Introduction: How to Make a Mini Forge Out of an Altoids Tin

Picture of How to Make a Mini Forge Out of an Altoids Tin

In this instructable I have built a forge that really isn't to practical but if for some reason you need to forge yourself some paper clips this is the project for you.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

For this project you need the following:
-Altoids tin
-2" piece of brass tubing
-A tube of fireplace cement
-Rubber tubing

-Caulking gun
-Popsicle sticks (or something to spread the cement with)
-pencil torch (recommended)

Step 2: Drilling and Cutting

Picture of Drilling and Cutting

First, drill a hole in the side of the tin. Or you can do what I did and use an ice pick and a pair of needle nose pliers to work the hole to the size you want. The hole should be just bigger than the brass tube. If your tube isn't cut already, cut it now.

Step 3: Adding the Insulator

Picture of Adding the Insulator

Grab your caulking gun and load in the fireplace cement. Then squirt it into a paper cup. Next, add in some perlite. keep doing this until you have the right consistency. You want it to be quite chunky for the first layer. If you want to make the final surface smoother, you can add fireplace cement to the gaps. Add this to your tin with the brass tube already inserted. Form the mixture with your popsicle stick. Try to completely cover the tube because otherwise it will melt. Remember to leave a hole so that the air can pass through. Use the location of the tube as your guide and slope the caulk/perlite mixture up to the edge of the tin as shown in the pictures. After that just let it dry and you are ready to start forging. When It dries you can duct tape the tubing on to the brass pipe.

Step 4: Starting Your Forge

Picture of Starting Your Forge

To start your forge you first need a source of air. You can blow into the tube but it works much better if you have a small fan. If, when you put in the charcoal the fan blow it out of the forge you know it is to powerful. As long as the charcoal stays in the forge it will work. Next, acquire charcoal. barbecue charcoal works but is not recommended. The charcoal you get in your fireplace is just fine. now If you have a torch just turn on the air and light the charcoal. But if you don't, you are going to need some lighter fluid, cooking oil or tiki torch oil. pour oil over a few pieces of charcoal nestle them in with the other pieces, turn on the fan and and light with a lighter or match.

NOTE: Even though you insulated the forge, it is still hot when you are done don't pick it up directly after you are done forging. Leave it there for 3-5 min. then test it by flipping it over and briefly touching the underside.


battle (author)2011-12-29

thanks i need to heat up a penny to flatten it with a hammer but i didnt want to spend money on a torch

backburnerforge (author)battle2012-12-07

You better make sure the penny is made of copper! I think they quit using pure copper in them around 1973 (not sure). I was going to 'tin' a penny with some solder (just for yuks) and the instant I put the torch to it, it turned to liquid! It was then that I found out that pennies are made of babbitt (usually 95%-tin & 5%- copper).

But, in either case you won't need any heat to flatten a penny with a hammer; the hard part is holding it while you hit it hard!

Pennies are made of zinc not tin.

snoopindaweb (author)2015-02-08

Copper penny's = until after 1982.

backburnerforge (author)2012-12-07

I have a fully equipped Blacksmith Shop and I am hosting our Guild's February meeting and giving a demo. But I gotta tell ya, I will make one of these and am going to fire it up at the demo! LOL


Schmidty16 (author)2012-10-08

can u melt the metal in there then pour it out into a mold

Lily Liver (author)2011-11-07

i work with nails mainly and this looks like the thing for me. i hope i can build one soon because i don't want to blow a bunch of money of a propane torch that will be total overkill. great tutorial

theoone (author)2011-09-14

you should post a couple of things that youve made with this forge

Flareboy323 (author)2011-05-12

I have to admit, this is pretty freaking cool :) Now to go make one, and make a stick man out of paperclips.. or maybe a paperclip necklace selling buisness? ;)

geartechbrandon (author)2011-04-21

Thank you! This is going to be incredibly useful. I had been trying to come up with a good way to heat spring steel then form my own custom tools for miniature sculpting and this is going to do the job perfectly.

jaencer (author)2011-04-10

it's a forge, right? where does the metal to be melted go?

steampirate (author)jaencer2011-04-10

you don't use a forge to melt metal. you use it to heat up metal. (it isn't particularly good at that either.) if you want to melt metal I suggest searching for a foundry or furnace instead.

sharlston (author)2009-09-19

where you get your pencil torch?

steampirate (author)sharlston2009-09-19

My torch is just something I got from harbor freight. I didn't expect it to last very long but it has served me very well. The only problem I have ever had with it is that the top burner assembly has fallen off. But it can easily be put back on and used afterwords.

sharlston (author)steampirate2009-09-20

how much and how long doesthe butane last?

steampirate (author)sharlston2009-09-22

The torch was about $5 and the butane lasts quite a long time considering it's size. Of course it does make a difference depending on how high the flame is.

what to use it for ?


junits15 (author)sharlston2009-09-24

i got one from lowes

mhkabir (author)2010-01-03

Can this be used to melt aluminium into thick tubes??

steampirate (author)mhkabir2010-09-12

I cant imagine this is able to get that hot but it might be worth a try...

mhkabir (author)steampirate2010-09-27

I tried: it works -- sort of.

The mold heats up and the tube is formed, but is rater brittle due to very ittle heat.

0087adam (author)2010-08-02

great for grilling hot dogs on the go...

PastTheVoid (author)2009-10-19

I have ideas now....

junits15 (author)2009-09-24

what is your air source? how did you rig a fan into a tube like that?

steampirate (author)junits152009-09-26

I have a forge blower that I made and it has variable settings so I just set it as low as possible. In regards to the connection, I used a piece of rubber and some duct tape.

junits15 (author)steampirate2009-09-27

oh, cool

knexsuperbuilderfreak (author)2009-08-04

very nice whats its higest temp?

I haven't measured but since it doesn't use as much charcoal as a regular forge it doesn't have as much thermal mass therefore lowering the temp.

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