kayakersteve

Log splitter press / die question

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I am making my 33 ton log splitter double as a press for doing pattern welding only. Using the railroad rails shown below. I have them each cut into 6" pieces. My question for more experienced is should I alter the working surface of the dies or leave as they are....I will only use for making billets. I wasn't sure if I should grind them to be flatter or leave with the slight rounding on one side as can be seen.

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Using the rail as is - will fold them over on the middle web, as that will be the weakest point in a press situation - the center web will have to be supported by welding side plates in to fill the area below the rail head.
Much easier to just get some solid stock and make the dies as you need, unless your time and mat's are free.

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Jeremy - Thanks for your response, but in reading it, I realize that my knowledge is lacking.  I do not know what you mean by middle and center web.  Is there a source that you are are aware of where I could do some reading?  The materials I have are indeed free, but I can also go buy stuff - I had seen similar dies made by Michael Kemp from elemental forge, but his were flatter - that is what I was concerned about as mine are more radiused on one side.  I may try to reach out to Michael, but would love to know more.

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These are the areas I'm talking about. The center web of the rail needs more support between the head and the base flanges. The width should be the same vertically through out the whole die contact surfaces as in a solid piece.

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I agree with Jeremy. You can either reinforce the area he indicates in the above photo or even cut that area out and weld the rail directly to the base flange (unless this doesn't allow for enough travel of the ram).

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Ok - Thanks for additional info.  Here is what I have done so far - I figured the center piece of the rail would be strong enough for forge welding, because it is 1/2+" thick and I am applying enough pressure to get the weld to complete and the steel will be redhot.  I have welded some supports on, but am out of wire right now, so cant finish until I get more.  I figured this would be strong enough, but am now questioning it. 

 

Now I need to either scrap these and start over or perhaps weld across the center section to add more support.  Or I could see if it gives under load?

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These things support tons of load with little or no impact.  Use them as they are on hot metal.  It would not hurt to support the rail and the foot but your 35 ton press is nowhere near what they support on the rail road.  I would cut the web out and weld the rail to the foot if it started to move.  As time goes on you will change things any way.

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Backwoods - That is what I was hoping to hear - I know everyone's has a different point of view, but a Fri..in train is heavy!  These hold up to tons of abuse on sweltering heat and frigid cold with freight trains bumping over them.  I am planning on seeing if there is any movement with my first few billets - if so, will reinforce or cut down to remove the middle area.  Thanks for responses everyone!

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Yes they support lots of weight but they are in 33ft long sections - cutting a short section as you have did, the center web will bend over as you will find out. Show pics of that when it happens.

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Jeremy - I am not discounting your advice and I hope you don't think I was.  I will certainly keep you posted.  If they begin to bend, I will stop and weld in some braces.  You may be right...Heck, maybe even speaking from experience for all I know.  I will keep you posted and will put up pics if it does or does not bend.  May be several days before I can get out to buy some more wire to finish welding up the brackets to secure to splitter.

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No worries - sometimes a question like this can be answered by looking at any manufactured power hammer dies ( solid blocks) there is a reason for that. If you only had pressure directly in the center of the dies, inline with the center web, yes you may get by for awhile but any difference in pressure from the leading edges and center will cause issues - as in if you feed your bar in and press with more on the front edges vs the center of the die you will bend the center web.

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Steve, are you planing to weld  your static/lower die to that red plate with the sq holes in it as the main frame for the press?

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no - Its just on there while working on it so I dont catch wood table on fire.


Got the die on the splitter wedge done and bolted on - will work on other side after spaghetti dinner

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Kayakersteve,

 

  Take a look at a you tube film by Mad Dwarf Forge. they use a log splitter rigged as a horizontal press like you did your splitter. They put together a tighter fitting rig for the press but it might give you some ideas IF you run into problems.

 

 

Brian Pierson

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Nothing to contribute to your question, just an ah ha moment for me, never occurred to me to use a log splitter for a press. Threads like this are what make this site great. Thanks.

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The press is doing well - Here is a photo of my first biullet with it.  At 33 layers so far with excellent welds and easy shaping with the log splitter press.  I dont think the rail will bend as previously predicted by some - I have placed maximum press stress without a bend.  Fingers crossed.post-27724-0-61440700-1388091975_thumb.j

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Looks great! I love seeing projects like this posted on here. As for the web of the rail ever de-forming...I seriously doubt that will happen. A single hopper filled with sand, grain or coal ( :D ) can weigh upwards of 80,000 lbs easily and there is more then just compression stress involved when the train rolls over it as there are curves in the track (torsional stress) and also pretty violent side to side rocking of the train cars while heading down the line. The tracks hold up just fine under those conditions, so I think they will last you a very long time as is. The only real risk I can think of for deforming would be if the "dies" were not lined up properly and the webs ended up in a sheer plane and then MAYBE you may get some sway but like I said, your 33 ton press is nothing compared to what these tracks are designed for (a freight train running 65 mph pulling thousands of tons rocking side to side). I hope your new tool serves you well! 

-Crazy Ivan

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Methinks your thinking is a little off Ivan.......The 80,000lbs is spread over 8 wheels and the track is continuous, which is way less stress than putting 66,000lbs over a 8'' piece or so. I had concerns about this but I'm glad it turned out ok. The deflection between the dies seems a bit severe, but hey if it gets the job done why not........... B)

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Thanks Crazy Ivan - I will draw the billet out to length tommorrow - Hope to get enough for a few knives.  That's the last of my knife steel until I can order some more.

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Methinks your thinking is a little off Ivan.......The 80,000lbs is spread over 8 wheels and the track is continuous, which is way less stress than putting 66,000lbs over a 8'' piece or so. I had concerns about this but I'm glad it turned out ok. The deflection between the dies seems a bit severe, but hey if it gets the job done why not........... B)

I know, I saw the deflection too and have the same concerns as most but I saw the deflections go up and down, not side to side and from my experience riding the rails for years, there is plenty of motion in the tracks and never had a train I have been on derailed from this.  That 80,000 lbs is only spread across a 1/4" on an entire car, and also at tremendous speed. I may be crazy, but not stupid. My first hand experience tells me the rails will be okay through this so long as a close eye is kept on the orientation of the rails. they will bend, but not break if worse comes to worse but in the mean time, you  will have a nice press that will do the job intended for many years to come. I alway honor the wise words said on this forum,but in this case, I feel I have some added knowledge on the subject most do not have and feel like this is perfectly fine (though I am not arrogant enough to say that adding side braces would be a good idea at least for safety's sake)

-Crazy Ivan

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Steve, Good work.  When I made up mine I replaced the splitter instead of trying to attach to it.  Only one bolt.  I also ground the base plate smooth and bolted my anvil directly to the base.  This way I had no movement in either end.  Both the anvil and press end have plates that are drilled and tapped to hold different press plates or tools.  I still use it as a splitter so I can put the wedge back on and split away.  I have had no problems with the wood skidding the bottom plate smooth.

Keep it up and don't be afraid to try new things, keeping in mind the safety factors involved in hydraulics, high pressure and very hot metal.

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Here is billet at 66 layers with light sanding to check for defects - Am real happy with how it turned out.  Will likely draw out to shape today rather than fold anymore to leave with a larger pattern.

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