forge - Drum or Rotor?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Western Washington
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    2,936

    forge - Drum or Rotor?

    building my first small forge, the question is do I use a brake drum, or a brake rotor? The rotor allows me to have better access to the center of the fire, but I may lose coal off the sides while in use. The drum will hold the coal better, but it makes the fire VERY large which wastes fuel.

    what are your thoughts?
    There are no problems. There are only solutions. It's your duty to determine the right one.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    308

    Re: forge - Drum or Rotor?

    Drum. Insulate it with rock wool too.
    I can't see using a brake rotor
    Hey~!! It's a hobby. It's not supposed to make sense~!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    B.C. Canada
    Posts
    2,344

    Re: forge - Drum or Rotor?

    Drum. You load the outside with wet coal and as you move it to the center it turns to coke. You don;'t want the fire to spread out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    3,418

    Re: forge - Drum or Rotor?

    1/2" plate and 7018..and may your fitup be better than mines..
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    Last edited by weldbead; 06-05-2013 at 06:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    North of Philly
    Posts
    15,217

    Re: forge - Drum or Rotor?

    I basically built something similar to what Weldbead did.

    http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=146321

    If I had to choose between a drum and rotor, I'd pick the rotor myself. The drum is just way too big unless you line it with fire clay or something else to reduce the volume. I'd solve the issue of having the coal fall off by adding a "table" around the drum to hold the coal and allow me to keep moving it in towards the fire. Since the table itself doesn't get all that hot, it can be made of fairly thin material. I think my table is either 14 or 16 ga tops around my fire pot. Most traditional forges had a table around the fire pot to hold coal.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    782

    Re: forge - Drum or Rotor?

    DSW...

    Apologies to ThorsHammer if I am hijacking this thread, but I need your opinion. I'm making a forge as well, using a car brake drum. I plan on a small table, 18" x 24", drum 10" +/- diameter, using 1/4" plate for the table and 3/16" x 2" sides. I'll cut a hole in the plate to drop the drum in for easy removal. Using angle iron for frame and 2" black iron for plumbing.

    Do you think the 1/4" is too heavy/overkill for the table? Maybe this info will help Thors as well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    North of Philly
    Posts
    15,217

    Re: forge - Drum or Rotor?

    If you have it, go ahead and use it. I wouldn't probably go out and buy 1/4" just for the table, though there's no reason you can't use it, other than the fact the forge will get very heavy, very fast. If you go with thinner metal, you'll just have to make sure you have enough support where the fire pot is. Mine was made from a few left over pieces of either 14 or 16 ga sheet as mentioned above. The top did warp slightly when I raked out a really large hot fire one day to shut down the forge. The bottom oilcanned slightly where as heavier plate probably wouldn't have. However my forge is already about as heavy as I'd want it to be to pick it up and move it by myself. It could be heavier, but it's just plain awkward between the size, plus all the stuff sticking out the bottom. A semi permanent stand with wheels is on the possible list of projects for my forge class in July.


    Biggest issue I'd see with the drum is the huge size of the fire pot as mentioned above. You want your pieces laying on or thru the fire, not jammed down in the bottom. All the impurities will settle down to the bottom of your pot, leaving the clean burning coke up at the top. This is especially true if you plan to forge weld. You want to mound up your coke and have the piece you are working on in the middle of the fire. A deep pot means you either need massive amounts of fuel, which is a waste, and makes heat control that much harder, or you have to jam the pieces down into the pot which can limit the size of what you work on. Note that the sides of my forge are cut down even with the top of the fire pot roughly. This allows me to heat a long piece. If I need a bigger fire, I simply mound on more coke/coal.


    2" seams to be pretty standard for air piping on all the commercial forges I've looked at. It's readily available and not terribly expensive on average.


    If you have questions, let me know. I'll be glad to try and answer them. I'll be away this weekend starting Friday night, but I'll try to look in if I get the chance when time and facilities permit while I'm away.
    .



    No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!

    Ronald Reagan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    782

    Re: forge - Drum or Rotor?

    DSW, thanks for the info on the forge.

    I opted for a drum since I may be heating segments up to a foot long for bending and forming. If I run into a fuel problem, I can always mod it to use a rotor instead for small pieces.

    I have 1/4" available for the table and maybe it would be better to ward off any warping. I do plan on 6" or 8" wheels and 1/2" axle on one end to make moving it easier, for sure!!

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