I have run this forge set up with raw wood, pallets, old lumber, etc and found that 2x4x4 inches is about the right size for the wood. Longer than 4 inches, and larger than 2x4 inches does not seems to burn quite as well.


You MUST run a deeper fire with just wood. You are both making charcoal and forging at the same time. Give the new wood ample time to form charcoal by the depth of the fuel. The radiant heat from the fire is certainly a consideration that must be addressed because of the amount of fire. Steping back from the forge when using the anvil and steping to the side when you are heating the metal will help.



If someone questions your standards, they are not high enough.

Do not build a box, that way you do not have to think outside the box.





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