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I Forge Iron

Ribbon burner test


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I finally got everything hooked up to my ribbon burner to test it. 

One important thing - I forgot to use any kind of mold release when casting the KOL 30 in my wooden frame.  I thought I would have a hard time getting it off, but NO - based on how everything literally just fell off (the bottom needed a little persuasion, but only because it held the straws - I'm going to go as far as saying you don't need any kind of mold release.

Even the straws came out with a gentle pull from needle-nose pliers.

The pics are just proof-of-concept that it actually burns.  As they show, a few holes have the flame touching.  There is currently no mixer other than the T and 2 90 degree elbows.  I don't think the T is quite 18" away from the plenum, so it may be a mixing problem.  I may put something twisty in the pipe to see if I can get a better mix - thinking maybe a piece of expanded metal, maybe 6 inches long, twisted one way, then the other (halfway).


Any and all suggestions, criticisms, and comments are welcome, please!





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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for the interest!

Ultimately it worked out really well - way better than I expected it to.

I ended up with 3 90-degree bends, with a stationary mixer made out of some thin 2x6 sheet metal and inserted into the top highest straight horizontal pipe.  I cut and bent it so that the first 3 inches cause the gas/air mix to swirl clockwise, and the second 3 inches counter-clockwise.  There may be better designs, but I based on what I've seen this one seemed like it'd do what I needed, and it seems to have made a difference in that the flame is more even, and more stable across a range of adjustments.

I probably went overkill on some things, because I start up with the gas needle valve opened only 1 turn and the air valve 1.5 turns.  Once it heats up I can turn the gas down to 1/4 turn open and the air down to one turn.  So both end up operating barely open at all.

I get up to forging temperature very easily, and could go higher with no trouble.  I cranked it up and using an IR gun it hit 2K way faster than I'd expected.  When it's running well and everything's up to heat, you can't even see the flame.

As with several other folks here, once mine is in use for about an hour, It'll do a weird backfire like thing - not quite a pop, and not quite a "woosh", but somewhere in between.  When this happens, you get a change in tone, kind of a resonating hum.  I'm pretty sure this is from pre-ignition in the burner box itself.  Evidence supporting this is:

- burner and feed pipe increase in temperature (normally the burner only gets about 120 F - feels like a hot cup of coffee, and the pipe even just above it feels near room temp)

- turning the air way up or the gas way down makes it stop

I've gotten things adjusted now to the point where it either doesn't happen, or, if it does, I can get rid of it quick.  Once it happens once, it doesn't happen a second time after adjusting.

Overall, I'm very happy with this burner.  I can't see that it's more efficient, but it's definitely at least as efficient as an NA burner, if you ignore the fact that you need powered air :)

The only thing I'd change is that I would have maybe made it a little smaller for the forge It's in.  I did try plugging some holes with kaowool, but that's where the "backfire thing" is even worse, adding to the suspicion that it's pre-ignition.

I kinda glazed over some of the details, in both pictures and text, but only because the thread was really about the ribbon burner itself and not the forge.  If you'd like more info on either, I'd be happy to share my very limited experience and what worked for me - just pm me.


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Nice. Thanks for the update. Looks like it is working well. What kind of work have you done in it?

I need to build one so I can get back into axe making. I used to make a lot of tomahawks for sale, but have been out of it for a number of years after moving to a raw piece of land and building a house and shop by myself.

I really enjoy axe making, so forge welding is a big part of my intended work. Back then I used coal, now I just have a tiny propane forge that I have been making various small things such as knives and ornamental type of stuff. I have gone back and forth between a propane forge and a coal forge, but coal would require a hole in the roof of my new shop, and is more expensive to build. However ventilation for a propane forge is a concern when it is very cold and the shop is sealed up.



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