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I Forge Iron

Forging area floor plans

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There are a number of images in various threads on ifi which show quite well the numerous workshops from all over the place. Clearly we all have our own preferences for how far away from the forge the leg vice, anvil, hammer and layout table should be. Two or three paces seems to be the norm, from what I've observed, but this really works best for smaller forgings; of a size which can be manually handled by one, or perhaps two, people


Some shops plan around the idea of a flow, from raw materials in at one end of the shop, then to say a cut-off saw, followed by a number of pathways for the cut material. To the forge, the layout table, the lathe, or mill, twister or press. After that, the item goes to the next machine or apparatus it needs to visit as part of the manufacturing process and onwards. The individual items end up on the assembly table, or in a clear space assigned this purpose, and once the final steps are taken, the finished item goes out, either where the raw materials come in or via another point used to load road transport say


Others appear very much random and seem to be planned on the basis of 'this is where it landed, so this is where it stays!' Not to say there is anything necessarily wrong with this 'evolved' type of floor layout, but there are benefits with being just a little more organised... Especially when the opportunity to be so presents itself as a blank canvas


I have a multitude of ideas on how to set my new space out and am looking to obtain the benefit of second hand knowledge. You know, "I did it this way and it works" or "I did it this way and found I had to change things like this..."


Most of my gear is on wheels, or is of a type that can be readily shifted, so I plan to have nothing fixed hard and fast, with the exceptions being the 'properly planted' hammers. I am experimenting with having at least one air hammer of 90lb [40kg] size mobile, so even those machines may be readily shifted to suit the job at hand, if that experiment is successful. I'm also looking at making a grid on 2' [600mm] centres of 2" [50mm] square tube [sHS] which will be cast into the entire concrete floor of the shop. This makes for flexible but rigid mounting for things like leg vices and permits rigging equipment to be used to tweak items that are otherwise difficult to handle. Think giant acorn table...


Regardless of this essentially movable workshop, there are things to consider - hammers and anything too big to roll about or lift - when it comes to the placement of the fixed items and before I commit to a final arrangement, I consider it prudent to raise my question, which relates to forging area layouts for larger working shops, where bigger items are manufactured in particular. I would like to know if any one has floor plans of the working areas in their larger shops they would be prepared to share here?



Jim Deering


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Jim: I'm familiar with different general plans of floor layout. the old school Kitchen type, keeping everything within a short distance of the fire while leaving a person enough room to move. Production shop layouts as well, Father's shop flowed from the roll up door into the stock storage, measuring and cutting area, then to the next cutting area, mostly circle shears and the punch presses, then along one wall to the spinning area, then down the other wall to the finish spinning, trimming and polishing area. Then back to the roll up door on the other side for packaging and shipping. It looked crowded but worked well.


I have a grid of 2" receiver tube sockets cast into my shop floor on a 4' grid. After talking to a couple other guys who did this I changed my initial 2' grid plan to the 4' grid plan. We call them "gozintas" because stuff goz inta them. All the receiver tube gozintas are welded into the rebar in the floor so a welding ground lead doesn't have to be underfoot all the time. My, sort of, contribution to the old idea was to connect all mine to a sub floor exhaust system so I can use a cutting/welding table without breathing fumes/smoke. I can run a hose from any one to a table top or engine exhaust, hood over the pickling tank, etc.


Having a down draft exhaust has another benefit in a cold climate. Using a large eve exhaust you have to change out all the air in the shop a couple few times to get rid of any smoke and it costs a lot to heat that air in winter Alaska. By drawing a partial vacuum down under the floor the only extra air being sucked out of my warm shop is off the floor and it's the coldest air in the shop already. It is however being drawn through the subfloor gravel where it sheds what heat it has into the ground under the floor. All the gozintas have caps so stuff doesn't fall in and the draw isn't much diminished when the exhaust fan is on.


So in my humble opinion gozintas are a double thumbs up option for a new shop. You can always get rid of them later by simply casting them full of concrete and sealing the floor to hide the steel.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Good Morning,


Normal size for a shop = Too Small. Normal size for a boat = 2' too short. Normal place to put something = In the way.


What Frosty is talking about is make everything adjustable. Today there is a post vice there, tomorrow there is an anvil there. Etcetera.......

One fellow that I know, has a section of 2" square tubing on all his things. He has a hand-cart with the receiver part of a trailer hitch welded onto it. Hook up the hand-cart to whatever you want to move and it is moved. K.I.S.S. Work Benches, Anvils, Forges, Post-Vices, Tong Rack, Etc. should all be able to move. Inventory will be near a wall.


Make up your mind, how you are going to enter the shop. Everything else can move!!!


Asking for thoughts about shop layout is like asking "What colour should I paint it" Obvious answer for the colour, Ask your Lady!! :) :)



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I see the 2 in tubing spuds sticking up and welded to the rebar grid. How does the exhaust component of the design work? I get the downdraft principal but where is the ducting, I.E. how do you get the vacuum on the spuds if they are nested into the crushed stone?

Thanks in advance.


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My guess is that the ducting is under the stone at that point in the progress.


Looks good. Heated floor is a definite if I do my own shop. We put it in the floor of the storage area where I used to work and the game plan was to do the main shop floor when we eventually poured the new floor. His basement floor is heated by simply a 50 gal water heater and a circulating pump. No need for a fancy boiler.

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