Mini-Forge on a Budget

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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. [Read more...]

Propane forge built from a soup can

propane-forge-from-soup-can

It doesn’t look like much, but this easy to build propane forge is just what you need to try your hand at blacksmithing. [Code Cowboy] took on the build after watching this how-to video which shows the fabrication of a small knife after completing the forge build.

The first step is to eat all of the soup (or beans if you prefer). With an empty can in hand the stand — made of two angle brackets — and inlet are attached. Next comes the heat proofing for the walls of the forge. At first glance we thought that cat litter was one of the ingredients, but that’s just an empty container used to haul playground sand. The sand is mixed with equal parts of plaster of paris before adding water to achieve a clay-like consistency. This is packed into the can, with a small opening to receive the metal to be heated.

The torch itself can be used to cure the heat shield. After letting the mixture harden a 30 minute burn will force the rest of the water out of the heat proofing.

[Read more...]

Brake drum and plumbing parts get you started with Blacksmithing

brake-drum-forge

If you’ve ever wanted to do some serious metal working you’re going to need a method of heating the stock. Here’s a build that combines a brake drum and some plumbing fittings into an entry-level forge. It’s a pretty cheap start to see if Blacksmithing is for you.

[Asuka] says that the parts cost him around $40. The brake drum was sourced from a local salvage yard for ten bucks. To that he added a shower floor drain plate to keep the fuel from falling into the air inlet. We have doubts about how long that thin metal screen will last once the coal really gets going, but heat rises to who knows? On the bottom of the drum he mounted a pipe flange with some nuts and bolts. Galvanized pipe fittings connect to this to inject air into the forge. Right now he’s using a compressor and some garden hose to fan the flames, but plans to get a fan from the auto salvage for a more permanent setup.

A note for beginners. Blacksmith work can be dangerous. We’d like to point you to this discussion thread about injuries.

Build your own forge inside a gallon paint can

If you’d like to try your hand with the art of Blacksmithing but don’t want to go all-in on your first project this may be for you. It’s a forge which you can build for under $100. [Mike O's] creation has some great features, like the option of using the forge as a pass through, and he finds it’s possible to heat metal up to 4″ wide.

He bought an empty paint can at the home store (we guess you don’t want fumes from any paint residue). The business end of the forge is actually the bottom of the paint can. He cut a small opening, then lined the inside of the can with Insulwool, a fabric used as heat shielding. From there the inside was lined with several layers of Satanite Refractory Cement. The same applications were made to the paint can’s original lid, which serves as the back of the forge. This way it can be removed for that pass-through we mentioned earlier.

A propane torch brings the heat for this project. [Mike] mentions that you’re going to want to do the first few firings outside as the cement really stinks until it’s been through a few heating cycles. This creation should get him started but we bet he’ll upgrade to something like this coal forge before long.

[via Reddit]

Building a coal forge

We don’t get to see Blacksmith hacks around here too often. But even if they were rolling in on a weekly basis we think this one would be considered the special expanded edition with full-color centerfold. The sixty-five images in this coal forge build log are all commented and just begging to steal your attention for part of the afternoon.

The build mostly involves fabricating a system for injecting air into the forge and providing a mechanism for evacuating the waste ash. [BillDaCat] starts with a 3″ pipe as the ash dump, adding a latching door used to empty it when full. He then welds together a metal trough with a slotted bottom to hold the fiery fury, attaching the ash dump below. He uses a plasma cutter to add an opening in the upper portion of the ash dump for a blast gate.

If you’re excited about his build you should also check out the metal pour and the induction furnace.

[via Reddit]

Build an induction heater and become a metalsmith

If you’ve ever wanted to forge, cast, or smelt metal, this project is right up your alley. It’s a 30 kVA induction heater built by [bwang] over on Instructables. It gets hot enough to melt and forge steel, iron, and aluminum.

An induction heater operates by surrounding the object to be heated with a coil carrying high frequency AC current. Basically, the entire setup acts like a huge transformer with a shorted secondary. To get these currents into a workpiece, [bwang] used a TL494 PWM controller as an oscillator. The output of the TL494 is filtered and amplified a few times to generate a huge amount of AC current.

Larger versions of [bwang]‘s induction heater are found in foundries and forges all across the land; even though this small version sucks down 50 A out of a dryer or stove outlet, induction heating is very efficient. We’re actually wondering why we don’t see many home blacksmiths using induction heating, so we’ll leave that for our readers to discuss in the comments.

[sessions] reminded us of this induction heater from a few years ago. A little smaller, but still usable.

Building an electric kiln

[EmcySquare] is delving into some hobby-blacksmithing by making his own knives. He needs a furnace to heat the metal, and after trying out a few different forge designs he decided to attempt an electric kiln build. The final project seen above is a box within a box. The outer shell is reclaimed using old computer cases and metal shelving brackets. Inside you’ll find a box made from fire brick, with stone-wool insulation to keep the heat where it’s supposed to be.

He cut the bricks to the right size to build the inner box, then added grooves on the inside edge witch will host the heat coils. This cutting was done with an angle grinder and [EmcySquare] notes that it kicks up an extraordinary amount of brick dust to make sure you’re wearing a respirator and goggles. Once the enclosure was ready he set out to fabricate the heat coils. Twelve meters of Kanthal A1 wire was used, shortened to a neat length by shaping coils around a 1 cm diameter wooden dowel. This prototype works but future improvements plan to add automatic temperature control through a thermocouple and a relay.

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