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Basic Power Hammer Mechanics


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I had a Homer Simpson "Doh!" moment today that I'd thought to share with people that might appreciate it.

For you folks with mechanical power hammers, the ones with factory brakes often work on a camming action. I have owned a Beaudry Champion 100 lb for a number of years and always thought the brake did not stop the flywheel as fast as it should. The hammer ran hard but would coast to a stop in three, four or more cycles. I tried every adjustment I could see but without success, so I changed brake pads every six months or whenever the flywheel got to the point where it just kept cycling slowly. This didn't seem particularly dangerous but I didn't like it turning while I waited between heats.

So...today was my turn to change pads again. As I worked on it, I noticed the camming lever bolt was binding as I unscrewed it, so I stepped on the treadle to give it some slack. I then had an "Ah-hah!" moment when I noticed that the camming lever slot had been hitting the bolt all along because it was out of travel. Some past owner made a treadle linkage modification that put the slot so close to the bolt that a little bit of brake pad wear caused interference. I pulled the cam lever, cut out an inch and rewelded the ends back together, which put the bolt back into the middle of the slot.

I was then able to easily adjust the cam adjusting screw so I can now remove my foot from the treadle and the flywheel stops within a single revolution while running at full speed. Another side benefit of this is that I can run a looser flat belt adjustment because the cam action is so much more positive - the treadle can move farther and take up more travel.

The thing that "P's" me off is that I have been using this hammer almost daily for more than 15 years and studied at length on the problem - why did I see it TODAY?!? (I know, better late than never). At any rate, I can only recommend to look at ALL the adjustments when you have an issue.

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  • 1 month later...

Hollis: I know this is an old post, but I thought I'd bump it to the front because it is pertinent to me. As you remember, I've been picking your brains about the Beaudry hammers before this forum ever started.

My smaller (150#) Beaudry is installed and running in the new shop. I really only intended to get it mounted and useful so I'd have the leisure to work on the bigger one. But I couldn't resist doing all the little modifications I've been putting off. Since everything affects everything else, it was two weeks before I got it groomed. But the difference is unconsious. It feels like it hits twice as hard with 10 times the control.

So thanks for the help :!:

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Ed,

I just figured everyone had a good laugh at my expense on that one - and I'm glad you got your hammer tuned properly. They are smacking son-of-a-guns when they run right. What made me so @#$%^& mad is that I have worked on a LOT of mechanical power hammers in other people's shops but I didn't have the smarts to see the problem on mine. :oops:

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Hollis: Boy Howdy, you got that right about the hard-hitting. This hammer is something of an oddity. The frame is the size of a #3 and the anvil is about 11" too tall -- as I understand it, the plans called for burying the bottom of the anvil on it's own pad, the way they did on the big hammers. :shock: You no doubt remember my surprise at the weight of the hammer and upper die when I finally got around to checking it.

Since I didn't understand some of that when I first got it, I didn't raise the hammer frame enough above the anvil before. So all the adjustments were really at the top of the limits and still not quite right. This time I did lots of measuring and adjusting, and set it where I think is in the middle of ideal. Now I can put that blow exactly where I want it and how hard I want it. Simply amazing what something like 2" change in height will do.

You got me looking at the brake pads now. Didn't we discuss this once? What did you find works best and where do you get it?

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Ed,

That's very interesting about the hammer/anvil setup. Almost sounds like someone cobbled it together from parts but if you have a set of plans, I suppose it was a factory job. Every Beaudry I've seen working (only 4 so far) had the typical short anvil that allows an even setting across the frame.

Brake pads: Mine had some sort of hard, cork-type stuff on it when I got the hammer but it was frangible and went all to pieces pretty quickly. No telling what it was originally. I have heard of using leather but never tried it. I did use old cloth belting strips and those worked fine until they got oil soaked and started slipping. However, now I see the thing was always out of adjustment so brake material may or may not be a big deal. Currently, I am using a piece of commercial brake lining that I had laying around and it works just fine. Play with the adjustment screw on the bottom of the brake and make the brake grab just enough to stop the wheel. Any more than that is too much - you'll see what I mean if you over tighten it - won't run worth a tinker's dam.

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Ed,

I might add that I also built a lower die with less height so I could use tall tools without messing around with the ram setting. I simply took a piece of 1/2" plate, cut it to the same LxW as my normal die and welded a dovetail to the underside (one I forged to fit from a piece of mild steel). I also welded a strap to the end that allows normal saddle tools to be fastened to the side of the die. Normal lower die is 2" tall so I can gain 1-1/2" just by knocking out the wedge and replacing with this one.

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  • 3 years later...

Is three years later too late to add to the brake conversation?
Perhaps someone will read this thread like I just did. This is probably old news but the original Beaudry brake material was leather. I had an unused, new one I acquired years ago from the Barber-Stockwell company, the last vendor for the Beaudry and for the Fairbanks.

I had also heard years ago, probably from Ray Larsen, that the brake assembly was not designed to cause the flywheel to come to a dead stop too quickly. If the brake is really grabby it can cause the casting mounting the brake actuator to the frame to fail.

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  • 1 year later...

It has been a while since I was questioned about setting up a Beaudry brake and asked if ever saw a brake part broken. Well, the short answer is no, I haven't.

The longer answer is that I now remember where I got the idea that setting up the brake tight might be a problem: it is stated in the sheet sent bt Barbur Stockwell Co. with a new Beaudry ( when you could get a new Beaudry) hammer as follows:

" Please start and stop the machine easily and gradually, particularly while new, as the brake is tightly set up, and too sudden an application of it when the hammer is at full speed may stop the machine so quickly that the working parts will be strained."

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Tony,

It's never too late and I'm glad I read your response. I have some heavy saddle leather laying around in pieces sized just right to make brake pads and was only recently thinking about using that as a lining for the shoe because the commercial truck pad gets oil soaked and slips. Your comment gave me the incentive to go cut one and try it.

Thx, Hollis

PS - Hey Ed, how is the big hammer running?

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