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I Forge Iron

Brake Rotor Forge kit


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I have my anvil, some hammers, and lots of stuff that's been hanging around, but I want to try to do something ASAP. I haven't been able to get the cash for the small forge I'm going to buy from the person who sold me my anvil, so I figured a quick and dirty small brake drum forge or, in this case, a brake rotor forge.

I went to the gararge where I have all of my car work done and asked if they had a brake drum or rotor and one followed me home. (FREE!) I found the oversized washer at a Fastenal store, and the iron pipe at an ACE Hardware store. I found the blower at a dump if I remember correctly, and the piece of flexible metal hose I found at the stove manufacturer in my area.

The cost so far of the iron pipe and washer is $41.27. I know I still need bolts, washers, nuts, welding, (I can manage that)and some other bits that I may have to make up. I intend to cut the 2" x 24" pipe into two pieces to make a cleanout and blower intake from the one piece. I may not use the blower shown as I have others I have scrounged over the years, and one of those might be ready made for this project.

The small nipple (Short pipe piece) in the picture is 5" long, is there any rule of thumb about the length from the flange to the Tee in these forges? If not I'll just put the pieces together as I imagined them from the pictures I've seen of everyone elses forges.


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Great start! I started with a brake drum forge and still use it. It does everything that I need. It sounds like you have a good grasp on the direction you're going. If you have any questions don't leave them unasked. There are plenty of people here with a lot of different ways to do things and a LOT of different opinions.

Good luck


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You will need a T in the down pipe, otherwise the down pipe will collect ash and stop off the air flow. The T should be 4 inches or so below the drum, and the down pipe should be long enough to collect some ash before being dumped. If the ash is allowed to fill the down pipe it will block off the air flow if it gets to the T.

You will need a grate of some sort. For a 2 inch pipe, I use one 3/8 inch bolt across the pipe at the top, or at the floor of the brake drum. I weld mine, or just let the pipe extend into the brake drum, drill a hole in the pipe and insert the bolt. For the 55 forge, I use one 1/4 inch rod as a grate and let it hold the down pipe into the drum. The pipe stands about an inch above the bottom of the drum.

The 55 forge does not need a brake drum to work.

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Here is a picture of my grate. I welded it onto a piece of 2" BIP that sits inside the brake drum. This is a 55 Forge. (Brake drum inside of a cut down 55 gal drum). The 55 drum allows for a larger work area. Works great.


My down pipe is also 2" BIP that is welded to the bottom of the brake drum. I have a pipe cap on the bottom of the "T" to keep airflow going up but the bottom leg of the "T" is long enough to catch plenty of ash.

Glenn has suggested putting a bucket of water under the bottom leg of the "T" with the leg sticking into the water. The water cools any hot coals that fall and the water also puts enough pressure on the bottom to not allow air from the blower to escape out the bottom.


I couldn't open the pictures but will take new ones tomorrow. Sorry

I can not get the images to open. Please attach photos in jpg format.


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Well, I made a little progress on my forge today. I picked up a 55 gal. barrel top from a source of scrap and decided I'd use it to surround the rotor fire pot. I have two stands/bases that I picked up a long time ago and I'm thinking of using one of those for the base of the forge. Here's a couple of pictures. Comments about how you think this will work out are appreciated.

Note: I just noticed that I didn't post a picture originally that might make a little more sense of the pipe situation.




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This is a simple fix I brazzed a piece 3/8 round stock about a foot long on a 2" pipe cap and then put high temp anti-seized on both the cap and nipple. Have never had any problems getting the cap off to clean ashes out. The new forge I made has a homemade trap door on the bottom nipple, no treads to worry about at all. I think the key to all of this is keeping it simple!

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  • 2 weeks later...

An update on my progress. It's going slowly but I have the flange attached to the brake rotor and I can show you what I was thinking of before I did this test fit. Now, I am thinking of cutting the 24" pipe you see in the first 2 pictures into 2 pieces and having the ash drop and the air intake from the one piece of pipe without the added thread on the ends.

You can see that my quick base won't work out so I have to make a base, or find something that will work. A 55 gallon drum is just too much as I want this to be easy to move. I don't have a hydraulic pipe bender to make a ring or two to attach legs to and have the best of all worlds.

On to the pictures.

I hope documenting this process will give others ideas on how to make similar forges and show where missteps can lead to new ideas, creativity, or a return to basic design.





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