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bajajoaquin

New Induction Forge

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I've wanted to have an induction forge for some time, and had been saving money but they are quite expensive and something always came up: a motorcycle,  a classic car, two kids..... It never seemed like I could get the wad of cash together to buy the forge. Following Eric Jergensen's lead, I decided to buy an induction forge direct from a Chinese supplier. 

I ordered it in early April, and just used it to test heat metal today. 

More to come, but I'm pretty excited. I still have a way to go to get it fully set up and ready to use, but the main obstacles have been overcome.

 

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I was going to put up some pics, but I see that I didn't take many, and the ones I did look like spaghetti. I'll try to take some clear ones now that I have initial setup complete. 

As I said above, I wouldn't have done this if Eric Jergensen hadn't written that article about his setup. I just didn't have the money to buy one from Mettle Works, and I wouldn't have been confident enough to navigate he various vendors myself. I don't know anything about electronics and electricity scares me. 

To make a long story short, I contacted him, he shared the name of the vendor and I ordered one. It shows up in a cardboard sleeve, with the crate apparently having broken down around it. I hired an electrician to put in a new 40 amp breaker and outlet, wore the pigtail, and it still worked. 

While I was doing that, I was figuring out my cooling setup. Eventually I pieced together enough info to figure out how to put together a cooler from second hand materials, but an old Miller Radiator 1 came for sale in my area. I bought it. 

When it came time to hook it up, I noticed that there were two inlets and three outlets on the forge for coolant. When I asked the vendor about it they said "yes. Hook up three outlets and two inlets."  Not super helpful. Again, with the help of Eric, I figured out my routing. 

The induction coil that comes with the forge oriented vertically. Not knowing how to make one yet, I contacted Mettle Works and ordered a couple. I also told him that I'd boughtdorect and that any insight he could give me would be appreciated but totally above and beyond. He was, of course very gracious and helpful. 

I tested it out last couple of days and forged my first item on it today. It was a simple leaf key fob from Dave Vogel's CBA. cirriculum. For my first forged product in about four years, I think it came out well. 

I love the forge. I was able to go to my forge,turn it in, and forge a small item in less time than it would have taken to light my coal forge. In fact, I did it while on a conference call (on mute of course).

Would I recommend this path to someone else? Depends. If you have the money spend it to go with a US supplier like Mettle Works. I'm flying without a net and if anything goes wrong I'm out a thousand bucks with no recourse. It was uncomfortable for me to navigate the some of the issues. That would be with the money to have back up. 

If, however, you just don't have the cash, and you're willing to risk what little you have, it can be done. Its just not the way I would have done it if I'd had another viable option 

IMG_3946.JPG

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One of the things that is an additional expense on these forges is the cooling setup. You buy the forge, then you need to cool it.

As I mentioned above, I bought a used Miller TIG torch for mine. Today, I discovered that it leaks. A new pump is $200, a rebuild kit is $100, but a seal is $17. The gentleman at Depco Pump recommended that I buy a seal for it, and replace it as necessary until the pump fails. Done.

I've used it a little bit more, and I've gotta say it's pretty amazing. You go from cold to a forging heat in seconds. Welding heats take longer, but only like 30 seconds. To be able to go from nothing to forging in less time than it takes to turn on all the machines is pretty unbelievable. The down side is that the coil really restricts the shapes and sizes you can work with. As I get more into this, I'll be making some additional coils. I've seen a double (with two different diameters), but I'm wondering if I can make a triple coil. If you could have something like a 1.5" or 2" for fitting flattened leaves, basket twists, etc., a 1.25" coil for a lot of general work, and then a .75" coil for the thin tapers, I think you'd have a really effective set-up.

 

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Just buy a roll of soft copper tubing, cutter, a flare tool and make your own induction coils. Everybody I know who has one makes their own coils, wands, Vs, etc. it doesn't require anything special, it just has to fit the machine.

Frosty The Lucky.

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A long time in replying, but yes, that’s what I intend to do. One of the things I’ve seen is that these use a metric tube size that’s hard to find here. One of the things I bought from Mettle Works was replacement flare nuts that mate the metric threads on the machine to standard tube diameters. 

Was it necessary? Maybe not but it’s faster for me to do that than waste time dithering and also they were so helpfu even though I didn’t buy my forge from them. I don’t buy much blacksmithing stuff new but when I do, they’ll be first on my shopping list. 

I don’t get much time to forge, but when I do, the forge is exactly what I hoped it would be. I can turn it on, take 20-30 minutes to forge a new gate hasp and turn it off. If someone comes over who says “I’d love to try blacksmithing,” we can have an impromptu leaf key fob lesson after dinner. Boring hour long conference call where my speaking role is done in the first ten minutes? Get some work done on the candle snuffer with a basket twist for my wife’s Xmas present!

Its not much, but it’s more than I’d forged in the previous three years or so, so I’m pretty pleased. 

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