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I Forge Iron

150-200# Tire hammer or Helve style hammer

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I am wanting to build a large hammer in the 150-200 pound range.  I have already built a Clay Spencer 65 pound hammer and love it,  but I want to build something that hits a lot harder but slower as well.  I was told that a helve hammer would suit this better,  told that it hits harder than the same weighted tire hammer but with less control.  I spoke to Clay about beefing up the 65 design and he pointed me to look at the sizes of the 100#Little Giant to get an idea of how much to scale up.    Which design would work best at 150-200 pounds and 150ish bpm?

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Shawn, I will preface my response about folks that make there own hammers. We are usually super proud and our hammers are the BEST!

I have a modified design from the plans I bought from Jerry Allen. I have plans to build a 150# version . Friction drive, adjustable height, adjustable stroke guided helve.

The 75# hammer I currently have is quite controllable. The footprint is a lot larger than the uprights with the Dupont linkage.(And Clay Spencer is a hero of mine BTW!)


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If you use a jackshaft between the motor and the crank you will gain much flexibility in terms of gear ratios than a tire clutch could ever provide.

Further, you can then utilize a flat belt slip clutch which is much more controllable than a tire clutch..

And using the jackshaft you can incorporate a flywheel effect which does several things; saves greatly on belt wear, eliminates the inertia of the tire upon startup and the momentum of the flywheel aids getting the tup (hammer) moving.

There is at least one build on here in addition to mine which uses this method.


Johnny Woolsey; stout looking hammer.

Jerry Allen really is a wizzard.

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On 1/3/2017 at 10:41 AM, Stormcrow said:

This may have shown up on the forum before, but I just came across this video of a very well-designed Swedish guided helve hammer.  It has a quick-change height adjustment system, with coarse and fine adjustments.  At 25 kg, that works out to about a 55 lb ram weight.




Is this what you are referring to with a jack shaft.

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Usually it's a stepped pulley on a motor with a V belt running to an independently mounted shaft that has stepped pulleys and a belt running to the machine which also may have a stepped pulley.  This allows speed changes with quite a number of possibilities.

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