rocky.coastlines

Seeking Help: Propane Forge with Too Much Flame!

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Hello, blacksmiths!

Thanks for taking time to look at my post. 

I was recently gifted a small propane forge. It was built by a friend who has passed away. As far as I know, he used it, in the condition it's in, regularly and successfully, for all kinds of small forging projects. I have been trying to troubleshoot what's going on with it. Here's what happens: When I turn on the propane (there is no PSI meter or guage, just an open/close valve) then turn on the gas for the forge and light it, flames at least a foot tall leap from the forge front and back-- and continue on like that (no matter how open the propane or the forge valve is) until I turn it off. I tried closing up with forge with firebrick, so there was a smaller opening, and it just blackened the entire inside of the forge as the flames tried to leap out. 

Photos of the set up:

THE PROPANE: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui...&sz=w1335-h472 

THE FORGE: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui...&sz=w1335-h472

THE FLAMES: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui...&sz=w1335-h472 -(even after running it a while, no hotter blues appear, and the black gunk builds up.)

Does this mean that it's too oxidized? That the forge is too small? Or am I doing something silly? 

Thanks very much for any thoughts,
Rocky

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Your "links are all the same and send us to "gmail" home page. You may recieve a "spam" worning from the powers to be. 

Please repost your pictures. 

As a WAG, is this a "two brick" forge using a propain torch as a burner? If this is the case then you lrobbably need to back the burner up so their is an inch or two air space between the torch and the  hole in the brick. The fuel needs time to burn befor it hits the far wall of the forge. If not, then you realy need a presureregulator and a presure guage (down stream) to help manage it. Expect some dragons breath, worse if your rich or the burner is to big for the forge (the fuel dosnt all burn up in the forge)

Edited by Charles R. Stevens

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sounds to me, just from the description without pics.....this might be a forced air burner running without the forced air

 

Edited by 2ballcain357
did not finish

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Tried to reply earlier this morning but my home system keeps just putting me at the drag or attach files line and not allowing input.

Couldn't see pictures as mentioned above.

GET A REGULATOR, you don't need a pressure gauge you do need regulated gas!

The other suggestions above are good ones too!

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Welcome aboard Rocky, glad to have you. We need a couple pics of the problem to help you trouble shoot it. Take one in the door at the flame as it comes through the forge liner and another from the side showing the flame coming out the forge door in profile.

As a bare minimum you need a regulator tank pressure at room temp is around 200psi and typical naturally aspirated burners run at 20psi. or less. A gun or blown burner uses much less as the gas isn't entraining the combustion air.

I recommend you keep this forge outdoors till you get the burner tuned and probably then. Don't worry we'll get it tuned you only need to know the rules of thumb and how to read the flame. It isn't difficult or we'd all be using the expensive commercially made burners. <grin>

Frosty The Lucky.

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You haven't opened the sleeve for the air, on your atmospheric Burner. The gas jet creates a low pressure at the tip of the jet and draws air from behind it. You have the fuel turned on, with no air allowed to mix with the fuel. VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!

Neil

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You should be able to adjust how much air mixes with the gas by loosening the thumbscrew, moving the stainless steel sleeve up or down and locking it in position again with the thumbscrew.

In the photo, you have no air mixing with the gas, so the gas cannot burn until it encounters air. 

Adjusting the air gap will adjust the temperature of the flame. More air usually means a hotter flame.

Adjusting the pressure with the blue regulator will give you control of how much of that flame there is (screw it down to increase pressure/gas flow).

The operation of your burner is essentially the same as a Bunsen burner. If you don't remember it from school, I'd suggest watching one or two youtube videos about Bunsen burners.

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Ditto. Open the choke, let that baby breath! That's a pretty fundamental mistake. I believe you'd do well to do some reading about how burners work in general. They're just another way of making a fire and fire needs the triangle to burn, fuel AIR and ignition.

Have you ever operated a oxy acet torch? Watched one being lit and adjusted? There are online instructional videos from all the major manufacturers, Victor, Hobart, Harris, Smith, etc. They don't cover an air propane torch but adjusting oxy fuel or air fuel is the same. You light the fuel and it burns with yellow or orange yellow billowing flames then as you open the oxy valve the flame shortens and turns blue with all three combustion zones.

An oxy fuel torch properly adjusted looks like an air propane torch. Propane forge burner's are home built air fuel torches and are adjusted the same. Light the fuel and add air till you have a clean 3 zone flame with just a LITTLE bit of orange in the dragon's breath.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Notice how that picture made the entire issue clear and described the system in good detail.

And yup a rather common mistake for someone starting out with no experience with propane burners

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The regulator also looks like it is sut way down, a guage on the forge side ofe the reduater (blue thing) will help you emensly they are prety cheep at a welding supply, as long as it reads 0-30 psi your good. I think mine is 0-50. The gass gurues here will help you sort it out in short order.

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I concur with the existing wisdom that has already been posted on this.  Was going to write something similar yesterday when I first read the OP, but for some reason could not post to IFI.  Other things you may wish to check if the ventauri inlet adjustment doesn't get you all the way to where you need to be:

  1. Gas orifice size is pretty important, that is what drives the naturally aspirated induction of the combustion air.  If the forge worked well before you shouldn't have any trouble, but if the orifice is just a MIG tip screwed into the interior gas port, as with many self made burners, it could have fallen out in transit.  You may be able to see it if you slide the ventauri sleeve out of the way (depending on burner construction)
  2. I'm confused as to why your gas ball valve appear to be in the closed position (handle perpendicular to the pipe) in both the cold and firing photos.  This should be set so that it is parallel to the pipe when in the firing position, so the standard action of turning it 1/4 turn to off position can be done quickly in case of a problem.  You should not be using this valve for metering your gas, that is the job of the regulator near the propane tank (get a gage, as Charles mentioned).
  3. I suggest you add a longer section of  copper pipe upstream of the ball valve to get that flexible rubber propane hose as far away from the forge as possible, particularly with a top fired burner.  Honestly I'm not a big fan of using that flexible gas hose for any "permanent" equipment in a smithy, though for code compliance that forge could arguably be termed a portable unit. 

Looks like you are on the road, good luck.

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That was embarrassing? HAH! My Mother could tell stories about me that . . . Nevermind. <wink> Not knowing how a piece of equipment operates isn't such a big deal, we've all had to figure things out and screwed up by the numbers doing it. You would've figured it out after a while but you had more sense than that. You asked people who knew how they work.

Now, post a couple pics of it running, one before it gets more than medium orange from the front so we can see the shape of the flame and a second pic from the side so we can see what the flame coming out the door looks like. That will give us enough information to let you tune it to near perfection.

Once you've seen Bad, good and near perfect you'll be showing other folk how to tune burners. It's not hard if you know what you're looking at.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty, thanks for the offer for follow-up help! Here are pictures of the forge, as I'm tuning it currently. It goes pretty quickly from very messy, dragon breathy flames to concentrated blue very quickly. As you can see, I have bricked up the back of the forge (which is closer to the wall) to concentrate the heat. Thanks again for all your help and welcome. Forge on! 

 

follow up4.jpg

follow up 3.jpg

follow up2.jpg

follow up.jpg

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Good Morning, Rocky.

Use some fire brick, very much like what you are using, to make an adjustable door (horizontal). You need to now contain the heat inside the forge. It will probably take about 15 minutes running and the fire brick will turn red/orange/eventually yellow. That is when you will have maximum heat. Don't be afraid to make some adjustments to the Propanr regulator and the adjustable sleeve on the nozzle. When it "Roars" it is working good. It will/should have some dragon breathe too.

The Journey starts with one step.....then, two step... then you are dancing!!!!!! The Journey is very enjoyable, even with a few speed-bumps!!;);)

Neil

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