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Paint can forge not staying lit.


Jafar Of All Trades

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Hey, 

I'm new to smithing (literally not forged a single thing yet). I built a paint can forge today and when I put the burner in and lit it it keeps making an almost whooshing sound like it's about to go out, and eventually, it does go out. I bought the burner off etsy. Any help would be great. I've tried adjusting the angle at which it sits and the depth into the forge. The only thing I haven't tried is drilling a hole in the back of the forge to add more air flow. Pictures of my paint can forge and burner.

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you might discover members here who live within visiting distance. 

Hey yourself! Have you asked the guy who made the knock off T burner why it doesn't work? 

What did you line the forge with, sand and Plaster of Paris?  

Frosty The Lucky.

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@Frosty I'm emailing the maker today, and it is sand and plaster of Paris. 

@ThomasPowers and @Irondragon Forge & Clay the flame seems to be mostly blue. I dont know that I have a pressure regulator. I just used a regular gas grill connector like several of the people had bundled with the burners they made on etsy. However, I bought mine separately to get a lower price point than etsy was offering. 

 

If this burner is too much for the forge, I can always find another with no harm done because I will be making a larger glass forge in the future. It's not staying lit even when it's not in the forge. 

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you should read through our threads on building a forge,  FYI PoP and Sand is not recommended by anyone that actually uses gas forges. and you need a regulator, Sorry for starting you off with all the bad news but welcome to IFI we will help you get started

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Yes the venturi burners require a high pressure regulator, 0-20 or 0-30 PSI to run correctly. They draw in air and mix it with propane driven by the high pressure jet of propane.  Many gas grill regulators run at 6 oz.

Plaster of Paris starts to degrade around 450 degF.  You will probably want to be forging more around 1600 degF  See a problem?  Yes some idiot put up a video suggesting it's use and like lemmings many people have followed after without checking to see if it was actually a good idea. One reason I see given for it's use is that they can't afford a good insulating refractory, (like kaowool).   I have trouble understanding this as they say they can't afford the correct refractory but they CAN afford to spend many times as much on fuel????  "I can't afford X but am willing to pay 6X more on fuel to save X?"

When people in the USA want to get into blacksmithing I strongly suggest they find an ABANA affiliate and attend a few meetings to learn what works, what is available locally, and save a huge amount of time learning from people who know what they are doing. (I have actually seen videos  online where the presenter says "I've never done this before; but this is how you do it."  Guess what, they lied about the second part!)

Don't worry about making a fairly common mistake; if we all gave up learning to drive after the first time we hit the brake instead of the clutch pedal or put it in reverse instead of drive; well the roads would be even more empty than they are now!  (We can get a bit tetchy about things as we feel bad about people getting mislead when a bit more looking into things would have prevented it---makes us feel like all out efforts here are not helping as much as they should!)

 

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@Steve Sells and @ThomasPowers Thank you for your help. Just to clarify, my problem is most probably not having a pressure regulator, and not an issue with airflow or size of the forge? 

Also please don't be sorry about bad news. I am a little bummed that I bought the wrong hose, but not as bummed as I would be if there weren't people like you on here to help me learn these things. 

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison

Thankfully, I don't have to make 10,000 mistakes before I can make this work. :) 

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The burner is not too big for your forge, it's too poorly built to perform properly. You  need to stop guessing at actions when you don't know enough to evaluate what too do or not. 

What frustrates a lot of us are folks who want help but instead of listening to folks who DO know start doing all sorts of things that don't matter or make things worse and tell US why it should work. 

Curmudgeon in our headers isn't because we're ornery old coots, it's there mostly because we don't argue with folks who insist on making mistakes they don't need to and tell all of us why their bad decisions aren't bad. To paraphrase: ' I've told him/er why he failed 10,000 times and s/he still doesn't know.'

If you'd like to make your 10k mistakes please feel free,  just don't muddy the waters for folk who WANT to know how to do this  by learning from other people's mistakes.  

Tagging people in replies is poor manners on Iforge, it wastes bandwidth for members who don't have broadband connections and causes the Administrators unnecessary work to clean up after you. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you for all your help. I will be doing more research and fixing the forge I have for the time being. I appreciate all of the wisdom and knowledge held by the curmudgeons (said with respect) here. 

At a later date I will be taking all of your input and building a better forge using Kaowool or another like material, but for now my only option is to make do with what is available. 

Please do not think that my Edison quote was meant to say that I am just as knowledgeable as yourselves. I am not. I am a beginner to this craft, and my meaning was to say thank you. You curmudgeons have years of experience that tells you the right thing to do and wrong thing to do. It’s your willingness to share the knowledge gained from that experience that makes it possible for people like myself to learn this craft without needing to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. In other words unlike Edison inventing the light bulb, I do not have to make 10,000 mistakes before finding the correct way to do it. I will inevitably make mistakes, but when I do I can ask for guidance from veteran craft masters, such as the curmudgeons. 

On the topic of tagging: I read this post, and I took it to mean I shouldn’t tag in my initial post/question. However, I understood it to also say that tagging when replying to specific people’s answers is acceptable. I must have been mistaken. Please forgive me. Just as I am new to blacksmithing, I am also new to using forums. I am always fearful of committing a breach in the forum etiquette. I will learn from this mistake, and strive to do better in the future. 

Thank you again for all of your help in solving this problem with my forge. If my research (including reading posts here on IFI) for future projects comes up short, resulting in another mistake, then I hope I will still be welcome to return with another post and seek advice from this incredible community and its master-craftsmen. 

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6 hours ago, Jafar Of All Trades said:

most probably not having a pressure regulator, and not an issue with airflow or size of the forge? 

You claim to be learning, yet you are going to argue with those who have decades using and designing propane forges and burners. A BBQ grill regulator is not adequate for a propane forge burner.

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Not to mention that it certainly could also be an issue with the burner being too large for the forge.  Burners do need a certain minimum chamber for proper combustion to develop at high fire.  Most likely that is not an issue here, but it is still a valid question, especially for a NA burner.  T-burners do have a nice, relatively short and bushy flame, when properly constructed and tuned.  Frosty usually recommends a 3/4" T for a chamber on the order of 300 cubic inches.  This forge looks to be only a very small fraction of that size, maybe 28 cubic inches.  Even though the insulation is terrible, and likely more a thermal mass than anything useful, the burner is likely too large along with being incorrectly copied from Frosty's plans and not properly tuned and run without a propane regulator (that is a huge and dangerous mistake).

I certainly understand why Frosty is frustrated.  He has gone out of his way to share an extremely clever solution with the world for making a very functional burner out of commonly available parts and tools.  He has bent over backwards numerous times to assist beginners in using his design.  And then a bunch of folks attempt to commercialize these burners, don't give him credit or a cut of profits, don't even copy his design effectively, and don't support their product.  And he is still expected to help people who buy this sad reflection make a go of it. 

To the OP, my take on this is you need a smaller burner, a proper regulator, and decent insulation if you want to get your paint can forge working better.  I made one with about 1.5" of high temperature refractory blanket, rigidized and covered with a couple of skim coats of Satanite.  I used a 1/2" Frosty Tee on mine. I used it a couple of times, but didn't have a MIG tip cleaner and got a little frustrated tuning it (it certainly fired though).  I kept both the front and rear doors open until it got up to temperature, then closed the rear door to achieve high fire.  If I was to resurrect it I would probably make a change to the gas connection to allow me to vary the orifice location without cutting the tip (but I have a small metal lathe) and add a damper to adjust the air opening.  I also would experiment with the burner outlet to see if a flare or flame retention nozzle improved stability. Another choice would be to use an old style, large, brass propane hand torch with an adapter to run wit a 20# tank.  If you do that you need to set it up to induce some secondary air or the brass will overheat and melt.  Look at designs for 2-brick forges (and follow the instructions to use lightweight, insulating firebrick, not hardbrick).

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On 4/2/2020 at 6:18 PM, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

To me it looks like you have way too much burner for that forge.

Your right; he does have way too much burner for his way undersized forge. How fortunate for him that the burner needs just the exact change that will held his undersized forge problem. He has a ""T"" burner with an oversized exit to its mixing tube. A pipe reducer and the next smaller size pipe for the next mixing tube will bring burner and forge much closer together, will improving the burner's performance.

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Mike one of your 3/8" burners would be a better fit. I don't think I've ever seen a T with a bushing reducer function very well at all.

Jafar:  Relax. We'd like to help but you need to keep your questions to the basics and not tell us about what you're going to do next unless you just want us to watch.  Listen more than you talk. Nobody's going to 86 you for making mistakes but we do expect you to ask a question and listen to the answers WITHOUT long posts about what you THINK you should do. You got suckered into buying a poorly built burner made by someone who doesn't understand how burners work and a T burner is as skill and tool minimal as I could come up with. 

You got suckered in because you don't know how burners work and why. That's okay, nobody is born knowing this stuff or anything. We can probably get you fixed and working but you're going to have to lay off trying to impress us with things like poorly chosen quotes. Edison was a disciplined and rigorous scientist, his notebooks regarding the light bulb  fill volumes, lengthy plans for experiments, calculations, drawings,  formula, observations, descriptions, etc. etc. You're wise crack came off like you were comparing yourself to Edison and if some of our responses were a bit curmudgeonly we don't do well talking to the cluelessly pretentious.  

We might be able to correct the burner and get it tuned but you're going to have to toss the forge, you'd have to mount a 3/4" burner at one end and fire through it to keep it burning. For comparison it'd be like putting a V 8 engine on a 18' Zodiak. 

You can buy a soldering torch designed to work on a propane tank, I have one and it'd be plenty to run a forge that size. Unfortunately the liner is such a heat sink you'll wait half an hour for it to come to heat and then the outside will get hot enough to drive you away. It has about the same insulating properties as an equal amount of rock. 

If you wish to rebuild the forge with ceramic fiber blanket refractory Kaowool is a brand I use because I'm familiar there are many brands. You'll need  enough 1" blanket to make 2 layers. You'll need fumed silica to rigidize it to make it more durable and encapsulate the fibers or they are a breathing hazard. Lastly you'll need a castable hard refractory for the final interior layer of armor. AKA the flame face. 

Another good forge is a "brick pile" forge. Like the name implies it's a stack of IFB (Insulating Fire Brick) that forms the forge. They're as easy as stacking building blocks and the shape can be changed to suit your increase in skills, expanding product list and size. They have issues though, mostly buying the right kind of IFB.

You have things to think about and decide Jafar but not what you probably think. Decide what you wish to make as learning projects. About how much you wish to spend. Where you're going to set up. These are the big issues to decide before you dive in and start building. Make sense?

Frosty The Lucky.

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5 hours ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

You claim to be learning, yet you are going to argue with those who have decades using and designing propane forges and burners. A BBQ grill regulator is not adequate for a propane forge burner.

I was asking for clarification about what your collective knowledge thinks is most likely the problem. 

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You can attempt to make do with what you have, however its going to fall apart and be dangerous.  Plaster of Paris can not hold up to the temps we run it.  It certainly can not hold up to the direct flame contact it will get from a 3/4" burner.  I understand the I want to forge know and I support it.  If thats the case lool in the solid fuel forge section and make a sideblast forge.  Because what you have will not work.

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13 hours ago, Frosty said:

Mike one of your 3/8" burners would be a better fit. I don't think I've ever seen a T with a bushing reducer function very well at all.

And I see no reason why a bushing would help at all, either. Didn't I state "reducer"? A reducer fitting should replace at least some of the swirl that incorrect choice of "T" fitting lost in the design; worth trying anyway. And, yes, 3/8" burner would fit that space better. Didn't someone build a 3/8" "T" burner last year?

As to his building a 3/8" Mikey burner, I think that was on about page 19 of Burners 101, but it has to be done exactly as recommended.

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You did say reducer but I only  know of one type with male threads on the larger end and female on the smaller. If you know of one please clue me in, things change so fast I never seem to be up to date.

I don't recall a 3/8" T, I may have missed it or just don't recall. Stupid tree!

Frosty The Lucky.

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