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New hammer build

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I have been reading about several members plans on building their new hammers of various styles. At this time I too am in great need of a power hammer and have been undecided as to which one to undertake. There seems to be more of a lean towards the tire hammer design than the air and rusty helve styles it seems. My conserns to building one have to deal with my space and finding enough time to build it. The questions I have then are which one is the most compact and stable in a small area. I do not have a concrete floor so I'm worried about the what seems to be the taller, tire hammer and if it could work on heavy timbers for the time being like the rusty hammer style. The rusty or dusty style seem to be very deep, front to back which would cause trouble here as well. I'm assuming that the air hammer would have less moving parts and could be made in a compact size and perhaps work on heavy timbers?

The other question I have is which one takes the least time to build? I have all of the machines needed to build any of them as well as a large air compressor but again, time is not what I have in abundance. My arm is telling me to do something about this or it's going to stop production!

I'm sure there is the question of why I don't find a used power hammer or buy a new one but I am not inclined to spend that amount of money at this time when I know I can build one for much less. That leads me to my last question, which would be the least costly to build......I'm assuming the most expensive would be the air followed by the tire and lastly the rusty?

I am very fortunate to have a huge scrap yard not far away and they are friends of mine as well so that's a big help in the material department.

Any input on this would be greatly appreciated.........thanks, Scott

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You may want to a good look at the type of work you do. Some of the hammers are better suited for certain things. I was fortunate to have built an air hammer of the kinyon style and it just happen to work out well in it's ability to do a single stroke rather easy. The tire hammer is a little bit more difficult to do that with.

It sounds like you have some real good resources to put a hammer together. It would be a shame to build something less suiting to your needs. Good luck with your project. Spears

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The first tire hammer I saw had a 1" base plate and sat on a dirt floor. The owner never said anything negative about this issue as there seemed to be enough mass in the anvil to absorb the blows. The only thing I noticed was little wisps of dust coming from under the base while it was beating.

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Ive seen a lot of great looking tire hammers, and kinyon style air hammers home built, most of them beutifully fabricated, Ive wanted to build an ideal air hammer for several years, but lack a large enough compressor, the build itself becomes too pricey, when I look in my scrounged steel pile or at any local sources I never find big 1" plate, 6" tube or 4-6" solid like all the other guys are building thier hammers from, based on advice from smiths with far more expirience than I, I would say an upright air hammer is the way to go, both for power and precision, especially if your going to use this professionally, an old hydraulic cylinder should get you started if you can scrounge enough steel, the major costs are in the valves, Im building my simple junkyard helve hammer not because its the most ideal, but I could see it being built straight out of scrap on hand with a couple bucks in bolts and paint, and really, the imperfect hammer you do have is a lot better than the perfect hammer you dont have
I agree with Dodge a decent footprint of heavy timber should do fine on a dirt floor, I wouldnt hesitate to try it

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Thanks for the input gentleman.....Spears, I do like the idea of a single strike ability with the hammer. The more control the better and I do plan on open die work so that would help considerably.

Dodge.........I'm glad to hear that a heavy enough bottom plate and anvil would work out well enough on a tire hammer. I really needed to know that before I went any further. If I wind up going with this style hammer at least it would not give me any trouble in that department until I can pour a concrete pad in it's final space.

Woodsmith..........I do plan on using this hammer as a constant use machine and I understand the leaning toward the air hammer style. Cost is always a concern but that scrap yard I mentioned is also a full house steel supply company so if I can't find it in the scrap yard I can buy it if need be. I'm sure I'd have to dig pretty deep in the wallet for that 6" round and the 1" base plate but I'm hoping to find most of the steel in the yard. You mentioned using and old hydraulic cylinder.... I had not thought of that option, thank you.

I am still curious as to the costs of the valves and have know idea of what I should be expecting or where the best place is to buy them for that matter? I plan on ordering the simple air hammer plans from the ABANA site if I go this route unless someone has another suggestion?

Thanks again.....please keep the suggestions coming, I will certainly need the help .......Scott

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Alot of tire hammers rock. The biggest reason is when they weld the upright on the base plate it pulls the edges of the plate up.

I agree with this and that is sort of why I did two things different on mine:
1) I used a base plate 2.75"
2) I bolted the mast to the base plate by means of a mounting plate welded to the bottom of the mast.
It still rocks, however. Some may account this to the twisting of the I beam I used for the mast rather than tubing for the mast. But again, that is what was available and I don't believe it twists enough to matter as the web is twice the width as the flanges but I may box it in or weld in gussets and see if it improves...

I said "sort of" because the reason I used that thick of plate was simply to add mass and it was available. The reason I bolted the mast and for that matter, the anvil as well is because I could. Before I bid into the job, I knew the CNC drill operator where I worked :D
This shows the plates before welding


Here is the mast and anvil in place

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The advantages of a "Rusty"-style guided helve hammer are:

1. Simplicity
2. Cost
3. Good adjustability for a mechanical hammer
4. Put a tire clutch on it and you have good control (mine has better control than the 50 lb. Little Giant I have run, though it hits slower)
5. Easy to scale between a 25 lb and 100 lb ram depending on the springs you choose to use

The disadvantages are:

1. Large foot print
2. Like most mechanical hammers, single hits are going to be a bit difficult, though a tire clutch with some sort of brake mechanism would probably help in that regard
3. ? Anyone else have disadvantages? I'm kind of tired and can't think of more, though I'm sure they exist.

Given the choice with budget not being overly tight, I'd vote air hammer, but there are a lot of advantages to a "Rusty" guided helvem when homebrewing a hammer.

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Quick and cheap are not good factors when building a power hammer. I would try to find a used one that will suit your needs. You will spend more time and money building a hammer, much time will be lost just finding the material, not to mention design changes to any plans that you may acquire along the way. Changes to a plan will be necessary if you use scrounged materials and it is hard to foresee other components that will be affected later on in the build, leading to more changes and more time. If you want to save time and money find a used hammer.

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Curly, Does your tup come to rest and bottom? Or will it stay anywhere it stops? Or does it have a brake?

Edit: After conversation on Chat, I found that Curly's does, in deed, come to rest at BDC.
Thanks Curly!

Edited by Dodge
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I watched a tire hammer that wasnt counterbalanced properly rock like mad, though it still worked, and others that didnt seem to rock a bit, also with 1" plate underneath, I assumed it was balanced better, wright ups on other sites claim, and its quite logical, if you use an I beam in place of a square tube, it needs to be cross braced, webbed up both of the open sides to prevent twisting in the beam, as it is not shaped to take torsional loads, but to have beaming strength, my experience looking at a few used hammers, like low cost old little giants for example, they may require such extensive rebuilding like all the pivots in the linkage are shot and the babbit needs to be repoured, the ram guides are gone and the dies have sunk into the post, that the rebuild looks like more work than building new, I may be wrong but I would take care and educated observasion in buying a used hammer to save money or time.

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