Smithing is a tough job in itself. The heat of the furnace is enough to drive away any people not passionate about it. But beating up metal on an anvil can get tiresome for anyone, passionate or not. A power hammer can beat metal into shape fairly easily and we are here to tell you how to make one in this guide.
Regardless of how machines have overtaken the toughest jobs, smithing is a very old art and quite a hard one to say the least. But a few tools in the workshop can make a smith’s job a lot easier. One of these is a power hammer that can beat metal into shape fairly easily.
Everyone working in a workshop knows how expensive power hammers are. They are pretty expensive and can cost plenty if you buy a branded one. So most smiths out there who cannot afford it, build one themselves.
How a Power Hammer Can Make Smithing Easier
There are a few tools that can significantly impact the speed of a smith’s work. You can create really fine quality tools by hand too. But it takes tons of time compared to what you can achieve with these advanced tools. Although many tools can make a smiths work easier, few compare to the importance of a power hammer.
A power hammer as its name suggests is basically a hammering machine. By using it you can move metal much faster than you could with your hand. The hammer constantly hits the metal when you push the pedal with piston-like action. Also, you adjust the force of the hammer with the pedal as well.
The power hammer reduces your work by half as it does most of the hammering for you. And you can adjust force, pause the hammer and move metal through it fairly easily. It can exert tremendous strength through mechanical means that is not possible with normal means.
How to Build a Power Hammer Yourself
So building a power hammer requires quite a few things. You will need quite a lot of steel, concrete, a powerful motor, a large spring. You will also need a steel wire and a small spring for the pedal. For creating the piston-like movement you will need a wheel.
By following these steps you can construct the power hammer yourself.
Step 1) Create a Frame
Start by creating a frame on which you will be mounting the whole mechanism. The frame is usually made from a square tube made of rigid and strong steel. You need to make sure the frame is durable. You are going to be mounting powerful moving mechanisms on it that will require quite some strength.
Step 2) Mounting the Hammer Die
Making the frame will require you to attach a hammer die to a crankshaft using a toggle and spring system. These have been quite refined through time to provide the best results. As the piston-like mechanism moves the hammer up and down, the spring is the component that takes the brunt of the impact.
Step 3) Mounting the Wheel
The wheel is what basically moves the whole mechanism. You can use a wheel and axle from a broken car. Or you can make your own wheel mechanism that moves the hammer. Making the wheel can be a bit time-consuming. You should try to find a wheel and a broken axle and use that instead. It will make the job that much easier and might even save you time and money.
Step 4) Making the Anvil
While you are constructing the frame, you will also be constructing the anvil since these both go hand in hand. The anvil needs to be constructed out of solid steel since it needs to be strong. The mechanism will be hammering the hammer die on this anvil constantly. So the anvil needs to be fairly heavy.
Step 5) Attaching the Motor
The next step is the mount a motor on the frame that will move the wheel mechanism. It should be a variable speed motor that can be adjusted with a foot pedal using an electric clutch control.
Step 6) Making a Pedal for Speed Adjustment
You can make the pedal out of steel plates. The pedal is attached to the frame and uses tension from a clutch wire and spring to keep it up in place. The pedal is used to control the electric clutch control that changes the speed of the motor. So when you press the pedal hard it hammers at full power.
Step 7) Attaching the Motor to Wheel
The wheel is what moves the mechanism up and down using a piston movement. You can either attach the motor directly to the wheel or you can use a belt to create mechanical force. The mechanical force means more torque for the wheel which results in powerful blows.
Step 8) Holding the Hammer Steady
If you do not have a solid foundation for the frame, the whole hammer will wave like a tree on a windy day. For that, you need to first use a gym mat that can absorb vibrations and put the hammer mechanism over it. Then you need to anchor the whole hammer in the ground using concrete anchors. The mat reduces the vibration and prevents the ground from being damaged from the movement.
Once your power hammer is constructed, all that is left for you to do is test it out. You can test out the power of the hammer yourself by moving metal through it. You can then figure out the pressure required on the pedal for controlling the speed and power of the hammer.
Some Tips and Tricks
- While using the power hammer, always wear safety equipment. No matter what kind of work you do in a workshop always use safety equipment. It might not protect you completely but will definitely dampen any damage that you might receive from a tool improving your chances of survival.
- Make sure the electric clutch control is working properly and adjust the pedal tension accordingly. This might take a little trial and error for creating perfect control over the variations of the motor speed.
- Keep giving your homemade power hammer maintenance every now and then. You would not want the hammer to malfunction or worst-case scenario, come apart while you are hammering. You are going to not only save the hammer but your life as well.
- Use a strong spring for the connection between the hammer and the crankshaft. This will make sure that the hammer does not break from the force of the impact.
- Make sure to not overheat the steel while you are hammering at it. This will break the steel when you are hammering it with the power hammer. Also if you hammer cold steel you will develop cracks in it. Make sure the steel reaches ideal temperatures before you move it with the power hammer.