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Info needed on blowers for coal forge


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I recently put together a coal forge from about 20 dollars of scrap steel and other odd bits. For my first day I used an electric leaf blower, what I was originally going to use didn't work out. I don't want that as a permanent solution. I was wondering if I could get some input on what would be good to replace it. I didn't some research and found a lot of information about CFM and what the blower needs to produce when under pressure since I am using coal. The links below are to some of the blowers that have been suggested/I am thinking about.

 inline fan

There is also a 6 inch version of that fan for not much more

BBQ blower

I'm trying to go with the most cost effective option. I don't want to spend to much as this is my first attempt at building a forge.

I made my forge out of a brake drum cover, the steal grates melted, I am going to replace them with some fire brick drilled to let air through. But any improvements are welcome.

Thank you for any information and insight


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A leaf blower is way too much air. An inline fan will not worksince it can't overcome the back pressure.

One option that is inexpensive and works well to start is a hairdryer blowing cool air. Blowing hot air will burn it out faster. Even a hairdryer on low can be too much air so you want to have a T somewhere with a valve/sliding shutter to vent off the excess. It is kind of loud though. Quieter than a leaf blower, but still loud. Another thing I had that worked for a while was a furnace blower that came out of a fireplace. Quieter, but ended up burning out.

Another thing I have seen recommended here is a cheap mattress blower you can find at Walmart.  

P.S. links to commercial sites (ie. Amazon) aren't permitted on the site, but a brief description of what you're talking about will help others once those links are removed by the mods.

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Thank you for directing me to that post,I had missed it. That was my concern about the inline duct fans. Through my searching I did read about adding a T to vent off the excess. So a pump to blow up a mattress should do the job? Even if it is only rated for 98 CFM? I imagine that would be the under pressure rating though.

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I have never used the mattress pump personally, but that recommendation does come from a reliable, one might even say lucky, source. I will say your forge is pretty big, perhaps a little too big depending on what size stock you plan to be working with. If you're concerned about cost, burning way more fuel than you need is a good way to increase your cost of running the forge. You could probably adjust the size with some firebricks or even dry clay bricks. How big/small? I would say play around with that to see what works for you.

IMHO, it's better to have too much air and divert the excess rather than have too little. So I would tend towards a hairdryer. Okay, perhaps I am a bit biased since it's what I use, but one of the cheap (~$20) ones from the usual suspects, with the "Cool Shot" button to turn off the heating elements seems to work well for me. I'm not saying it's the best option out there, but as far as cheap and readily available goes it's a good option. Just make sure you clean out the intake every once in a while to increase the lifespan of it.

Note: Don't steal your mom's/girlfriend's/wife's hairdryer. She will probably not be pleased. 

Looking at your forge, is that a large air gap between your grate and the tuyere? If so, you're going to burn that stuff up in no time flat. A cast iron grate of some sort is ideal, a couple of small scrap pieces of steel laid across the opening will work. You want the incoming air to cool the grate as much as possible so it doesn't burn up, but in the end anything down there is going to be a consumable.

P.S. Don't hang all of your choices on my words, I'm sure others will come along and notice things I missed. I've only been doing this myself for a little over a year and a half so I can only share what has worked for me in my limited experience.

The best way to make incremental improvements once you get running to is to only change one thing at a time. Forge for a session. Take notes on how things changed and go from there. Experimenting is the best way to learn on your own. The best way to learn in general is to see if there are any ABANA groups/meetings around you and work with people who know what they're doing and can answer some of your questions. They may not be meeting right now, but once things settle down they will be a huge benefit.

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8 hours ago, almostpractical said:

I made my forge out of a brake drum cover, the steal grates melted,

I suggest reading this, from the picture, you will not have a very good forge no matter what type of blower is connected to it.



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