Farmer Jim

Champion 400 Blower firepot size

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Hello,  I have been using a Champion 400 blower and the typical shallow round firepot. The firepot has cracked and the blower pipe doesn't seal against the bottom of the fire pot. I have some pipe/manifold that is 3/8"T X 21"L X 20"D that I am considering splitting length-wise and making a new firepot from. Similar to one shown on pg 43 in Charles McRaven's "The Blacksmiths Craft."  So now my question, how large of a firepot can be used with this blower?

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I don't know if there is a correct answer to this question but that 20"D is going to be too big to be practical. I have seen many fire pots made from discarded oxygen bottles. Something like 10" X 14" seems to be about a typical size. Good luck with your project.

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The original firepot for a Champion 400 is the Whirlwind firepot. I own one, and IIRC, the inside is 6" deep. At the bottom it is  4" X 3", I think. The top is 13X12", rectangular. Wierd dimensions, but it seems to work real well. You should check out some plans and read up on fabricating a firepot. There are some good posts on that subject here.

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Greetings Jim,

 

Your blower can be used with about any firepot...  I guess it depends on how much forging you do...  Ya can by a super cast firepot from SOFA IN Ohio for about 250.00 ,,  They have been making them for years and every one that I know that has one loves it.  I too have wirlwind firepots and find that it takes alot of coal to feed them..  ( deep ) 

 

Good luck    Jim

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I think that I am confusing the term firepot with forge.  I need a different set up so that I can connect the blower and have a fire.  With all the air leaks  in our current set-up my sons and I are frustrated and just want a new fire area.  I am curious about sizing it to be appropriate for our blower and our needs.  Currently we are just making knives and springs and other hardware for flintlock guns.  I would like to at some point learn to weld and be able to forge weld a rifle barrel from wrought iron. That project is down the road a ways. I would like to make a forge (I think is what I actually mean) that is sized right for the blower and allows for the previosly mentioned uses as well as for the future as we learn to make axes, swages and other tools. Thanks for your help.

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Mr Jim, I better understand your question now. You must have a what is commonly referred to as a rivet forge or something like it. The 20" pipe would make a nice forge but you might want to consider adding a fire pot to the setup. Look up tuyere pot from a site that sells to Blacksmiths, (there are a few but I don't know if I can name them on this site), to see the design or you may want to buy one. The fire pot will add depth to your fire which you need for heavier welding. Your blower is only going to make intense heat in an area the size of the fire pot no matter the size of the forge top. If your fire has been "getting out" , that is burning throughout your current forge, you are burning fuel you don't have to. I seldom have a fire much larger than a softball. For knives just 3 or 4 inches wide and across the grate 6 or 8 inches.
When you start those gun barrels a larger rectangle forge may be better suited for the job. 20" round or 3' X 5' rectangle, the fire only needs to be a little larger than the spot you are heating in most cases. Deeper is better to reduce scale and water will save coal. Also your forge can be repaired so don't scrap it please.

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A large forge table can be easily fabricated out of angle iron and washing machine shells. Then, drop a firepot in and you have a quality forge. Check out Fiery Furnace's forge for an idea of a good basic forge. Just a table with a metal pot in it, basically.

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I have looked at the tables and firepots and see that using the pipe/manifold that I have would be counterproductive in trying to flatten it to make a table.  I am looking around to see if I have anything that will work.  If I use steel and not cast, is there a thickness I should use over another? The thicker the better? Thank you for the help.

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The firepot needs to have thick walls.  I wouldn't use anything less than 3/8" thick, and most of the commercially available ones are a minimum of 1/2" thick.   That doesn't mean you can't make one out of 1/4" plate, though.  It will take the heat/fire a loooong time to eat through 1/4" steel, especially if you're only forging a bit here and there during the week.  Of course, I subscribe to the "buy once, cry once" school of thought and would use the heaviest material you can lay hands on.

 

For the table that the firepot sits in, sheet metal is good enough.  The carcass of a washing machine or dishwasher would be plenty.  Some folks use the body of a push mower.  If you have some scrap lumber, you can build the legs and surround out of it and find a piece of sheet for the actual table top.

 

Don't forget to put a few crossbars underneath so it doesn't sag.

 

As to dimensions, I like my table top to be rectangular rather than square, with the pot set off of center towards the left side as facing.  Having about 10" around the pot is great for building a mound of fuel, and having some extra room to one side is great for extra fuel and whatever tools you might be using on the project.  Think 24" x 40".

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Jim,

 

I had one of those for a few years, when I got it it had a half rotted original welded pan (20" 10 ga disk with a 3" 10 ga side wall) which was filled with refractory cement to create a fire pot.  Since I have no shop to speak of and was planning on bringing it to events and meets I knew a mud filled pan would not work for me.  After searching for a while for 17"+ skillets and only finding rotted or weight in gold ones, a Cabella's opened up along my commute.  In the camping department they had the perfect pan, a 20" cast iron skillet for ~$50 (http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabelas-Outfitter-Series8482-Cast-Iron-Skillets/727438.uts)

 

To install it, I cut off one of the handles and oriented it towards the blower.  This allowed me to use the other handle and the loop of frame under the blower for carrying.  The airpipe stuck about 1/4" above the surface of the skillet so I made a rectangular tuyere out of 3/4" 304 S. St. (scrap drop from work), after creating an oval pocket 3/8" deep slightly larger then the airpipe I drilled 3/8" through holes on 3/4" diamond spaced pattern (next row of holes is 3/8" to the left and 3/4" in front of the prior row).  After drilling I used a 3/4" drill to countersink the backside of the holes till there was almost no flat surface on the under side, to allow the air to flow easier (air hitting a flat surface creates backpressure and waists your energy).

 

If I had a shop of my own I would still have that forge, but replaced it with a smaller lighter forge and sold it to a friend in exchange for some tools.  It just too cumbersome when loading and unloading my truck.

 

Hope you enjoy your forge,

Rich C.

 

After I wrote this I realized there were 2 versions of the 400 blower, one where the blower is mounted on a tripod and the type I was talking about which was setup as a rivet forge.

 Here was mine: http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/13240-blower-rebuild-advice-needed/  See 2nd & 3rd photos in post 13.

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