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Tire Hammer Build

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Ah, so Anvilfire is down. I was wondering why I couldn't get on there. 

I have seen that chart, however, I have also read that older electric motors (the big, bulky kind, like this one) have more torque than the newer ones. I don't know for sure if it will work, but I think it's worth a try considering that a 1-2HP motor will cost $100. 

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Well it's worth a shot I guess. I currently have a used 1/3 hp and a used 1/2 hp motor. I thought about using the 1/2 for my hammer and using the 1/3 for a planishing hammer or some other project. However if yo can get decent results from the 1/3 I might save the 1/2 for something else :)

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I'll definitely be posting a video when I have it all up and running. Whether it runs good or not, that is. The motor I have is probably at the least 25 years old, more likely 35-40. Just for reference. 

Edited by Leeknivek
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There is (almost) no such thing as "too much power" for the motor, yours looks a little bit weak- and the shaft and bearings on bigger motors are stronger. Downside is a VFD for big motors are expensive.

I guess the tire is from your old car and was free, but if you can find one with a flatter running surface you have a better transmission and less wear. I have 3" and it works great, tire was ~10$

If it works the way you planed it you have to cover the motor and tire to protect it from oil and scale.

I watched the video but still have doubts regarding efficiency and controllability- I would love it if you prove me wrong and am looking forward for your video


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That's true, this will be more a temporary fix until I can find a decent motor on CL. That VFD concept looks promising, however since I don't have 3-phase (yet?) it looks like more than it's worth for right now. 

I do have about 50 old tires. This just happens to be my only compact spare. I have a solid axle, too, with intact wheel bearings. That would work, if I can find something that matches the lug pattern ... then I'll draw out the solid axle! I was thinking of using this because the wheels are offset on dog bone shaped plates, which are about 6" long. I could conceivably drill a number of holes and have a little bit of adjustment, since I have room for a larger than normal stroke. I could probably mill out the middle of the dog bone, too, but that seems a lot less stronger for very little gain. I would have to stick the wheel bearing to the axle, though, and mount the whole thing on a pillow block. No welding on the rim, and lag bolts are easily accessible from the back. 

I made a (very crude) working model of the linkage to confirm for myself and to better understand how this works. The whip works as a result of gravity, in that when the linkage moves up, the weight of the ram will cause the ram to "lag". "Mechanically", it will be easier for the linkage to compress the springs before it lifts the heavy ram. The same is true on the downstroke, the ram is still on the up stroke, but the rest of the assembly is starting to fall - the spring compresses again to compensate for the weight and the ram in turn has a larger stroke and is slammed down. The faster you go, the more powerful the lag - and therefore the whip - will be. 

I think it will work just fine, however, there's some complex physics and engineering going on here, arm vs link length, ram weight vs. spring strength, how tight everything is, and then speed... For this particular one, I know that I need a deeper throat to allow for the potentially increased whip. I probably need springs that are stronger, but in either setup a DP linkage is using gravity vs. the spring. I haven't purchased any hardware yet because of this - I'm kind of stuck on figuring out these dimensions. I think I have something like 30-40" between BDC and the ram's bottom, so the linkage needs to be about that tall. 

I'm also leaning more towards the champion-style linkage as opposed to the LG. Seems a lot easier to construct, though I wouldn't know how to bend the leaf spring. There is the X1 sort of linkage, too, that Jock Dempsey came up with. Anyone have any experience with that?

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 When I build mine, I'll be modeling it after the X1. I like the simplicity of the leaf springs on the ram. I also plan on remote mounting the tire to the back of the machine for longevity purposes. I just haven't decided on a brake setup yet. I kinda like the idea of a band style brake on the cookie up front as opposed to rubbing on the tire.

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Ah, we'll have to see. You're probably right. I sold my stupid Hammond organ, so I have a little more money to invest into this now. I'll probably buy a proper motor and springs and hardware. That's about all that's left, then I just need to weld it all up. Going to have to crack open that 25lb can of 7018...

Jeddly, I'm hoping this design I have will turn out ok. Seemed to have worked for Sam Salvati with the video I posted, that's basically what I'm doing. It looks like his coil spring needs to be under a bit more compression though - but mine, like his, is about 10"x30", 5' tall. Very compact for a +/-30lb hammer. 

any other opinions on the X1 linkage? 


Edited by Leeknivek
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I think he's banned from this site right now. I've seen him on many other blacksmithing and knife making forums, though. I sent him a friend request on Facebook for the same reason but he hasn't accepted it yet.


I guess ill be able to answer in a week or two when I get this pig up and running ... Hopefully

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Okay. Had a busy week - got two 9' hickory logs bucked and almost ready to be hewn into beams. Straight as an arrow, and about 400lbs each. My younger brother (15) and I loaded them into my F150 ......... by hand! Just about maxed out my suspension, between that and the cordwood. 

Anyways - I've done a little more design work on my hammer. I've got it just about worked out in my head, a few pieces still need to come together. I have the spring for the linkage - I decided to go with the X1-style, though it is a little modified. I bought a 1,000lb capacity leaf spring. It's small, but I can't hardly budge it by jumping on it, so, I think it'll work. I'm worried it might even be too stiff! To alleviate that, just in case, I'm going to use a nylon strap in the Champion bow spring style. This is easier to fabricate and, from what I have read, offers the benefit of hitting harder. Less hardware, less bushings. I'm a cheapskate so I'm trying to make the most economical, least expensive and best performing hammer I can. I've researched literally every day back to at least a week before I started this thread. It's all starting to come together now. 

Since I bought this leaf spring new - a simple trailer spring - it has plastic bushings. Now, I was wary of them - and I still am, to some extent - but I did find this article showing the (surprise!) benefits to plastic bushings over bronze bushings. It might not hold up to the shock, but if it doesn't I can always replace them. Here's a link to the article: 


News ​to me. I hope I don't get ripped a new one for saying plastic might be comparable to bronze........... 

So, here's my latest Microsoft Paint animation. It's a little wonky, but it shows my updated design well. Not so much the actual physics, being that it is, after all, Microsoft Paint, so bear with me.
Leaf springs on either side, attached to a central block. The ram is guided similar to Sam Salvati's hammer, though I have a little trick in which I will be making vee-ways with (semi-)proper bearing material. That bearing material might be hardwood. I'm not sure if the bottom of the linkage will be guided or free to rotate yet. The ram will have the added weight of the springs, the guide parts, and the plate in which the springs attach.With the die, I might be close to 50 pounds. The tire was 'replaced' with a generic flywheel for ease of illustration (I hand-drew this on Paint). The anvil is the green, the gray central column is the guide pole and the dies are on the opposite side of the linkage. 

The beauty of this, however, is that it is to some degree "upgradeable". In brainstorming, if the frame is strong enough (I'm not afraid of gussets or maxing out my stick welder) it should be that I can have varying linkages and motors to change from 25lb to 50lb to 75lb. For what that's worth, anyway. It might be able to handle 100lb, but I won't be able to tell until I have it all up and running. The ram could simply be pulled off through the top, a new one bolted to the pitman arm,  and a different motor bolted in place. I don't know how practical those weight changes may be, but for a mechanical hammer, it may be a useful concept. 


Edited by Leeknivek
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  • 4 weeks later...

Ah, sorry it's been so long. been busy, preparing to move and getting married in a few months... I haven't made any progress on the hammer - I have everything but a motor, though. Just needs preparation and assembly. 

I did do some work on the anvil I started fabricating last year, that's not done yet either, but I have a base, a hardie hole, and a square horn on it now. Still need to do a bit of cleaning up and eventually add a round horn. Maybe a pritchel hole. Here's a couple pictures of that: 




first picture is the block I started with last year, I think it was 85lbs. Second picture shows the seam I welded up, 1" square tube butted in between the main block and the horn block, I think I did 100+ passes on EACH side filling that gap. Still a little bit of touching up to do, but I'll get to that when I get a new liner for my mig welder. The stick welder is too clumsy for stuff that delicate, the arc blows out too much when I have the amps cranked to use my 30 year old rod............ third picture is the face as it stands now. Like I said, little bit of touching up to do, but it works just fine until I find something suitable for a horn. The horn added something like 20-30lbs, the base added another 10lbs. I'm hoping to have it around 130-140lbs when finished. I haven't weighed it yet, but it's getting hefty. 

I also needed a new forge. I made on a couple years ago using a 55-gallon drum, but its been outside in the very unforgiving New England weather and the hood looks more like rusty corn flakes... So I quickly made up a new one out of a lawnmower deck and some angle iron. I haven't even had a fire going yet this year! here's the old vs. the new: 



I haven't painted the new one yet. After seeing what happened to the first one, I don't know if I will. The new one looks like a piece of crap but it's just something to hold a fire, so... 

That's what I've been up to in the past month. Sorry I haven't had more time to get on here. I'll have the hammer done soon enough, I hope!

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  • 2 weeks later...

oooooooook. Well, I got a bit done on the hammer today after work. I cleaned up the base plate and the anvil - got those two welded together. Gave my new 4 1/2" Makita a run for its money, went an hour grinding and it didn't even get warm. It's also kind of scary trying to wrangle 360 (and later 460!) pounds of steel by yourself with nothing but an engine hoist and a loop of steel cable. That's almost four times my weight! Here's the pictures:





old 7" mangnesium Milwaunky. 



The amperage on this is set mechanically with a hand-driven sprocket that has a chain to a smaller sprocket on the end of a piece of threaded rod that moves one giant copper coil closer to or further from another giant copper coil.... 30 to 420 amps. 220v


She's stuck now!

and the guiderail...  

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That welder is pretty good - I just wish it could do DC instead of only AC. You can only go so high before it goes from "welder" to "plasma cutter" .... I welded this at 125 amps, I think. 225 would have just eaten up the rod and my parts, unfortunately. 

It's coming along, though. Slowly but surely, I'll have it up and running eventually. 


Edited by Leeknivek
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  • 1 year later...

When I first started looking into building a power hammer, I had read that one fellow said it took him two years to complete his. 

I scoffed. Two years? I bet I could build one in a month! 

Well, it's now been two years since I started this build - and I am still not finished. Perhaps if I had a kit I could do it in a month, but from scratch - engineering and material wise - two years is .... just the beginning. 


So I have been doing some more research lately. I think I am going to change direction a little. So far, I do have a good solid anvil on a decent base - but that's about it. I think I am going to go the route of an unguided helve hammer - a la Depew, Hawkeye. They are lighter, they are not as strong, top tooling is not always compatible, but they're dead simple and I bet for 1" and under, they're as good as any. And, of course, that beats my hand by a long shot! 

Here's a mockup of what I have:


Here's a sketch with approximately how I want to do this: 


The big gray upright is a 4"x6" highway I beam. I have the web almost touching the anvil, with the two flanges on either side of the anvil. I think I want to weld the bottom of it along the side to the anvil, and notch the flange on both sides to the web so that I can make the radii shown in the sketch. My cousin has a backhoe, so I think I can set it between two rocks and gently nudge it into shape - the notches should force it where I want it to be. 

The wheelbarrow wheel, 13", is on its own axle. It's 5/8" chromed rod. I want to mount that on pillow blocks and forge it into a simple crankshaft. I think this will be strong enough. a 1.5" pulley will give me 200bpm with this setup. 

Which brings me to the ram - I have a couple options. I have seen sledge hammer heads used pretty effectively, but I also have a 25lb chunk of 4.5" round, about 6" long. I could mount that perpendicular to the anvil, like this: 


That gives me options for interchangeable dies. I would prefer to do that, but, 25lbs may be too much. I am having trouble figuring out what I should make the helve itself out of - wood or steel - and how I should securely attach the head. I'm a pretty good welder, but I don't know if welds are enough for that. I'm almost considering tapping threads AND welding it, but that provides its own logistical challenges. 

I am not so concerned about the ram weight - I think 10lbs is plenty for my needs, and I have an anvil that will provide a 40:1 ratio with a 10lb head. I could go up to 16lbs and have a 25:1, too, so I think that the 25lbs may be more trouble than it's worth. From what I understand, it'll move more metal with a lighter head and the same size anvil (in some cases)

So, there you go, full resurrection. 

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Here is a "scale drawing" of the spring and helve 




I think I am going to use this hammer for the ram, rather than the 4.5" round. With the dies I plan on using (cut from an old cutting edge from a loader bucket) I can weld a pin on them to go through the eye of the hammer, Or threaded rod. Gives an easy change of the top die. It will weigh about 12lbs doing this, which should be plenty. That isn't counting the pipe. 


I think a good weld around the head of the hammer into the pipe will suffice, and should be pretty strong. Please correct me if I am wrong. 



I plan on using some u bolts and plates to hold the spring. I can make it a little adjustable doing this. 


I want to have the pitman come up and meet the pipe in the middle, though I may also have it come meet the spring in the back, too. Either way, I think I'll cut the spring down. 


I have some channel that I may weld on to either side of the pipe, too, to make it more rigid. 


I plan on putting a shaft, likely 1", through the X on the left end of the pipe. Welded in place, to meet two flange bearings on either side of the I beam. 

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