Blacksmith Power Hammers or Trip Hammers
If you have ever dealt with a power hammer you see the blacksmithing world through different eyes. Power hammers really fall into 3 fundamental categories, 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 suggests you can do more work in a given amount of time and you can work larger bar. Unexpectedly this opens a whole new creative reality with the steel.
I don't utilize one in my store but I have actually utilized one years back in another smiths shop. Hydraulics have tons of power (literally) and can force the metal into many different shapes extremely efficiently. They are useful for extreme regulated force applications such as forcing steel into preshaped passes away, or cutting at specific lengths or angles etc
. This is not an effect maker such as mechanical hammers or air hammers, and is not fast. 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 bigger bar I would go bananas with the slow procedure.
Basically the machine is a hydraulic ram mounted on a frame with an electrical pump. You use a foot control to squish the metal. Step with the foot apply more force. Launch the foot the passes away back off then you can move the bar and apply the force again in a various area.
There are a number of positive aspects of a hydraulic press. They have a little footprint, and require no unique foundation. Prices are workable for this type of tool. About $2000.00 in my area. There is no impact noise or vibration with this kind of device. The whine of the hydraulic pump can be loud but it doesn't have the very same annoyance aspect for neighbors as the impact from a hammer. Presses are ranked by the number of loads pressure that the ram can produce. 20 ton, 40 ton and 60 lot are common sizes.
All mechanical hammers deal with a variation of the very same principle. A turning crank shaft lifts 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 has to be a spring building and construction of some sort so that the effect is absorbed in the spring not the crank shaft. The counter weight eliminates a few of the stress on the motor.
There have actually been several configurations of mechanical hammers for many years. Little Giant enters your mind however this is only one style. Others consist of 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 much heavier the head weight the larger the steel that you can work under it but the larger the motor that you need to run it.
Something to consider. If your store is in open air but has no electrical power you might run a mechanical hammer off a small gas engine. A little expensive but compared with the quantity of work you might 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 lb Hammer head weight.
The beauty of a mechanical hammer is that it is relative simple to develop or repair. The ideas of the movement are extremely easy and easy to follow in slow motion. Mechanical hammers were reasonably common in industrial settings in the late 1800's and early 1900's so you might be able to find one for a good price in your location. The downside is that parts may be impossible to discover and you might need to fabricate your own.
You can also build your own mechanical hammer. It will take some tinkering however an excellent working hammer can be made pretty financially. They do not take up a great deal of area. Possibly 2 feet by 3 feet for a small one. They are a bit noisy to run and have an impact noise to them. They do need a good foundation, although a small one can manage with a little structure. They are a bit restricted by the tasks 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 individual favorite. The air hammer was originally conceived as a steam hammer for substantial commercial applications. Like the mechanical hammers they are rated by the hammer head mass, and typically vary from 50 pound to 1200 pound or more. The upper end of the scale are enormous makers that need mammoth foundations to work appropriately. These are poetry in motion to view a proficient smith use.
The principal behind the air hammer is relatively simply. Atmospheric pressure raises a weighted hammer head then some thing shifts 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 acts as the cushion replacing the springs in a mechanical hammer. This process creates a cyclic hammering of the steel. chipping hammer of the hammer head and the pressure of the air both contribute to the force applied to the steel.
Many smaller sized blacksmithing stores utilize 50 pound to 150 lb size. There are 2 subclasses of air hammers that you must know. The self included 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 offers air to the hammer head cylinder. So every up stroke of the drive cylinder forces the hammer head cylinder down and every down stroke forces the hammer head cylinder up. Valving causes the air to be either exhausted 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 continuous line pressure and has a feed back circuit developed into the style. The hammer head travels up and journeys a switch that informs it to return down. Once it reaches a particular travel point another switch tells it to return up. The amount 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 really less moving parts and less to wear. I find them to be more flexible. You can change 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.