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AndyB

Break Drum Forge

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I think there are several of you on here whom have and have made break drum forges.  This morning I got my pipe from the hardware store. 150 dollars later damn tarriifs.  It was not cheap to get 2.50 inch pipe.  I also got a 2.50 inch T.  Before I go any further on this. Fortunately for me the wall of the pipe fit perfectly into the opening of the break drum.  I think I got lucky on that one, so all I had to do was attemp to weld a decent bead from the pipe to the drum.  Damn harbor freight welder oh well.  I’m going to post a couple photos here keep in mind everything is upside down at the moment.  But I hope I’m at least doing something righ I’ve still got to figure out something for the grate thanks in advance.

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Looks good Andy,

I used 3 pieces of angle iron for the legs on mine, with a couple cross braces.  Nothing fancy. Sits on dirt fine.  Anything will work for a grate.  A piece of plate with 3/8 or larger holes drilled in it.  Doesn't matter how many.  A piece of plate with slits cut into it with a grinder.   Or you can weld thin rebar together to make a fence of sorts,  or you can buy or salvage what's called expanded metal, kind of pricey.   Anything you can scrounge will work.  Treat it as a consumable.  Point of it is to just keep the coals from falling through.   Some guys use a lining, others don't.  Just a brake drum, easy enough to replace.  If you do decide to use a lining,  search the forums, or I just used a pure portland and water.  Cracked, which is fine, but didn't explode which is great.   No lining would be all right as well.   Keep it Simple.   And if you wanna have some fun,  get yourself a fire extinguisher and kick the pot over with hot coals in it.  It's not so bad.  I would do this in an open field away from the neighbors  and flammables though :)

Just have fun with it.

-B

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4 minutes ago, Bruno said:

fire extinguisher

Got one, ABC extinguisher.  I'm almost thinking the pipe at the bottom the one I'll be using for the ash dump is a bit too long.  I'm considering cutting that in half actually.

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Posted (edited)

Not trying to be out-of-line but, check those welds. I would guess the angle of your welding torch and the fact the drum was rusty may have caused you problems! I have doubts as to whether  those welds got penetration! The last thing you want is to be working with a pot full of hot coals and the drum separate from the pipe dumping all the charcoals on you!!

Edited by C Craft

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Posted (edited)

Don't worry about it.  Cut it if you want, but you will lose the threads.  The threads are good if you want to use a cap for the bottom of it.  Otherwise you will have to fabricate something.   I would only cut it if you feel the forge sits to high for you.  I like mine at about waist level.   

Oh, and some extra weld's couldn't hurt at all.   

Edited by Bruno

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3 minutes ago, AndyB said:

Got one, ABC extinguisher.  I'm almost thinking the pipe at the bottom the one I'll be using for the ash dump is a bit too long.  I'm considering cutting that in half actually.

Good plan.  It doesn't need to hold a lot.

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1 hour ago, C Craft said:

Not trying to be out-of-line but, check those welds. I would guess the angle of your welding torch and the fact the drum was rusty may have caused you problems! I have doubts as to whether  those welds got penetration! The last thing you want is to be working with a pot full of hot coals and the drum separate from the pipe dumping all the charcoals on you!!

The welds aren't perfect no.  But I do plan on going over it again and making sure its sturdy.  How ever I ran out of welding wire.  DOH.  So that will be one thing I have to pick up.  At least a 2 lbs roll of Flux wire is fairly in expensive.  Most of my welds that I have welded with that little machine hold pretty well but for that one because it will be supporting a fan I'll make sure to run a couple extra beads around when I get more wire.

 

1 hour ago, Bruno said:

Don't worry about it.  Cut it if you want, but you will lose the threads.  The threads are good if you want to use a cap for the bottom of it.  Otherwise you will have to fabricate something.   I would only cut it if you feel the forge sits to high for you.  I like mine at about waist level.   

Oh, and some extra weld's couldn't hurt at all.   

The threads aren't much of a concern to me at the bottom for the moment.  I still have to make the flapper.  I have a bit of thin sheet steel laying around somewhere if it isn't too rusted I'll use it and make the flapper with it and tack that on to the bottom portion of the ash dump.

 

1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

Good plan.  It doesn't need to hold a lot.

How much do they normally hold?  Sadly the store where I bought the pipe only had those specific lengths the 12 inch and the 6 inch.  so I got 2 12's and a 6.  This should be interesting when I get it completely done.  I'm almost wondering if I could even get a fire going lol.  The next thing I'll have to figure out is a wind block.  Since winter time is quickly approaching and the weather is already changing it will be difficult to get a fire going unless I'm under a cover and out of the wind.

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They're usually only a couple of inches below the air inlet.  And a flapper is good, it gets really old unscrewing a pipe cap.  Tack weld a sheet steel screen about a foot tall around half the pot, that works fairly well for these.  Also gives you something to pile the coal against.

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12 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

They're usually only a couple of inches below the air inlet.  And a flapper is good, it gets really old unscrewing a pipe cap.  Tack weld a sheet steel screen about a foot tall around half the pot, that works fairly well for these.  Also gives you something to pile the coal against.

Okay I blew past my forge budget for the moment, so I'll have to wait for a while before I get some sheet steel.  I'm still trying to figure out how I'm actually going to make the flap as well lol.  Plus I gotta cut the pipe, hack saw time soon.  It will take for ever my chop saw isn't big enough for that pipe.  Last but not least then I'll make the legs for it.

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On 10/3/2018 at 12:03 PM, Bruno said:

I would do this in an open field away from the neighbors  and flammables though :)

Sadly I don't have the luxury of an open field I live in the city so I'll just have to be extra careful.  And as I said earlier in this thread build a windscreen onto the forge.  I mean what could go wrong lol.

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Sadly I think I waited too long for the blower and variable speed box combo for the forge.  I waited too long and now it's out of stock on the site.  How ever the other blower they have which is basically the same one with out the variable, I can still get,  how ever I would just need to purchase a variable speed control.  Does anyone have any recommendations for this?  I want to be able to use a slower speed to push air through while starting the fire in the fire pot.  I don't want to have sparks and hot embers and burnt paper  flying all over the place.  I'm also consideing picking up some of that very thin grating to that's some what open.  Something similar to this.  So I've actually been shopping around for different variable speed controls.  Most of them can handle these fans.  I was shopping through ebay and amazon mainly.  How ever Amazon had a variety of them.  I've found several I like but I'm not an electrician so I'm kind of trying to get some ideas.  What have you guys used for this?

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For a coal forge most people use an air gate rather than variable speed.  That said, a router speed control from harbor freight will work fine.

Oh, and forget thin sheet for the grate.  You need minimum 1/4" stock.  I prefer 1/2" wide slots to holes because they don't clog as easily.

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3 hours ago, Bruno said:

Thanks Bruno I was actually looking at some of the ones that amazon has I can only afford to spend about 100 or so on a fan.   Centaur forge is pricey lol.  But with some of those links there is a fan in my budget.   Appreciate it.

 

5 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

For a coal forge most people use an air gate rather than variable speed.  That said, a router speed control from harbor freight will work fine.

Oh, and forget thin sheet for the grate.  You need minimum 1/4" stock.  I prefer 1/2" wide slots to holes because they don't clog as easily.

 I was actually considering using some nails and welding them in place I’m not sure if that would work.  Plus using the nails wouldn’t cost anything because I have literally a drawer full of them lol.

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If they're thick enough, sure.

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I just got the fan ordered for the forge today, the I ordered this one, https://www.amazon.com/Sunlar-Electric-Blacksmith-Centrifugal-Barbecues/dp/B071NQDNRK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1539183496&sr=8-2&keywords=electric+forge+blower&dpID=41Pw9mFoF2L&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch , it should be here Friday or Saturday.  Danged Amazon Free trial of the premium thing.  I also did get the variable speed regulator, how ever that was a separate purchase.   This is the variable speed control that I purchased with the fan,  https://www.amazon.com/Lighthouse-Hydro-Variable-Speed-Controller/dp/B00BLOSG7I/ref=pd_bxgy_86_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00BLOSG7I&pd_rd_r=ed717450-cc9c-11e8-a739-33eb8bfc8d81&pd_rd_w=NhFxI&pd_rd_wg=yywpa&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=6725dbd6-9917-451d-beba-16af7874e407&pf_rd_r=6Z3VBEQ9RCJZB9QVS6H4&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=6Z3VBEQ9RCJZB9QVS6H4.

 

So a couple days of waiting for those two items.  How ever on the break drum forge, I'm kind of starting to think that my over all height on the forge is a bit too tall.  I could say cut the legs down by about 2 inches I should still be some what okay right?  Also I was considering getting a couple more bits of angle iron and welding it in about half way down the legs for added stability to the forge body.  I'm thinking that would be a safer alternative.  Next month I plan on ordering my anvil.  I'm at least stoked that I'm almost finished and able to start forging.  On the other note my welds did pretty well I have another thread up showing all of that in show and tell.  Anyways cheers.

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2 hours ago, AndyB said:

I could say cut the legs down by about 2 inches I should still be some what okay right?

Yep. Any height that is comfortable is fine. cross members are good to.

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2 hours ago, Bruno said:

Yep. Any height that is comfortable is fine. cross members are good to.

Yea I'm just trying to make it as stable and safe as possible.  You can't be too careful with a flaming hot pot of fire and coal.  The only other thing I still have to add to it is the grate, and of course the bottom ash dump.  I've been doing a lot of research on them.  I was considering running down to my local metal shop when I get the sheet steel for the wind break and having them cut a small 2 and a half inch square for that.  I was considering just buying an old tractor exhaust flapper but I couldn't find one that would suit my needs.

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On 10/3/2018 at 12:12 PM, C Craft said:

Not trying to be out-of-line but, check those welds.

The welder penetrated okay for the most part at least I think.  Others may say other wise, but the harbor freight welder isn't that great of a welder.

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2 hours ago, AndyB said:

I was considering just buying an old tractor exhaust flapper but I couldn't find one that would suit my needs

Safe is good.   But as far as the exhaust flapper,  don't over think it.   You can literally just shove a tin can on the bottom and hold it in place with a nail or something.  Easy enough to make, easy enough to remove and replace when the time comes.  Cheap.  Fill it with dirt if you are worried about falling hot coals, depending on your air grate.   Simple is key.

 

Edited by Bruno

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That would definitely work.

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I just have a crazy question here.

Do you have a fuel source lined up?

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5 minutes ago, Vern Wimmer said:

I just have a crazy question here.

Do you have a fuel source lined up?

I sure do have a source of fuel lined up.  I’ve got a 40 pound bag of charcoal in the shed lol I can always get more but yes it’s andeciste coal or how ever you spell that.  The good stuff.  That’s not a crazy question Vern it’s reasonable lol.

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Charcoal and andesite coal are not the same thing.  One is a man made product and the other is mined.  And it's mined no where near the PNW.

g

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1 hour ago, Geoff Keyes said:

Charcoal and andesite coal are not the same thing.  One is a man made product and the other is mined.  And it's mined no where near the PNW.

g

I’m not the best with the proper terminology.  The store I purchased it from was a local ferried shop that sold minimulnforging supplies. So the coal sorry correction here. the had I was told is for coal forging.  I tried some out there’s moisture in it so it has to be heated.  Those were about the only instructions I got with it.  I can take some photos of it next time I go outside.  It’s definately not grilling charcoal lol even though I’ve got a ton of that stuff too lol.

Edited by AndyB

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