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I Forge Iron

First Prototype Review

Steven Miller

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After several months of scouring the IFI forums I decided to dive off and make my own forge and burner. A little about myself, I live in North Florida and am a mechanical engineer by education. I was drawn to actually try my hand at blacksmithing due to the science of materials I learned in college. I've always been fascinated with the craft but never really considered it feasible until recently. 

So without further ado, here's my creation. 

The first image is just the internal cavity. The forge is ~350 cu in. It has two 1" layers of rigidized inswool, an approximate 0.5" layer of cast-o-lite 30 and a final coating of HTC-100. I added frontal railings to support fire bricks which allow me the option to close off the front opening if I needed. 

I forgot to take a pictures of the final burner product, but I decided to try my hand at a 3/4" "Mikey Burner" with some success. Its not exact and I apologize but my machining skills in my mind surpassed what my shop and my actual skill allowed me to do. 

All in all, I think it turned out fairly well. The primary design change in a second rendition is the burner port location. I would move the burner port so that it fires in from the right side tangent to the top surface so that the flame wraps around the left side versus an attempt of coming in tangent with the right side of the oval inner flame face. It impinges too hard on the roof of the forge as it currently sits. I'm also looking at larger propane bottles. I hooked it up to that small 20 lb'er as my 40 lb was empty. 

Anyways, sorry for the book but just wanted to share my experiences thus far and say thanks to the wealth of knowledge the members here at IFI have shared. It has truly been an exciting venture so far! 







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Welcome aboard Steve, glad to have you.

I LIKE it, one of our guys makes up draft forges and they're real performers. His burner to volume ratio is better though. 

Flattening the angle of the burner some could well help, at that angle flame and heat is getting pushed out the top of the opening. This is just me but I prefer a combing around the opening. I could well be wrong but I feel it helps keep the flame in the chamber longer.

Well done Steve.

Frosty The Lucky.

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congratulations on the forge design...about the burner; it's running well, but its construction is behind the times. The spindly ribs between the air openings don't have to be tolerated anymore. Just use three air openings, and keep the three ribs between them wide enough to be strong. No reduction of incoming air needs to result. You will no doubt have learned that opening the choke all the way isn't needed to reach a maximum of incoming air. As an engineer, you have probably already computed how much the air openings could be reduced in width and still induce the same amount of air, if it simply means that your burner ends up using the dead area. You not only lose no air induction on the deal but will gain more swirl in the fuel/ air mixture, for a still stronger flame; a win-win solution on this burner design. There have been several refinements since the book was published. You can read all about them in the Burners 101 thread.

Frosty is right about your opening; keep playing with the brick; lower is better.


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Thanks for the feedback guys! I ran across a few of the refinements. I used the sch. 80 1/8 nipple and direct tapped. I thought about going with a 3 way opening but to be honest, I wanted to follow the design exactly how you designed it. I'm not in the realm of reinventing the wheel so if I didn't personally read it I tried to avoid doing it. On the next build I'll definitely keep refining things. 

Thanks again!

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Unlike most new burners, this design was never in need of any help to attained a perfect flame, but eighteen years ago it was a radical development, and safety wise I wanted to cover my bets. So, I deliberately avoided three air openings; sacrificing some of their power to keep them running smooth and safe. In those days I expected them to be run as often out in the open air as they would be mounted on heating equipment. That never happened, and no slavering mob of lawyers descended on my doorstep with court summonses.

I took a long time to conclude that it would be safe to out the "power of three" :unsure:

I am still as conservative with new burner designs as I was back then, and just as liberal in giving safety advice; when the nasty brown liquid hits the fan is way too late for doing anything but wishing we had a second chance!

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