Blacksmithing Tips - Exactly what Type of Power Hammer is Right For Your Shop?

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Blacksmith Power Hammers or Journey Hammers

If you have ever dealt with a power hammer you see the blacksmithing world through various eyes. Power hammers actually fall into 3 fundamental classifications, Hydraulic Presses, Mechanical Hammers, and Air Hammers. They are all designed to increase the amount of force that you can apply to the steel. This means you can do more operate in a given amount of time and you can work bigger bar. All of a sudden this opens an entire new innovative reality with the steel.

Hydraulic Presses

I do not use one in my shop but I have used one years back in another smiths store. Hydraulics have tons of power (actually) and can force the metal into various shapes very successfully. They are useful for severe controlled force applications such as forcing steel into preshaped dies, or cutting at specific lengths or angles and so on

. This is not an impact machine such as mechanical hammers or air hammers, and is not quickly. It can be utilized for drawing out steel but this bores. Although it would conserve time from extracting by hand and permit you to work larger bar I would go nuts with the slow procedure.

Essentially the machine is a hydraulic ram mounted on a frame with an electric pump. You utilize a foot control to crush the metal. sledge hammers with the foot apply more force. Release the foot the passes away withdraw then you can move the bar and apply the force once again in a different spot.

There are a couple of favorable aspects of a hydraulic press. They have a small footprint, and need no unique structure. Rates are workable for this kind of tool. About $2000.00 in my location. There is no impact noise or vibration with this type of machine. The whine of the hydraulic pump can be loud however it does not have the very same annoyance element for neighbors as the effect from a hammer. Presses are rated by the variety of loads pressure that the ram can produce. 20 ton, 40 load and 60 heap are common sizes.

Mechanical Hammers

All mechanical hammers deal with a variation of the same concept. A rotating crank shaft lifts the weighted hammer head that is counter well balanced, then requires it down on the next half of the transformation. The attachment on other hammer head needs to be a spring construction of some sort so that the effect is absorbed in the spring not the crank shaft. The counter weight eases some of the stress on the motor.

There have been several configurations of mechanical hammers throughout the years. Little Giant comes to mind but this is only one design. Others include Helve Hammers etc. Mechanical hammers are rated by the hammer head rate. So a 25 lb Little Giant has a 25 lb hammer head weight. The heavier the head weight the bigger the steel that you can work under it however the larger the motor that you need to run it.

Something to consider. If your shop is in outdoors however has no electricity you could run a mechanical hammer off a small gas engine. A little costly however compared with the amount of work you could do this method, it might be worth it.

I have actually just worked a little with mechanical hammers however a 1 hp motor will add to about 50 pound Hammer head weight.

The charm of a mechanical hammer is that it is relative basic to develop or repair. The ideas of the motion are extremely basic and simple to follow in slow motion. Mechanical hammers were fairly common in commercial settings in the late 1800's and early 1900's so you might be able to find one for a great cost in your area. The disadvantage is that parts might be impossible to find and you may have to fabricate your very own.

You can also build your own mechanical hammer. It will take some tinkering but a great working hammer can be made pretty financially. They do not take up a great deal of area. Maybe 2 feet by 3 feet for a small one. They are a bit noisy to run and have an effect noise to them. They do need a great structure, although a little one can manage with a small structure. They are a bit limited by the tasks that you can do with them. If you are imaginative with your tooling you still can do a lot of work and save your arm.

Air Hammers

My personal favorite. The air hammer was initially conceived as a steam hammer for huge industrial applications. Like the mechanical hammers they are rated by the hammer head mass, and typically range from 50 pound to 1200 pound or more. The upper end of the scale are huge makers that need mammoth foundations to work correctly. These are poetry in motion to watch a competent smith use.

The principal behind the air hammer is fairly simply. Air pressure lifts a weighted hammer head then some thing moves the air pressure and the hammer head is dropped under atmospheric pressure force then it is raised once again. The air on the bottom of the air cylinder functions as the cushion replacing the springs in a mechanical hammer. This process develops a cyclic hammering of the steel. The weight of the hammer head and the pressure of the air both add to the force applied to the steel.

Most smaller blacksmithing stores utilize 50 lb to 150 lb size. There are two subclasses of air hammers that you need to understand. The self consisted of and the air compressor version. The self contained uses two air cylinders. One is the compressor cylinder and is driven by a motor. This cylinder provides air to the hammer head cylinder. So every up stroke of the drive cylinder requires the hammer head cylinder down and every down stroke requires the hammer head cylinder up. Valving triggers the air to be either tired or sent in differing amounts to the hammer head cylinder. This provides the control on the stroke and force applied to the steel. This cyclic timing is governed by the speed of the electrical motor.

The air compressor reliant air hammer feeds off a constant line pressure and has a feed back circuit built into the style. The hammer head takes a trip up and trips a switch that tells it to go back down. Once it reaches a specific travel point another switch informs it to return up. The quantity of the exhaust dictates both the speed and the force applied to the steel.

Although air hammers appear to be a bit more complicated than a mechanical hammer there are in fact less moving parts and less to wear out. I find them to be more flexible. You can adjust your stroke and force just by moderating your foot pitch. With a mechanical hammer you have to make a mechanical change to alter your stroke height. Your force is managed by the speed of the impact or the speed of rotation.

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