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I Forge Iron


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  1. Hi there, I do a lot of scratch building for my HO train layout. With working on a 1/87 scale means I drill lots of small holes in a variety of materials with drills as small as a number 80 or .0185". In my experience the small drills are fragile and break easy and even a Dermal with a drill chuck attachment (I have one) has to much inertia and if the drill bit jambs because you feed it too fast for a split second, the bits snap off and then you now have the compound problem of a broken bit stuck in your future hole. The best way to drill them small holes is by hand with a Pin Vice. The top of the pin vice revolves and goes in the palm of your hand while your fingers do the twisting. The one I show here is the kind I like the best because it will handle any size shaft with it's four sizes (two double ended mandrills) and the mandril you are not using stores in the handle. The one I got was less than ten bucks. You might think that this method would take a long time, but you would be wrong. Because of the smallness of the bit, work goes quite fast and having your hands right on the tools lets you get the feel of how much pressure to put on the bit and how good the cut is coming along. It works well and with care and attention you can get a lot of use from one bit. I bought another kind of pin vice with a ball at the end of the handle because I thought it would be better, but I found it clumsy to use. The ball gets in the way too often and I find I don't need that much pressure anyway on the smaller holes, so I keep the ball end pin vice for the larger bits. The mandrel doesn't store inside the tool either and I keep losing track of the one not in use. In any case, check out your local hobby shop and pick yourself up a pin vice. You won't regret it. You might think about getting a case of the really small micro drills while you are there. Christopher
  2. What you want to do is put a tool steel face on the cast steel anvil. So here is what I would do. Get the face machined flat on a milling machine. Any shop that rebuilds engines can do this and it shouldn't cost much. Buy a piece of tool steel for the top, preferably one that is "oil Hardened". Drill 4 holes in the corners of the tool steel. Drill 4 corresponding holes in the anvils face about 2 to 3 inches deep. Tap the holes to receive 1/2" bolts. Buy grade 8 or better bolts. Countersink the bolt holes into the tool steel for half it's width. Bolt the tool steel to the anvils face to a good torque. Weld all around the heads of the bolts with a hard welding rod. Grind off the bolt heads and welding that protrude above the face. Have the face cut perfectly flat on a milling machine. Case harden the face and then temper it. Hammer away. If you don't have access to a milling machine, then sand the face as flat as you can with a belt sander and use an anaerobic adhesive, like LockTight (there are a few brands) all over the face when you bolt it together. This will take out any gaps, but be sure to use the grade 3 stuff that creates a permanent bond. Grade 3 anaerobic glue is heat resistant and wont come lose when heated. You can put some down the bolt holes as well to take out any air spaces. That's what I would do.
  3. yup, Google Sketch Up is the way to go. They have a load of tutorials that can help you understand how the thing works and a forum to ask questions if you need to. Plus it's free. Here's a link to get you started. Google SketchUp
  4. Nice thumb screws, Bob. I think I need a few of those and I can use the pix for inspiration. Thanks. Christopher
  5. Doug, that pre-made wire mesh is made for light duty, as on a sidewalk or patio floor. You should use re-bar in your shop because of the heavy vibrations and possible weight bearing requirements involved in shop operations. A ring of re-bar around the perimeter about 8" to a foot from the wall and then a grid at 4' on center. If it was my shop, I would opt for more re-bar and make it 3' or even 2' on center, but those in the know would probably say this was overkill. The plastic acts as a moisture barrier and helps keep the wood dry and rot free. also seals up any unnoticed holes where cement could leak out during the pour.
  6. This is what you should do in my opinion. Put a piece of heavy plastic down to cover the whole floor. Tie wire a grid of re-bar over the plastic in a 4' grid and put it on 1 1/2" spacers to hold it off the plastic. Pour 3 to 4 inches of concrete throughout the building and level off and flatten/smooth the floor as you would any cement surface. The floor will be stable and solid not to mention fire proof. Put your anvil anywhere. No bounce or movement at all. I lived in an apartment once and this is how the apartments were sound proofed from the one below. At one time a friend of mine was living in an old house and the floorboards were starting to dry rot and fall apart. Subsequent plywood patches made for a very uneven floor. He was at a loss as to how to fix it. All estimated were astronomical. One day I came in there with a big sheet of poly and ten bags of cement. After the cement set the floor was a solid and level. The next week he laid stick-down tiles over the cement. That was ten years ago and he hasn't had a problem with the floor since and we never used re-bar, but it's just a domestic dwelling. If your worried about weight, you can get leveling cement for floors that has pearlite in it and is lighter than regular cement. A thin coat of cement won't cut it. It will crack and be a mistake. Make a solid cement floor. You will never regret it. Christopher
  7. Nothing is more pleasant than getting a good deal on a new tool! I got this 1962 (or so) Atlas Clausing 12 x 36 and it came with goodies. 6" 3 jaw chuck 8" 4 jaw chuck Steady rest End plate Big drill chuck Cut off tool Milling attachment (so cool! just what I wanted) 3/4 horse 110 motor Table and peg board The only thing I can find wrong with it so far, is it needs a new belt. Time for a link belt so I don't have to take it apart. Christopher
  8. I made my blower from an old Electrolux vacuum my MIL was throwing out. I hooked a 30 foot hose to the blow end of the vacuum and have the thing as far away from me as possible to keep the noise down. I built my forge out of an old truck rim. My fire pot is much larger than normal because I burn wood because coal is hard to get here and the neighbours never complain about me burning wood. I control the air flow with a big old tap I found in a junk pile. Works great. I can control the air flow with the twist of my wrist, from a whisper to an all out blast. Me tap. Installed just below me work table on the side of me forge. The vacuum hose just stick in the end of the iron pipe and fits there like a vacuum hose fits an accessory. Works real good for me. Christopher
  9. Copper tube is good when welding tin. You can flatten it out and put it behind the weld and it will help keep the metal from falling away when it melts. Welding metal won't stick to the copper, so the copper acts as a shield and then is removed easy. Interesting problem. Perhaps the best way would be to remove the solder before you melt the copper. I'm not sure how they do it at a foundry. Perhaps temperature is critical. Perhaps a centrifuge. Christopher
  10. Welcome to the forum. Looks like the bug bit you, alright. It's never too late to learn. Have loads of fun and post often. See you around the forum. Christopher
  11. my dad took a job in Barkerville Historic Park. That was 1963, I was 5 years old. We went there every summer for the next 18 years. By the time I was 7 I use to hang around the black smith shop on the main street. The smith was an older gentleman called George. he had such a thick German accent you could hardly understand him. He made amazing things out of iron. What springs to mind and I never have trouble thinking of, is a mushroom about 10 inches high with a butterfly lighting on it. He was an artist. He use to let me hang around and help in small ways and ask questions. When I was 21 I built my own forge out of a wheel rim. My friend was rebuilding a model A Ford and I knew how to set up a forge and we heated up the axles to set the caster and camber. Plus we did some riveting with red hot rivets on the frame. I was fooling around with lost wax casting at the time as well. Learning learning. Then I didn't smith again untill about three years ago when I found this site and got all enthused again. So that's my story. Christopher
  12. I wouldn't own a new anvil. Old anvils are better. They don't make them like the use to. From what I've heard, new cast anvils have no steel face and are dead to hit, in other words, no bounce. Find an old anvil. You can still find old ones in good shape. Take it to a shop and have them machine a flat new surface if you want pure flatness. That's what I think, for what it's worth. Christopher
  13. Hi there. I couldn't help notice how your forge looks like mine in some respects. I put mine together a short time ago. You might like to read my thread and see how mine came together. I have an awful time getting any coal around where I live, so my forge has been tuned for a wood fire. I use an old Electrolux vacuum cleaner for my blower I got for fee as my MIL was throwing it away. I control the air flow with an old vertical gate tap. I have a long piece of sump pump hose I use so I can have the vacuum in another part of the place and I don't have to listen to it whine. Air flow is precise using the tap. I can have anything from a whisper to an all out blast. Check out my thread: http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/f11/air-fire-3078/ Christopher
  14. Looks like "chip carving" knives, to me. Close to a Japanese or German carving knife (I have one). You have done a nice job, although I think your handles are too stout closer to the blade. I think they look chunky and could wind up getting in the way of intricate work. Check these out from Lee Valley, I have "E": Here is some chip carving to inspire you to try. Christopher
  15. Yes, I am familiar with centrifugal casting machines. The type used most commonly in the model train industry for casting low temp meal is nothing like the one I used years ago. Now they use silicone molds that will take the heat and the casings are arranged in a disk-like shape and spin continuously on a turntable, then you pour your melt in the center as it spins. Designed for big volume, but has poor quality (IMO), flash and casting lines. Plus low temp metal is $15 to $20 a pound. The one I used years ago was a jeweler's style. An articulated arm that is wound on a spring, then you set your hot mold in a clamp on the end of the arm and the gold was melted in a crucible a few inches from the mold and once melted, you close the lid and hit the release and the spring would spin the arm with great force. The molten gold would shoot out the crucible and directly into the mold where the force would push it into every void in the mold. I'm not sure if I need a centrifugal casting machine for this job, but if I need one I will build it myself. Those commercial units cost real big bucks! Christopher
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