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Large Steel Balls, Uses?

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I wasn't supposed to be lifting the sledge yesterday much less a 100# dockweight!

Do you have a nearby coal fired powerplant that uses a ball mill to powder the coal?  Get friendly with the folks that change them out.

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On 1/7/2017 at 7:24 PM, Frank Turley said:

Welded to the top of a shank, preferably square in section, gives you a round topped stake.

Out of curiosity, why square? Certainly squared off to fit the hardy hole, but is there a benefit to the rest of the shank being square?

Also, is pipe sufficient for the shank, or is solid significantly preferable?

(Having just acquired a couple of these myself and thinking about how to to proceed.)

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If you weld a hardie post to the ball you can only use the top portion of the ball. Find a large bearing race, pipe, or other circle to rest the ball on and into. This way you can use all surfaces of the ball. Round the edges of the holder so it does not mar the ball.  You can then weld a hardie post to the ring for use on the anvil.

Think of it as a very large ball peen.  The round surface of the ball will act as a fuller moving metal in all directions.

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Wouldn’t a rigidly welded shank give greater solidity (and therefore greater effectiveness) than resting the ball in a hollow holder? Unless the hammer blows were all straight up and down, I’d imagine that the ball would want to rattle and jump in the holder. 

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Pick up a few and try different things?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Well, I have two. I’m thinking of welding a shank on one and seeing how that works out; I can always cut it off again if it doesn’t work out. The question is what to use for a shank and whether to fit it to my regular anvil or to my  striking anvil/portable hole. I’m leaning towards the latter, as the treadle hammer limits 360-degree access to the former. 

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Only issue I had was the curve of the ball being deeper than the holder height. 

A 5 inch diameter steel ball is about 27 pounds, 8 inch diameter is about 114 pounds.  What size hammer you plan on using in order to move that mass?

If you weld on a hardie shank and use the ball in the hardie hole, consider the additional weight on the hardie hole and end of the anvil before you start hitting it with a hammer.  Consider the portable hole or striking anvil.

You can always think in reverse and weld a hardie post to the ball and use it as a handle. Put the support rind on the bottom. then the metal, and use the ball to form a conceived concave surface in the metal. Think of a drop hammer.  

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This is what I’m thinking (just laid out in their proposed arrangement, not yet welded):

98A57459-38E9-455D-BE09-2B41C3543657.jpeg

The ball is 4-1/4” in diameter (about 11 lbs), the bolt is 1-1/8” in diameter x 10” long, the base plate is a chunk of 1/2” plate about 3” x 4”, and the 1-1/2” square tube for the stem is about 4” long. 

The 1-1/2” tube fits the hole in the striking anvil perfectly. I could, I suppose, add a loop to the bottom to wedge it in place even more securely, if necessary. 

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44 minutes ago, Glenn said:

use the ball to form a conceived surface

Did you preview your post before submitting it Glenn? This isn't the only amusing bit but it's the best. 

John: my trusty Casio calc watch says a 4.5" ball should weigh around 35 lbs. . . . V = 4/3 pi r cubed  and weight of iron = .28 lbs/ cu in. or am I off. . . again?

A tall ball stake is nice when you need one. I have a couple headache balls and just clamp them to a shank and work around the seam. I can get plenty of area to work around one by laying it near an edge or on the horn. The shank is a piece of 1" sq. welded to a piece of sound stock that clamps in the headache ball but is almost silly long it lets me put the ball almost anywhere on the anvil or even hang it off in mid air which is a silly idea the rnd. bar just droops over. I suppose if I used some coil spring to make the horizontal bar it wouldn't droop but do I NEED a snarling ball? 

The large ball is 74 lbs. and the smaller one is 56. I don't recall the dias. and haven't seen either since moving to Wasilla after getting married. Sorry, no pics. I mostly used them to planish helms for SCA fighters but getting paid was problematical so . . .

I also tried using some 3/4" I think rnd. stock bent in a ring and a piece of heavy wall pipe as a holder and they worked well enough.

Frosty The Lucky.

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20 minutes ago, Frosty said:

my trusty Casio calc watch says a 4.5" ball should weigh around 35 lbs. . . . V = 4/3 pi r cubed  and weight of iron = .28 lbs/ cu in. or am I off. . . again?

Alas, you have made two mistakes: the first is that the diameter is 4.25, not 4.5. The second was a calculation error: a 4.5” ball has a volume of 47.7 cubic inches, weighing 13.156 lbs. 

Sorry.

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Square shank allows you to hold it in a large post vise more securely than a round one. (as well as in a hardy hole, striking anvil, etc.)

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Interesting, but too late now!

C3C7AFD9-B825-48C7-82A6-0C7C3DDC3622.jpeg

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That's what grinders are for. ;)

That should work fine! Hmm.. use that as a top to swage a very large jingle bell. :lol:

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If the bolt is large enough, you can forge the end square.

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On 12/3/2018 at 2:17 AM, Daswulf said:

use that as a top to swage a very large jingle bell. :lol:

 I think technically that would be a jangle bell. 

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Just my input.

I'm not a fan of a striking anvil. For me its redundant. Thus I dont need to consider mounting it to a striking anvil.  ;)

I dont believe weight in the hardy hole of an anvil is a problem as the primary use here is forming not forging.

Like Thomas said, a square shank works for me. And sized for my hardy hole. And, as he said, square works fine in my post vice where I usually work it.

I prefer solid stock over tubing primarily because I dont use much tubing, so it's not easy to come by in my shop. Not to mention that it's far easier to forge solid stock to fit my hardy than forging tubing. :) ;)

I wouldn't mount it in a race basically for JHCCs' reasons. Not to mention that shaping below the equator is pretty awkward.

Height is critical. If it is a one off, it goes in the anvil. If I have quite a few pieces, a chair by the anvil works. But usually my post vice is my workspace for my ball stakes. Thus a short shank works best for me. 

Free standing on a long shaft with a base on the ground ad in the OP appears to me to not be stable enough, not to mention storage if you have a large section of sizes.

 

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I'll try to post a picture of my ballstake collection over the holidays.

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The advantage of the striking anvil/portable hole isn't its resistance to being struck, in this case, but its stability and accessibility (my main anvil is hard to access from all sides, because of the attached treadle hammer). Also, while my main anvil has a 7/8" hardy hole, the striking anvil's is 1½", so it's easy to weld tools up on a stem of 1½" square tube (of which my local supplier often has cheap drops).

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Well for me the advantage is that students with more ooomph than skill can sledge on it with out constant fear of removing a heel or a horn or damaging the face on a london pattern anvil that would be harder and more expensive to replace or repair!

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On 12/6/2018 at 8:48 AM, JHCC said:

(my main anvil is hard to access from all sides, because of the attached treadle hammer)

Interesting. Do you have a pic? And is this a permanent attachment? No critique, I'm just curious. For what it's worth, both my anvil and my post vice are set up for 360 degree access.

 

On 12/6/2018 at 8:52 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Well for me the advantage is that students with more ooomph than skill can sledge on it with out constant fear of removing a heel or a horn or damaging the face on a london pattern anvil

I've thought of this as a reason, but discard it. First lesson should be to NOT EVER strike an anvil with a heavy blow on the horn or heel. Second lesson is to not strike your anvil unless there is something to strike beneath the face,, especially with a heavy uncontrolled blow. And third, before they use a striking hammer, teach the proper way to strike. And for me, that's never a hard overhead uncontrolled blow. I teach this style of striking.

20181211_080025~01.jpeg

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You are more sanguine about college students internalizing their lessons and even being able to hit the same spot twice in a row than I am.  It would be nice to restrict them to small hammers; but in the project class they run into typical beginner issues---like wanting to use free stock that needs massive breaking down to be usable for their project.  Luckily I found them an old battered oilfield bridge anvil for their abuse and If I know ahead of time I bring my heelless anvil.

My original comment was going to be something to the effect that we don't need auto insurance as people are taught that accidents are bad...

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1 hour ago, anvil said:

Do you have a pic? And is this a permanent attachment?

Here you go:

4B3F46CD-E424-47A1-8CF7-CD4C863E2177.jpeg

Yes, it’s (semi-)permanently attached. There are four big Allen-head screws under the anvil base that can be removed to disconnect it from the hammer. 

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