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Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

IN STEEL WE TRUST



What is metal work?

Well, first off, it's really loving hard, or at least it is if it's cold.

Secondly, it is fun as hell, and it's a great way to get in touch with our past, and future, as a society. Try to think of something that does not require metal to be built, or operated, in our technology. Hard isn't it? Modern farming, weapons, computers, electricity, everything we hold dear depends on this wonderful class of substances.

Perhaps the most important, and my personal favourite, is iron. Iron is so useful, and available in so many alloys, hardnesses, and special forms that most other metal work depends on iron and steel tools.

Types of Metalworking:


Cold forging:


Beating the hell out of a metal object in order to shape it the way you want it. This has the side effect of creating tiny defects in the structure of most metals, which makes them harder. Ever taken a length of copper pipe, bent it, and then tried to unbend it? It's way tougher than it was to bend it in the first place, that's the effect those defects have on the metal. This is called Work-Hardening. Repouse work is somewhat similar to this, but usually you anneal the workpiece occasionally to soften it up again between beatings. Hopefully noted Cool Dude Ambrose Burnside will add to this section later.



Hot Forging:



Heating the metal and then beating the poo poo out of it helps to stop defects from forming in some kinds of metal. Iron in particular benefits from this. In addition, the heat loosens the molecular bonds and allows you to manipulate the metal with vigorously applied force.



Casting:


Melting metal down and pouring it into castable molds, usually packed sand. I've only done this in shop class, and I wasn't terribly successful at it, very interesting process and you can do all kinds of wonderful things with it. Absentmindedwelder has written up an excellent resource for casting in the second post of this thread.



Machining:


Taking a solid billet (just a big ol' hunk of metal) and cutting it to shape either manually or with a computer controlled cutting machine.



Fabrication:



Cutting small(ish) bits of metal and welding them together. Pretty much all custom work is done with this method, all those giant ships hauling your iPods from China? Fabricated. The metal skids that hold compressors for the oil field? Fabricated. The huge flatbed trailers that carry those compressor skids? Also fabricated.




Sounds interesting, how would I get into it?

First, you have to pick what kind(s) you're most interested in. Each type requires certain tools.

Basic tools include 1 to 3 pound hammers, a set of good hardened steel punches, chisels, a selection of files, a drill and drill bits, an angle grinder, a saw of some type (hacksaw, abrasive cutting saw, metal bandsaw) sand paper, 90' squares, and a good ruler.

Some types of metalwork allows you to make your own tools once you get past the original investment. Blacksmithing for example, once you have the anvil and the forge, you can make pretty much everything with some effort and the right materials.

For machining, you'll need a mill, and a lathe. Lathes are wonderful machines that allow us to make extremely precise components. They're also quite expensive, but as the adage goes, you get what you pay for.

For fabrication, you'll need some kind of welding gear. There are many types.

Oxygen Acetylene welding:

(ok this is actually brazing, but for all intents and purposes it looks exactly the same)

A slow form of welding, not used in commercial or industrial applications anymore, but a great way to learn, and you don't have to worry about electrocuting yourself. The greatest danger is fire, and the resulting house-flattening explosion if your tank cracks Also awesome to have around for spot heating things, for colour, or for localized bending.



Arc welding:


The oldest form of electrical welding. Still used in industry for its ability to lay down a huge amount of metal, and the equipment is easily portable. You'll see heavy mechanics welding tractors and dump trucks this way in the middle of some god-forsaken field in assfuck nowhere. Makes strong, fast, easy welds, not very pretty though.



MIG welding:

(scrub-tier gluegun welding )

Shooting a thin wire into the weld puddle with an argon gas tank providing protection from the atmosphere. Quick, fairly easy to learn, great for multiple pass welding and thinner sheet metal if you're good. Used on cars a lot.


TIG welding:


Think of Gas welding and MIG welding having hot, sweaty sex. This is the result. Fairly slow, but it produces gorgeous welds and is very easy to control.


Absentmindedwelder was also kind enough to give more of a welding primer here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...1#post346467769




Tell me more about Blacksmithing, it certainly seems like the choice for a sexy person like myself.

Why certainly . Blacksmithing is one of the oldest trades in the world, it's made life possible for the last 4000 years or so. It's a fairly labour intensive activity, and it was supplanted in the late 1800s with factories churning out metal goods. However, in recent years it's made a great comeback with the quick information dissemination available today, and a dearth of us office drones looking to do something creative with our hands.

You only need a few things to blacksmith:

First is the Anvil:


An anvil is nothing more than a massive piece of steel with a hardened face. The more mass you have, the more energy is transferred into the forging you're working on, so get the heaviest one you can handle / find. The picture above is of my anvil on the first day that I owned it (I was so proud I didn't care that I put on a block of wood that was uneven and way too low) it's a 120 pound Nimba, bought direct from the factory in Seattle, but they're expensive. If you're creative, you can use pretty much anything hard and flat.

Some people make them from old railroad track. If you do this, mount it vertically so all the mass is under the striking face, like this:



Some people use just a big iron bar. Bonus if it's round, when you turn it on its side, you can use the curved surface as a horn to form curved objects and "draw out" the iron. Drawing out is just taking thick material and making it thinner and longer. Remember how silly putty stretches and gets thin in the middle? same idea, except you stretch it with your hammer.

Old world anvils sells a great starting anvil, a 4x4x4" cube of 4140 grade steel.
http://www.oldworldanvils.com/anvils/4x4.html

(image from their site, but re-hosted)


You'll also need a forge, which is a high-heat source that you can use to soften the iron.
This is mine, I made it out of parts from a local hardware store, and a high heat ceramic provider:




I use charcoal and propane, but most people use mineral coal, propane or natural gas. Some people even have induction forges which use electricity, but they're horrendously expensive.


When I moved into my new house, I was playing around in the driveway. I had a fairly light setup that I could put and and take down in not a lot of time. Light workbench of old planks, a gas forge, the anvil, tools, and a light vise to hold poo poo. These are some of the more essential things you need to get anywhere, really.


Later on I bought a shop and started filling it with all kinds of useful stuff. Better workbench (an old door!) a good leg vise, power tools, hand held grinders of all sorts, and a place to store your rapidly growing collection of files, punches, chisels, drifts, and anvil hardies (tools that go in the square bit of the anvil).








For additional information on blacksmithing, here are some useful links:

http://www.blacksmithsjournal.com/top/
http://www.anvilfire.com/
http://www.iforgeiron.com/ is a great site, check out their blueprints section.

This site is one of the best, there are drawings and how-to manuals here. Download the PDFs, you won't be disappointed.
http://www.countryside.gov.uk/LAR/a...ublications.asp



Additional resources:

Absentmindedwelder again with a good soldering tutorial: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...2#post346573623

Don't have a clue as to what all these crazy welding position classification numbers mean? Check out this post:
http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...0#post350034111

Pagan wrote an amazing story about lessons learned and new experiences, everyone should read it: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...5#post431787930

Ambrose Burnside wrote up a huge post about Repousse, seriously! finally! go read that like right now:

Ambrose Burnside posted:

Chasing And Repousse: The Post


Pagan did this fantastic article on how to manage your filthy coal fires. Very insightful and it will help you do useful work while wasting less fuel.

Pagan posted:

I wrote an article on managing coal fires, for my local blacksmithing group. I got a ton of positive feedback, so I figure it's worth sharing.

https://www.rjartisan.com/news/coalfirept1




Please feel free to ask any and all questions, I will do my best to answer where I can. I know there are at least 5-6 other blacksmiths here on SA (some of them are actual working professionals and not just backyard dorks like me), so please post away, show us some of your projects.

Slung Blade fucked around with this message at 04:51 on Sep 26, 2018

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AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

Metalcasting (WIP "Work In Progress")





Metalcasting is a metalworking process used to make objects by melting metal to it's molten state, and then pouring it in a mold so it solidifies in the shape of the desired object. Nearly all metals, except steel, are very fluid in their liquid form. Casting is preformed at a place called a foundry. The term foundry can apply to either the space that is dedicated to casting, or the complete selection of equipment necessary to make the molds, melt, and pour the metal.

It has 3 primary uses:
1.Art (good for picking up really hot chicks, think bronze)
2.Machine parts.
3.Anything your imagination can come up with useful or not.

DISCLAIMER:

THIS IS SO INSANELY DANGEROUS, I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I'M EVEN POSTING THIS ON SA. MOLTEN METAL WILL BURN YOUR SKIN OFF FASTER THEN ANYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE, AND IS A PRETTY CLOSE REPRESENTATION OF WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE IN HELL IF YOU BELIEVE IN THAT SORT OF THING.

DON'T THINK ABOUT DOING THIS. IF YOU MAIM YOURSELF DON'T COME CRYING TO ME CUZ I AIN'T RESPONSIBLE. ALSO DON'T SEND YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS OR LAWYERS... I'M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR IDIOCY.

SERIOUSLY, ANYONE WHO WANTS TO DO THIS IS TRULY INSANE AND NEEDS TO GO TO THE MENTAL HOSPITAL, THIS INCLUDES MYSELF.


Let me point out the MOST dangerous aspect of melting metal... WATER/MOISTURE

If the smallest amount of moisture gets into the metal for some reason, it will INSTANTLY turn into super heated steam. Super heated steam is very powerful and dangerous. Super heated steam in molten metal is even worse. It will instantly make a pocket of pressure in the molten metal, which will immediately cause flying, molten metal, at temps above 1000-3000 degrees F flying through the air.

The metal will fly in ALL directions, burning EVERYTHING In its path.

I've had lead explosions. The only reason I'm not disfigured is because I wear full face protection and have ZERO exposed skin.

The Basics

”What metals can I melt in a typical backyard foundry?”
Pretty much anything but steel, or things with an insanely high melting point like tungsten.

A quick note about steel casting. Steel is not very fluid when molten, because of this, most steel patterns for steel castings don't look much like the finished object, because the steel won't flow in to small areas. The pattern is usually made merely to resemble the finished object and is forged and machined into the final shape. Steel may be in the capabilities of a backyard foundry, but not for someone who has years of experience. Also most work can be done with brass/bronze, aluminum, and iron just fine.

We are going to talk about aluminum, brass/bronze, iron. These are the most common, useful, and safest metals to work with. We are going to focus mostly on aluminum. Melting brass and iron while “easy” requires a good amount of foundry construction and operation skill before it is attempted. Once you've spent a few months making successful equipment and castings then you can move onto the other metals.

”How do I melt the metal?”

There are many ways to do this. Typically you will use a “crucible” which is made of a material that can withstand the temps of molten metal. The material the crucible is made out of depends on what you are trying to melt.

Aluminum can be melted in a steel crucible. However, steel is not ideal because it will deposit some small iron deposits into the aluminum. This will weaken the aluminum, and eventually, destroy the crucible. That being said, for most work you will be doing in your backyard this is not a problem. Just don't be making castings that will result in personal injury or financial loss if they fail. For starting out a steel crucible is usually best. For one, they don't require preheats.

Here's a picture of a steel crucible, It is just a large pipe welded to a piece of steel sheet/plate:


Melting brass, iron, other metals, and serious aluminum work will require a crucible made out of refractory material. This can be any combination of clay, graphite, carbon, silica, alumina, etc. These can be homemade, but you are probably best to buy them at first. One word of warning, these crucibles cannot have any metal left in them, and require a preheat to drive all moisture out if before putting metal into them. Dealing with these types of crucibles is an advanced topic and will come later.

Lifting and pouring tongs

You need implements to lift crucible and pour the metal out of the crucible. How and what type, is usually a matter of preference.
dv6speed needs to insert images here of tongs

Furnace
The typical type of furnace we will work is a crucible furnace. These usually have a vent hold, drain hole, drain trenches, and a burner inlet hole. They are usually made with a metal shell that is lined with a refractory material.

Furnaces can come in all shapes, sizes, and types.

Here is one of mine that is still in the process of being lined with refractory:


They don't have to be complicated, even dirt and bricks will work:


You might be thinking to yourself... "Wow!!! even though I'm a complete idiot, even I can make a dirt and brick furnace! Propane burners look like I can slap together in 2 seconds... I'm doing it...this weekend!!!"

WHOA THERE HAUSS SLOW DOWN!!!

FIRST OF ALL
That dirt and brick furnace has absolutely terrible efficiency. If you do that you REALLY want to have an oil burner. The propane necessary to run it will be way too expensive. Also, normal bricks can only hold up to 3, maybe 4 melts. They will crumble and be useless after that. The bricks you see in the above pictures are HUGE and ancient and amazingly take the heat well. The bricks you have lying in your back yard tho, won't be as lucky.

They do make something called "firebrick" which is a different ball game. There are the 2 different types, 1 that weights about the same as normal bricks, and one that is very light and you can break in half by hand. You want the latter.

SECOND OF ALL
I have studied this sort of thing for more years then I care to admit to. I also have been playing with tools, mechanical things, and the dangers they involve since I was knee high to a dandelion, which, at 26, gives me more experience then most middle aged, or retired people have. If you want to do this, I suggest spending all your waking hours for the next few weeks, and possibly years, researching more info then this thread will be capable of providing you. Because of the complexity of this sort of hobby, if you are actually SERIOUS about doing this start here http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/ There are also countless other good websites on the topic.

The intent of this thread is to be an inspiration, and showcase for people's metal casting work. The other intent is to educate those people who may not want to do it themselves, but would like to know more about the process.

Should you decide that your insane enough to pour molten metal into a mold, you will probably eventually want to join the forums of the above mentioned website. There are people there who have more knowledge and experience then I do, that can help you to solve some specific casting problems you may encounter on your journey.

That all being said, feel free to ask any questions. I will be happy answer them, or tell you how to get your answers.

”What the gently caress is this refractory bullshit you speak of?”

What is refractory? It is any material that can withstand very high temperatures. You can make your own, or buy commercially made stuff.

Refractory is either insulating, or non-insulating. In order to improve the efficiency of your furnace, you need as much insulation as possible. Insulating refractory tends to be rather delicate however, so often a thin, non-insulating layer, called a "hotface" is added.

Information on making homemade refractories will be a separate post. Typically, you are best to buy commercial “castable” refractories.

Homemade or commercial, as long as you use mostly insulating refractory, with a thin coating of non-insulating refractory, you will be good to go.

Here you can see an example of insulating refractory with a small coating of “hotface” or noninsulating refractory. This particular batch didn't work out for me, but it shows the idea:


Burners

Before I talk about the fuels you can use, let's explain the difference between 2 things:

“Forced air” burners need a forced air source. This can be an air blower, a hair drier, or even a vacuum cleaner hooked up rear end backwards.

“Naturally aspirated” burners do NOT need a forced air surface. These types of burners are usually used with a compressed gaseous fuel like propane. They rely on a fluid dynamic device called a “venturi” which uses a jet of high pressure gas to suck in the air natrually.

You can use solid fuel like charcoal, however I personally have never done that. If someone wants to write up a foundry how to using solid fuel, I'll put a link to the post here. Solid fuels always require forced air.

Propane is extremely popular and convenient. And can be done with either, forced air or naturally aspirated. They are MANY designs you can find on the internet to replicate. Here are 2 popular ones.

[more burner info to come]

Naturally Aspirated Burner:"Reil EZ-Burner" http://ronreil.abana.org/ezburner.shtml
Forced air burner: A dv6speed (aka moya034) creation: http://home.comcast.net/~moya034/smlpg/

Used motor oil is my favorite fuel. It's cheap, it's free, and it has the BTU's you need to melt iron. Again, there are many designs, here's the one I use:
http://home.comcast.net/~moya034/burner/
http://home.comcast.net/~moya034/plugdrill/

"Can I use a bbq regulator?"
Yes, but it's not recommended. First you would have to find out how many BTU's/Hr it will do, and then figure out how big a furnace it can power. The only kind of propane burner design you can use is a forced air design, which requires a blower.

In order to run a naturally aspirated burner, or anything else that uses propane, you'll need a man's propane regulator that will do anywhere from 0-60 PSI. I bought my regulator and hose at a welding shop. If you go to a welding shop, they'll be able to crimp on any sort of fitting you need to the hose. Something like this:


Tangential Tuyere:
This is the placement of the burner in the furnace. If you look at thefurnace picture below carefully, you'll note that the burner pipe does not go into the center of the furnace. It comes in on a tangent, look that word up on wikipedia if you don't know what it means. This promotes even heating of the furnace, by encouraging the flames to sort of swirl around in the furnace. It also lets the flames squeeze between the plinth and the wall of the refractory.



Plinths:
A plinth is a little block that the crucible sits on top of in the furnace. The plinth should be just a little bit smaller then the base of your crucible. The purpose of it is to raise the height of the crucible so that the flame from the burner just barely touches the bottom of the crucible. This greatly improves heating efficiency.

You can make them out of a variety of things. You want them to be as insulating as possible, but they need to be strong. A 1:1:2 ratio of clay/silica or alumina/foam has been working. You can experiment to see what works best for you. I like to make the plinth in a cardboard tube. The cardboard will burn off when it's fired the first time. You can even use a cut piece of insulating firebrick as a plinth.



"DOOD, I'm drunk, and I got LOTS of beer cans that I can melt!"
First, sober up before operating your furnace. Second melting beer cans is a bitch. You will get LOTS of dross (dross=poo poo) from the paint. It also dirties up your crucible and is too hard to clean. If you insist, just make a second crucible. You'll also want to crush your cans, and start with a bit of molten aluminum in the crucible first, so when the can hits it, it melts instantly. If you don't do this, it's liable to oxidize away before melting.

Cans will also give off nasty fumes when melting form the pain too.

"I want to start collecting aluminum now, while I'm doing my foundry homework. What should I look for that is the absolute best alloy to work with?"
That's ambitious of you! The best stuff to collect is anything that has previously been cast. Engine parts, transmission cases, and alloy wheels are the best. Pistons are even better.

Using extruded aluminum, such as lawn chair tubes, gutters, etc is almost as good as beer cans... not very good. Lots of shrinkage, and weak castings, but again, for alot of work, this is usable if you have nothing else. Just don't be making anything that will result in financial or personal injury if the casting fails.

"dv6speed, you told me to collect transmission cases, wheels, and engine parts, but that can't fit in my crucible!"

This is not a difficult issue to deal with. You have several options:

1. Sledgehammer

2. Sawz-all or jig saw with metal cutting blade (catch those shavings!)

3. Log splitter

4. FIRE! Check out this how-to site: http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/hotshortness.html

5. Large direct melt furnace that does not require a crucible, OR a "reverberatory furnace" (If you don't know what a reverb furnace is, hit up wikipedia)

Can I use a cutting torch or arc cutting process for aluminum?
Sort of, but not really. O/A cutting torches work by heating the steel and using a stream of pure oxygen to oxidize the steel away instantly. It's actually a chemical process, not a melting process. A very bad cut can be accomplished on aluminum but in this case, you'd be melting the metal, and using the oxygen to blow it out. This is not the best use of the torch and is not recommended.

There are special electrodes and techniques to use with a stick welder to cut metal which will work on aluminum, but again, this is not recommended.

Plasma cutters will work if you have them.

Melting pennies and nickels or other coinage
The Federal Government has made melting pennies and nickels illegal. Also as an amateur numismatist, let me say that you will have hell to pay if I ever find out you are melting down any form of US coinage.

Ingots and ingot molds
An ingot is a blob of metal waiting to be melted again. An ingot mold is something you pour molten metal into to make an ingot. You ALWAYS need ingot molds lying around during your pouring operations, so you have some place to pour any extra metal that wasn't used for filling your mold.


"Hey I can melt all my scrap into ingots and take it to the scrap yard to command a better price"

First, unless you use used motor oil, or similar free fuel, this won't be economical. Second, make sure you check with your scrap yard first. Some scrap yard will refuse ingots, others will even give you more money for them.

Fluxing:
Just the act of melting metal will "clean" the metal. However, for producing a finished casting that isn't enough. A flux has to be added, and stirred into the metal to draw out any impurities. After it does it's job, it'll float to the surface as "dross" which is skimmed off the surface of the molten metal and discarded. Then, your metal is poured into your mold.

When I melt down really dirty metal, I use 2 crucibles. I melt the dirty scrap in the “dirty” crucible and pour unfluxed ingots. I'll then re-melt the ingots in a “clean” crucible and use flux. You can then repour them as ingots, or into a finished product.

If possible, it always isn't, try to scrape the bottom and sides of the crucible with some sort of tool to remove as much dirt before fluxing. Any dirt will just float to the surface and can be skimmed off.

Make sure your dross skimmer, and any other tools that you need to use in molten metal are 100% dry, else you'll get an explosion described in a previous post.

Homemade Aluminum Melting Flux Recipe

Ingredients:

50% Potassium chloride (available as diet salt or "no-salt")
50% Sodium chloride (standard-issue table salt)

Process:

Put the salts at a 1:1 ratio in some sort of a "crucible" and put in your furnace and melt the salts together. I like to use a tuna or catfood can. Once the salt is molten, take it out and let it cool. You can break the hard pieces up, and put it in your aluminum melt as a flux.

When you go to the store to buy the salt, make sure to look at the labels to double check the ingredients and amounts of them. The iodized or other ingredients don't really matter.

"Morton's Lite Salt" Contains almost a 50/50 mix of the 2 salts. If you do the math, you can figure out how much normal table salt to add to balance it out.

Sand molding
In order to make a sand mold you need a flask. A flask is made up of 2 parts. The bottom part is called the "drag", the top part is a "cope". They have alignment pins on either side that hold them together. The base the drag sets on is the "bottom board." The "molding board" is siting on top of the picture and is an exact copy of the bottom board. You need a molding board in addition to the base so the drag can be flipped over during the mold making process.

The bottom and molding boards have strips of wood screwed to them to make picking up the flask and boards easier.

There are some more items you need for sand mold making. I will show pictures of those along with the mold making process.

Wooden flasks should be painted in polyurethane, to prevent the wood from soaking up the moisture from the sand.

This one has an inside dimension of 8"x10"



"What are the three most important things I need to know about before I make a pattern of an object I want to cast?"

That is a fantastic question. You need to know about this if you want to operate you own foundry, or make things to have people who do operate a foundry make for you.

First is something called the “parting line.” If you look at the above flask, you'll notice the cope and drag (bottom and top) meet at a very nice seam. This seem between the cope and drag is the parting line. The pattern's WIDEST portion must sit at the parting line.

Often, you will want to make “split patterns.” This is basically a pattern that is in 2 halves that meet at the parting line. Alignment pins are installed in the 2 halves. There are ways however to cast 3D objects without a split pattern. I'll show some of those techniques later on.

The second thing you have to know about is “draft.” Draft is where side portions of the pattern have an angle that allows you to safely withdraw the pattern from the sand mold with out disturbing the sand.

Draft is very important. Having 90 degree angles makes it very difficult to remove the pattern. In some parts however this may be unavoidable. Usually the best solution is to design the pattern with draft, and then machine the part to have it's 90 degree angle afterwards.

The opposite of draft is “undercut” for obvious reasons this is impossible in a sand mold. Again, draft can be added and the part can be machine to finished dimensions afterward.

For some sand molds, you may need to use a 3 or more part flasks, where there is an extra piece between the cope and drag. That would be called a “cheek.”

For complex castings that violate these rules, or can't be made with this method, you will probably have to use some sort of “investment casting.” That too, will be discussed later on.

The third thing to know about is shrinkage. Metal shrinks when it cools, and different metals shrink at different rates. To further complicate the matter, different alloys of the same type of metal shrink at different rates. This needs to be kept in mind when designing the pattern. Also, you may have to make parts larger still to allow machining of the part afterwards.

Patterns for sand molds are best made of metal, or wood. Wood patterns should be coated in a good coating of polyurethane to protect them, and keep them from absorbing moisture from the sand.

You don't have to be a good worker to make good patterns. Epoxy, putty, and anything else can be used to fix your fuckups, as long as the finished surface is smooth and finished.


Useful links and books

[more to come]

Lionel's Laboratory: http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/

RealKyleH likes this sand casting book: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Hand...16748410&sr=8-1

Commercial Refractory Suppliers
Because this company was so nice and emailed me with the info I wanted very fast, they deserve a place here: http://www.hwr.com/

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 01:21 on Jul 24, 2008

AnomalousBoners
Dec 22, 2007

by Ozma


Milling is more commonly known as machining and usually involves two basic tools. A mill and a lathe, although there are many many variants of these two machines as well as other machines that you will find. With these two machines, even manual ones, you can make most anything with enough time.

Heres the most common type of manual milling machine, a bridgeport mill. Milling involves attached a work piece to the table and moving the cable so that the work piece pushes against a rotating tool such as a drill or endmill to remove material.

Only registered members can see post attachments!

AnomalousBoners fucked around with this message at 00:00 on Jul 19, 2008

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

RealKyleH posted:

A mill and a lathe... With these two machines, even manual ones, you can make most anything with enough time.

http://www.lindsaybks.com/dgjp/djgbk/series/index.html
You can even make the machines... with your backyard foundry of course.

AnomalousBoners
Dec 22, 2007

by Ozma


dv6speed posted:

http://www.lindsaybks.com/dgjp/djgbk/series/index.html
You can even make the machines... with your backyard foundry of course.

Lindsay's books has some interesting projects (to say the least) but nothing you cast out of aluminum in your back yard will come close to even an inexpensive made in china or 50 year old American lathe in terms of rigidity, repeatability, precision, etc. It'd made an interesting toy but belt driven lathes can be had for as little as $500 and even if they need a bearing or two, parts are usually cheap. Then theres always the harbor freight lathes.

This brings me to the other staple of home machining. The lathe. I love manual lathe work compared to milling. The finish is usually consistent (its all bad or its all good) Its easy to get decent finishes, and it seems faster to machine parts because parts usually go in a chuck and thats it. (Unless its not a self centering chuck. In which case the parts must be indicated in to turn round.)

Below is a diagram of a pretty common lathe and its parts. In a lathe, the work piece turns against a stationary tool. The work piece is held in the spindle with a collet, or in a chuck that is either threaded onto the nose of the spindle or locked in with a cam lock.

Only registered members can see post attachments!

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

How good are the harbor freight lathes and milling machines, I was wondering about that. What about the "smithy" 3-1 tools?


Here is the single best oxy-acetylene welding and cutting resource I've found on the internet so far:
http://www.esabna.com/euweb/oxy_handbook/589oxy2_1.htm


Here are some interesting links to a DIY motor or engine driven DC stick/TIG welding power supply. It's supposed to be 100% duty cycle, and is foot pedal controlled. Because it is based off an automobile alternator, it could be installed in your pickup truck as a mobile welding machine. They do make commercial engine driven welders that look eerily similar to a regular run of the mill alternator.
http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/my-d...t=homemade+tig
http://myweb.cableone.net/rschell/TIG.htm
IF I ever build one, I will post the results.

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 03:20 on Jul 19, 2008

AnomalousBoners
Dec 22, 2007

by Ozma


dv6speed posted:

How good are the harbor freight lathes and milling machines, I was wondering about that. What about the "smithy" 3-1 tools?

Better than something thats belt driven and using an aluminum pulley :P

I haven't heard anyone say they are bad for the money, some of the people over at CNC zone have them. The SIEG X3 mini mills, which is what HF buys and labels their own, are a very popular candidate for CNC retrofits.

No idea about the quality of the smithy copies, but I've never met someone who got a smithy and was really satisfied with it. They usually end up getting a lathe and a mill. Sometimes gunsmiths have legit uses for them but I am not a fan for general machining.

AnomalousBoners fucked around with this message at 03:47 on Jul 19, 2008

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

"I want to weld so badly I'm about to pee my pants. What type of equipment is best for me?"

This all depends on what your goals are.

If you have some specific projects that you need to get done as easily and as quickly as possible with as little loving around, you are probably best to buy a machine that can do the MIG and FCAW process. You should get a machine that will do both, because MIG is more versatile then FCAW, however the FCAW can be used outside in windy conditions where MIG can't

If you are extremely interested in welding, or want to do it on a professional level some day, or are on a tight budget, stick welding is the clear choice to start with. Stick welding requires very good operator skill to produce nice finished welds. That being said, most repair and fabrication work you are likely to run into, can be done well with an hour or 2 of practice if you've never welded before. If you decide to get a stick machine, you are best to go used for value, and try to find an AC/DC one. You can work with AC only, but will have more of a limited electrode selection. Also the DC arc is smoother and easier to maintain.

If you buy an AC only stick welder, I recommend playing the "Back In Black" album while welding. It may not let you use DC electrodes, but hey, it'll be fun!

If you have a large budget to work with, and want to make the nicest most professional welds on almost any material possible, go with a TIG setup. This process also requires a great amount of operator skill/practice. It can be used to weld almost any metal, including aluminum very nicely.

Oxy-acetylene, and oxy fuel, while not used for actual welding much these days, is still extremely popular,and vital in industry. Not only can it weld, it can solder very large things, braze, heat, cut metal. No well equipped metalworking shop is without one. The main limitation you have in welding with oxy-fuel is it's hard to get enough heat to make certain types of welds like fillet welds. However if need be, this can be overcome with good pre-heating. Oxy-acetylene welding is excellent practice if you want to do TIG welding as the idea of using a separate heat source and filler metal is the same.

If you want to know anything about Oxy-acetylene welding or cutting, this is the single best resource on the internet for the topic: http://www.esabna.com/euweb/oxy_handbook/589oxy2_1.htm

Here is a post I started with info on learning to stick weld: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...2#post346632723

It is my personal opinion, for the price of a good quality MIG machine, you can buy a new oxy-acetylene outfit, and a used stick welder, and have the largest amount of versatility to start with. A good MIG and TIG outfit can be added as your budget allows.

Welding machine duty cycle

For those of you who are new to welding you might have no idea what the duty cycle of a welding machine is. A duty cycle is expressed in % terms of a 10 minute period.

For example, a 20% duty cycle machine can operate for 2 minutes straight out of a 10 minute period. The other 8 minutes the machines must rest, turned on, so the fans can cool her down.

Keep this in mind when purchasing, and using a welding machine.

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 03:38 on Jul 23, 2008

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

More technical info on the various arc welding process and how they work.

First it is important to know that for welds to come out properly, they need to be shielded from the atmosphere. This is done with a variety of ways. What actually defines the various arc welding processes apart is the type of electrode, filler metal, and shielding gas used.

SMAW is the correct term for the processes that are commonly called stick welding, or simply arc welding. SMAW stands for "Shielded Metal Arc Welding." The filler metal acts as the electrode. It is coated in a flux. As the electrode is used and filler metal deposited into the weld bead, the flux burns off creating a plume of gases that surround the weld area. This is how it keeps the atmosphere away. The flux also forms a "slag" on top of the weld bead, protecting it as it cools, and this has to be chipped/clean away.

FCAW is a slightly different form of SMAW. FCAW stands for "Flux Core Arc Welding." The electrode serves as the filler metal, however the flux is on the inside of the filler metal instead of the outside. Also it is in the form of "wire" which is wound on a spool. The wire is fed automatically by the machine. Just like SMAW, the flux burns off creating the shielding gas. This process also produces slag.

GMAW is the correct term for the process that is commonly called MIG. GMAW stands for "Gas Metal Arc Welding." GMAW is similar to FCAW in that the electrode is the filler metal, and is in the form of wire wound on a spool. However there is no flux involved. The shielding gas is either Argon or CO2 stored in a compressed gas cylinder. The machine typically turns the shielding gas on and off for you, however some units you have to do it manually. This process does NOT produce any slag.

GTAW is the correct term for the process that is commonly called TIG. GTAW stands for "Gas Tungsten Arc Welding." You may have have heard the term "Heliarc" That was the brand name of the machine made by the company that invented the GTAW process originally. With this process, the electrode is non-consumable. It is made out of tungsten. The better machines use water for cooling the electrode. The filler metal is added with one hand while the GTAW torch is controlled with the other. The shielding gas is either Argon or CO2 stored in a compressed gas cylinder. The machine typically turns the shielding gas on and off for you, however some units you have to do it manually. This process does NOT produce any slag. BTW, helium is sometimes used as a shielding gas, which is where the Heli in Heliarc came from.

FYI The shielding in oxy-acetylene welding is accomplished by the fact the flame sucks up all spare oxygen. Also, the exhaust gases help to shield the weld pool. Depending on the metal, fluxes may be used too. Some fluxes will be added to the base metals, others will be put on the welding rod by heating it up and sticking in the flux.

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 12:20 on Jul 23, 2008

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

Slung Blade posted:

Oxygen Acetylene welding:
You don't have to worry about electrocuting yourself. The greatest danger is fire, and the resulting house-flattening explosion if your tank cracks

Fire is not as much of a danger with oxy-fuel as it is with arc welding believe it or not. Like the flame, the arc will ignite any flammable gases. But, arc welding produces many more flying sparks, which can fly many feet away from the weld area. Make sure there are no flammable substances anywhere near the work area.

As far as cylinder safety, unless you have very old cylinders, this is not much of a concern. Oxygen, fuel, and shielding gas cylinders all tend to be exchanged instead of re-filled. The cylinders you get during exchange, have been fully inspected before filling. I suggest reading the above website I linked to regarding oxy-fuel work as they have a good section on safe handling of compressed gas cylinders.

Some notes on safety for arc welding. Obviously you need eye and face protection in the form of a welding helmet. Less obvious is the fact you need to wear safety glasses under the welding hood. Sparks can find their way in there and will blind you. Also for the same reason, you should wear ear plugs too, unless you enjoy the idea of hot sparks damaging your ear drums. Also, arcs can be loud depending on their size.

Your clothing needs to be fire resistant. Also you do not want any cuffs on your pants. Hot sparks can collect in the cuff and lights your pants on fire. This is true with grinding too.

You can't have any exposed skin... if you think sunburn is bad, try arcburn.

Fumes. If you have to weld toxic metals, or weld regular metals in a non-ventilated space, you'll need a respirator. Depending on the space your working in, clean atmosphere may have to be pumped in because exhaust gases, ozone, shielding gases, and flux gases can displace the oxygen in the atmosphere and cause asphyxiation.

Electrocution is an issue too. Make sure you don't complete circuits. Also try to keep your clothing as dry as possible. Wetness decreases resistance.

Oh, and by the way, sun glasses are NOT acceptable eye protection for oxy-fuel work.

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 19:49 on Jul 19, 2008

AnomalousBoners
Dec 22, 2007

by Ozma


Arc welding with shielding gas doesn't make flying sparks like it does with flux core wire feed or stick. You don't get flying sparks with TIG.

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

RealKyleH posted:

Arc welding with shielding gas doesn't make flying sparks like it does with flux core wire feed or stick. You don't get flying sparks with TIG.

Interesting! I haven't personally done MIG or TIG welding yet. That will change soon however. I start welding school full time on Aug 25th. I look forward to learning more about welding along with instant instructor feedback. I'm changing careers into welding after doing IT for ten years. I hate cubicles.

By the way, the reason I say that if you want to weld professionally, you should master stick welding, is that it is the process used for most ship building, structural welding, pipe welding, and outside field repair. If you have a good hand with the stick process, you can find a good job almost anywhere, anytime.

If you practice enough, it is actually possible to become a certified weldor with the American Welding Society without going to any formal education. All you have to do is go there, and preform a weld to their satisfaction, which will be tested with both non-destructive, and possibly destructive means. That being said, unless you have lots of time on your hands, you'll learn what you need to know faster at a school.

I'm working on an stick welding primer, and some notes about electrode selection, stay tuned for that.

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 20:35 on Jul 19, 2008

AnomalousBoners
Dec 22, 2007

by Ozma


I've only done flux core MIG but DC tig welding steel is very calming. You just move along and dip...dip...dip... You only hear the gas and its real quiet. AC Tig is another story and is more like others in terms of being noisy. The arc isn't as stable as DC and it makes a distinct buzzing You also have to move fast so its a little more frustrating. I have only done TIG and MIG welding.

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

RealKyleH posted:

I've only done flux core MIG but DC tig welding steel is very calming. You just move along and dip...dip...dip... You only hear the gas and its real quiet.

Well if you want to get really technical flux core is not MIG. It's more appropriate to call it wire fed welding if you don't want to say FCAW. MIG or GMAW, pick your poison, needs to use a shielding gas cylinder. That being said, the process as far as the operator is concerned, is the same, because the electrode is still fed automatically, and they both use Constant Voltage power supplies.

For those of you that don't know, Stick and TIG both require Constant Current power supplies. This is why many good TIG machines will have the setup necessary for stick welding built in them.

I can't wait to try TIG welding. I'm really looking forward to it!

Edit: MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 21:09 on Jul 19, 2008

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns






dv6speed posted:

By the way, the reason I say that if you want to weld professionally, you should master stick welding, is that it is the process used for most ship building, structural welding, pipe welding, and outside field repair. If you have a good hand with the stick process, you can find a good job almost anywhere, anytime.
Shipbuilding and most fabrication have switched to FCAW for outdoor stuff or MIG wherever possible for welders. Alot of people doing tacking/fitting still use stick. Pipe is mostly stick with some TIG on smaller stuff. However, if you know stick, you can pick up MIG and flux core in 10 minutes.

If you want a job with steel, learn to use a cutting torch and stick weld, and enjoy being reliably employed for the rest of your life.

blunt for century
Jul 4, 2008

I've got a bone to pick.



My grandfather taught me how to use Oxy-Acetylene for welding and cutting when I was 14, as well as buying me my first tanks, welding, and cutting heads. I have been doing it ever since, though I am not very good at it. In a few weeks or so, he is gonna teach me wire, TIG, and stick.

I have also learned the basics of blacksmithing about two years ago, and have been doing this as a hobby/side job ever since. Here are some pics.

First is my coal-burning forge and anvil:

Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

The bucket underneath is what i transport and hold coal in for the day. The black pan underneath catches the oil that falls out of the hand cranked bellows. My 90 pound anvil is on the left. My anvil is really rusty because it rained the night before i took the picture.

Here is some stuff I have made:

Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

a tomahawk made out of a ball-pean hammer.


Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

A knife made out of a rail road spike. The blade is about 60-62 Rockwell, which is pretty hard. I did a layering of two steels to make it extremely hard without being brittle.


Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

Here is a work in progress of a chainmail gauntlet I have been working on. Sorry for the pic quality, but i have a terrible camera.


I have made a ton of other things, and if you are interested, just say so and I'll post more pics.

Metalworking is possibly the most manly and fun activity, realistically, that I can think of. Didn't know so many goons were interested...

Punzilupo
Jul 2, 2004



RealKyleH posted:

Lindsay's books has some interesting projects (to say the least) but nothing you cast out of aluminum in your back yard will come close to even an inexpensive made in china or 50 year old American lathe in terms of rigidity, repeatability, precision, etc. It'd made an interesting toy but belt driven lathes can be had for as little as $500 and even if they need a bearing or two, parts are usually cheap. Then theres always the harbor freight lathes.
Having built (along with 2 friends) the Gingery lathe, shaper, and mill, I have to agree with most of what you said, but they aren't toys - though they very obviously aren't production machines either. You can get precise results, if you are willing to take your time and work through the difficulties. Also most of the problems aren't necessarily due to the material (though cast iron would be better), but due to the fact that when building them you are starting from scratch; and the design of the machines is more oriented to that fact than to trying to achieve the core virtues of commercially built machine tools. I've often thought that with the Gingery machines, and a iron-melting furnace, one could build another set of machine tools that would be on par with commercial machines, for the most part. Would it be worth it? Probably not.

AnomalousBoners
Dec 22, 2007

by Ozma


Aside from gigantic engine blocks, where cna I get cast iron to melt cheeply? I will be making a foundry, and I can get aluminum cheap and easy through cast aluminum wheels, but cast iron I dont know where I can get it cheaply and easily like aluminum.

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

RealKyleH posted:

Aside from gigantic engine blocks, where cna I get cast iron to melt cheeply? I will be making a foundry, and I can get aluminum cheap and easy through cast aluminum wheels, but cast iron I dont know where I can get it cheaply and easily like aluminum.

Sources for cast iron:
Old drain pipes
Old bathtubs
Sinks
Old machinery that has no chance of repair

You may consider calling up a bunch of plumbers and general contractors and tell them you are looking for cast iron. You may get it free, or you may have to have to pay a very nominal rate per pound. You can also hit up your local scrap yard if you can't find anything.

If you want to build a foundry for doing mostly cast iron, you want to SERIOUSLY consider a commercially made refractory that does a good 3200F. The homemade clay refractory I make might be OK, time will tell. You will also need an oil burner. Propane isn't hot and efficient enough for it. Also, seriously, please do me a favor and work with aluminum for a few months before attempting an iron melt. Nobody should work with iron as their first metal in a foundry.

I say this for 2 reasons... safety, AND iron is one of the more picky metals to pour and have successful castings.

If you have any other specific foundry questions, I would bring them over to the foundry thread since that tends to be one of the more complex metalworking topics and this thread is already dealing with welding/blacksmithing/machining.

kapalama
Aug 15, 2007

EVERYTHING I SAY ABOUT JAPAN OR LIVING IN JAPAN IS COMPLETELY WRONG, BUT YOU BETTER BELIEVE I'LL ABOUT IT.

PLEASE ADD ME TO YOUR IGNORE LIST.

IF YOU SEE ME POST IN A JAPAN THREAD, PLEASE PM A MODERATOR SO THAT I CAN BE BANNED.


Metal working questions

When filing/shaping aluminum, is there some trick to not fouling your file other than keeping a piece of scrap steel at hand to run your file over once in a while?

Vinegar seems to free/gets the corrosion of brass and bronze. I have heard that the way to free seized/corroded aluminum is with ammonia, but I have never gotten this to work. Are there other tricks for dealing with corroded aluminum? Does ammonia actually work?

EDIT: \/\/\/ Thanks for the tips. I have never used a grinder on Aluminum, but I never knew about that explosion problem.

kapalama fucked around with this message at 15:05 on Jul 20, 2008

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

kapalama posted:

When filing/shaping aluminum, is there some trick to not fouling your file other than keeping a piece of scrap steel at hand to run your file over once in a while?
Get yourself a "file brush" It has very short, stiff, steel bristles that are made for for cleaning anything you could possibly think out of the file. This is useful even when filing steel.

Aluminum is softer, thus why it fouls the file faster. Other then cleaning the file as needed, there isn't much you can do to stop it.

Edit: Note about grinding aluminum... make sure the wheel is meant for it! Grinding wheels meant for ferrous metal can explode. The soft aluminum sticks to the wheel. The aluminum heats up creating "hot spots" on the wheel. Eventually the wheel can't deal with them and will explode sending pieces of grinding wheel in all directions. This will hurt, or possibly even cause personal injury.

Edit2: USE THE FILE BRUSH IN ONE DIRECTION ONLY. Think of it as petting a cat.

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 16:38 on Jul 20, 2008

blunt for century
Jul 4, 2008

I've got a bone to pick.



I was blacksmithing today. I had a few pieces going at once. I was heat treating a RRspike knife, Shaping a trench-spike blade, and testing the hardness of a hammer which I am going to turn into a pickhammer.

All of these are for sale and reserved, but I can show pictures.

Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

My projects are displayed on my crappy chinese anvil.


Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

This is my charcoal making process, for when I do not want to use Bituminous coal. Bituminous coal is very dirty and you do not want to breath in the smoke.


Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

This is the RRspike knife that I am heat treating by Oil-quenching.
First you get the metal red hot and test its heat with a magnet. If the magnet is still attracted to the steel, it is not hot enough. Then you dunk the red-hot steel in sand overnight, this gets the metal very soft and easy to grind on. Then, when the metal is shaped as you want it, you heat it up again. Once the metal is no longer magnetic, again, you dunk it in any sort of hydrocarbon liquid; motor oil, vegetable oil, grease, cosmoline, etc. When the oil stops bubbling, take out your piece, and extinguish the oil. Your piece is now heat treated!


Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

This is me shaping the Trench spike blade, in my kilt, which is great for smithing.


Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

This is the trench spike blade getting prepped for heat treating and shaping.

Keep in mind that my stuff is not meant to look good, but perform exceptionally.

Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

IN STEEL WE TRUST



dv6speed posted:

Fire is not as much of a danger with oxy-fuel as it is with arc welding believe it or not. Like the flame, the arc will ignite any flammable gases. But, arc welding produces many more flying sparks, which can fly many feet away from the weld area. Make sure there are no flammable substances anywhere near the work area.

I know, it was just a joke, sorry.



Backyard Blacksmith posted:


Click here for the full 1600x1200 image.

This is my charcoal making process, for when I do not want to use Bituminous coal. Bituminous coal is very dirty and you do not want to breath in the smoke.

Awesome pictures man, lots of great stuff there. Could you explain your charcoal making process in a little depth please? I'd like to hear how you do it.

I can't really do it much here unfortunatly, the trees are mostly pine in my vicinity. Unless I can get my hands on a pile of old hardwood shipping skids or something.

Astrolite
Jun 29, 2005

Ero Ninja Gundam!

Pillbug

kapalama posted:

Metal working questions

When filing/shaping aluminum, is there some trick to not fouling your file other than keeping a piece of scrap steel at hand to run your file over once in a while?

dv6speed gave most of the advice I know, however I think I heard an old machinist mention that you can drag a piece of chalk along the file. I guess the idea is that the chalk will settle in the crevices in the file, preventing shavings from sticking there. Haven't tried it myself though.

Furthermore, I'd like to add that a lot of fouling can be prevented by using the correct file coarseness. Very coarse files tend not to foul so easily, and will often give surprisingly good surfaces. You can never have too many files.

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

Astrolite posted:

I heard an old machinist mention that you can drag a piece of chalk along the file. I guess the idea is that the chalk will settle in the crevices in the file, preventing shavings from sticking there. Haven't tried it myself though.
I will try this, thanks for the tip. I'm curious how well it works.

Astrolite posted:

You can never have too many files.
TRUTH!

SmokeyXIII
Apr 19, 2008
Not Stephen Harper in Disguise.

That is simply not true.


I haven't done much in the traditional blacksmithing sense but I do weld professionally. I've built things like drilling rigs, service rigs, pressure vessels, pressure piping systems. I've worked mostly with plain carbon steel, but ive done a little bit of stainless and even less aluminum. Mostly the work I do is with the SMAW process, 6010 roots with 7018 fill and cap. I've also done a lot of work with GMAW, FCAW and SAW as well. I've really only done TIG in school but I'm going to be learning how to do pressure pipes with it within the year.

I can foresee myself getting out of the trade within about 10 years, but I imagine ill keep on using the processes to make pieces of furniture or artwork.

Also about the shattering grinding discs, there are people who have actually been killed by exploding disks. Treat those disks with a lot of respect and use them properly!

kapalama
Aug 15, 2007

EVERYTHING I SAY ABOUT JAPAN OR LIVING IN JAPAN IS COMPLETELY WRONG, BUT YOU BETTER BELIEVE I'LL ABOUT IT.

PLEASE ADD ME TO YOUR IGNORE LIST.

IF YOU SEE ME POST IN A JAPAN THREAD, PLEASE PM A MODERATOR SO THAT I CAN BE BANNED.


Astrolite posted:

You can never have too many files.

Ok if we are talking files here, can someone gives me advice on just how you are supposed to make it so that the metal part does not fall out of the handle?

Am I just using cheap-o files?

Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

IN STEEL WE TRUST



kapalama posted:

Ok if we are talking files here, can someone gives me advice on just how you are supposed to make it so that the metal part does not fall out of the handle?

Am I just using cheap-o files?

What kind of handle? Old wooden ones or newer plastic/rubber type ones?


If they're wood, you should be able to give it a few light taps on something hard. Take the handle in hand, and bring it down perpendicular to the surface of whatever you're hitting (handle first), the mass of the file will drive the tang further into the handle.

Don't hit it too hard, you may split the handle if it's really old and dry wood.

If your handles are ruined, which can happen, you can make a new one out of some old broom handle or something like that. Pre-drill a hole in the handle that is slightly too small for the tang, heat the tang up a bit until it's quite hot, and burn the tang into the handle. As it cools, the wood will snug up to the tang and hold it quite securely. I would wrap the file itself in a cold, wet cloth to make sure the temper of the steel doesn't get hosed up, it would ruin the file if that happens.


How are your files coming out anyway? You shouldn't be putting any force into them on the return stroke, it should just skip over the surface of whatever you're filing.

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

Here's another way of making a file handle. This method has the advantage of not splitting the wood handle when you drive it on.

Make the handle just like Slung Blade said. Then make 2 saw kerf cuts in the shape of a cross down the length of the hole you drilled for the file tang. Wrap some copper wire, solid 14ga or smaller is fine, tightly around the 4 wooden "fingers" you just made. You want to wrap the wire so that the "coil" is about 3/4" wide. You can solder, or epoxy the copper wire so it stays in place. Then hammer it on to your file.

This of course, works much better with a hardwood.

I can take a picture of what it looks like, if anyone wants.

Instead of copper wire, you could always smith yourself an iron ring to put over the handle. Or find a piece of pipe that will work. I like to make oval handles, so the pipe won't work for me.

I personally don't like heating the file up, but wrapping in a cold wet cloth as suggested should be OK if you still want to do it.

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 11:36 on Jul 21, 2008

kapalama
Aug 15, 2007

EVERYTHING I SAY ABOUT JAPAN OR LIVING IN JAPAN IS COMPLETELY WRONG, BUT YOU BETTER BELIEVE I'LL ABOUT IT.

PLEASE ADD ME TO YOUR IGNORE LIST.

IF YOU SEE ME POST IN A JAPAN THREAD, PLEASE PM A MODERATOR SO THAT I CAN BE BANNED.


Slung Blade posted:

How are your files coming out anyway? You shouldn't be putting any force into them on the return stroke, it should just skip over the surface of whatever you're filing.

A-HA. I did not know that you were only supposed to file on the push. This is exactly why my files keep falling out.

blunt for century
Jul 4, 2008

I've got a bone to pick.



Slung Blade posted:

Awesome pictures man, lots of great stuff there. Could you explain your charcoal making process in a little depth please? I'd like to hear how you do it.

I can't really do it much here unfortunatly, the trees are mostly pine in my vicinity. Unless I can get my hands on a pile of old hardwood shipping skids or something.

Usually I just make a stack of oak in the "log cabin" style. Then I ball up some paper and put it, with small twigs, in the middle and light it on fire. Then I stack firebrick around and on top of the wood, to restrict the air flow. This makes the wood smolder without actually burning. Occasionally, I spray water from a squirt bottle onto the wood to prevent the burned parts from turning to ash.

Another, better, way is to make a hardwood campfire, and pile wet burlap all over it. I had no burlap as of yesterday, so I had to settle with firebrick.

Hope this helps!

I can also give step-by-step instructions on pretty much anything blacksmithing, if anyone is interested.
I am really glad Slung Blade made this thread.

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

Backyard Blacksmith posted:

I can also give step-by-step instructions on pretty much anything blacksmithing, if anyone is interested.
I AM!

I'm particularly interested in blade forging.

I'm also interested in where are the best places to find anvils, new or used.

Backyard Blacksmith posted:

I am really glad Slung Blade made this thread.
Me too. Perhaps we need to start a goon metalworkers association of some sort.

Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

IN STEEL WE TRUST



dv6speed posted:

I can take a picture of what it looks like, if anyone wants.

I'd love to see this, sounds interesting.

dv6speed posted:

I personally don't like heating the file up, but wrapping in a cold wet cloth as suggested should be OK if you still want to do it.

Yeah, same here, if anyone does this, make sure it's a big, thick cloth, and the water is plenty cold.


kapalama posted:

A-HA. I did not know that you were only supposed to file on the push. This is exactly why my files keep falling out.

Yeah, it doesn't do anything besides wear the teeth out faster. They're kind of like saws, the teeth only face one direction.


Backyard Blacksmith posted:

I can also give step-by-step instructions on pretty much anything blacksmithing, if anyone is interested.
I am really glad Slung Blade made this thread.

Thanks for the info on the charcoal making, if I can ever find some hardwood here in pine/spruce infested Alberta I will give it a try

Do you have any tongs for holding flat bar? I can make simple tongs, but I'm still a little iffy on the jaw section for this type. Imagine you're looking head on into the jaws here:

code:
**-----**
|_______|

(The '*'s should be spaces, but it wasn't lining up for me for some reason )

The top part is easy, but what's the best way to make the bottom? Weld a trough-shaped part onto the hinge? Or just leave a really thick part of the rod and draw it out sideways and then bend the sides up?


Also, it was my pleasure to start the thread. We had a catch-all thread like this months ago, but it died a premature death and shuffled off to the archives as too few metal lovers had found DIY back then

Slung Blade fucked around with this message at 16:54 on Jul 21, 2008

blunt for century
Jul 4, 2008

I've got a bone to pick.



Slung Blade posted:


Thanks for the info on the charcoal making, if I can ever find some hardwood here in pine/spruce infested Alberta I will give it a try

Also, it was my pleasure to start the thread. We had a catch-all thread like this months ago, but it died a premature death and shuffled off to the archives as too few metal lovers had found DIY back then

You can use any type of wood to make charcoal, but hardwood burns hotter and longer. I have used Yellow Pine before and it works just fine; just makes a lot of ash and requires more forge cleaning. Poplar also works.

When I get more pics of blade forging, I will try to do a step-by-step of that.

Have you guys noticed that the DIY goons are much more polite than just about any other goon? Also more literate. Wonder why... Sorry for the derail!

Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

IN STEEL WE TRUST



I'd like to make a small (oil drum sized) charcoal burning retort here one day. Anyone have any experience with those?

I wonder how long it would take until the neighbours run me out of town with pitchforks and torches.


As for why we are how we are, I'm not sure. Maybe it's our independent natures.

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

Slung Blade posted:

I'd love to see this, sounds interesting.
First, let me explain that my Pop-Pop, who is not with us anymore, is the man who taught me everything I know about machines, tools, and everything else. He began as a farmer in the days they still used mules instead of tractors. He later became an HVAC tech.

That being said, this is one his files he made a handle for, where I learned the technique from. It's been holding for over 50 years very strong! You can barely make out the solder in the picture.



Edit: Once I have $3700, I'm getting a Miller Dynasty 200DX Stick/TIG machine:D http://www.millerwelds.com/products...sty_200_series/ That baby can weld anything anywhere.

AbsentMindedWelder fucked around with this message at 17:32 on Jul 21, 2008

Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

IN STEEL WE TRUST



dv6speed posted:

That being said, this is one his files he made a handle for, where I learned the technique from. It's been holding for over 50 years very strong! You can barely make out the solder in the picture.



Edit: Once I have $3700, I'm getting a Miller Dynasty 200DX Stick/TIG machine:D http://www.millerwelds.com/products...sty_200_series/ That baby can weld anything anywhere.

Ah ok, for some reason I thought the wire was wrapped on the tang of the file itself. That's a pretty awesome way to fix a file, thanks for sharing.

If you have any more neat tips and tricks he taught you, would you mind sharing them?

Also holy poo poo, 3700 bucks for an inverter? Would you be using it for industrial purposes or just at home?

AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

Slung Blade posted:

If you have any more neat tips and tricks he taught you, would you mind sharing them?
I got so many I don't know where to begin

Slung Blade posted:

Also holy poo poo, 3700 bucks for an inverter? Would you be using it for industrial purposes or just at home?
Both. That machine can take an input voltage of anywhere from 110v-480v. It can work off 1 or 3 phase power. You can use it at your grandmother's house to weld a railing, or take it to an industrial chemical plant and weld their pipes.

It has the current output and settings for ANY kind of metal.

It goes as little as 1 amp of current to 200 amps and anywhere in between. You could weld an aluminum or titanium razor blade if you wanted to!

Slung Blade
Jul 10, 2002

IN STEEL WE TRUST



Sounds like a cool machine man, I wish I had the money for tools like that.

I just have a cheapo chinese machine that does stick, TIG, and plasma cutting, 20-180 amps (DC only ) and can take 120 or 240v power in. It was a pretty good price for a hobby machine, about 650 bucks, and the duty cycle is actually quite good, 80% if I remember correctly.

Can I borrow yours someday? I'd like to use that 1 amp setting to weld some lead foil together just to say I've done it

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AbsentMindedWelder
Mar 26, 2003

It must be the fumes.

Slung Blade posted:

Sounds like a cool machine man, I wish I had the money for tools like that.
Me too!!! hehe

I expect to have it in less then a year if everything goes the way I want it too.

I can justify the expense however, because I don't know how much money I could have made by now if I had the capability to weld stainless steel WELL. Everyone wants me to make header pipes and other stuff for their car.

Since I'm casting aluminum, I also want to be able to do a good job welding that. I plan on doing casting for hire soon as well.

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