Introduction: Brake Drum Forge - Beginning Blacksmithing

About a year ago I decided that I wanted to try blacksmithing. To me, It seemed like an amazing hobby to pick up. The shaping and forming of metal meant that I could make any tool that I would need for any project. It also allowed me to use metal like no other tool could. I was fortunate enough to have an anvil already. All I needed was a forge...

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

I picked up all the materials I needed from Menards and together they only cost me about $85

You will need:

  • A 9 inch brake drum
  • A 4 inch wide pipe flange that fits onto a 2 inch pipe
  • Two threaded pipe nipples
  • A 2 inch end cap (To catch the ashes)
  • A 2 inch tee joint
  • A foot long section of 2 inch steel pipe
  • A 5 inch wide cast iron drain
  • Bolts,nuts, and washers to hold stuff together

You will also need to run the forge:

  • An old hairdryer
  • Charcoal or coal to use as fuel
  • 4 large cinder blocks to set it up on

Step 2: Assembly: Brake Drum

Picture of Assembly: Brake Drum

I was lucky enough to have the holes in my brake drum align with the holes in my pipe flange and cast iron drain. I simply put the drain in the inside of the drum, slid a bolt through, and secured that bolt with a washer and nut to the pipe flange. I decided only to use two bolts to secure this all together because only two of the holes lined up perfectly. You could use a drill to create your own holes but I didn't have one available when I made this.

Step 3: Assembly: the Pipes

Picture of Assembly: the Pipes

To assemble the pipes you need to start by attaching the foot-long section of pipe to the side of the tee joint. This will be your air intake pipe. On the top and bottom of the tee join screw in your pipe nipples. On one of them, lightly screw on the end cap, This will catch ashes that fall from inside the forge and make it a lot easier to clean up.

After you have all the pipes put together I would recommend tightening them with a pipe wrench so that they don't fall apart when you have 2500 degree coals in them.

After your pipe assembly is tight, screw it onto the pipe flange that is at the bottom of the brake drum.

Step 4: Setting It Up

Picture of Setting It Up

To set up the forge, I made two stacks each of two cinder blocks that were close together. I slide the air intake pipe through one of the holes in their sides and put a hairdryer into it.

To light the forge, fill it with charcoal (You could use coal but I use charcoal because it is cleaner), light the charcoal and turn on the hairdryer. Let it warm up for about 10 minutes before attempting to heat up metal in the fire.

Step 5: Make Anything

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Now that you know how to make a forge that can heat metal to the point where it can easily be shaped, you can make anything! Make a tool, a decoration, a gift, whatever you want!

Please leave a comment telling me what you thought or asking any questions you have.

See you in my next instructable!

Comments

BobbyM59 (author)2017-09-27

I used an old brake drum off a semi (free from most any big truck repair shop or trucking company) rest is pretty much the same.

Iankbenoit (author)2017-04-19

Could you use wood as your fuel source instead of coal or charcoal?

scomstock1 (author)Iankbenoit2017-08-04

lump charcoal is a good was to go if coal is tuff...not bricketts tho....buy itmost bbq supply spots

GingerMonkey (author)Iankbenoit2017-05-26

You might look into making your own charcoal rather than using wood - charcoal is wood whose long chain hydrocarbons (tars) have been cooked off, leaving a much cleaner burning fuel. Using wood can be done, but it is A) smokier because of those long-chain things, B) not as hot - long chain things don't burn as well, and C) you're liable to be introducing impurities (unburned long chain things) into your metal - perhaps not a big deal for decorative work, but as soon as you want something like a tool, you will want predictable, clean metal to work with....

CameronB83 (author)Iankbenoit2017-04-19

I haven't tried it myself but have read about how to. I think it would be harder with this small of a forge but you could try. It definitely would be cheaper than running it on lump charcoal. Here's a helpful link I found: http://whitloxhomestead.com/p/tips

dgood3 (author)2017-03-24

I have been wanting to do this for a while now, seems simple enough. thanks for sharing. I have a wood burner I use in my house and barn, can you start the fire like that then add the coal or charcoal ? I don't see why not but Idk thanks

CameronB83 (author)dgood32017-03-24

I would think it would be fine to light a fire with normal wood first. Anything that lights the charcoal to the point that the hairdryer won't just blow it out will work.

EpicElrod (author)2017-03-21

This is exactly how I started about 2 years ago. Nicely done.

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Bio: I enjoy making and doing all sorts of things. Check back often to see my newest Instructables.
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