DIY Brake Drum Forge

truckwiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:52 am
Location: Buffalo MN

DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by truckwiz » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:24 am

Hi,
I was digging around my scrap pile and found a couple brake drums ,anybody had any luck building a forge out of one ?

Thanks'
Brian
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drum.jpg
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truckwiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:52 am
Location: Buffalo MN

Re: DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by truckwiz » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:51 pm

I machined the seal boss off ,took out the inner race and cut pocket for the grate.

Brian
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drum3.jpg
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drum2.jpg
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drum1.jpg
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Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:16 am

Brian,

Wow! You don't do things by half measures do you? Milling out the drum for a drop in grill is a lot more than most folks do on these. I must say I find an inordinate amount of glee when someone takes something usually simple and plain and over engineers the bejesus out of it. ;)

There are a lot of brake drum forges kicking around out there. They are good for an entry level forge as you can build one without a lot of tools for relatively cheap and with parts you can mostly get off the shelf at a big box hardware store. Most people who stick with blacksmithing for a while upgrade though. The shape of the drum, while not bad, is not ideal for a firepot. I think they are a little too shallow and not really funnel shaped enough. So without good fire tending skills you tent to get a shallow, oxidizing fire and the coal/coke doesn't migrate down to the hot spot naturally. Of course, new smiths normally have bigger problems then that so may not notice the issues until they get some more experience and get to try out other people's forges. In the Poor Man's Forge classes I fabricate the firepots out of 1/4" and 1/2" plate but mostly because I get a lot of plate for free and have a demon saw to cut them and a nice MIG. If I didn't I would probably be leading them in constructing brake drum forges.

How big are the holes on your grate? They look like they could be maybe made a little bigger. You want plenty of air getting though and ash and dust to fall through as well. One comment on the grates, I have found that the cluster of holes like on yours and a number of old rivet forges give a more diffuse heat. This is better if you have a wide area you want to heat up but not as good if you want a focused hot spot. Since I like a smaller, more focused hot spot I now use a grill instead. On the fire pots we do for the class we have a 3" square hole in the bottom and weld in three 1/2" thick round bars. This leave 4 slots about .375" wide. This lets in plenty of air, lets fines and ash fall though and gives a pretty good focused hot spot. Of course, your mileage may vary.

truckwiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:52 am
Location: Buffalo MN

Re: DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by truckwiz » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:19 pm

Martin,
I tried as hard as I could to resist the urge to machine that seal shoulder off. :)

The first grate had .25 holes ,here is version 2.

Thanks'
Brian
Attachments
grate.jpg
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Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:05 pm

Looking real good Brian. You'll be happier you did mill it off. It'll make pushing coal into the hotspot easier.

truckwiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:52 am
Location: Buffalo MN

Re: DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by truckwiz » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:09 pm

Thanks Martin,
My blower motor showed up today, Hmmm............

I'm usually pretty good about ordering the right size stuff ,But something went wrong here.

Where do you get your blowers from ?

Thanks',
Brian
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Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:02 pm

Heh. That's pretty funny.
I get my fans all over. Mostly now days I use second hand squirrel cage blowers. A few classes ago Darryl scored a bunch from a furnace servicing place. They came up dry when I tried them last year but luckily I got a whole mess of them at the LeSueur swap meet. I think the guy thought I was crazy wanting to buy all 15 of them. After this year's forge class though I am going to have to go on the hunt again. LeSueur is next weekend, 24-26 April, so maybe I'll score again.

I would really like to get an in with some place that does range hoods though. I think those blowers have got to be about perfect. They move enough air, are made for a dirty environment, and most have a variable speed controller.

A lot of times when you go into HVAC or other likely places, explain what you are after and why, the folks go out of their way to help. Most seem tickled to be contributing to your delinquency.

Sometimes The Ax Man has fans that would work but it is pot luck whatever they have. Most the time may luck is a see one that looks the right size but it have some funky Soviet era, eastern European power requirements.

I have bought a few new ones in the past when I was in a pinch and needed one NOW. There are a couple in the Farmtek catalog that would do well I think, a 60 and a 148 CFM, but they are like $74 and $82 respectively. Cheaper than a blower from Centaur but still way too much.

If you get down near my neck of the woods (Young America, maybe 45 minutes south of Buffalo) I can pass on one from my stash if you like. They were about $9 a pop when I bought in bulk. I'll sell it to you for $9.05. A man has to make a profit after all. They move enough air that on some of the forges we made last year we had the intake dampers completely closed and it still moved almost too much air. I want to wait until after class next Saturday, the 25th though to make sure I have backups in case any of them crap out in class. Hooking you up with a fan is the least I can do for such a tight looking brake drum forge. If you want to come down on the 25th you can see the ones we are building that day.

Take care.

truckwiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:52 am
Location: Buffalo MN

Re: DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by truckwiz » Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:07 pm

Martin,
Thanks' , I'll see if I can make it next weekend. With rain coming early in the week I might have to work Saturday.

Here are some more photo's.

Brian
Attachments
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forge1.jpg
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truckwiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:52 am
Location: Buffalo MN

Re: DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by truckwiz » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:57 pm

No it's not a milking machine from the 1930's :)

Also, I'm going to try one of these fans.

http://www.surpluscenter.com/Electrical ... 6-1365.axd


Brian
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forge4.jpg
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truckwiz
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:52 am
Location: Buffalo MN

Re: DIY Brake Drum Forge

Unread post by truckwiz » Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:15 pm

First firing went well on charcoal. The blower is way more than is needed, could have used a lot smaller one.

Brian
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