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Hey all,

I'm asking you guys and gals for input on where to install my three power hammers in my upcoming workshop.

I'm converting part of a pole barn into a fire proof workshop in accordance with the county's demands. I'm insulating it against the cold and rain. There will be a large folding door so we can drive a car or tractor inside also for repair. The back part of the shop will be a blacksmiths shop/metal workshop. I have three power hammers, bought cheap and used. Now I'm getting to the point where we're gonna pour new concrete on top of the old uneven concrete floor. I concluded it'd be best if I cut holes in the old concrete floor first, for the power hammer foundations, and then when pouring the new one I make forms so I don't cover the holes again. If it was just one layer of concrete I could simply cut it afterwards but when pouring 4 inches thich, having a 1 and a quarter thick polystyrene insulator and then another 4 inches of old concrete under that, it would be a real problem cutting about 10 inches total. That's why I figured I need to have the layout set beforehand so I know where to cut the holes.

I'm sharing some pictures here of the workshop project and three layouts I made. The last one with the three men in is to check the working space in Layout 3.

There you have it. I would be really thankful for input on the hammer locations especially, and also on the shop layout.

North Wall.jpg

West wall.jpg

South Wall.jpg

Man and machine.jpg

Layout 1.jpg

Layout 2.jpg

Layout 3.jpg

Bahco 25 kg.png

Bahco 55 lb

40 kg airhammer.jpg

Homemade airhammer 88 lb

75 kg Mammutwerke.jpg

Mammutwerke 165 lb

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Work flow should be from stock entering, cutting, stacking..  Forging , and then finishing.  If you can setup the area so you have the stock coming in closest to the door it will help to have the processing area there. 

Ideally you only want about 2 steps from the forge to the power hammer. (1 step from the anvil) I might also suggest that you mount the power hammers slightly angled vs  straight on and most does. 



the reason is steel is usuallly fed across the dies vs in from the front which somehow people think that the hammer needs to be mounted straight to the building or layout. 

The main consideration is length of stock worked and cross section.   If you only work 2ft long pieces then it doesn't really matter.  But if you are going to work longer peices having the room to move them because super important. 

Congrats on the shop retro fit ..  Looking forwards to what you do. 

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Thanks for the tips. I think I have the work flow under control. Storage is just behind the door, and the saw is beside it. My shop is so small still so the most I would have to walk with a hot iron to a hammer is 6 feet and I think that's okay. I might buy an induction forge in the future which could sit close to the smaller hammers.

I don't really see your point about angling the hammers, because my Mammutwerke and the spring hammer has their dies on a 45 degree angle. That sends the worked part of the steel past the machine to the back wall. I could turn the machine another 20 degrees and make the steel go even more straight to the back but looking at the drawing it looks okay to me. Also turning the machines makes the space more cramped I think.

Yeah I have high hopes for how this is gonna turn out. If nothing else then it's one xxxx of a mancave. :lol:

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Totally depends on what you will be doing with them.  Something like knifemaking they should be close in to the forge; for something like major ornamental iron work you will want room to swing a full bar of steel around them and perhaps a jib crane to help hold.   Larger cross section steel will hold heat longer and so travel distance can be longer---*if* you have a way to support larger pieces.

For a general shop I would put a small hammer close to the forge and space the larger ones out from it. (Unless you will be doing something like welding up 20 pound billets of pattern welded steel in which case a heavy one near the forge might be a good idea.

So cut out some scrap cardboard to the size of your hammers' footprints and set them out with the rest of your forge equipment, grab some stock pieces in sizes you commonly work at the forge and see what works for *YOU*.

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I know it depends on me and what I will be doing but that's not much use as advice. I came here specifically asking for other people's opinions. If I were doing major ornamental iron work I would already have a shop and I wouldn't be here asking this. I'm a beginner and a hobbyist like most people. I guess I'll be doing small stuff to sell at markets for fun, and then some axes, hammers, small sculptures, home interior. Later some day I'll dabble with big rivets, like Ballard Forge.

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Having 3 powerhammers is not generally the sign of "a beginner doing small stuff".  Even people just starting out can do gates and railings that take up room. We only know what you tell us.

So  given what you plan to do; you are basically adding a powerhammer to the "Work Triangle" of Forge, Anvil, Postvise.  I'd still suggest mocking up a proposed set up and testing it with moving some stock from the forge: to anvil, postvise and power hammer.  As previously mentioned I'd have a small hammer close and the larger one(s) a bit further back. 

I have a 60# champion and a 25# little giant and am preparing to get electricity into my 20'x30' shop.  My current idea is to site the coal forge on one side of the hammers and the propane forge on the other side and have the hammers  stick out into the room between them, with the larger hammer being the one more into the room and the smaller one closer to the wall.  I want to be able to access both of them from either forge and actually be able to have both forges in use by different people.   I have an anvil and postvise for each forge as well.  Of course I have a dirt floor and so can move stuff around a lot easier than having to cut holes in a concrete pad.

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Putting all three power hammers at one end of the shop seems to me to be a bit crowded, especially if there's more than one smith working in the shop. I would suggest a variation of Layout 2: leave the air hammer and the spring hammer where they are, and put the Mammutwerke where you have the welder/plasma and power hacksaw.

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You're asking for specific advice to an unworkable situation. Your space could be arranged into a workable shop with one power hammer but trying to with three is typical beginner unworkable. You're trying to equip a shop without knowing what you're doing. Seriously, how much time do you have on a power hammer of any kind? 

My advice is store or better, sell two of them. You want to keep the one with the widest range which means something that can do light work, say blades but still capable of doing larger work say forging hammers. The spring helve hammer MIGHT have the sensitivity but I'm completely unfamiliar with that one. I have limited time on a Bradley helve and it'd take some skill to forge thin sections.

The home built air hammer WILL REQUIRE a serious air compressor to be of much use and I don't know how closely you can control it. So, unless you have a considerable air compressor expect to have to pay at least $1,000 American Dollars minimum. 

That leaves my choice The Mammut. I have a few hours working different sized pneumatic power hammers of that basic type and they have exquisite control if they're in good condition. I got the opportunity to play with a Nazel 100 and it took a piece of 1 1/4" , approx 32mm. square stock and one blow at medium high red heat flattened it to less than 1/8" or approx 3mm. One blow. I'd felt the power so for my next try the machine I turned it on edge and turned it into 1/4", approx 5mm. square without folding it up.

That's it, my advice is to pick ONE power hammer and get the other two out of your limited space. There's no way you can use them in any practical way so there's no way anybody can offer practical arrangement suggestions.

Frosty The Lucky.

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

So  given what you plan to do; you are basically adding a powerhammer to the "Work Triangle" of Forge, Anvil, Postvise.  I'd still suggest mocking up a proposed set up and testing it with moving some stock from the forge: to anvil, postvise and power hammer.  As previously mentioned I'd have a small hammer close and the larger one(s) a bit further back. 

Thanks, I'll do that. The shop looks smaller in person than on the layout.

1 hour ago, JHCC said:

leave the air hammer and the spring hammer where they are, and put the Mammutwerke where you have the welder/plasma and power hacksaw.

Thanks for the tip. That's an interesting idea as it's far from what I was thinking. I'm thinking though that the Mammut might be in the way of cars or tractors being repaired.

1 hour ago, Frosty said:

You're trying to equip a shop without knowing what you're doing. Seriously, how much time do you have on a power hammer of any kind?

I have a Journeyman exam from a blacksmithing school. Not like Hereford in England but a lighter version :D We rotated between working at the school and then going home and doing home work, 1 year exam. I got quite a lot of experience working a power hammer over there. But in truth, no, I don't have that much experience. I don't see how that's a problem. I'm a beginner. Either I get busy forging or I just give up already?

1 hour ago, Frosty said:

My advice is store or better, sell two of them. You want to keep the one with the widest range

No way. I and my dad built the homemade one ourselves and I had a good time bonding with him. :) It takes up 1 foot 4 inches in width so I could shove that one anywhere. I've ran it perfectly well for 45 seconds straight on the compressor we have at home. I bought a 264 gallon air tank also, inspected and in good condition, for 110 € so air is no problem. The Mammut I bought for scrap value, 250 €. I really admire the design, engineering and shapes on it. Same thing with the spring helve hammer. I'm a mechanical engineer and these machines are awesome. The homemade one I could easily convert to a single hit hammer. The helve hammer is perfect for small market type work, candle holders, bottle openers. The Mammut for axes and big stuff. In my opinion this is a perfect combination. You're totally right, I agree with you that I could most likely get by with only the Mammut but I'm keeping all of them. Thanks for the advice.

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48 minutes ago, Jarntagforge said:

I'm thinking though that the Mammut might be in the way of cars or tractors being repaired.

Possibly. Or you could just put the cars and tractors under the Mammut for a couple of blows. It might not repair them, but it would be fun to watch!

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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, jlpservicesinc said:

I am very interested in your diesel forge? 

I don't have one yet, I have a DevilForge and a coal forge. But I'm planning on using diesel because it's supposed to be safer than gas. I'm going to build it off of what Roger Lund in Sweden suggests. A normal oil burner for heating utility water in houses with a bit larger nozzle, his burner is a Bentone BEO 10, not in production anymore. Capable of heating for example 2 parts of 15 kg steel in 50 minutes. Using 1.5 - 2 liters per hour. Or another example 2x 20 kg 130 mm round. room temp to 1250 °C 58 minutes, 1.8 L diesel.

I put all the info in the picture. All credit to the design goes to Roger Lund. He gave out these specifications freely to everyone. He also said another time to use 5 mm sheet steel so take what you have, I guess. The diesel tank is under the forge. He has such a large space that he doesn't use a chimney for this small forge but in small spaces you'd want one. Diesel burns clean but not perfect.

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image.thumb.png.a82c293542bd7c92ae33230afdb3e425.png

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