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I order a set of the quick change dies from Little Giant, installed them on my hammer and they don't seem to line up. Is this a normal amout of error ?

do I grind down the one side of the die so they match better ?  do I have something installed the wrong way ?

any advice would be appreciated !

 

lg_DIES.JPG

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Try driving the slips on the other side of the dovetails. It LOOKS to me like the slip in the bottom dovetail should go on the other side. Just don't quote me I'm not close enough to lay hands on it and squint. If you look at them you'll see one side of a dovetail has a different angle than the other. It may make a difference which side you drive the slip into.

Do NOT start grinding on them as a first resort! Misalignment may be a sign of something else that may be easily adjusted for or corrected but grinding on things is pretty permanent and if it isn't the answer you end up with ANOTHER problem.

The original dies on my 50# LG were designed to not align, they're designed to sharpen plow shears making general forging . . . interesting. The new dies we made are needing more tinkering to get right and secure. Life goes on. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty and Forgemaster, thanks you so much for taking the time to reply. I checked the keys and they are in the right positions. The offset is 3/32" approximately. I talked to Roger Rice at Little Giant, and he makes a 1/8" thinner key for that die, which would it put within 1/32", which hopefully can be shimmed to make it perfect. I'll post a pic when I get it in place.

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Potatoeman,

 

Does the hammer have a Sow Block? Could you shim it over to get at least part of the mis-alignment out of the machine? It is not unusual to have to chase shims to correct alignment between top and bottom dies.

 

Hope this helps, Bill D.

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It has a sow block. You are correct, it looks like shimming the sow block 3'32" would do the trick as well. But I can't remove it.  I tried hammering out the key, and after a while I realized, there are two keys, one hammered in from each side, with one key buried in the keyway 3 inches deep. So it's impossible to tell which key to pound out. I thought I could arc weld a bar onto the key that is sticking out, then I could hammer 'backwards' on the protruding key to pull it out.....if you can understand that.

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Unless you get really lucky on all your angles, each die needs it own key.  At the very least, it'll need its own copper shim, which, I notice, you don't have in your picture. The angle between the ram and die won't be exactly the same in either length or height, so the copper compresses to make up the difference.  I think my shims are 16 gauge, if I remember right.  Might be 20. 

Keys are easy to make.  The taper's generally 1/8" per foot.  After you forge the key, tap it in loosely, pull it out, sand, grind or file the high spots, tap it back and repeat until it's touching its whole length as best you can.  It'll wear in over time, as you drive it home over the years.  I also heard Clifton Ralph talk about driving a key in hot and upsetting it to fit, but I've never done that myself.  (At least I think it was him.  Been awhile.) 

I'd do what Forgemaster says and shim the bottom over and make a new key--a metal shim with a strip of copper on one side, and your forged key on the other. 

Joel

 

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Thanks for this round of tips Joel, My 50# LG's keys tend to want to work lose, the copper shims sound like just the ticket. I'll report in however it works out. If it doesn't do it I'll be forging new keys.

Frosty The Lucky.

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again, thanks to everyone for their helpful responses. The copper shims are an interesting idea...

I decided to try to shim out the "sow block", there seems to be the most wiggle room there. but I can't get the key out. The previous owner put in a second key of shim from the other side of the sow block as the main key,and I didn't realize this until i had pounded on the blind end for 10 minutes, looks like I mushroomed the ends a little bit.

My question now is: is there a trick to pulling out the sowblock key the way in went in (without hammering on the thin end)? I tried welding a bar onto the protruding key and hammerin g on ther bar, but the welds keep breaking. I thought maybe I could thread the end of the key with a threading die, put a big nut on the end, and crank it off ?

blind_side.jpg

protruding_side.jpg

here's a top down view of the important parts for clarification. Not to scale.

How do I get the blue key out ?    somebody must have done this kind of thing before...?

diagram.jpg

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Ayup, that's not uncommon Atall Atall same way on mine. You need to forge a flat punch to drive them out. Use something you can harden and temper though or it'll pein itself over. Make sure it's flat and smooth on the end and as close a match to the end of the key as reasonably possible you don't want to pein the wedge into a rivet.

Start with the thickest key, once you get the key moving they'll come out easily. I alternated from one key to the other, a couple blows then switch I checked my punch every time I changed sides. I used spring steel and it held up nicely.

Frosty The Lucky.

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  • 1 month later...
On ‎6‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 1:37 AM, Frosty said:

Thanks for this round of tips Joel, My 50# LG's keys tend to want to work lose, the copper shims sound like just the ticket. I'll report in however it works out. If it doesn't do it I'll be forging new keys.

Frosty The Lucky.

Frosty just to add we use thin copper shims on our 50# LG and the dies stay put very well with no movement and that's without driving them in brute style..Which I never liked doing, I drive them in tight with a heavy hammer but I don't drive them in like Im sinking rail spikes either..The copper seems to really make them stick tight.

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A Metallurgist and former student of mine was having Great trouble removing the dies from his firs power hammer; so after spending a lot of work he calls me to come look at it and I look it over and say---you're going the wrong way...15 minutes later the die was out....He was thrown off because the die was sticking out further on the skinny end than the fat end and as there is such a subtle taper...

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