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I Forge Iron

Best method of large at home forge


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Hey, so I have been looking into forges that could get hot enough to melt about 50 lbs of steel in one crucible. I have looked into induction forges, but I’m looking at paying around 50 grand. I found a electric tipping table forge that would be perfect, only problem is it only heats up to 2300 F. I would like to keep this project at around 4-6 grand to build or buy. And my main purpose of this forge is I would like to make 45 lbs weight plates and dumbbells. So far my best options would be a big homemade coal forge( I work at a coal mine so coal will be cheap). Also this arc welding forge, but I haven’t found anyone who is confident enough to build one for me. Any suggestions or advice would be great thanks. 

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Does it have to be cast steel, a lot of weights are cast iron?  A cupola is fairly easy to build and run and can produce a LOT more than 50# of cast iron at a time.

 Also you want a foundry for melting stuff rather than a forge for heating up and hammering on stuff. (May be a translation issue, what country are you in and what language are you using?)

So you have any experience in metal casting?  It's much more dangerous than forging as when you drop hot steel if heads down and stays there.  Molten metal can splash, create steam explosions and basically chase you screaming down the hall.

What kind of coal are you mining and is it any good for forging?

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Sorry I’m fairly green with metal melting, I used a small propane forge before for casting copper, that’s about the extent of my experience. Also I’m in southern Saskatchewan, coals not very good, but it would be free. Also I would like to be able to have a forge were I could just go to our junk hill and cut up old farm machinery to be able melt that down and cast weight plates. 

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If you are melting in it; it's a foundry not a forge.  Melting steel is a lot more heat and bother than melting cast iron, I bet a lot of the parts on old farm machinery would be cast iron too. A cupola runs off coke, are you mining bituminous or anthracite; or other?  Melting steel is a lot more expensive than melting cast iron too.

BTW have you checked out the archives at http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/index.html  especially read the ones on cast iron!

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Ic, k well a foundry is what I’m looking for, and I just figured I would have more access to steel than cast iron, but I probably could still find quit a bit of cast iron too. And if I do buy a foundry that that can at least melt iron. I’m thinking I would get that electric foundry that pcmsupplies has. 

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Lignite is a poor choice for melter fuel. Check with local or close by oil refineries about petroleum coke, it's a bye product of refining oil. 

Propane will melt your iron.

Before you start messing with molten metal I HIGHLY recommend you take some casting classes. IIRC 5lbs. of molten iron has the explosive equivalent of about 1/2 CASE of 40% dynamite if it comes in contact with water. Spill it on a concrete floor and if you turned to run as soon as it slipped you couldn't get far enough away to avoid horrific burns. 

I've been splashed with molten aluminum in high school shop class and fortunately was sweaty enough the drops just left a few 1st degree scald tracks down my back and didn't get caught by my belt or in my boots. Happily, the screw up kid who caused the explosion was the only one injured and he has a couple bald scars on his head. Well, it's been quite a while he may have had plastic surgery and hair transplants. I say happily because he did it on purpose and nobody else got hurt. 

Casting ANY metal is NOT A TRIVIAL procedure, make ONE mistake and you can end up with: disfiguring, crippling or fatal injuries. Not to mention burning down whatever building you're doing this in. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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On 1/9/2021 at 10:11 AM, Frosty said:

Propane will melt your iron.

  Can you get it hot enough under the right circumstances to melt mild steel?  I ask purely out of curiosity and have done no searching or research on it.  I tried it once on a lark in my old ramshackle forge and it got squishy.  I probed it with a vice grips and it froze on them.  :)

20170207_093111_compress33.jpg

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I have accidently melted a piece of mild steel in my simple pipe forge and a friend of mine melted a billet in his propane box forge.  Of course high carbon steel melts at a lower temperature than mild steel and cast iron melts at a still lower temperature.  Luckily as this makes "puddling" work in the indirect method of wrought iron smelting.

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  Thanks Thomas.  One thing leads to another.  I know I said I haven't been researching it but I have been reading all the information in the "articles" section from coke making to iron ore to steel production.  It's kind of eye opening and satisfying to know where all of this material we work with comes from.  Good thing about metal working : there is no end in sight as far as learning goes.

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18 hours ago, Nodebt said:

: there is no end in sight as far as learning goes.

Nope, each answer leads to a more complex question until I find myself searching Jstore for academic papers more and more frequently. 

Pnut

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