Blacksmithing Tips - What Kind of Power Hammer is Right For Your Store?

Blacksmith Power Hammers or Trip Hammers

If you have ever dealt with a power hammer you see the blacksmithing world through various eyes. Power hammers truly fall under 3 standard classifications, Hydraulic Presses, Mechanical Hammers, and Air Hammers. They are all designed to increase the quantity of force that you can apply to the steel. This suggests you can do more work in an offered quantity of time and you can work larger bar. All of a sudden this opens a whole brand-new imaginative truth with the steel.

Hydraulic Presses


I don't use one in my store however I have actually utilized one years back in another smiths shop. Hydraulics have tons of power (literally) and can require the metal into many different shapes very efficiently. They are useful for severe regulated force applications such as requiring steel into preshaped dies, or cutting at particular lengths or angles and so on

. This is not an impact device such as mechanical hammers or air hammers, and is not quick. It can be utilized for drawing out steel but this is tedious. Although it would conserve time from drawing out by hand and allow you to work larger bar I would go nuts with the sluggish process.

Basically the maker is a hydraulic ram mounted on a frame with an electric pump. You utilize a foot control to crush the metal. Step with the foot use more force. Launch 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 small footprint, and require no special foundation. Costs are workable for this kind of tool. About $2000.00 in my area. There is no effect sound or vibration with this kind of device. The whine of the hydraulic pump can be loud however it doesn't have the exact same inconvenience factor for neighbors as the impact from a hammer. Presses are rated by the number of heaps pressure that the ram can produce. 20 ton, 40 lot and 60 heap are common sizes.

Mechanical Hammers

All mechanical hammers deal with a variation of the same principle. 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 accessory on other hammer head needs to be a spring building of some sort so that the impact is absorbed in the spring not the crank shaft. The counter weight eases a few of the stress on the motor.

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

Something to consider. If your store is in open air but has no electricity you might run a mechanical hammer off a little gas engine. A little pricey but compared to the quantity of work you might do this method, it might be worth it.

I have only worked a little with mechanical hammers but a 1 hp motor will run up to about 50 lb Hammer head weight.

The beauty of a mechanical hammer is that it is relative basic to build or fix. The concepts of the motion are very simple and easy to follow in slow motion. Mechanical hammers were reasonably typical in commercial settings in the late 1800's and early 1900's so you may be able to find one for an excellent price in your area. The drawback is that parts might be difficult to find and you might have to make your very own.

chipping hammer can also develop your own mechanical hammer. It will take some tinkering however an excellent working hammer can be made quite economically. They don't use up a great deal of area. Maybe 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 little one can get by with a small foundation. They are a bit restricted 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 conserve your arm.

Air Hammers

My personal favorite. The air hammer was initially conceived as a steam hammer for big industrial applications. Like the mechanical hammers they are ranked by the hammer head mass, and typically vary from 50 lb to 1200 lb or more. The upper end of the scale are enormous makers that need massive structures to work properly. These are poetry in motion to see a proficient smith usage.

The principal behind the air hammer is fairly just. Atmospheric 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 again. The air on the bottom of the air cylinder functions as the cushion changing the springs in a mechanical hammer. This process creates 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 utilize 50 pound to 150 lb size. There are 2 subclasses of air hammers that you must be aware of. The self consisted of and the air compressor version. The self contained utilizes two air cylinders. One is the compressor cylinder and is owned 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 causes the air to be either exhausted or sent in differing total up to the hammer head cylinder. This supplies 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 consistent line pressure and has a feed back circuit constructed 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 appear to be a bit more complex than a mechanical hammer there are actually 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 need to make a mechanical change to change your stroke height. Your force is managed by the speed of the effect or the speed of rotation.

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