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13 Year old Son building forge - Dad has questions!


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My 13 year old son is building a forge.  He reads like crazy and reads everything about forging and metal work.  For his birthday, we bought him the raw materials to make his forge and this past weekend, a friend helped him learn to weld.  In the process of welding, he built his forge.

Now that's it's all together, we've discovered some adjustments need to be made and we're hoping someone on this forum knows the answers to our questions.

1. It seems like we have too much orange flame leaping out of the forge.  We have a GACO MR-750 Burner that was given to us.  Is this too big of a burner for our forge?  (My son says the Burner is 77,400 BTUs at 1 PSI)

2.  Should the Venturi opening be open all the way or closed down?

3.  Should the forge be bigger to accommodate the burner?

4. We can already see that we need to hard pipe the gas line lower and at a 90 degree to keep the pipe away from the heat of the flame that comes out the front of the forge.

5. Our propane setup is a pressure regulator up to 30 PSI with gauge and another shutoff where the hose meets the pipe.

Attached are some pictures of the burner in action outside of the forge and the burner in action in the forge.

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You need a smaller orifice for the Gaco MR-750 burner. They are available at most propane suppliers. That is the same burner we used in our forge which is smaller than the one he built. Here is a thread to our build with the orifice sizes I tried until I hit on the right size. Sadly a lot of the pictures were lost when Photobucket dumped tinypic but the text is still there.

20 pound propane tank forge in progress - Gas Forges - I Forge Iron

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I'm seeing galvanized parts--maybe it's just the lighting.  That is dangerous. Look up "fume fever".  If galvanized was used in any areas that will see high temperatures, correct that before this thing is used by your son.  I'm not kidding---it can kill.  Even with outdoor use, you never know when a light breeze will send a snootful of toxic fumes at you.

I'm not wanting to throw water on your son's enthusiasm but please suggest that for the next try (and I'm betting there will be a second try) absolutely DO NOT get design advice off of youtube.  Many of the designs there, including this general one which seems to be parroted over and over, are extremely poor for a long list of reasons I won't go into at this point.  IForgeIron has extremely good peer reviewed information on forge design.  Diligently reading through all of that will start to show where the shortcomings of this first design are.  One is the efficiency of the current design is so poor that the money spent on wasted fuel will be enough to pay for all the stuff needed to build a more efficient forge.

Hate to say that--don't want to curb any of his enthusiasm.  Just be plenty careful and don't toss much more money into that existing design.

I feel like a jerk for saying the above. I'm not trying to beat on your son here--just trying to help steer him toward better choices.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

UPDATE TIME:  Thank you to everyone on this forum who chimed in and gave us your thoughts!  Here's what we've done and where we are now...

1. Used a Muriatic Acid bath to take all the galvanization off the metal...that was crazy!  Respirators on, gloves on, eye protection.  

2. We ordered a new orifice from Aardvark in Santa Ana, CA.  Much smaller hole that what was in the burner to begin with and now the flame looks so much better.

A FEW NEW QUESTIONS

Now that we've fired it up for the first time, we're still learning...

1. I notice that when we put a brick on the back of the forge, the airflow seem to be cut way down and heat drop significantly.  With the front and back open, it gets hot real quick at 1 PSI.  My son has an old railroad spike to mess around with and it got orange pretty quick.

2. We have a few extra bricks...would it make a difference if we added a second layer on the inside?

As always...appreciate any thoughts!

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The jet looks off center. Get rid of all that steel pipe hanging off the burner! The jet will move out of alignment every time it gets warm and with all that weight hanging off center, will NOT go back when it cools.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I have to agree about the heavy pipe. I think it is pulling the whole burner out of alignment. What you could do is eliminate the long vertical section and make a vertical bracket to support the shorter horizontal run and attach the hose to the elbow. Another fix would be to use 3/8 in copper tubing from the burner to connect the hose, using compression fittings. Adding more screws lower like the top ones will also help holding the burner firm. I had to do that with our forge.

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