Blacksmith Power Hammers or Journey Hammers
If you have actually ever dealt with a power hammer you see the blacksmithing world through different eyes. Power hammers actually fall under 3 basic classifications, Hydraulic Presses, Mechanical Hammers, and Air Hammers. They are all created to increase the amount of force that you can apply to the steel. This suggests you can do more work in a given quantity of time and you can work larger bar. Unexpectedly this opens an entire brand-new creative reality with the steel.
I do not use one in my store but I have used one years back in another smiths store. Hydraulics have tons of power (actually) and can require the metal into various shapes extremely efficiently. They work for extreme regulated force applications such as forcing steel into preshaped dies, or cutting at particular lengths or angles and so on
. This is not an impact machine such as mechanical hammers or air hammers, and is not quick. It can be utilized for drawing out steel however this is tedious. Although it would save time from drawing out by hand and permit you to work larger bar I would go bananas with the sluggish process.
Basically the machine is a hydraulic ram mounted on a frame with an electric pump. You use a foot control to squish the metal. Action with the foot apply more force. Release the foot the dies withdraw then you can move the bar and apply the force once again in a various spot.
There are a few favorable aspects of a hydraulic press. They have a little footprint, and require no unique foundation. Prices are workable for this kind of tool. About $2000.00 in my area. There is no impact sound or vibration with this kind of maker. The whine of the hydraulic pump can be loud but it does not have the same annoyance element for neighbors as the effect from a hammer. Presses are rated by the variety of tons pressure that the ram can produce. 20 heap, 40 ton and 60 ton are common sizes.
All mechanical hammers work on a variation of the same concept. A turning crank shaft raises 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 building and construction of some sort so that the impact is soaked up in the spring not the crank shaft. The counter weight alleviates a few of the strain on the motor.
There have actually been several configurations of mechanical hammers throughout the years. Little Giant comes to mind however this is only one design. Others include Helve Hammers and so on. Mechanical hammers are rated by the hammer head rate. So a 25 lb Little Giant has a 25 pound 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 have to run it.
Something to think about. If your store is in outdoors however has no electricity you could run a mechanical hammer off a little gasoline engine. A little expensive but compared with the amount of work you could do this way, it might be worth it.
I have only 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 easy to develop or repair. The principles of the movement are extremely simple and easy to follow in slow motion. Mechanical hammers were relatively typical in commercial settings in the late 1800's and early 1900's so you might have the ability to find one for a good cost in your location. The drawback is that parts may be difficult to discover and you might need to make your own.
You can also develop your very own mechanical hammer. It will take some tinkering but a good working hammer can be made pretty economically. They do not take up a great deal of area. Perhaps 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 require a great foundation, although a little one can get by with a small structure. They are a bit restricted by the jobs that you can do with them. If you are creative with your tooling you still can do a lot of work and save your arm.
My personal favorite. The air hammer was originally conceived as a steam hammer for big industrial applications. Like the mechanical hammers they are ranked by the hammer head mass, and normally range from 50 lb to 1200 lb or more. The upper end of the scale are huge machines that require massive foundations to work effectively. These are poetry in motion to see an experienced smith usage.
The principal behind the air hammer is relatively simply. Atmospheric pressure lifts a weighted hammer head then some thing moves the atmospheric pressure and the hammer head is dropped under air pressure force then it is raised again. The air on the bottom of the air cylinder serves as the cushion changing the springs in a mechanical hammer. This process produces a cyclic hammering of the steel. The weight of the hammer head and the pressure of the air both contribute to the force applied to the steel.
The majority of smaller blacksmithing stores use 50 pound to 150 lb size. There are claw hammer of air hammers that you ought to know. The self consisted of and the air compressor variation. The self consisted of uses two air cylinders. One is the compressor cylinder and is owned by a motor. This cylinder supplies air to the hammer head cylinder. So every up stroke of the drive cylinder forces the hammer head cylinder down and every down stroke requires the hammer head cylinder up. Valving causes the air to be either exhausted or sent in varying total up to the hammer head cylinder. This offers 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 design. The hammer head travels up and journeys a switch that informs it to go back down. Once it reaches a specific travel point another switch tells it to go back up. The quantity of the exhaust dictates both the speed and the force applied to the steel.
Although air hammers seem a bit more complicated than a mechanical hammer there are actually less moving parts and less to break. I find them to be more versatile. You can adjust your stroke and force simply by moderating your foot pitch. With a mechanical hammer you need to make a mechanical adjustment to change your stroke height. Your force is managed by the speed of the effect or the speed of rotation.