ddan7

Different "Making a Firepot" Question

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Why do firepots tend to be cast iron? I was looking at welding one up from 1/2" mild steel that I can get from work cheap (free). Is there a problem with using mild or is it just that with new materials cast is cheaper?

Edited by ddan7

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Hello DDAN7, I have seen many forges made out of steel plate , including 2 I own , Go ahead and build your Firepot out of steel , in 10 or 15 years when it burns out you can build another one . Good luck . Forgeman

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I gave $57.00 to get my 1/2 inch plate steel fire pot cut and welded. For the price your talking about I would act like cast iron didn't exsist.:D Mine is working great, just don't make it too deep!

The kidsmith,
Dave Custer

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Go for it. forgeman is right, they will last plenty long. Now, if you had access to some inconel 600 or 800.... My shop forge firepot is made from 3/8" Inconel 600 and will last somewhere into the middle of the next millinium!:) The stuff is made for industrial furnaces and is good for constant heat in the 3k+ range.

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If I could get 1/2" plate for free I would jump at it:) It was last a good while..When it goes in "x" ammount of years, get more free and build another:D

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It'll work just fine. 1/4" would last a decade easy unless you make a habit of overheating it or pouring the water to it.

Inconel . . . Mmmmmmm

Frosty

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cast iron is a good and fairly inexpensive material for a forge firepot. steel thick enough will work well also......just depends on budget, what is at hand, and if you can/want to do a lot of the fab work yourself....

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Mine I made from 1/2 steel. Has worked well for years. Go and build your fire pot. You want regret it.

Edited by S.Willis

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To answer the original question "why cast iron": cast iron is cheap and easy to cast in the exact shape you want. It resists warping when heated. Clinker tends not to stick to it requireing chipping off. It withstands heat fairly well not scaling like steel does. It resists rusting if you leave it out in the weather too.

However it will degrade if overheated, it will crack if cooled abruptly when hot and it can't be reworked easily with a cutting disk and arc welder.

Make your own steel one and realize that just like a cast iron firepot it's a "consumable" for the shop and will need replacing someday---which also allows you to tweak the design for your working methods with every "upgrade"

Inconel---I hate you! I want to find some inconel sheet to armour the inside of my teaching gasser from the kaowool snagging/poking students but have not managed to scrounge any at a price I could accept!

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Some 25-30yrs ago I did a job using 1/8" inconel. First time I ever had seen any and had one shot at welding it. I'm not sure put all I have seen here at the plant is 3/8" and up. If I do run across some out here I'll see what I can do...no promises...

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Nothing wrong with 3/8" but the cost!

When I worked with the swordmaker we once got a large bar of inconel at the scrap yard---sold it to us at stainless price it was almost the exact cross section of a type of early medieval sword pommel and polished up beautifully.

Need an appx 2"x3"xZ chunk of Ti to make a Ti forging hammer?

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ThomasP, Funny you mention Ti, I have been welding the stuff for the past 4 working days and have at least 2 more days of it left. Mostly overlay work on a "Klaus" pump. We have an acid plant that has 2 of these pumps in them. In the 80's we had a budget of $1.5M per pump and would see them both during that year! You get plenty of special welding challenges working on one of them. I don't know what the budget is now as we only work on them every 4-5yrs. They FINALLY figured out to run them at what they were designed to run and did some special lubrication modifications to them that has made the last a LOT longer! The welding wire we use is either grade 1, grade 2, or grade 7 depending wether or not it is pipe or plate. the stuff will cut with a torch like butter but you have to allow at least 1/4" per side to rid the contamination. Anything thicker than 1/2" need no purge to the back side. I did a first yesterday, a friend in our Industrial Hygene dept had a Ti golf club he wanted repaired. Cracked 2 1/2" in 2 directions forming a "T" shape. Haven't heard if the welds held, he was suppposed to have tried it out last night...Sorry for the long rant...now what type of Ti is it that you can forge? and that you are looking for?

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I forge CP 1&2 and try to avoid the alloys. Rob Gunter first put me onto Ti forging at a Quad-State about 15 years ago and then I was *given* a bunch when they tore down the old welding engineering building where I was picking up another degree. (I was part of the clean out crew through a deal with the fellow in charge of getting it ready for demolition; best scrounge I *ever* have had!)

So I have this largish rectangular solid---like an undersized 2x4 that I don't know what it is save that the weight/spark tests says Ti that I plan to *carefully* forge a hammer head or two just for fun. I already have Ti tongs for use with my gasser---heat doesn't transmit up the reins very fast!

I'm sure going to miss it when I get through my "free Ti".

Thomas

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hey i just read this on a site....

support anyone is this true?

The best firepots are made of heavy cast iron and come supplied with a cast iron tuyere, clinker breaker, and ash gate. Cast iron resists the intense heat of the blacksmith's fire without excessive oxidation (rust and scale). The firepot makes fire tending much simpler and creates an environment in which much hotter fires are obtained with less effort.

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That statement is subjective but it's mostly true. Substitute the words The best with very good and you would have a statement that few people would dispute. Still, someone could make the argument that there are other materials that might last longer, but when comparing cost, cast iron provides the biggest bang for the buck.

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