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Eric White

New member. Thought I would start with Show and Tell

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Hello all! My name is Eric, I live in Fort Smith Arkansas and have recently gotten into forging due to the inspiration of FIF. I've read posts from this great community in order to help me along my journey and I thought I would share my first dedicated propane forge build with you all. 

 

It started life as an air compressor laying in a scrap heap at a metal recycling center. By flexing my terrible welding skills it now has a new life. I'm very much in to upcycling and I can honestly say this is the coolest thing I've ever upcycled. I had to burn out a lot of oily water and god knows what else inside the compressor tank to get started but it was smooth sailing from there. I fabricated essentially everything off the cuff and I'm really pleased with the results. The overall finished build is a 20" H x 8" diameter chamber with two layers of kaowool, 2-3 layers of satanite (I had already applied before I read about rigidizer for the wool) and a final 2-3 layers of ITC100 (not shown as I am still slowly curing the satanite). I have two Frosty tee burners I built myself from frosty's design. 3/4" tee, 6" BIP nipples (using frosty's 8 x mixing chamber diameter formula) , and 3/4" x 1 1/4" reducer coupling. 0.30 mig tip tapped into all brass plumbing sealed with pipe dope. 

 

If anyone wants any really specific details of how I got to this point, please feel free to message me! 

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Looks fancy.  What is the finished chamber size?

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57 minutes ago, Eric White said:

The finished chamber size is 20" long x 8" in diameter. 

 

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That's a big'n!  Welcome to the madness :)

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Bullet Bill Bertha lol. 

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2# burn for drying from touching up cracks near the door. Is the flame too orange in the chamber? 

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the flame color won't tell you much until the satanite is dry.  Once it's cured and you let things heat up, the flame should be pretty much invisible inside the forge.  Then you go by the dragon's breath color.  If that stays that orange, you're running in serious reduction.  That means no scale or decarb worries, but also not as hot as you could be plus a dangerous amount of CO produced.  Let it cure all the way and run it wide open, then we'll know what you've got.

And welcome aboard!

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Thank you for your swift reply, Alan. Glad to be here amongst a wealth of knowledge. 

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Update: 

 

Let the ITC 100 layers (two roughly 1/8th inch layers) dry for 48 hours and then ran it through 4 heat cycles  to cure. This video is the first full heat. The dragon's breathe looks deceivingly yellow but it's orange with hints of blueish purple behind the orange. Let me know what y'all think! Thanks for stopping by! 

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You're running way rich.  What size are your gas jets?  Somehow you've got a lot more gas than you need getting in there.

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I'm running with a 1" run * 3/4" chase tee, 6" BIP nipple. The mig tip is 0.30. Would you recommend bumping that down to like 0.23? Just to lean it out more?

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Also, I filed the mig tip down to put it in the middle of the tee but one of the burners refused to stay lit. So I tossed those and it's about 3/4 of the way to mixing chamber now. Stayed lit no problem at that point. 

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Sounds like you need a smaller tip for sure.  Tapered wouldn't hurt, either.  

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Posted (edited)

So I've got the 0.23 tips in cut back to about half way in the tee, no copper blocking the fuel and one of my burners refuses to stay lit. Full length 0.23 tips refuse to stay lit as well.  I'm now attempting to use the 0.30 tips and slowly file them back closer to the center of the tee. Is my thinking on this matter correct in saying the further back towards center of the tee the 0.30 tips perhaps I could get the O2 intake just right for those tips? 

Edited by Eric White
Progress update

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No.  Do not file back the tips, that's probably the whole problem.  They are only the rated size at the very tip.  Try an 0.030 tapered tip without changing anything.  I bet you'll see a world of difference.  You are probably dumping gas through an 0.045" jagged orifice at the moment.

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Posted (edited)

I think this is the best I can do. The tapered mig tips were a different thread pattern, all I had to choose from until Monday, so I used the regular, straight from the package 0.030 tips. I spaced the tips towards the middle of the tees using washers before threading on the burner assembly. If they're not in the middle they're so close you cant tell. The flames are much more pale and only a hint of orange. Dang near transparent. 

Edited by Eric White

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What pressure are you running? That still looks a bit rich, which is opposite problem most people have.  

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I started lower (4-6#'s) and then the video is of  closer to 10-12#'s. I just kept turning up the regulator to see if it was going to get super rich on me again but it stayed that almost transparent orange color. The roar was much much louder. I'm going to get out there today and run it around 6#'s for a good while and see what I've got. 

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I think I'm going to get a needle valve and have it inline with the ball valve. I've gotten all the air I can get in to the tees without drilling holes. I don't want to do that. So maybe subtly restricting the propane will do the trick. Yay or nay? 

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How did it do after half an hour at 6 PSI?  Ideally you'd see little to no flame inside, just a nice yellow glow.  If you've got that, hold off on further tinkering until you get used to it.  Homemade gas forges are a steep learning curve, and it's best not to mess with too many variables at once.

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Posted (edited)

Ran it at 6 psi and the orange tint to the flame was still present so I put the needle valve on it right before the ball valve, turned it may 1 full turn down from full open and presto. The dragon's breathe lost most of it's color and came back if I opened it back up. You're 100% right on the learning curve lol. The fluttering of the burners was due to a breeze near the end of the video. Thank you for your patience in this matter, Alan. You've been a really big help and I appreciate it a lot. 

Edited by Eric White

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Cool! B)

 

Your next task is to tune it to a neutral flame (the instant the dragon's breath disappears or turns yellowy-clear) and crank the PSI to 15. Retune for neutral flame, and see how hot you get.  

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Immediately after shutting the gas off at around 12-15 pounds. Dragon's breathe still looks like it needs some tuning but the new CO detector 4 feet away from it stayed nice and silent lol. Overall it gets hot as hell. 

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Posted (edited)

Just a quick update on things. After long communications with Frosty, I believe I have reached the finish line. Once I re-satanite the ports, I will post pictures of the first forging experience I get out of it. That's probably the most annoying part if I'm honest. Taking the burners out to tune, retune, retune, retune(you get the picture) really takes a toll on the satanite. Luckily the majority of it doesn't come off with a shop vac directly on the cracked layer therefore it's basically just sealing the cracks. 

 

When people say the burners should be loud, they're LOUD. My neighbor came over and was mid sentence when I fired it up at 6 psi and it drowned him out almost entirely. He said he can hear it plum down the road as well so I must be doing something right! :lol:

 

The yellow in the dragon's breathe is from the paper I used to light it up. Once it got ejected from the ports, the exhaust turns a nice blue color. Really satisfying to see after a long build. 

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Edited by Eric White

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Posted (edited)

The consumable brick I used as the forge floor had very little support across the bottom of the brick. The bottom corners were putting excess pressure on the liner and it kept cracking. So I put a layer of damp, buttered in satanite kaowool down to give the brick support and to level the forge floor. I also dampened and buttered long kaowool runners in satanite (1/2" x 20" or so) and firmly placed them against the brick and sidewall. The bricks are wrapped in wax paper so they hopefully come out leaving a nice channel for future bricks to occupy once the satanite is air dried. Once everything is flush to the bricks I plan to removed the brick, fire the forge to cure the satanite. Please oh great bladesmithing gods tell me I'm almost done with this never ending build. 

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Edited by Eric White
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