David Dix

My forge with a homemade blower mechanism

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I FINALLY took off the old hand pump operating mechanism to my forge and made a new mechanism. Since I'm out of work at the moment, I decided to use a bunch of old bicycle parts (gears and chains) to make my own hand-crank mechanism. It works like a champ! The mechanism is split into 3 main sections: gear train under the forge, middle gear train, and the pedal drive gear. The gear ratios from the driver to the blower are: 3.42:1, 2:1, 2:1, 2.33:1. I think the final ratio is about 25:1 or somewhere in there. It really flies, but I feel like I am still doing too much work. When I get something worth trading, or enough money, I'd like to buy a nice used buffalo blower. Then again, this forge is a small rivet forge. I might just hold on tight until I can find a good deal on a forge and blower. We'll see. Here's some photos:
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Very inventive. Great job. Looks like you are having fun.

You probably have as good a setup as many third world shops. That's meant as a compliment.

Keep it up.

Bob

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That's some frankenblower! I would think it'd produce way more air than you need for a fire that size. If it seems like too much work right now, you might be able to get away with simplifying it a little and not gearing it up quite so far.

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I just saw your anvil on the other thread. It's better than nothing, certainly, but it's robbing your blows of a lot of their energy. That's at least a part of why you can't get as much work done in a heat as you'd like.

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I think you're right about losing a lot of heat in that street rail. Until I start my new job I can't afford a blacksmith's anvil. Hopefully soon.

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It doesn't need to be a "real" anvil. There is no magic in London (or other common) pattern anvils. They're (the good ones, that is) just heavy, solid pieces of hard steel that incorporate a few design features that have proven useful to smiths over the years. Mainly what you need is mass under the hammer. The rail is too flexible, which causes it to absorb much of the energy of your blows. You would gain a lot of efficiency by taking that piece of rail, mounting it upright, and working on the exposed end.

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That is some fancy rigging for a blower! For a better anvil look around for a piece of forklift tine, If there is a carsmasher near you you might be able to find a really nice size tine there they seem to break them regularly. I have one piece about 60" long of which I sell 12" pieces of tine 6" x 3" approx. 68 lbs and MAIL them anywhere in the US for $100.00.

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Good advice on a "real" anvil. As for saving for a "better forge" and blower, think about making one for yourself. After all, they are just a firepot with a table around them and some sort of airpump. If you buy it, it will cost you lots and it will still be set up for someone else. Make one yourself and it will be the design you want/need. Don't be in too much of a hurry to upgrade, many people never "upgrade" from their rivet forge as it is a very versitile bit of kit.

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That's some frankenblower! I would think it'd produce way more air than you need for a fire that size. If it seems like too much work right now, you might be able to get away with simplifying it a little and not gearing it up quite so far.

hahahaha frankenblower. That's hilarious. When you said "not gearing it up quite so far", were you referring to the length of the chains? What I meant by too much work is that I'm still turning the pedal drive too many times. If I added more to the whole gear train, the torque required to turn one revolution would be WAY too much. It's pretty okay now the way it is. I suppose if I made some type of worm gear, I could get the same crazy RPM's as a "real" blower. That may be fun to experiment with. That's all this was - an experiment. Fortunately it worked out with positive results.

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if you want to see the device in action, i have videos posted of it on facebook. Add me as a friend if interested: www.facebook.com/davidbdix

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The only "upgrade" I would do with respect to that blower is to figure out a way to give it a smaller footprint. I much prefer hand cranked blowers for solid fuel forges, and there's nothing wrong with that one.

When I said you might not need to gear it up so far, I meant you might be able to eliminate a sprocket and save yourself some torque and friction. What's your total gear ratio on that? How many seconds to make one revolution of the handle at a good blast? (On the blowers I typically use, with coal, 1 revolution per second would be really cranking. Two is probably more of an average. And yeah, it takes a little work.)

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Cranking about 15-30 rpm is about right.

Great setup, I was ready to crack apart a gear set and make something before I found my blower.

About that "anvil" of yours, try cutting a small portion off the end to make a flat clean end using a cutoff disk or a saw (haha, sawing rail sucks) then stand the rail up so you are working on the very end of the rail. The "anvil" face will be a little bigger than the hammer face, which is just fine, and when fastened well it will perform rather amazingly.

Phil

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Cranking about 15-30 rpm is about right.

Great setup, I was ready to crack apart a gear set and make something before I found my blower.

Phil


I did make something. It was so crude. Wood for the fan disc (didn't manage to get the shaft hole perpendicular, so it wobbled as it spun) and sides of the housing, closed off with a heavy duty trash bag and lots of duct tape. Sheet aluminum blades attached with wood screws. Cheap, sintered bronze bearings. Belt drive with MDF discs for the sheave and pulley. Pathetic gear ratio. Badly balanced.

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I marked the fan on my Buffalo Lancaster #40 (with a paint pen), and the fan turns about 50 times per each turn of the handle.

I also get 7 free rotations after letting go of the handle from about 30 rpm.

Phil

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All I can add is that you epitomize the first line in my signature!!

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Lucky!


Yes. I did very well for $75 and a 2 hour round trip. The gentleman was surprised because his Craigslist ad was up for only a day when I called him. It only gave 3 free rotations when I picked it up, but a kerosene rinse and fresh oil got it going where I am now.

Adding a flywheel into your system may be a consideration to get some free rotations.

Phil

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You would gain a lot of efficiency by taking that piece of rail, mounting it upright, and working on the exposed end.


That's how I started off.

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Look at how fast the original set up was spinning the blower. I bet you could loose the jackshaft and still get to that speed and be able to mount the system off the back legs of the forge. Have to shorten the chain but that's simple for someone with your demonstrated skills.

As for anvils" the traditional Japanese Katanas that now sell in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars were forged using anvils that look like rectangular chunks of steel. Look into what the neotribals suggest for a "knifemaker's anvil" It's a 4" sq piece of steel stock mounted vertically into a bucket of concrete---and doesn't have to be Sq or 4" round, hex, etc and any stout size will work.

Look at this for an excellent anvil that cost US$25 http://www.marco-borromei.com/fork.html

(and yes I'm that Thomas)

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