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Brake Rotor or Brake Drum?


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#1 Gromgor

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Posted 03 October 2013 - 11:52 PM

I've seen a lot of posts talking about Brake Drum forges. I know the metal is designed to withstand extreme heat and that it has a good shape for serving as the fire pot, but would a brake rotor work just as well?

 

Are there issues that would need to be addressed? 



#2 1forgeur

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 12:45 AM

No


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#3 Glenn

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 02:25 AM

A forge pot is only a container to hold the fire. Use what is available.


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#4 doc

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 06:58 AM

Sure a rotor will work. It might even work better than some brake drums as many newer drums are only cast iron on the perimeter with rest being stamped steel.

 

Try to get as deep a rotor as possible or gain more depth by building up the top with fire brick. 



#5 Timothy Miller

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 07:20 AM

I once used a fly wheel off of a punch press.   I wrapped a ring of steel around the edge to hold the coal.  It worked but it was not ideal. 


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#6 Steve Sells

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 07:55 AM

Sure a rotor will work. It might even work better than some brake drums as many newer drums are only cast iron on the perimeter with rest being stamped steel.

 

Try to get as deep a rotor as possible or gain more depth by building up the top with fire brick. 

a rotor is a flat disk. please explain a deep flat disk ?


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#7 DSW

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 08:15 AM

I'm pretty sure the front and rear rotors on my truck are "dished" in the center on the back, especially the front ones for the 4WD.



#8 Laertius

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 08:16 AM

A rotor from the rear of a an all wheel disk car has about a 2-3"  depression that that acts as a brake drum for the emergency brake setup -- This is what I use as a firepot and it works great, and it sits nicely 'in' my forge table without any mechanical fastening or welding -- just the lip of the rotor. 
 
Even a 'normal' front rotor will have a 1/2 -2'' depression that goes over the wheel hub assembly.  Don't want to create an argument, but the OP posted a legitimate question.....
 
And my answer is -- at least my preference,   go with a rear rotor from a light truck/ sedan, if you plan on setting it in a table like a firepot.  BUT -- -

100_0984.JPG

If you plan on building one of the brake drum forges without a table (just a drum on a tripod of sorts) then go with the bigger drum firepot.
 
Whatever you choose,  be sure to make the pot more bowl shaped with some woodstove cement or equivalent.....It made fire managment and heating steel much easier for this novice blacksmith.  See my brake ROTOR forge attached.
 
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#9 Nobody Special

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 08:30 AM

Mine uses a rotor disc set into a lawnmower.  There's a slight depression in the middle, but I also used homemade refractory to add to the bowl shape and deepen it into a wide funnel.

 

(Actually, it started narrower, and slight slagging of the edges of the refractory and clinker getting stuck to it led to me widening it.) Lawnmower acts as a table, works well enough for me....probably re-en-ga-neer something better one of these days.

 

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#10 ThorsHammer82

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:54 AM

it's not the prefered method, but it would work with some modification. If you can find a disk from a larger truck you'd be better off that say using a disk from a sedan or compact. Anything is possible with a little will power and some enginuity. I used a drum because I had one saying around. I used a rotor to act as a damper when I'm done to same fuel and cut down on clean up time. when you're forging you want enough fuel below the metal to use up all the oxygen before it reaches the metal. The shallower disks wont do that without adding brick or refractory to deepen the fire. from what I've seen, it takes about 4-5" in a coal fire to use up the oxygen.


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#11 Steve Sells

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:06 AM

cool, as you can tell I am no mechanic , thanks for explaining how a rotor can be used, the only ones I have seen  are like on a motorcycle.


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#12 ThorsHammer82

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:05 PM

yeah, those are brake disks, not brake rotors. the OP wanted to know about brake rotors.


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#13 1forgeur

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 04:05 PM

Got it


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#14 Charles R. Stevens

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 05:22 PM

Lots of different options, some work better than others, like using rail for an anvil, a drum or rotor is less tha ideal but it can be made to work. Glenn's 55 forge or it's veriants (like the side draft) work very well for the $ a 2" to 8" black pipe reducer is a the bomb for a bottom blast, but I do like my side draft.

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#15 Neil Blythin

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 06:20 PM

I have a brake rotor which I always meant to try making a forge out of. Several people told me it wasn't deep enough (and that I needed to use a brake drum instead), so I never bothered.

The funny thing is, I've owned a couple of old 'rivet' type forges, which essentially are flat-bottomed.

In retrospect, I'm sure the rotor would have worked just fine for me. I may have to build it just for fun...

#16 Charles R. Stevens

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 08:03 PM

To help clear (or mudy) the waters.a rotor is the disk, in a disk break assembly. The dished part of the assembly is called a hat. The hat provides the offset behind the hub so the caliper has cleriance as not to interfear with the wheel. The part we are talking about is rotor with intrical hat. As indicated the rear rotors on 4 wheel disk assemblies usually have an intrical break drum for the parking break assembly. I know some of you have had lick with them but I don't tink there really deap enough. Even the ones off of heavy duty applications.
For those of you who still insist on break drums, look for traier electric break drums, salid cast, intrical hub, no need to put a plate in the bottom. You can lay hands on mobile home axle drums if you scout around.
I think for the amout of fabrication you have to do (exept for a trailer drum, you can make a nomber of other setups. I would think that a drain pan, clayed like an old rivit forge, wold be less fabrication.

First rule of holes; when you find yourself in the bottoms of one, stop digging!
We're blacksmiths, if we wanted to do things the easy way we would be potters!
Harden your face not your heart. If you must fail at one, soften your face don't harden your heart.


#17 Charles R. Stevens

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 08:05 PM

By the way, the front rotors tend to be be vented, as they do much more work , and get hotter, another reason to use the rear.

First rule of holes; when you find yourself in the bottoms of one, stop digging!
We're blacksmiths, if we wanted to do things the easy way we would be potters!
Harden your face not your heart. If you must fail at one, soften your face don't harden your heart.


#18 LastRonin

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 10:35 PM

For those of you who still insist on break drums, look for trailer electric break drums, salid cast, integral hub, no need to put a plate in the bottom. You can lay hands on mobile home axle drums if you scout around.
I think for the amout of fabrication you have to do (exept for a trailer drum, you can make a nomber of other setups. I would think that a drain pan, clayed like an old rivit forge, wold be less fabrication.

That is what I used for mine. Another cool thing about using it was that a 2" black iron pipe fits perfectly. Mine is about 3 1/2" deep. I have it set flush into a metal table I had sitting in the shop. I am really happy with it for the time being. Will probably weld up a rectangular firepot with sloped sides sooner or later, but for now... I'm doing ok.


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#19 ThorsHammer82

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:18 AM

I have 4 electric trailer brake drums I could have used for my forge build, and didn't because the drum has a inside flange for the bear assembly that would have stuck up into the fire pot. I would have had to clay the drum in order to get it to work and that would have made the fire pot about 1/2" deep. I Think you're better off sticking to a car/truck brake drum vs a trailer brake drum for that reason.


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#20 Charles R. Stevens

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:51 AM

TH, you had the wrong type of drum ;-) most of the ones that have intrical hubs are flat on the inside, wile those with pressed hubs have a pilot. But like aiutomotive there are different types. With an electric breaking axle, the face of the drum is thick and machined. It's where the electromagnetic "puck" rides.
I think they're better than automotive ones, but I think you'd be setter off with a popcorn tin, a peice of pipe and some dirt in the first place.

First rule of holes; when you find yourself in the bottoms of one, stop digging!
We're blacksmiths, if we wanted to do things the easy way we would be potters!
Harden your face not your heart. If you must fail at one, soften your face don't harden your heart.





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