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Hammer Die Settings

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This question is more for those who have mechanical power hammers since I don't think this applies to air hammers but - what gap do you have between the dies?

I have my 100 lb Beaudry set to barely kiss the dies at full speed and they don't bang together. I did this because I figured that I always have something between the dies, either hot stock or swages and the hammer would be most efficient if it's not choked. Therefore, I get very hard hammer action from a minimum of about 1/2" die height up to a maximum of around 3-1/2". The hammer will touch but not do much to a piece of 1/8" flat so I have to use a "slick" tool to move the material.

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With my 50 lb LG I usually run it at its highest position and use tools to get to about 3" height, tool and stock. That is about as much as it'll eat. When I am drawing I have a series of punch marks on the poll and will reference them till it gets to hammering really well. Usually about half way. All that will change when I put in a shorter bottom die to get in some taller work.

Long way of saying I adjust til it feels and sounds right.

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I set the dies on my 25# LG at about an 1'' at the bottom of the stroke.
The 100# LG is set at about 1 1/2'' at the bottom of the stroke. This seems to be a good position for drawing and general free hand work on stock up to 1 1/2''. If I have to do a lot of spring swage work, I raise it up a bit. I don't do a lot of top tool work with these hammers other than fullering, side sets, flatters and v-cutters. I use a 90# treadle hammer for most of the slitting, punching ,drifting bobbing etc. operations.
The 1 1/2'' setting on the 100# is just right for forging long hollow tapers in pipe from 1/2'' shedule 40 up through 1 1/2'' shedule 160. Drawing diagonally across a set of big combination dies on a 100# hammer running slow and steady gives a long smooth taper without crushing the pipe.
Right now I've got the 200# Beaudry set at about 1 1/4'' at the bottom of the stroke with the crank plate adjustment of the crank pin set at maximum throw. This gives the longest swing with the hardest blow. At this setting the dies hit hard at full speed. As I recall this was what Clifton Ralph recommended for a blow of maximum penetraion.
Since I got this Beaudry up and running most of the work in the shop has been fabrication or sheet metal work rather than forging ,so I haven't had a lot of opportunity to really use and understand this hammer . The dual options of setting the stroke length at the crank plate and the height of the dies at the spring box give these Beaudry hammers a lot of adjustment.
The important thing to remember on the little giant style of hammers is to keep the toggle arms horizontal or slightly up towards the ram while the hammer is at rest. If this adjustment isn't kept, thing go out of whack pretty quickly.
This is just my experiance based on 13 years as a full time smith. I've never used any other hammer than the ones I have.

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