Blacksmithing Tips – What Kind of Power Hammer is Right For Your Shop?

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 under 3 basic categories, 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 provided amount of time and you can work larger bar. Unexpectedly this opens an entire new creative reality with the steel.

Hydraulic Presses

I do not utilize one in my shop but I have actually used one years back in another smiths shop. Hydraulics have lots of power (actually) and can require the metal into various shapes very successfully. They are useful for extreme regulated force applications such as requiring steel into preshaped passes away, or cutting at particular lengths or angles etc

. This is not an effect maker such as mechanical hammers or air hammers, and is not fast. It can be used for extracting steel but this is tedious. Although it would conserve time from extracting by hand and enable you to work larger bar I would go nuts with the slow process.

Essentially the maker is a hydraulic ram installed on a frame with an electrical pump. You use a foot control to squish the metal. Step with the foot use more force. Release the foot the passes away back off then you can move the bar and use the force again in a different spot.

There are a number of favorable aspects of a hydraulic press. They have a little footprint, and need no unique structure. Costs are workable for this kind of tool. About $2000.00 in my area. There is no effect sound or vibration with this type of device. The whine of the hydraulic pump can be loud but it doesn’t have the exact same annoyance aspect for next-door neighbors as the effect from a hammer. Presses are ranked by the number of loads pressure that the ram can produce. 20 heap, 40 lot and 60 load prevail sizes.

Mechanical Hammers

All mechanical hammers deal with a variation of the same principle. A turning crank shaft lifts the weighted hammer head that is counter balanced, then forces it down on the next half of the transformation. The accessory on other hammer head needs to be a spring construction of some sort so that the impact is soaked up in the spring not the crank shaft. The counter weight eliminates some of the pressure on the motor.

There have actually been several configurations of mechanical hammers over the years. Little Giant enters your mind but this is only one design. Others consist of Helve Hammers etc. Mechanical hammers are ranked 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 but the larger the motor that you need to run it.

Something to think of. If your shop remains in outdoors however has no electrical energy you might run a mechanical hammer off a little gas engine. A little costly but compared with the amount of work you might do this way, it might be worth it.

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

The charm of a mechanical hammer is that it is relative simple to build or fix. The concepts of the movement are extremely easy and simple to follow in slow motion. Mechanical hammers were fairly typical in commercial settings in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s so you may be able to discover one for a great rate in your location. brick hammer is that parts might be impossible to find and you might need to fabricate your very own.

You can also build your very own mechanical hammer. It will take some tinkering however a great working hammer can be made quite financially. They don’t use up a lot of area. Perhaps 2 feet by 3 feet for a little one. They are a bit loud to run and have an impact sound to them. They do require an excellent foundation, although a small one can get by with a little structure. They are a bit limited by the jobs that you can do with them. If you are innovative with your tooling you still can do a lot of work and conserve your arm.

Air Hammers

My individual favorite. The air hammer was initially conceived as a steam hammer for big industrial applications. Like the mechanical hammers they are rated by the hammer head mass, and typically range from 50 lb to 1200 lb or more. The upper end of the scale are massive machines that require mammoth foundations to work correctly. These are poetry in motion to see a skilled smith use.

The principal behind the air hammer is fairly just. Atmospheric pressure lifts a weighted hammer head then some thing shifts the atmospheric pressure and the hammer head is dropped under atmospheric pressure force then it is lifted again. The air on the bottom of the air cylinder serves as the cushion replacing the springs in a mechanical hammer. This procedure produces 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.

Many smaller sized blacksmithing stores use 50 lb to 150 lb size. There are two subclasses of air hammers that you must know. The self consisted of and the air compressor version. The self included utilizes 2 air cylinders. One is the compressor cylinder and is driven 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 triggers the air to be either tired or sent in varying 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 continuous line pressure and has a feed back circuit developed into the design. The hammer head travels up and trips a switch that tells it to return down. Once it reaches a certain travel point another switch informs it to go back up. The quantity of the exhaust determines both the speed and the force applied to the steel.

Although air hammers seem a bit more complicated than a mechanical hammer there are in fact less moving parts and less to wear out. I discover them to be more flexible. You can change your stroke and force just by moderating your foot peddle. With a mechanical hammer you need 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.