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Newly built gas forge (Alec Steele type)


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I’ve been pouring over the gas forge section lately and I can predict a few responses.  I feel confident that the gurus will say that the forge is in the wrong orientation.  Because it is shorter than it is wide your flame impinges on the floor (and steel) inside and likely does not achieve full combustion.  

What I know is only from studying and so my input should be taken as such.  I am curious about the materials you used but, if you share, be prepared to be told other ways to do it when you have to redo it.

That sure is a whole lot of forge...it just guzzle propane.  I’m curious to hear your experience, though.  Your choice of insulation sure could amend that issue.  I don’t believe Alec Steele used ceramic wool on his and, as built, it is terribly inefficient.  Gets good welds though!

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What size burners are those? That much blue flame dragon's breath is nothing but wasted fuel. Your burners are running darn rich  too. It really needs tuning as it sits it's inefficient and pumping out really dangerous levels of CO.  If you don't have a carbon monoxide (CO) monitor alarm you REALLY NEED ONE! Use it outside till you can tune it properly, have proper (read STRONG) ventilation and CO monitors.

Lou: look at the burner flames, they're opaque pale blue with orange feathers IN the forge. The darker more transparent blue flame completely fills the chamber and makes up all the dragon's breath. It screams RICH, too much fuel to burn completely in the forge chamber.  See what I'm talking about?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Good Morning, Simon

Looking at your avatar, we can't suggest anyone for you to go and ask, someone local.

The world of building Forges is full of Trial and Error. The School of Hard Knocks. Just because youtube or the McInternet said so, doesn't mean it works. You need some kind of Refractory inside the fire-box, it works better with some kind of 'Spiral' effect to mix the air and the fuel better. You need to adjust your jet size down. You need to wait for the fire-box to get yellow hot and then see how it burns. You can not adjust a burner when the fire-box is cold, sometimes it doesn't want to stay running when it's cold, but it runs fine when hot. Guess what, you HAVE TO adjust your propane regulator to compensate. NOT THE TWIDDLEY-DEE BALL VALVE AT THE FUEL INLET, it is not a REGULATOR.

Take a note-book, make a note of what you have. All the jet sizes, flow straighteners, venturies, length and size of plumbing hardware, etc. Make "ONE" change at a time, so you know what and how it changed. Write the results in your note-book. Pay attention to what knowledgeable people tell/suggest. Soon it will be working.

Neil

 

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Thanks for the comments. 

The Main body of the forge has refractory which is castable refractory which i purchased from a company that supply this material to forging shops and Kiln makers. The Burners do need a re design as you have all said there is no control. The Propane tank has a Regulator that is adjustable, the TWIDDLEY-DEE Ball valves are there as an extra measure to shut the gas off. 

The base of the burners has a machined flare from 60mm solid EN26 grade steel with a 12 degree taper as Frosty's notes in his burner design. There are many different Burner designs on here and findinf the correct design where i can get the fittings readily available can be tricky. 

 

As for the Forge location itself i have not run it up tempreture as yet, it sits in a large gargae and when running i have both pairs of double doors open. 

 

If you can reccomend an adujstable burner design i can build then this may be the way forward. 

I am based in the UK. 

 

Thanks 

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7 hours ago, Simon_Dubman said:

castable refractory

There are many different flavors of castable refractory.  Some are fairly impervious to flux and impact damage, but provide only minimal insulating value and have high thermal mass.  Others are great insulators with low thermal mass, but won't stand up to flame impingement and melt away in contact with flux.  For an efficient hobbyist forge that doesn't take forever to get up to heat, I'm a fan of a multi-layer forge lining with a high density refractory inner liner and a low density, insulative, outer liner.  From your photos and posts I'm guessing that you have a monolithic high density liner and it takes a very long time to get up to temperature, if the forge ever does.  When you get close to forging temperatures, what temperature are the different areas of outer casing at?

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15 minutes ago, Latticino said:

From your photos and posts I'm guessing that you have a monolithic high density liner

That's basically what Alec shows in the video where he makes the original of this forge: the base and top are separate monolithic casts, and the walls are firebrick.

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If that base is one large monolithic high density casting with no thermal breaks, and the walls are hard firebrick rather than insulating, the forge will most likely bleed heat like crazy.  I expect the burners need to be tuned better as well, but will leave those recommendations to Frosty, as he knows this burner design intimately.  Remember the 350 cubic inch per 3/4" mixing tube burner rule of thumb is only for a well insulated forge chamber...

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Does Alec still use his original forge even? I believe we critiqued it for being a major heat sink room heater didn't we?

Simon: Your burners can be adjusted for output easily enough once they're tuned. You just need to lean the fuel out or increase the air intake till it's running neutral or SLIGHTLY rich. It's one of the less happy factors of building naturally aspirated burners they must be fine tuned. I use gas rated 1/4 turn ball valves for fast shut offs and burner isolaters in multi burner forges. I just put them out of the high temp zone. I also like one right after the regulator as an emergency FAST shut off in case of an emergency. I run copper tubing as a supply connection on the burners as a safety precaution because of the high heat when I shut them off.

Forges 101 thread on Iforge is the most current discussion of building gas forges, the multi layer technique Latticino prefers is discussed extensively. It's how I build my gas forges, deck up. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Does Alec still use his original forge even? I believe we critiqued it for being a major heat sink room heater didn't we?

Yes, and yes.

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Just now, JHCC said:

Yes, and yes.

Hmmmm, maybe I should check in on Alec more often. Last I heard he was making hammers almost fast enough to keep up with demand. He was training helpers and still  behind the backlog. I LOVE seeing folk break into the craft, ask good questions, try out the answers and get all successful that way. Makes me feel good. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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I stopped watching his stuff a while back, after he (in my opinion, at least) shifted his emphasis from education to entertainment. Not to denigrate his forging skill or business model (videos of him making swords and such obviously get more views); it's just that I found his earlier stuff had a lot more teaching value and a lot less dramatic music and camera work.

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19 hours ago, Frosty said:

Simon: Your burners can be adjusted for output easily enough once they're tuned. You just need to lean the fuel out or increase the air intake till it's running neutral or SLIGHTLY rich. It's one of the less happy factors of building naturally aspirated burners they must be fine tuned. I use gas rated 1/4 turn ball valves for fast shut offs and burner isolaters in multi burner forges. I just put them out of the high temp zone. I also like one right after the regulator as an emergency FAST shut off in case of an emergency. I run copper tubing as a supply connection on the burners as a safety precaution because of the high heat when I shut them off.

Hi Frosty. 

So keep the legnth at 6" and change the tips to smaller and even shorten to allow more air flow? Re piping with Copper is an option too, what size copper pipe is best? 

I am not running the forge until it is set up correctly, i still have a coal forge to keep on working with. 

 

Thanks for the help. 

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Once again, all my knowledge comes from reading most of the gas forges and burners sections....

Frosty, thanks for the insights about examining the flames.  Being completely inexperienced, I didn’t even think to examine the flames but checked out the forge and burners instead.  I know Mikey looks at flames first and then everything else afterward.  That sure is some blue exhaust and orange/red at the forge floor.

 

Simon, I’m pretty sure that those T burners can be tuned way down simply by controlling the pressure with your regulator.  In fact, that’s the only way to tune them.  If you don’t have a pressure gage on it you are flying blind.

I think you will find your biggest challenge is finding a balance between your burners and your insulation.  Without ceramic fiber you will lose heat.  With the burners turned down you will produce less heat but you will not produce loads of CO.  It may be tough to get good forging temperatures....then again, it may not be....either way it will cost you more propane to get what you want.  My advice isn’t to tune the burners, figure out how to use it effectively and monitor your fuel costs.  If it gets too expensive or when it needs to be relined, use ceramic fiber for your first layer.

Lou

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My pleasure, guys I like helping folks. If you don't mind I'll explain this to both of you in the same thread. Okay?

Simon: I still don't know the tube diameter or the T size. Changing jet diameter might be necessary maybe even probably but I don't know what size you're using now. If you'll list what you're using it'll help me advise.

Lou: You might want to hold off on the advice till you have a better handle on how burners work. One of the real advantages of NA burners is they don't change fuel air ratio significantly with  input pressure changes. Turn the propane psi up or down makes almost NO difference in the flame characteristics. Simon's burners have a fuel air ratio issue, two different things.

Tuning a burner flame is essentially the same as adjusting an oxy. acet. torch flame. What you're seeing in Simon's burner now equates to a torch running a VERY soft flame, almost all secondary envelope. A properly adjusted torch has a small clean primary flame cone at the torch tip with just a whisper of secondary envelope called a "feather" right after the cone. A small "feather" is only proper for brazing or silver soldering. Adjusted for welding or cutting should be neutral, no feather.

This isn't precisely how a propane air flame works but is close enough to put you in the game. Make sense?

Frosty The Lucky.

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59 minutes ago, Frosty said:

Simon: I still don't know the tube diameter or the T size. Changing jet diameter might be necessary maybe even probably but I don't know what size you're using now. If you'll list what you're using it'll help me advise.

Hi Frosty

Nipple is 3/4 6 " long. The T is 1" x 1" x 3/4. I have a 0.8 mm (0.315 Inch) Tip. This is screwed into a 1/4 inch cap so does portrude into the top of the T a little. 

Thanks again 

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Okay, we can tune that easily enough. Can you take a picture in the intake port so I can see your jet position? We are talking a 0.8 mm Mig contact tip jet. Yes?

My pleasure Simon, we'll get you up and running right pretty quickly. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I figured that, by qualifying my incompetence, he would know to take me worth a grain of salt.  That begs the question:  why bother saying anything at all?   Well, my response is, “So Frosty can learn me!”

I just learned something that, after having read dozens of threads in the gas forge and burner sections, hadn’t been articulated in one coherent way.  But, you are right, for now on I’ll just add my thinking on all,things gas in a way it doesn’t sound like advice and keep to the questioning.

 

Thanks for the lesson anyway :)

Lou

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I"m not trying to stifle you Lou, I cherish good questions and ideas. I'd just like to minimize confusion till we get Simon tuned up. I don't think folks learn what a qualifier is or means anymore, folk seem to ignore mine all the time. I wish I knew how to maintain two conversations per post without confusing folks. 

I don't know, maybe pose questions rather than statements or did I miss the question marks? Maybe address ideas and questions to the person helping the other guy rather than the OP?

Please believe me I don't want to run you off, I'd just like to be as helpful as possible for the effort.

1 minute ago, Tubalcain2 said:

Man, you curmudgeons ARE mean, heartless people. ^_^ :P

I've been practicing for 60 years.

Frosty The Lucky.

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

Do you think posing questions will help?

If someone doesn't actually know the answer a question is almost infinitely more helpful. 

Have something juicily Socratic for us? :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Trust me, I’m not sensitive and you were right to tell me to rethink sharing my thoughts.  Oh, the limitations of the typed word.  In person you would have understood the humility....oh, and the clowning.  I sure did learn something from your gentle rebuke and I’m the better for it.

In that instance my ignorance hid the right question from me....that’s why I opened with a full disclosure of ignorance.  Still, I didn’t have to couch it as advice...even if it was disclosed as amateur advice.  

 

Edited to add:  The Athenians put up with Socrates challenges to expert knowledge far longer than would be tolerated in any forum.  Only a lunatic would choose his methodology here!

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