Mini-Forge on a Budget

7

Feeling a little black-smithy? Ever wanted to hammer some red-hot steel into a new shape? Turns out, it’s well within your reach!

We’ve seen soup can forges, paint can forges, and even full blown coal fired forges — but none quite as simple as this. All you need is a fire brick — and some tools.

The problem is, fire bricks are kind of fragile. In order to drill into it without cracking the brick [Mike] advises us to clamp it in a wooden jig to help support it. Slowly drill a long hole lengthwise in it, slightly oblong to allow for your work piece to go inside. Flip the brick sideways, and add a second perpendicular hole in order to insert your gas torch of choice.

Now before you go heating it up, it is wise to reinforce the brick by wrapping some wire around it to prevent it from falling apart when it inevitably cracks due to temperature changes. A more permanent solution is to encase the entire brick in concrete to make it more durable, which [Mike] plans on doing next time.

He learned how to do this at his local maker’s guild, Prototek OKC — the Oklahoma City Makerspace community. Check out his first attempts at forging!

blacksmithyy

Now all you need is an anvil…

Comments

  1. andarb says:

    Hmm, looking forward to seeing the feedback on this one, I might be able to do something like this, but I’d want it to stand up slightly better than bare firebrick.

    • cr0sh says:

      Firebrick is actually the proper thing to use in such an application, but not generally alone; some kind of reinforcement should be used. The idea to embed/encase the brick in concrete is actually pretty good. You might be able to wrap the brick in chicken-wire mesh, then spackle on several coats of concrete; that would give it the support needed, while not making it too heavy. Or – you could make a steel box for the brick, if you wanted to.

      If you do some research on homemade/DIY casting furnaces (electric and propane powered), you can find tons of information which might allow to you make a better “forge”; in fact, if you are able to build a furnace to melt metal (that is, low temp ones like aluminium), you can use the same furnace to heat steel up for forging (because you typically build a steel smelting pot to hold the aluminium for such furnaces – and it can get similarly red and orange hot).

  2. Dra says:

    …I’d go with getting a half gallon of refractory cement. Because you can get it for about $20. And form it into the shape you want.

  3. Joshua says:

    Concrete is generally not recommended for high-heat work. IIRC, it tends to explode. You’d definitely want to use a proper refractory cement.

    I’ve played around with things like this before, but with just a torch I never could get the temperatures high enough. Forced-air burners are pretty easy to build though.

  4. As an Okie I wonder how I’ve not heard of this place. I’ll be dropping by for the open house soon.

  5. Mr Name Required says:

    I’ve been building a foundry just like this one, a very neat design: http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/guest_martin.html

    Firebricks, whilst fragile, are easily cut with a jigsaw, wood chisel, Dremel or even an unsupported hacksaw blade.

  6. Smorges Borges says:

    I am holding out for a 3d firebrick printing.

    Or, possibly, is there something I could eat and then just sh*t the firebricks?

  7. Ants says:

    What is this, a forge for ants?

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