Mikey98118

Burners 101

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So I haven't been home in time from work to go to the hardware store so the burner is on a bit of a standstill right now, however I did get some work done on the forge. I lined it with ceramic blanket and coated the inside with rigidizer. Can I get away with just that? I'm not too concerned about longevity I just don't want to be breathing in fibers. The floor will be hard firebrick so it's not getting hit by direct flame.

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It depends on what you mean by "get away with."  What you have done should significantly decrease the chances of breathing harmful particles while retaining most of the insulating value of the blanket.  However, it will still be somewhat susceptible to damage from pieces of steel rubbing or poking into it.  Also without any kind of IR reflective material it won't be as efficient as it could be which means you will probably burn more fuel and may not be able to hit welding temperatures as easily if at all. Without a refractory lining to "hold" some of the heat you may also find that it takes a little longer to bring cold steel up to forging temperature.   If you're asking if it will contain heat and not damage your lungs the answer is probably "yes."

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Yes, you can get away with it, but once you have rigidized the the ceramic fiber, and then set the rigidized fiber in place  by flame curing it, you have all the time in the world to use one of the various sealants to coat the brick hot face with; you will want to do that to help heat up the hot face surface by bouncing radiant energy around on its surface, instead of letting it heat up the brick at full tilt. It also stops ceramic fiber from blowing out through cracks and corners and into the air you breath.

Note that I'm not trying to persuade you into painting on the sealant/high emission coating (or combinations of coats) soonest; it is best for you to take enough time to choose carefully between which of the the various choices will make the best fit for your needs.

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Low cost rotary tools for steel building the easy way

I suppose that one of the biggest hurdles for the novice, when building burners, and the forges they run is what tools to buy for the job. A hand held rotary tool (preferably with accessories kit) is highly recommended. Avoid variable speed versions. Yes, it is handy to be able to vary the RPM on a rotary tool, but you want to do that trick by plugging it into a separate feed controller like those made for routers; the reason for this is that speed control, because its circuitry is too delicate when they are mounted in the rotary tool itself, and so they burn out quite easily. Single speed rotary tools cost so much less that you can buy the router control for less than the price difference, and not only have a much tougher tool, but one that has a wider speed range in the l0wer RPM range to boot. If you can’t avoid ending up with a variable speed version, you are still better off to run it at full speed and use a router control to vary its RPM; thus saving wear and tear on the tool’s own circuitry wile widening its lower end output.

Accessories have been improved even more than the rotary tools.  Cutting disks were originally made to create very thin cuts in rings and other soft jewelry items; many still are, but steel cutting friction discs have been perfected along with the spring loaded mandrels they mount on. The Dremel EZ Lock mandrel, and EZ Lock 1-1/2” cutting disks allows you to make delicate internal cuts for air openings in burners, quickly do all the cutting needed while constructing forge shells, and rapidly cut angle iron for equipment stands:  http://www.toolbarn.com/dremel-ez406.html?utm_source=google&utm_term=&utm_campaign=CPCS+-+Shopping&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=ssXU2pY6_pcrid_90614277014_pkw_PLA_pmt_b_pdv_c_

A Set of diamond coated burrs replaces hand files; they are fast, easily controlled, economical, and unlike rotary files, they don’t fling needle sharp debris: https://www.amazon.com/SE-82331TF-30-Piece-Titanium-Coated-Diamond/dp/B000P49BX8/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1472282746&sr=8-9&keywords=rotary+tool+accessories

Drum sanders (the mandrels) and their rings/sleeves (the actual sand paper product) use abrasive sleeves to slip over an expandable rubber drum; they are hard to beat for quickly removing a few thousandths of an inch to make tubing  or pipe parts fit perfectly. eBay has the best selection of them for the lowest prices (usually with free shipping). http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=rotary+tool+accessories&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H2.Xrotary+tool+drums.TRS0&_nkw=rotary+tool+drums&_sacat=0

The best design for small drum sanders uses a bottom nut for tightening, in stead of a top screw: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Drum-Sander-Kit-by-Ali-Industries-/152045632041?hash=item2366a03a29:g:Li8AAOSwuzRXfUnC

 

Also available from: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Drum-Sanding-Kit-No-354100-Ali-Industries-3Pk-/172300782691?hash=item281ded4c63:g:OiQAAOSw6n5XqgTj

 Also available from: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Drum-Sander-Kit-by-Ali-Industries-3PK-/162178434550?hash=item25c29685f6:g:-hAAAOSwV0RXvGce

Also available from: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Clesco-9-Piece-Super-Long-Sanding-Drum-Kit-with-Nut-Lock-Drums-DRUM-KIT-SDK-3/203930651?cm_mmc=CJ-_-1319015-_-10368321&AID=10368321&PID=1319015&SID=1083750474754&gclsrc=ds&gclid=COGX_oS14s4CFRKmfgodBqAKtg&cj=true

Rotary flap wheels also work very well: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=bottom+nut+sanding+drum&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H1.Xrotary+flap+wheels+.TRS0&_nkw=rotary+flap+wheels+&_sacat=0

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Naturally aspirated versus fan-blown burners

There used to be a hotly contested controversy between fan-blown and naturally aspirated burner fans; both kinds of burner has been improved so much, that the only legitimate question left is which one fits your personal plans best. When I read a strong opinion on the matter from either camp, it is usually followed by a question or comment that shows profound ignorance on the subject; this is because the best burners of either kind shares a profound amount of flame control.

Back when fan blown forges were young the idea was to run as much flame past a given point as possible, without thought of where all that flame went the next moment, there was barely any control of the flame; today's ribbon burners have total control of their very hot laminar flames that burn nearly all their fuel in primary flame envelopes. The best naturally aspirated burners have very different turbulent flames, but they too are strictly controlled for near total combustion in a primary flame envelope.

There are perfectly adequate NA burners that produce secondary flames, and perfectly adequate fan-blown burners that don't feature multi-holed ceramic burner blocks; so long as each kind of burner is well matched to the forge it heats, it is good enough.

Equally there are lousy burners of both kinds, which share a common root; their builder's ignorance. I just had to finish explaining to one guy that a large fan on a miniature forge was a bad fit; what he would have produced was a flamethrower; not a forge. 

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I only have a minor comment to add to the NA vs. Gun burner debates. Sure you can make a forge hotter with a gun of the same outlet diameter a lot of guys do it and it's easy. Just turn it up till it's blowing a few feet of flame out the opening. We've seen pics of a beautiful vault forge running ribbon burners with 2' of flame blowing out both ends. It was a REALLY hot forge but the wasted fuel is legendary as the ventilation system needed to keep the shop atmosphere nontoxic.

The only real time gun vs NA is a valid choice is when back pressure is a valid issue.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The British thermal unit (Btu) is a well-known unit of potential energy, which has long been used for fuels, and much less legitimately for heating equipment; its a barely reliable measure when applied to equipment such as home furnaces, and laughably undependable when applied to forge burners. On top of this, you very rarely see it tied to their turn down ranges, leaving us to ask questions like 140,000 Btu at what gas pressure; enough so that the burner was in danger of snuffing out sometime during the test? Was the burner so far over its normal top pressure that that its flame has long since started running super rich or super lean?

The problem is that energy potential is a slippery fish even in a saint’s hands, let alone a salesman’s.  But, even if you do all the figuring for yourself, what does 140,000 Btu actually mean to YOU; at best it gives you an indeterminate impression of what a burner might do; and that’s where you were already!

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On ‎8‎/‎28‎/‎2016 at 1:27 PM, Frosty said:

The only real time gun vs NA is a valid choice is when back pressure is a valid issue.

Frosty The Lucky.

Or noise, or gas line pressure (say if you are running low pressure natural gas instead of bottled propane), or if your local requires a safety system with a purge function...

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52 minutes ago, Latticino said:

Or noise, or gas line pressure (say if you are running low pressure natural gas instead of bottled propane), or if your local requires a safety system with a purge function...

Noise I don't buy unless you're talking ribbons. Natural gas is available in low pressure unless you're buying bottled in which case it's MUCH higher tank pressure and a different regulator.

I'll let the forum know if running a NA ribbon burner is very much quieter, the test blocks are better than the single tube version but still have a roar.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I was talking about ribbons.  I've used multiport burners (ribbon or similar) on blown systems in the past and can certify that they are typically quieter than single port systems.  Haven't used a multiport burner tip on an NA system yet, but know that Dudley Giberson has one and expect that it would be quieter as well.  The back pressure of the multiport head may change the induction capacity of the NA burner, so further design development may be required.

Don't get me wrong.  I like the convenience of a NA burner, but I like the ease of not having to fill propane tanks and the relative cost differential of natural gas even more.  I also had a propane tank regulator failure in my gas grille the other week with flames shooting out of the top of the regulator (no idea how that happened, but the plug looked like it blew right off) that scared me silly.  Fortunately I was able to spray it down to keep it cool and get a high temp glove to shut off the main tap.

Each to his own.

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We're on the same page. I'll lay out the what's, whys, hows and results of my recent NA ribbon tinkering. They seem to be quieter, how much is the question.

If nat gas were available here I'd probably be running guns myself. I don't really have a dog in the fight, I talk about NA burners mostly because I tinkered an easy to build reasonably efficient version together and it gets lots of guys into the game without having to have the gas company out to plumb the shop.

Holy MACKEREL that's a scary story! A reg failure like that can be truly catastrophic and you can't put a 1/4 turn valve between the reg and tank to make it fast, easy and relatively safe to shut it down in an emergency. Any idea what failed in the reg? I'm thinking old or bad diaphragm but there are a couple other places a failure can turn the reg itself into a torch.

Glad you kept it together well enough to deal with the situation.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Dang it Frosty; this brings up the subject of back pressure, and why its important at times to choose a burner that can push out some extra positive pressure, just when I was feeling lazy.

So, as Frosty said, sometimes "back pressure is a valid issue."  Hot working equipment is sometimes designed that must overcome back pressure, such as some bottom exhaust kilns. It is more common for an abundance of large burners in equipment to create back pressure, and they must then be replaced with a fan-blown burner; in either case naturally aspirated burners can't overcome the back pressure and therefore can't be use.

Most fans are designed to create a lot of air flow, but some models are rated for increased positive force too (such as those recommended for ribbon burners), so yes, it is possible to engineer solutions to considerable back pressure. Those who wish can delve more deeply into this subject; thankfully I get to stop here:P

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Holy MACKEREL that's a scary story! A reg failure like that can be truly catastrophic and you can't put a 1/4 turn valve between the reg and tank to make it fast, easy and relatively safe to shut it down in an emergency. Any idea what failed in the reg? I'm thinking old or bad diaphragm but there are a couple other places a failure can turn the reg itself into a torch.

Glad you kept it together well enough to deal with the situation.

Frosty The Lucky.

No idea as yet what made it let go.  Have to take a close look at it, but the whole top cap disappeared and there was a good 6" of flame shooting out of the top of it, roasting the interior of the grille compartment (of course the flame was around 50% yellow in color, so Mikey wouldn't rate it as an efficient burner at all B).  Fortunately I was nearby when it started and noticed the change in sound, or it could have been catastrophic.  Still a lesson for propane forge builders to use a good quality regulator, not the garbage that is sold with a propane grille.

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If it's one of those really cheasy regs the plastic has probably melted and there's not much chance of figuring out what failed. If I had to guess I'd put my money on the diaphragm.

Oh I don't know, MIke might consider big yellow propane flames an efficient enough house burner.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Well, perhaps a burner for camp fires? I don't want to be too picky...

Latticino,

It seems to me that this thread is woefully incomplete do to the lack of someone knowledgeable to talk about fan-blown burners; it is more important to provide good information to those who want to build them, then for my views on the matter to 'triumph.' In return I faithfully promise to to "keep it buttoned" no matter what you write.

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I forget who it was that first turn me on to staying clear of Mister Heater parts, because he had been seriously let down by them, in a potentially disastrous fashion; was that you Frosty? This was several years ago, and I had just bought a brand new needle valve from a propane store that leaked--badly.

It is hard to get guys to understand that bargain basement gas equipment are always cheap imports that are made by companies who aren't even remotely worried about potential lawsuits from angry American users. All we can do is bring up the near misses, and hope a few people will understand that there will never be a free lunch, and (to miss metaphors) hope they won't drink the Kool-Aid...

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11 hours ago, Mikey98118 said:

Well, perhaps a burner for camp fires? I don't want to be too picky...

Latticino,

It seems to me that this thread is woefully incomplete do to the lack of someone knowledgeable to talk about fan-blown burners; it is more important to provide good information to those who want to build them, then for my views on the matter to 'triumph.' In return I faithfully promise to to "keep it buttoned" no matter what you write.

Good one.

Someday I'll have to write something up for forge blown burners specifically.  Unfortunately the burner assemblies I have the most direct experience constructing and tuning were made with industrial components and might be a little prohibitive cost wise for the casual hobbyist.  I was lucky enough to be onsite for a "dumpster dive" when a local university was upgrading their glass studio and got a lot of commercial grade equipment before it ended up being scrapped.  Free is good! 

I reconfigured these components to build my own low pressure natural gas/ forced air burners, which included some that were PID controlled for full ramp and soak temperatures, with zero pressure regulators (for single point control of mixing range), high and low pressure gas safety valves, pilot burners and UV flame safety sensors.  My current forge is a little less complicated, but the Eclipse components I'm using are still kind of pricey.  

I have also been responsible for upgrade and maintenance on a number of "home built" systems, but they weren't specifically my designs.  These latter were the more conventional "Alfred" burners that utilized simple Tee fitting mixers with drilled orifices and squirrel cage blowers.  There are great sketches of their construction in Dudley Giberson's glass facility design guide as well as Henry Halem's books (which I believe shows an enhanced design with things like zero pressure regulators and an idle circuit).  I could scan and post them, but I'm not sure about the whole copyright issue involved and would prefer to err on the side of caution.  I do have my own thoughts about things like blower selection and use as well as the relative ease in building and tuning a blown system.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to share them with the group sometime in the future.

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No, that wasn't me Mike but I've always erred on the side of caution when talking about home built forges. I've never recommended adapting regs from other appliances. I'm a hobbyist and very conservative where safety is concerned. I may experiment with some sketchy things some I won't even discuss online, who knows who's reading and what kind of experience or sense they have.

I look forward to any posts about almost anything blacksmithing, gun burners are high on the list. Pat, one of the guys in the Alaskan club has a propane burner that's seriously effective but no longer being made. The couple of gun burners I've made I introduced the propane at the blower intake and let the impeller fan mix the fuel air. This is how Pat's burner is set up and it's very insensitive to how it's plumbed to the forge, melter, etc.

Frosty The Lucky.

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5 minutes ago, Frosty said:

No, that wasn't me Mike but I've always erred on the side of caution when talking about home built forges. I've never recommended adapting regs from other appliances. I'm a hobbyist and very conservative where safety is concerned. I may experiment with some sketchy things some I won't even discuss online, who knows who's reading and what kind of experience or sense they have.

I look forward to any posts about almost anything blacksmithing, gun burners are high on the list. Pat, one of the guys in the Alaskan club has a propane burner that's seriously effective but no longer being made. The couple of gun burners I've made I introduced the propane at the blower intake and let the impeller fan mix the fuel air. This is how Pat's burner is set up and it's very insensitive to how it's plumbed to the forge, melter, etc.

Frosty The Lucky.

Frosty,

If you are being conservative regarding safety, please don't suggest that the blower interior be used as a mixing chamber unless it is a piece of equipment specifically selected for this purpose (i.e. spark-proof construction and special motor).  The typical Dayton squirrel cage blowers that many folks use certainly aren't, and I'm sure you would hate to hear about someone having their blower explode.  I'm not saying that it is likely to happen, and the gas air mixing via the impeller is certainly an attractive option, just prefer to err on the side of caution.

In my experience, with a multi port burner outlet (ribbon burner or the like) and a couple of pipe diameters for the mixing tube, there is more than adequate premix for these burners without having to resort to mixing in the blower.

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I did didn't I? It's something I wasn't going to talk about online too. Talk about brain fart I mentioned it in the next paragraph after saying you can't count on readers knowing even the most basics, Gee, doesn't everybody KNOW to turn the air on BEFORE the gas? Talk about bad assumption, I need to go back to being quiet. Thanks for calling me on it, I don't know what I was thinking.

Frosty The quiet.

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My concern isn't just with turning the air on before the gas (which, of course is the correct policy, as is turning the gas off before the air).  Even if you turn the air on first, if you happen to have a blower that is out of alignment, or has an arcing electric motor for some reason (say loose brushes) if the gas is introduced into the blower that spark might cause ignition inside the blower.  Unlikely I agree, but I didn't expect the top to melt off my propane grille regulator either...

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Each Mikey burner has a "sweet spot" at a particular distance between the MIG tip's end and the end of the air intakes (where the area of the burner called the mixing tube begins); Distances vary from burner to burner, but they are easily noted, since too much or too little distance greatly diminishes performance.

The same thing is true on a Zoeller burner, or a Hybrid burner. A Frosty "T" burner also responds for good or ill to where the gas jet (MIG contact tip)  is placed in relationship to the burner's air openings; just not in the same exact way as the other burners. Back in the bad old days of holes drilled in cross pipes, how close the hole was to the beginning of the mixing tube matters; you just didn't get to adjust it. There are other adjustments to make on today's typical NA burner: The gas pressure; the choke position; and the amount of overhang in the flame nozzle.

Furthermore, a well designed forge allows the burner aim to be re-positioned within  the burner port: Its secondary air intake to be varied; the amount of opening size for parts to pass through; and the distance between exhaust baffle(s) and the forge openings.

All these  variables allow the forge to be fine tuned for maximum performance and minimum fuel consumption; they also create a learning curve, but not a steep one, since every single item can be tuned one at a time, but for those who think it's too complicated, there are still old forge and burner designed around; just don't expect high performance or fuel efficiency from them. Fish, or cut bait.

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  Air Chokes

An air choke an a jet ejector type of naturally aspirated burner normally consist of a sliding sleeve trapped in position over the burner's air openings. Its limited range of motion should start from a fully closed position, which includes about 1/8" of overlap beyond the air openings, and slide from the rear side of the mixing tube (at the point closest to the gas jet), to just short of the other end of the openings when fully open. This way maximum variance of air flow is achieved. An air choke that opens and closes from its farthest point away from the gas jet has the least variance built in; becoming little more than an open/close switch.

Rotating choke sleeves also end up as little more than open/close switches, even on rectangular air openings, because they destabilize the gas/air balance by, in effect, changing the widths of each air openings; this is a no-no.  Sliding air chokes only change the available length of the openings, which is fine. With slots (round ends) and full holes, a revolving choke sleeve changes their end shapes to spear points, which is an outright disaster; heavily destabilizing the flame in any position other than fully open or close. On any air opening shape other than rectangular, revolving chokes cause air eddies that grow  worse as the sleeve turns toward the close position, snuffing out the burner flame at some point, as often as not.

Choke plates on funnels of linear burners are best moved toward and away from the single air opening, but can open and close by revolving close from a single point on the funnel's outer edge.

But, while not as undesirable as a revolving choke on a jet ejector burner type, a choke plate that revolves around a central axis over multiple air openings, (scissor fashion) will greatly interfere with air flow. 

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These burners are not being stamped out in factories with strict compliance with quality control; therefor no two burners run exactly alike. One burner made exactly according to instructions--"honest really it was"-- may light up without needing to have incoming air  choked, while the next burner will blow out if it isn't choked until it warms up. So, an air choke will probably be needed for starting your burner without a lot of hassle.

Any burner that is placed in the vertical downward position, and/or placed anywhere other than near the bottom of heating equipment will heat up somewhat once its incoming gas and air mix is closed for shut-down; but the same burner will heat up to dangerous levels, do to the effects of buoyancy, if its air opening(s) can't be closed off.

Finally, the air choke allows a burner to be deliberately tuned for lean, neutral, or rich flames in equipment, and when hand held as air/fuel torches; a trick that is not easy to perform any other way.

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And there you have one of the real disadvantages of using the T burner. It's purpose tuned with no further adjustment possible. Oh sure you can put a little tape of aluminum foil over the air intakes to choke it down if necessary but that's a 50% donkey way to correct a mistake of a very temporary solution for an immediate problem or use. Once tuned a T burner is good where it is, taking it out of the forge isn't very practical heck it might not even burn outside the forge or whatever you tuned it to work in.

You light it by cracking the gas valve and opening it slowly, no choke necessary.

While they work just fine they're a one trick pony of a burner, easy to build but limited.

Frosty The Lucky.

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