Joshua Taylor

55 Drum Forge

Recommended Posts

Good evening everyone!

Not sure if y'all remember me, but I just got back from my deployment about a month ago, and I'm starting my adventure into blacksmithing finally after two years of researching! That being said, I wanted to show you guys what I found!

I got this baby for free, gonna make a 55 drum forge out of it. Just need the brake drum. (I plan on going to the scrapyard this weekend to look if y'all have any tips for me!) The barrel was previously used for poly spray foam, which means if I'm correct I shouldn't have to worry about blowing the darn thing up when I go to chop away with an angle grinder. (I read the labels and didn't see anything about flammable).

 

If you guys have any advice, tips, or tricks feel free to let me know! Just wanted to share this with ya.

Semper Fidelis

 

20181120_174233.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joshua, welcome back!  And, Thanks for your service.

Here are a couple of ideas made by some of our blacksmith organization members.  One is a whole forge, made the morning of the meeting, and another that's just a cut down end of a drum on legs  Both of these are blown with a hair dryer, not always the best choice for an air supply.  Mods such as a rim to contain coal would be a good addition.  I strongly suggest you visit the brake drum section of the forum here for a myriad of ideas on how to make a brake drum forge.

 

55 Gal brake drum forge 03.jpg

cut down brake drum forge.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joshua, thanks for your service and welcome back. Time for the fun to begin, Great!

For the barrel, still be cautious of flamability of what's left in the barrel. I prefer to hose them out thoroughly several times. And if it was oil or any sludgy stuff still prefer to use a method that sparks and heats the least. I dont know about the product you mentioned was in it but still use extreme caution even if you don't see a flamable warning on it And wear proper ppe. I have seen a couple times what an "empty" barrel explosion can do. 

For the brake "drum", I prefer a brake rotor (as in disc brakes) and one from what would be the rear of a vehicle with the drum style E brake. They are usually thinner lipped so as to make it easier to rake coal into the pot. The dimensions I prefer are around 8-9" inner diameter and around 2-3" deep. They tend to set in the hole nicely without need of actually fastening it to the table " barrel top". 

Arkies suggestions are good. You want a fencing around the outer edge to hold extra fuel on the table, but also cutouts front and back on that fencing to allow the stock to lay down flat in the sweet spot of the fire. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The original BP0133 The 55 Forge was the bottom 6 inches of a drum with auto exhaust pipe sticking up from the bottom of the drum about 1 inch.

2G08-P1010078.jpg 

Twyere is 2-1/2 or so auto exhaust pipe with 2 pieces of 1/4 inch round stock for a grate.

 2g07-P1010076.jpg 

First fire. Roll, fold, or somehow protect your self from the sharp edges of the drum.

image.png

The 55 Forge could be modified easily. Bricks were used to make the fire ball smaller and to deepen the fire. That is a leaf spring in the fire getting warm.

The 55 Forge was later modified with a brake drum added so the fire could have a little depth below the bottom of the drum. A rotor was used for the same reason. The only advantage was it made the coals (embers) a bit deeper and lowered the sweet spot of the fire slightly. 

image.png

2 pieces of 3/8 inch bolts were welded across a 3 inch opening for a grate.

There was also a side blast 55 Forge that worked very well.

 

Also look into the JABOD forge. It is a cheaper, and faster to build design that can get you playing in fire in a couple of hours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots to consider eh? It's simple,  use what you can find to make a design that's proven to work and modify from there after trying it and seeing how it works for you. 

For the T pipe on mine I used 2" black pipe fittings. The part I welded to the rotor makes it so I can change out the rotor and still use the original T pipe. A flap lid on the bottom works better than a screw on cap. I can say for the investment of the 2" black pipe fittings that I have used the same for 4 years and forsee it lasting Way longer, maybe my lifetime. Still on the same rotor fire pot but have another deeper that I rarely swap out for larger work, which is a nice thing about the screw together parts. 

It's all in what you want and how much you want to spend. (Maybe one day I'll purchase a professionally made forge pot. But I haven't needed one yet for what I do even if my cheap makeshift forge has made me enough to afford one. )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please watch the video. In general I cut huge holes or openings in every hollow recipient (drums, cilinders) with drills or hacksaw before I even weld GRIND or plasma cut in them. Be careful. Cheers, Hans

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DP5l9yYt-g

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information everyone! I appreciate it!

Arkie,

Thank you! And thanks for the ideas. I was thinking of doing the same thing with the small door at the bottom. If not, I may just cut and deburr a rectangular opening so I can fit in my piping for the air supply.

 

 

Daswulf,

Thanks for the warm welcome! And thanks for the dimensions. It should give me a better idea on exactly what I am going to need. My tools are a bit sparse right now, so I'm going to have to find out if my dinky little B&D drill can even drill through the drum lol.

 

Glenn,

As always you're a wealth of knowledge, thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 The standard thickness of the steel is between 0.9 and 1.5 mm (20-16 gauge steel).

ALWAYS know what the drum contained before you try to cut a hole in the drum. Just because there is a label on the outside of the drum does NOT mean that is what is on the inside of the drum. It may have been re purposed to hole something else before you got it. 

It is better to spend a little money and purchase a new drum than take a chance. Even new drums may have some lubricant residue from the manufacturing process of making the drum. Wash the inside of the drum with detergent and water several times. Fill the drum with water to reduce the interior volume  Flood the drum with dry ice, nitrogen, or other inert gas, before trying to cut open a drum.  Methods that cut without sparks/flame/heat are usually good methods.

You do not want a neighbor to visit you and say "Man that was a loud BOOM that you made."

Better yet, look for a drum with a removable lid. 

 

It is not just drums but any closed container that you want to reuse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The luckiest I ever got was getting an empty drum that had contained orange juice. No problem there! The disappointing thing was that the lable said the country of origin was China! (And NO...I did NOT try to see if there were any sips left to sample).  I'll stick with good ole Florida OJ, thank you....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cut drums with a drill bit and saber saw. Keep a little oil ahead of the blade and it won't spark. I just mark the cut with 30 wt.

Another old trick was to purge the air out with something nonflammable a pound of dry ice works well enough if you don't have better.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

UPDATE;

I bought an angle grinder from HF and cut out these holes. The brake rotor fits nicely, though my only problem is I'm not sure how I'm going to fit the exhaust pipe for my air to the brake rotor... I don't have a welder and cant afford one. Any ideas?

 

 

20181122_152403.jpg

20181122_152408.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, hate to say this after you made up the exhaust pipe, but most folks bolt what is called a floor flange to the underside of the rotor. It's threaded for 2" pipe. Make up your tee out of 2" black pipe, all threaded together, no welding needed. Rig up an ash dump on the bottom and you are good to go. The holes on the floor flange probably won't match the rotor holes. Drill new holes in the flange, not the rotor...much easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Arkie said, but there is more than one way to go at it without welding.  

In thinner pipe like exhaust pipe you can take a piece and slice down in sections so far then spread them out, the pipe can be put down through the hole and the parts you spread out can be drilled and bolted to the rotor holes.  The lower section of pipe can be attached with screws or an exharst clamp. Metal screws may be easier for removal. 

Just one idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Hook the exhaust pipe solid. Leave a 3-4 inch air gap and just aim the hair dryer at the open end of the exhaust pipe. aim toward the open pipe for more air, not so much toward the open pipe for less air.

Side blast eliminates all that. LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hole saws, you need hole saws! However a saber saw and drill works well if not as accurately. Take some of the drum you cut off and make a hole the exhaust pipe slips through. Not having anything but the angle grinder. MAN I wish people would stop buying those things until they've developed basic shop skills, at this point it's more dangerous to you than useful. There isn't anything you can do with it you can't use basic hand tools to do.

Sorry about the side track, I left you marking a circle in a piece of 55 gl. drum leftovers (drop) the same dia. as the exhaust pipe. Now using that . . . disk grinder TRY to follow the line. You can't really cut a curve that tight so make straight cuts inside the circle. Now you have cuts tangential to the circle make cuts from the center straight to the line. LEAVING tabs. Either drill holes in the tabs or us a nail ad punch holes in them, use a block of wood as an anvil so the anvil goes through without bending it to bacon.

Yes, in this case a block of wood IS an anvil. Slip the piece over the exhaust pipe and either wire or tape it so it forms a flange on the pipe. Decide where you want the air supply (horizontal section of tuyere pipe) to emerge or aim. (Don't make me tell you to aim it at the blower okay?) tape it under the forge and mark a few or all the lug holes in the brake rotor / drum and make a good match mark so you can put it back where it is now.

Remove the unit from the forge. Drill through the tabs and pop rivet or sheet metal screw them together. If no hand drill, insert a piece of stout wood into the exhaust pipe and use a nail to punch through the tabs and pop rivet together.

Drill or punch the mounting holes in the flange. You may need to drift them out a little so they match the lug holes more closely. 

Bolt it to the fire pot and you're good to go. 

Blacksmiths have been building things  for millennia longer than arc welders have been around.

Does that make sense? If not ask away, we're here to help folk. Just do NOT make the mistake that what I say is THE way to do things, it's usually just something that works for me and I've done this kind of joinery a number of times.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.