Introduction: Blacksmithing Forge

This forge is made on the budget to get myself into blacksmithing. By taking my time to find all the parts needed I spent only 25€ on this project and it works flawlessly!

Step 1: Where to Start

In this video I make the forge from start to finish, I suggest you to watch it first: most steps are self explanatory.

Step 2: Find Some Suitable Steel

This is by far the most time consuming part of the build. Here are some advice:

Places to visit:

1) Vehicle recycling yard

Here we are looking for only one item: a large drum brake. The one I got came from a Van, any vehicle this big or bigger can have a large enough drum brake. Don't even look at car ones because they are way too small for our application!

2) Metal scrapyard

Bring a good pair of gloves and dig into the pile! You'll need many stuff here :)

How to approach:

  • The key to stay on the cheap side is to pick up what they have and especially those pieces that don't have much intrinsic value like rusty mild steel.
  • Find a spot where you are not into the way of none and make it your own product design spot.
  • Improvise with what you find: this forge can be done in hundred of different ways just walk around look for sturdy mild steel pieces then when you find something suitable lay it on your spot.
  • Take your time!

What to take home:

  • Thick base plate
  • Legs: three or four (three way leg is easier to level)
  • Thin top plate
  • Square tubing to build edges to contain the coal
  • A tubing of some sort from where air will be blown inside the fire. A "T" joint is prefered

I won't give you any measurements so that you won't look after some precise pieces, again, the key is to get what you find! :)

Step 3: Assembly

Once you have all the pieces this part should pass smooth and fast. The steps I personally went through are the following, but those might vary depending on the pieces you found earlier! Please note that I don't claim my design to be the best out there, if you like go ahead and get some inspiration, otherwise change it as you want and make it the best with what you can find.


(These steps are ordered as the images of this "Assembly Step")

  1. Cut the opening for the brake drum on the top plate
  2. Weld the sides pieces Weld from both sides the brake drum
  3. Weld from both sides the brake drum
  4. Now on the base plate attach the legs
  5. Join the two parts togheter with a good amount of welds everywhere you can
  6. I also added 2 side handles to hang tools and to move the forge easier
  7. Connect the brake drum flange to the air inlet tubing
  8. Screw it under with the bolts that came originally with the brake
  9. Take off rust and dirt from the steel and give a good coat of high temperature paint

The welder I use is a really cheap stick welder, it can weld trough some rust with no problem and without compromising the overall strenght.

BE AWARE:
Welding galvanized steel produces harmfull fumes. Avoid welding it when possible, if you really have to (like I had for the air tubing) you must do it outside in a well ventilated area and you must use a good respirator. No jokes here, those fumes are really bad!

Rust removing tip:

A wire wheel on the angle grinder removes rust incredibly fast. Remember eye protection since little wire will fall of from the wheel all the time at high speed.

Step 4: Air Blower

The motor came from a vacuum cleaner I found on the side of the road in my town.

I've teared down the whole thing leaving intact the pcb with the speed potentiometer and the switch.

The filter of the vacuum cleaner has been reattached to the suction side of the blower to prevent object and dust to be pulled inside the motor.

All the pieces then have been inserted inside some plastic water drain pipe.

To connect the blower to the forge I found it was easy to hang everything for the tool holder bar I made previously while the end of the blower get blocked with four bolt at the beginning of the forge air pipe.

The speed contoller is very convinient since the amount of air you blow inside che coal dictate how hot it gets.

While the forge is running the air passing through the tubes act also as a cooler so that the various parts don't get hot and there is no problem of melting the plastic pieces of the blower.

Step 5: Extra Parts

At this point the forge is usable, I added only three more parts to make it more convinient to use:

  1. Inside the drum brake I added a 5mm thick steel plate with many 5mm holes to prevent chunk of coal to fall inside the tubing while allowing all the air to pass.
  2. At the bottom of the forge I added a spring loaded mechanism to block the tubing with yet another plate so that the fine dust don't just fall on the ground but instead can be collected in a bucket once in a while (see the image).
  3. Under the base plate I welded two casters and one feet the same height of the casters so that I can move easier the forge. At this point it weight so much that I don't feel much comfortable to lift it up all the time to move it!

Step 6: You Are Done!

Overall I would say this project is not really hard if you take your time.

I already used this forge for my first blacksmithing project and works well for me :)

On the video you see me burning some common charcoal, the one you would use in barbecue, but that isn't the best choice at all! Coke works much better, it burns hotter and it last much longer. I highly suggest to invest in some coke if you can, also because is not much more expensive than normal charcoal if you can find it near you :)

I'll leave also some photos of the coke I use now for you to see!

Thank you for reading this instructables! Ask me anything you want and feel free to leave your suggestion if you want to :) I'm new to this awesome platform so excuse me if I missed something important.

Have fun hammering on some glowing steel.

Comments

author
inchman (author)2017-01-29

Great 'ible! I loved it, the simplicity, yet exceptional functionality!

One question, what welding rod did you use welding the cast iron brake drum to the steal table surface? I'm not a super experienced welder and I always seem to fail cast iron welding. I even got nickle rods (not cheap) and preheat the items with an oven and let it cool slowly. Did you just use a normal rod with a 'good enough' weld or is their other magic I'm missing.

It's a great forge BTW, and I am planning to make my own, so I wanted to know what you used for the rod.

Thanks.

author
Mihsin (author)2016-12-22

I like this project. All parts are on hand except the anvil. Train rails here are small in size and kinda soft. Anvils are way above my budget. Any suggestions for making on reasonably $$$ ?

I voted for you.

author

have you checked the scrap yards? i found one there it was just a little to big for me.

author

Thank you! :) The only two things That I have seen being recycled into "anvils" well are the common train rails or used from forklift fork! If You Already have a piece of rail I guess you can find a plate heat treated to weld on top of it somewhere :) Good luck mate and have good holidays!

author
Cube_ (author)2016-12-14

I would personally have made it slightly convex, a perfectly flat forge like that is imo not really ideal [ /!\ WARNING /!\ This is my personal opinion, not necessarily fact - do not treat it as such. /!\ WARNING /!\ ]

author

I saw just now this comment mate sorry! :) Yeah you're probably right but you have to work with what you find right? :)

author

Oh definitely, A flat forge will still work fine - the open side and flatness just... well frankly I operate my forge in my crocs because I can't risk my work boots and I reaaaaally wouldn't want hot coals falling down :P

In any case, nice design - now I just need a good DIY anvil and I'll be good to go again, currently all I can do is bending and twisting and very minor forging.

please don't do work like this in crocs, it's not safe - wear proper shoes, preferably boots, steel toe if possible.

author
RickF61 (author)Cube_2017-01-05

My first anvil I made from Rail road flat steel I found along the tracks I took about 7 and cleaned them flattened then and preheated then welded them all together added a stand and I had a 60lb anvil. it worked for 4 years til I found a good anvil at an auction but I still use my home made anvil for upsetting and hot punching. hope this helps some.

author
Cube_ (author)RickF612017-01-05

wish it did, railroad anvils are a good idea but the cost of even a small piece of track is unreasonable around here.
Been considering fork lift tines though, they can be gotten for quite a bit cheaper (but then of course I'd have to get someone to take me to the local scrapyard and hope they have some)

author

Haha! Okay thank you mate :) be safe! :)

author
Mosspaw123 (author)2016-12-24

THIS IS BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING

Any tips on cheapest place to buy a blowtorch???

author

Thank you! :D I don't really know, here in Italy where I live it has almost the same price everywhere: around 10 euro. :)

author
JohnneyO (author)2016-12-24

that is Rock N' Roll.

Must be that best Instructables videos I've ever seen. Thanks for putting so much time into it, it was great.

author

Thank you mate! Too kind ! :) Have nice holidays.

author
Alex 2Q (author)2016-12-21

Great to see this project here! Well done as usual my friend!

author

Haha! Thank you buddy :)

author
sodaking1 (author)2016-12-15

Also word of advice. Be careful with Stainless steel. Welding or forging with, it creates toxic fumes worse than galvanised steel.

author

Yeah, and It's also hard to weld with a stick welder like mine :)

author
ZombieWorkshop (author)2016-12-16

Nice project, i se you weld even in yoga position at 1:26, i will turn some old suburban truck drum brakes into a forge like this

author

Thank you mate :) That's great! Have fun :)

author
CanGooner (author)2016-12-13

Good design: simple, flexible, but incorporating some really useful features such as a large table area for resting work pieces and/or coking coal, and the rail for tong storage.

Just one note for those not familiar with blacksmithing. The dangers of welding galvanized was mentioned, but the same applies to smithing too. So make sure any parts that are going to get hot are not made of galvanized. In particular, make sure if you bolt the pot to the tuyere, the bolts aren't galvanized. And of course the same applies to anything near or above the fire. Google "Paw Paw Wilson" for a tragic lesson in just how dangerous that stuff can be.

Two thumbs up! :)

author
_soapy_ (author)CanGooner2016-12-16

I hasn't heard about Paw Paw Wilson, that is a tragic loss. Zinc fume headaches are no joke even when they only make you wish for death.

You can safely burn zinc off by doing it outside & upwind! But a better way is to use vinegar or other acid to eat it away. Or just buy non-zinced parts for welding.

author

Thank you sir! :D You are right.

author
schabanow (author)2016-12-13

Lovely. Don't your blower sucks in the hot sparkles through the mesh? I mean its inlet is directed upwards. It would be better to turn it to the ground, wouldn't it?

author
seattlem8 (author)schabanow2016-12-13

It blows into the coals not suck. Provides more oxygen to increase temperature.

author
schabanow (author)seattlem82016-12-13

I see and I know what forge is. I told about blower INLET. In order to blow sth you have to suck sth preliminary, haven't you?

author
seattlem8 (author)schabanow2016-12-13

Cool. sounds like a misunderstanding on my part. sorry.... good call.. I guess it would be possible to get ash in the motor depending on the mesh size.
Happy holidays

author
DakotaLally (author)seattlem82016-12-15

I wondered about the ashes too, but the shape of the tubing should prevent anything from getting to the motor.

What really should be taken into consideration is the air-flow itself, optimizing it to spread the oxygen to all the coals, and balance it so there aren't sparks and cold spots.

author
schabanow (author)seattlem82016-12-14

Okay, never mind! Have a great day!

author

Yeah that was one of my concerns too the first time I ran the forge with normal charcoal since many sparks flyes off the forge, but with coke there are basically no sparks at all, is such a clean fire that I'm sure nothing will ever pulled into the motor :) And also I attached the original filter from the vaccum cleaner so I hope nothing will ever get inside the motor :D

author

Okay good luck! See your craft knife soon! )) Forging is a kind of MAGIC!

author
kurshiukas (author)2016-12-14

Is there a difference which way the blower is blowing? I asume either way should be ok as you just need to introduce oxygen. I was just thinking, if hooking this to a tall pipe to work as a chimney, it then should work in passive way.

author
rpotts2 (author)kurshiukas2016-12-14

The closest thing to what you are talking about is called a "rocket stove". I DONT know if even THEY get hot enough.

author
GTO3x2 (author)rpotts22016-12-15

The "rocket" name comes from a small cross-sectional areaway burning chamber that produces a rumbling sound reminding people of a rocket's engine sound. These "rocket heaters" are built with insulated flues that enable near-complete combustion. The intent for these heaters is to get all the heat out of the fuel (cleaner exhaust air is also a result). A smaller opening is used to ensure air direction to the fuel, from the occupied space, while desired, less fuel source (wood) is needed. In order to get the drafting going, it has to initially be blown in that direction until the draft can be perpetually maintained. Typically, ordinary blower motors downstream of heat will not last and a plug-type blower is used for high temperature exhaust. I would think sucking the hot gases down and away from the pit will be wasting lots of heat yet the evacuation of fumes to the user is "desirable". -You just can't win. This table is only good for certain use, and this is why furnaces are made.

author

Mmm I never saw a forge working in that way :) in theory should work, but I don't think is very pratical! The motor would take in hot air all the time, I don't think it would last for long. xD At least not the one I used!

author

I was actually thinkimg of motorless aproach where draft would be created by difference in air pressure and temperature of the air.

author

Oh... I see. Now I get it xD

author
GTO3x2 (author)2016-12-13

Nifty idea for a pot. Well, the whole thing is resourceful.

Is that an air duct or a cast iron long-sweep wye (hub and spigot)?

Pet peeve rant: I don't know how the oven, furnace or heating area has become to be known as the "forge". Forging, to me, is the process of shaping with presses and dies by hammering etc... There is hot and cold forging. There is also drop forging, and this is where the grain structure of the metal gets changed and gives strength, etc... My guess is that since the whole process and facility, occurring and known as the forge, the eye-catching oven or furnace erroneously became referred to as the forge. -drives me nuts.

author
LeifB6 (author)GTO3x22016-12-13

The workshop for the blacksmith was known as a "forge" for a long time. I don't know which one came first of the verb (to forge) or noun (a forge), but they are ancient enough I'm happy with both usages.

For example, from the entry for "forge" in the Online Etymology Dictionary: late 14c., "a smithy," from Old French forge"forge, smithy" (12c.), earlier faverge, from Latin fabrica "workshop, smith's shop," hence also "a trade, an industry;" also "a skillful production, a crafty device," from faber (genitive fabri) "workman in hard materials, smith" (see fabric).

author
GTO3x2 (author)LeifB62016-12-14

That's too bad because there is no clear concept describing what forged steel is. Might as well call cast as forged then.

author
LeifB6 (author)GTO3x22016-12-14

I figure it's the difference between working it as a solid or as a liquid.

"Forged" means it has been deformed plastically (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deformation_(enginee... while "cast" means the material started as a liquid, flowed into a cavity, and then solidified. Also, while "cast" applies to more materials, I think "forged" is for metals only. "Cast plaster" is a normal usage, but "forged clay" isn't.

As you pointed out earlier, forging can be done hot or cold, but it's always done to a solid piece. The piece might be softened by the heat, but it's still solid.

To bring in Mark 42's comment, "welding" is when a portion of the work is liquified and then allowed to solidify. It can be done by many means to many different materials--torch, arc, and thermite for metals, heat and chemicals for plastic, etc.

author
GTO3x2 (author)LeifB62016-12-15

Welding: Yes, there is some use of the word where "brazing" in being referred to as "welding". They're close, but different. Similar to the difference between absorbing and adsorbing.

author
GTO3x2 (author)LeifB62016-12-15

I agree. This is why I find the common reference of the "forge" wrong. The typical device should be referred to as a "furnace" (the kind enclosed with walls etc...). This project comes across, to me, as more of a stove or fire pit table. Of course, this is less rough-and-tough sounding, although handforgers would contend that placing the object in heat is not forging, l.o.l. Yes, this is semantics, but the whole base of language is a common meaning and understanding. Since I'm finding the language to be more and more chaotic and misused, I find it sensible to "point" these things out. I'm done, and the discussion is for all to understand.

author
Mark 42 (author)LeifB62016-12-13

We used "forged titanium", a.k.a. "Titanium Forgings".
You can also weld, or you can look at a weld.
A weldment is parts with a weld between them, AFAIK.

Pretty common to use the same word for a noun and a verb.

author
CPUDOCTHE1. (author)GTO3x22016-12-13

A forge is the thing that heats the metal. Forging is the process of transforming the metal.

author
GTO3x2 (author)CPUDOCTHE1.2016-12-14

Sorry. Too inconsistent for me.

author

That piece is made of pretty thin galvanized steel and I think it came from a farm irrigation line :)

author
metcalfe (author)GTO3x22016-12-13

Or, well done. That's a nice build. Enjoy using what you made.

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