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I Forge Iron

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Hey guys first post here. I'm in the process of building a brake drum forge. I'm using a brake drum off of a semi that I have notched. 

The hole in the middle is quite large, nine inches or so, and I need to cover it. I am about to cut the top off of a steel drum that I will use for charcoal. Will the top be thick enough to handle the heat of the forge if I were to cut out a circle to lay in the bottom? Or should I go for a heavier metal plate?

It doesn't look like it in the pictures but there is still a 3 inch lip for the bowl.

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Even small brake drums are a PITA, look at Glenn's "simple 55 forge" and "sideblast 55 forge"

you can only work about 6" by hand so you need to keep the fire ball down to 6-8"

I use OTR truck drums for landscape planters, make nice giant pots. 

Edited by Charles R. Stevens
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Unless you're planning on doing some really heavy forging a semi brake drum is just an efficient way to waste coal. Bigger is NOT necessarily better. Semi drums don't make good tool stands either.

On the other hand making a couple into a potbelly stove thingy might be a treat.

Honestly Semi drums are more trouble than they're worth and as forges they're not worth much at best.

Frosty The Lucky.

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For a grinder or something like that by the time you get it to the desired height its a little tippy.

We use one at work for our hydraulic hose cutter it works....ok, but like I said it can be tippy. I would guess pressing on a grinder would be a recipe for disaster, just from my experience.  

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Too heavy to be easily portable and not heavy enough to be rigid in use.  A base that you can stand on---say a disk of 1/4" plate will make a more stable grinding platform.  Or there is the 55 gallon Barrel technique: mount a top to a 55 gallon barrel with an opening for a hose and with a side bung on the barrel down near the bottom. Mount the grinder on the top.  Fill barrel with water for use---over 400 pounds!  Drain to move---barrels are fairly light empty.  This is what I use for one of my portable postvises.

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Exactly. Semi drums are heavy tippy trip hazards, not what I want next to a power tool that can grab and remove body parts from me.

I like a round piece of flat plate for pedestal stands. Stable and easy to move without anything you can trip over. Noe even the edge if you grind a little bevel on it or just angle the torch when you cut it. Simple, effective, portable but most important, SAFE.

A friend sent me a pic of someone making wood stoves from wheel rims recently. Years ago, when I walked past the scrap bucket (old loader bucket) at the heavy duty shop and saw scrapped semi drums regularly, I considered turning a couple into a Pot Belly stove thing. Roll a piece of say 10ga. or heavier sheet into cylinder of find a piece of pipe that fit. Weld a 18"-24" or so of said pipe to the open end of a semi drum facing up and another drum on top facing down. Make and install a fire door and ash door in the pipe. A bolt on stove pipe jack on top (said pictures of wheel rim stoves showed a nice square plate with stove jack for tops) and an air grate and draft on the bottom one. Rig a stand and VIOLA coal/wood stove and something actually useful to do with scrapped semi drums!

I never built one because I lived in a mobile home at the time and didn't want to burn myself out, especially if I were sleeping.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Even new harrow discs don't seem to be very expensive (import).  Handy shape to have in an arsenal of parts and pieces.  20" x 5mm thick runs about 19 bucks.  I remember seeing one as a forge pot once but never looked into whether that was practical.

 

http://www.agrisupply.com/plain-disc-harrow-blades/c/4500011/

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  • 1 month later...

Semi brake drums make inferior forges to regular sized ones with a simple sheet metal fence added to them.  Remember you need to be able to put your work piece in horizontally in the neutral to reducing area of the fire so to do that in a semi drum you will need to cut large opposing slots in it.  Much easier to take a regular sized drum and put a piece of sheet metal around the inner rim with the slots in it.

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Semi drums aren't good for much other than semi brakes. If you really need to use one though how about a yard fire pit? They look like a great bit of salvage, I think all of us have grabbed something because it was big and BIG is better right? Not.

A brake rotor from a family sedan makes a much more useful size fire pot. A washing machine door makes a good forge table and you can make a hole for the rotor with a chisel.

Easy peasy ad you don't have to work to think of something for the truck drum.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Or there is the 55 gallon Barrel technique: mount a top to a 55 gallon barrel with an opening for a hose and with a side bung on the barrel down near the bottom. Mount the grinder on the top.  Fill barrel with water for use---over 400 pounds!  Drain to move---barrels are fairly light empty.  This is what I use for one of my portable postvises.

I like that idea as a portable vise stand. I hadn't thought of that one before.

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They make good flower pots...

Ditche the drum idea, look at the "simple 55" and buy a oil drain pan

I hadn't thought of a planter, that's 2 things a semi truck drum is good for besides stopping trucks that is.

Frosty The Lucky.

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