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Hi Guys, 

Just looking fort some straight up opinions. I have an opportunity to buy a new style LG 50# mechanical hammer for $4500 CAD or potentially a Blu Max 110# for $4000 CAD. Both appear to be in pretty good shape. the blu max is only 7 years old with apparently light use. I  already have a 5HP Ingersoll compressor to run the Blu off of and obviously I don't need it for  the LG. 

 

Just curious to get your thoughts on which to bite on.. 

 

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My interest mostly lies in making hand tools. Specifically axes but also hammers, chisels, ice spuds,pry bars etc. There is something about the permanence of old forged tools that I love and want to keep creating. 

 

my concern about the LG is the ability to use tooling with it: drifts, punches, etc. But then again as previously mentioned the old school integrity and robustness of the LG keeps me interested. 

all of my own opinions aside I have used a power hammer for exactly 2 heats when I was looking at the LG. Hence to request for others input and experience. 

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Might want to double check your compressor output and confirm it is enough to run the Big Blue.  We have one at the nearby Arc and Flame shop, and it is a great hammer, but it needs a lot of air.  The website says it runs well at 125 PSI, but you need to know what CFM is required as well.  Your compressor, if it is two stage, may make 125 PSI easily at 10 CFM, but what if you need 15?  

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I have worked with a Big Blu 155 and a LG 50 for me the Blu was easier to control but was fussy with the air and lube. Personally I would go with the Blu Max if my compressor would run it. But keep in mind it requires more maintenance than a LG and like Latticino said it takes a lot of air something like 25(CFM) @125lbs if I recall.  

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Greetings cdnaxe, 

        They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Keep in mind the replacement parts are readily available through the BB folks . Great to deal with. I retired from my business blacksmith shop and sold my BB. I did keep my LG 25 and my KA 75 . As far as compressor volume you can add a additional ballast tank for Volume to your compressor. I use a 30 gal tank from an old tire inflator .  I have my IR compressor mounted in a different building and ran the lines underground. Sure keeps the shop noise down. 
 

Forge on and make beautiful things 

Jim

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Here’s a video of both of them running. Sorry for the LG smacking empty dies together.. it was not me but did make me cringe.  Any thoughts on how loose the flywheel looks? Other videos I’ve seen of LGs make it look like they should stop any where in the stroke or even at top dead center rather than coasting closed.. 

im not sure I have the terminology right but it looks to me like the crank pin should be set higher and the spring maybe needs to be tightened 

 

thanks for all the comments so far! 

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I'm travelling down the same path.

I ended up buying the Ray Clontz plans when I realized how much tank volume and space needed to house a compressor for any type of air hammer.  Didn't want the  extra infrastructure that was going to entail. 

Having a hammer I build myself will not only give me the jollies, but allows me to be the #1 service tech for it too, no need to hunt down a LG wizard if something is beyond my skill set. Just my 0.02.

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18 hours ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

I have worked with a Big Blu 155 and a LG 50 for me the Blu was easier to control but was fussy with the air and lube. Personally I would go with the Blu Max if my compressor would run it. But keep in mind it requires more maintenance than a LG and like Latticino said it takes a lot of air something like 25(CFM) @125lbs if I recall.  

The Reps at Blu say it requires 19-20 cfm at 125. I was lucky enough to be gifted a 60ga 5hp Ingersol 2 stage compressor. Officially it says it is rated for 17cfm at 175psi so I think that should be enough. Worst case I can add a ballast tank as Jim Coke mentioned. 

 

What sort of additional maintenance are you referring to? I assumed it would just be keeping  the slides lubed and the oiler full. 

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Running a compressor flat out constantly is not good. Heat builds up fast in the head, and tank. Also adding an extra tank will give a buffer, but the compressor will now need to run longer before shutting off. If you are doing short runs it may work, but not for continuous usage.  If you need a lot of volume, look into a rotary screw , or rotary vane compressor. I have seen good used ones for not a bad price. Or double up on the piston compressors so at least one can get a rest from time to time.  Do you have an air dryer? Hot air carries a lot more moisture than cold, and moisture kills pneumatic systems. Having a tri-pack on the compressor isn't the best placement.

For simplicity of use, the LG hands down. For more oomph, and bigger capacity the Blu, with the added air compressor(s) cost.

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Like BIGGUNDOCTOR said, the air dryer was not adequate from the factory and had to be drained and cleaned while it was in operation. So another larger dryer was added to the line. The oilier was too small also and had to be filled a lot while working and the TUP required anti-seize to be brushed on. The O-rings require replacement on a regular basis. The air compressor required more service also due to long run times.

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Neither of those hammers is best in class, but any hammer is better than no hammer.  Both have parts still available.  

Even if the weights were equal, for tooling work the Blu would be superior as it can strike anywhere in the stroke on the fly with no or minimal set up time.  The LG is limited by a much smaller stroke and requires a wrench and crowbar or blocks to adjust the pitman (and thus the stroke).  Plus the extra weight of the Blu will be advantageous for driving tools into relatively bigger hunks of higher carbon steel.  I own 3 hammers, 2 mechanicals and a utility air hammer.  I have run every major make of antique mechanical, love the look, sound and feel of a well tuned mechanical, but when I reach for tooling I always go the the utility air hammer because of the flexibility.  

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If you take the tooling out of the picture, the Little Giant is a better hammer for general work within certain parameters, and I personally never liked working tooling under any Blu I've ever run. I've run several different iterations of the Blu, and it not only seems to me like they get more complicated with each version, but there's also the issue of the air compressor, and that they choke at the drop of a hat. Honestly, if I were going to use tooling at all, I'd hunt for almost any 100lb+ mechanical. But, it's not my money, haha. Either one will be fun and work.

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I think if you plan on using tooling I would hunt for a self contained air hammer in the 88 lb + range. 88 lb is honestly a little small for using tooling but I get by with mine. The main problem with an 88 lb hammer for using tooling is how fast it runs. The bigger the self contained the slower they seem to run. I have my hammer on a VFD and slowing it down a little helps tremendously when using tooling.

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I would pick the little giant. The blue is an air hog. A 5hp compressor may not be enough. Little giants did not originally have a break on the flywheel. Many of us have added them to gain control for tooling. A 50 pound lg is kind of small but will do a lot of work. It will run on a motor as small as a 1 1/2 hp, though bigger is better. My experience with utility hammers like the blue is that they run well if ( big IF) you can feed them an absolute crazy amount of air. They have awsome control- far beyond self contained hammers, but getting there costs a lot of input power. 

On 12/18/2019 at 11:20 AM, ThomasPowers said:

If you want it primarily for tooling then a press or the KA75 might work better for you.

The ka75 is one I often forget about. I wouldn't mind having one myself come to think of it...

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