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

Blacksmith Power Hammers or Trip Hammers

If you have actually ever dealt with a power hammer you see the blacksmithing world through different eyes. Power hammers really fall under 3 fundamental categories, Hydraulic Presses, Mechanical Hammers, and Air Hammers. They are all created to increase the quantity of force that you can apply to the steel. This suggests you can do more operate in a provided quantity of time and you can work larger bar. Suddenly this opens an entire brand-new creative truth with the steel.

Hydraulic Presses

I don't use one in my shop however I have utilized one years back in another smiths shop. Hydraulics have lots of power (actually) and can force the metal into several shapes really successfully. They are useful for severe regulated force applications such as forcing steel into preshaped passes away, or cutting at particular lengths or angles etc

. sledge hammer is not an impact machine such as mechanical hammers or air hammers, and is not fast. It can be used for extracting steel but this is tedious. Although it would save time from drawing out by hand and allow you to work larger bar I would go nuts with the slow procedure.

Basically the device is a hydraulic ram installed on a frame with an electric pump. You use a foot control to crush the metal. Step with the foot use more force. Launch the foot the passes away withdraw then you can move the bar and apply the force once again in a various area.

There are a few favorable aspects of a hydraulic press. They have a little footprint, and require no unique foundation. Rates are workable for this type of tool. About $2000.00 in my location. There is no impact noise or vibration with this type of device. The whine of the hydraulic pump can be loud but it does not have the exact same inconvenience aspect for neighbors as the effect from a hammer. Presses are rated by the variety of loads pressure that the ram can produce. 20 heap, 40 lot and 60 ton prevail sizes.

Mechanical Hammers

All mechanical hammers work on a variation of the very same principle. A turning crank shaft raises the weighted hammer head that is counter well balanced, then forces it down on the next half of the revolution. The accessory on other hammer head has to be a spring building of some sort so that the effect is absorbed in the spring not the crank shaft. The counter weight alleviates some of the pressure on the motor.

There have been various configurations of mechanical hammers for many years. Little Giant comes to mind however this is only one style. Others include Helve Hammers and so on. Mechanical hammers are ranked 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 bigger the motor that you have to run it.

Something to consider. If your store remains in outdoors however has no electrical power you might run a mechanical hammer off a small fuel engine. A little pricey however compared with the amount of work you could do this way, it might be worth it.

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

The beauty of a mechanical hammer is that it is relative simple to construct or repair. The ideas of the movement are very easy and simple to follow in slow motion. Mechanical hammers were reasonably common in commercial settings in the late 1800's and early 1900's so you might have the ability to discover one for a good rate in your location. The disadvantage is that parts might be impossible to discover and you might need to make your very own.

You can also build your very own mechanical hammer. It will take some tinkering however a good working hammer can be made pretty economically. They do not use up a great deal of area. Perhaps 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 need a good foundation, although a little one can manage with a little foundation. They are a bit limited by the jobs that you can do with them. If you are innovative with your tooling you still can do a lot of work and save your arm.

Air Hammers

My personal favorite. The air hammer was originally conceived as a steam hammer for big industrial applications. Like the mechanical hammers they are ranked by the hammer head mass, and usually range from 50 pound to 1200 pound or more. The upper end of the scale are enormous machines that need mammoth structures to work effectively. These are poetry in motion to see an experienced smith use.

The principal behind the air hammer is fairly just. Air pressure raises a weighted hammer head then some thing moves the atmospheric pressure and the hammer head is dropped under air pressure force then it is raised again. The air on the bottom of the air cylinder serves 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 add to the force applied to the steel.

A lot of smaller sized blacksmithing stores utilize 50 lb to 150 pound size. There are two subclasses of air hammers that you must be aware of. The self contained and the air compressor version. The self contained utilizes two air cylinders. One is the compressor cylinder and is driven 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 requires the hammer head cylinder up. Valving causes the air to be either exhausted or sent in varying 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 electric motor.


The air compressor reliant air hammer feeds off a constant line pressure and has a feed back circuit developed into the style. The hammer head takes a trip up and trips a switch that tells it to return down. Once it reaches a particular travel point another switch tells it to return up. The quantity 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 actually less moving parts and less to wear out. I find them to be more versatile. You can adjust your stroke and force simply by moderating your foot peddle. With a mechanical hammer you have to make a mechanical change to alter your stroke height. Your force is controlled by the speed of the effect or the speed of rotation.

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