edennis

Questions on Ribbon Burners

82 posts in this topic

Hello, I've fairly new to the forum. Been reading... and reading... and reading... and, um, reading. 

Last fall I built a forced air forge running on propane and it's doing ok. However I'm wanting to upgrade (and also I just want to build another forge) and I'm looking into ribbon burners. I know there is a fair amount out there on them. I've read through "THE" instructions (Emmerling), as well as all the information I can find in these forums. 

I'm still in the early designing stages of this particular forge, but I still have some unanswered questions that are preventing me from deciding if a ribbon burner is the way to go for my needs. 

I am interested in making the burner myself (as opposed to forking out $200 for a nice pre-made one). 

As I said, the forge is still in the design stage so I don't yet have definite numbers in terms of size, etc. However I am wondering if a ribbon burner can be effectively used in a forge that is under 1000 cubic inches interior space. I noticed that the smallest Pine Ridge Burner ("4x4 mini-burner") claims to be too large for a forge under 1296 cubic inches volume. I don't anticipate my forge to be over 1000 cubic inches. Can Emmerling's instructions be modified for a forge smaller forge? Has someone already discussed this?

I'll leave it at that for now. I'm know I have more questions, and as I think of them I will post them here and hope someone can help. 

Thanks,

Eric

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Eric, John's plans are in the Ribbon Burner attachment at the Forge Supplies page on www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com.  I recommend a 3" burner built using 3 x 3" square tubing for a forge built using a Freon Bottle..  For a forge built from a 20# Propane bottle a 6" burner using the 3 x 3" square tubing and for a 30# Propane bottle forge a 9" burner.

See the attachment Build a Gas Forge at the same location for the way I like to build a gas forge.

Let me know if I can help you

Wayne

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I know Frosty has done some serious ribbon burner experimentation recently that was pretty promising.  I seriously can't remember the title of the thread but the advanced search will find it for you in no time.  He may show up in this discussion any minute anyway.

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Wayne: I've read both articles posted on your website, thanks for the great resources. I likely will contact you the near future to inquire about ordering some of your supplies. 

Lou: I've read the one's he wrote about the naturally aspirated ribbon burners (if that's what your referring to). I'm more interested, as of now, in a forced air forge. 

So, say I build a 6" long burner for a propane bottle forge. In terms of the blower, what sort of pressure am I looking for? THIS ONE seems pretty sweet, but i'm unsure how convert it into inches of water column pressure. Can you just convert mm to inches in this case, making it 1.3 inches pressure? In reading some of the discussion at the bottom of the Emmerling article, someone mentioned that a blower with 2.5 seemed insufficient for an 8" burner- better performance from one with 5 inches pressure. What do other people use?

Just trying to understand this stuff.

Thanks for the fast replies!

Eric 

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header yu might be surprised how many Iforge folk live within visiting distance.

Just scale John's burners down to suit your needs. You don't need a blower with a high static pressure if you move the diffuser farther from the pipe inlet into the plenum. I made the NARB because I couldn't see a good reason for needing such high pressure and experimented using wood for the burner blocks till I found the balance that works.

The balance you need to run low static pressure ribbon burners is enough outlets to let the air fuel flow easily but not so many the velocity of the air fuel drops below it's rate of propagation. The flame front moves faster than the air fuel and it burns back into the plenum.

Anyway, you can scale a gun (blown) burner easily enough, use a smaller blower if necessary. Please keep us in the loop on your build I'll be watching and maybe of some help.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Will do, thanks for responding. 

Something I've been wondering is if the diameter of the burner holes has been experimented with. I'm assuming it has. Is the crayon diameter just a lucky coincidence or is there a more optimal hole size? Would you start to lose efficiency with smaller holes? Or would the gain in velocity actually negate some of the reasons for using that style of burner? 

Are there recommendations for making the diffuser? On my previous forge the propane simply entered the air tube at a 90 degree bend in the pipe. If the gas mixes with the air far enough from the burner, is that enough for thorough mixing, or should there be some sort of structure that mixes the two better? 

I'll post pics once I actually start working on the thing, and it's nice to know I can come here with questions! Sometimes the internet is a good thing.

Oh, I live in VT

Eric

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Eric: The diameter of the outlet holes isn't too important, Grant Sarver used straws. I would make the change but I'd need to test for the right number and I have a really stable naturally aspirated design now. It ain't broke I'm leavin it be. ;)

Crayons are a good diameter, cheap and easy to remove. 

Air fuel velocity is strictly a function of volume passing through the total area of the outlets in an amount of time. For the purposes of discussion I'll use water pumps. A 2" dia. outlet on a "trash pump" will deliver about 200gl/minute. If you wished to put 200gl./min through a 1" outlet it would have to move 4x as fast and take IIRC 8x the pressure. This why a pumper fire truck delivering through a hose and nozzle can kill people, literally tear them apart.

With a gun burner you can adjust the flow rate & velocity by adjusting the blower. It's no different in a gun supplied ribbon than any other gun burner.

The baffle I referred to is the one in the plenum of John's ribbon. It's "Plenum" made up of a piece of sq. steel tubing with one side cut off and the ends capped. The fuel/air is supplied through a pipe nipple or coupler welded to the plenum. Then the plenum is embedded into a castable refractory nozzle block, the outlets are made with crayons as cores.

The difuser I was referring to in John's burner is a metal barrier welded on the inside of the plenum in front of the coupler. This is to prevent the air fuel from being blown directly into the outlet holes in front of it making the pressure more uniform in the whole volume of the plenum. 

My thinking is he has it too close to the inlet so it takes a stronger blower to force the flow past it. The one ribbon burner I made with the inlet in line with the outlets has it's difuser closer to the outlet holes in the ribbon block and stretching about 2" along the plenum. The flames it produces are reasonably even but I didn't experiment with it further after I tried mounting the inlet at 90* to the outlet nozzles. Those have no difuser at all and the difference in flame length is insignificant.

The multiple outlet burners I made are different from John's in detail only. I used his basic design and construction methods with minor adaptations.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Ribbon burners are so not me; it's so not where I want to go; and it is so exactly where I would recommend the average new forge builder to venture forth;)

Any direction you choose, constructing something excellent is going to take time to understand first. But I think the pay off for the investment is likely to end up the best for  most people with this design.

On the other hand, if we can sweet talk Frosty into a a deeper look into his own burner, ribbon burners could end up with a new rival...

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Oh come ON Mike! You want me to finish the written directions for the NARB? I know I promised Wayne but I  . . . Ooooh shiny! What is that? :ph34r:

I just wrote myself another note to get back to WORD and the NARB write up.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Dennis, John was taught how to build a forced air Ribbon Burner by his neighbor, a long time gas blower.  That burner works very well and I don't think experimenting around with would improve it appreciably.  Frosty wanted a naturally aspirated burner so he spent a lot of time figuring out his NARB.  I think that if you want a blown burner you would do well to use John's plans.  If you want a NARB use Frosty's.  Unless you just have a lot of time to spend experimenting .  If you come up with any improvements on either burner I'm sure that we would like to hear them here.

Let me know if I can help you.

Wayne

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I built a couple of ribbon burner forges. They work great. But I have already had to rebuild the burner in my larger forge twice. The smaller one works great. I ended up converting my large forge to just forced air out of a 2" pipe. And let me tell you what that dude flat out rocks now. I could probably get that dude to 2700 degrees but I shut it down at 2400 degrees. I have 1 1" layer of Kawool and the I cast the interior with 99% alumina refractory. Which is a 3400 degree refractory. And the floor is silicon carbide. I think all of this is straight overkill but that's how my my mind works. I have built a couple of very simple Venturi style burners. They work great. I am going to build the forge bodies this week for the Venturi style burners.

Here is a thread with my ribbon burner. I also built the mini ribbon burner. I use a 1/16" orfiace on the mini. 1/8" was just too much of a fuel dump. And I also used a lot smaller blower. I hooked up my 164cfm to the mini and had way too much air. If you have any questions just ask. I am no expert but have spent many hours playing with fuel to air mix for these burners.

 

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There are some people that build these that weld the baffle plate between the plenum and the burner bock.  They then braze and or press fit short stainless steel tubes in lieu of crayons into said baffle plate.   I'm guessing they drill and countersink the baffle plate before brazing or welding it into place, followed by pressing or brazing.   Is this to seal any gas leakage between the block and the plenum?  I don't know for sure. 

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I have wondered about the tubes, but sealing the ceramic block against gas leaks between it and the plenum chamber can be accomplished much more easily in other ways. So I suspect they play an additional role. It only takes a look at the flames created in the industrial equipment to determine that we still don't know everything we need to. The half a loaf that homemade ribbon burners are producing is pretty impressive, but still falls short of everything that can be achieved.

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This is great, I'm really looking forward to working on this project and having this forum as outlet for questions and answers. Thanks everyone. 

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Crappiew: What are the dimensions of your mini burner? And what blower did you end up using for it? Why did you need to rebuild the larger one twice, was it a casting problem? 

Thanks,

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Sorry for the late response. I dont check ifi everyday. My mini burner is 7.5" × 2.5". I just used a cheap dayton 135 cfm blower fan. Honestly Idk why the larger burner developed the cracks twice. I cured out the Mizzou per instructions. The only think I can think of is I built a thicker burner body. Maybe the steel got too hot and expanded causing the cracking. They actually cracked in the same spot. On the mini burner I built. I used 2.5"  14 gauge square tubing. The larger burner body is 3/16" material.

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You might have used to much water when mixing the Mizzou.  To much water will weaken the casting.  Mix it with a little water, if part of it is still dry add a few more drops.  It goes from to dry to to wet real quick.  Better to add a few dropps several times rather than to much once. 

Let me know if I can help you.

Wayne

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This is a bit of a divergence from ribbon burners, per se... but I'm not finding a direct answer via search to another question I have. I'm pricing out various materials and wondering: 

I understand that Kast-O-Lite 30 is a bubble alumina refractory. That said, if I buy (the very expensive) "bubble alumina refractory coating" from hightemptools and do a floor coat over the kast-o-lite, will I see an improvement to the flux resistance/longevity of the underlying materials?

Or will I be fine forge welding with an high alumumina kiln shelf with just the kast-o-lite underneath? 

 

One of these days I will start actually building this thing... and posting pictures when I do.

Thanks,

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So I picked up the square tubing for the ribbon burner, but I accidentally grabbed 3"x3"x1/8". I can't really think of a reason why that wouldn't work over 3/16" wall thickness. It shouldn't get hot enough to warp, yeah? Any thoughts?

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One more: 

Is Kast-O-Lite  30 an acceptable refractory for casting the ribbon burner? Or  is Mizzou going to be a better alternative? It sounds like people have used both. 

Thanks,

 

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Nevermind- after a little  more reading I decided to go with Mizzou for the burner casting as it has a higher density rating and I will use the  kast-0-lite 30 for the interior of the forge.

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Pineridge makes one of the best designed ribbon burners I have ever used. I am able to run the one i have at a bout 1.5-2.5 psi. It saves me thousands in fuel costs. I have cast a few different types but his is just more efficient. I don't know why and i am not willing to tear mine apart to see if i can figure it out. but for a few hundred bucks......I would just buy his

 

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On May 12, 2017 at 9:01 AM, David Kailey said:

I am able to run the one i have at a bout 1.5-2.5 psi. It saves me thousands in fuel costs...just more efficient.

Are you judging efficiency just by psi? That doesn't tell you the full picture. You need to know flowrate (by mass or volume). Your low-input-pressure burner might have a big orifus and thus still be delivering a high volume of gas.

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