WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from April 1 - 7, 2012 on the Guru's Den
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New Lubricant : Jock, I got some of the information you requested about the lubricant/coolant we discussed. It certainly works like a charm and a lot of smithies here use it for both purposes. It has 2 usues as a coolant- or rather 2 excellent properties. It has a very high specific heat capacity of around 4,200 Joules per Kg per degree C. Maybe one of the others can work that out in Farenheit. That is actually quite a bit higher than steel! The second characteristic though is that it takes another 2,270 Kj per litre to make the stuff boil so even hot it is still drawing quite a lot of heat out of what you are trying to cool. I can't measure how good a lubricant it actually is, although it is good, but have heard about tests which if you believe them suggest it can reduce friction by upto about 80%. Certainly it makes cutting and drilling steel a good deal easier! I haven't been able to find any haz mat certificate. In USA is all that done on a state by state basis or is it all the same nationally? If you let me know how to find Haz Mat or COSHH legislation I can check.
   Tubal Cain - Sunday, 04/01/12 05:15:24 EDT

Coolant Lubricant :
Tubal, The best I can find out about it is that it is not regulated. It is non-toxic, non-flammable, has no VOC's, no special handling or labeling requirements, no PPE required. In fact it is used in/with many medical and personal hygiene products.

However, it does react violently with some metals, acids and strong alkalies.

I also found the following warnings:

Acute over exposure: Inhalation can result in asphyxiation and is often fatal. Chronic overexposure: Chronic inhalation overexposure not encountered.

Skin Contact
Acute overexposure: Prolonged but constant contact with liquid may cause a mild dermatitis. Chronic overexposure: Mild to severe dermatitis.

Acute overexposure: Excessive ingestion of liquid form can cause gastric distress and mild diarrhea. In extreme cases or rapid ingestion of large quantities hyponatremia can occur and possibly death.
Chronic overexposure: No effects noted.

I can find no published data on that high a friction reduction for hot work but in other fields it seems to be very useful.

I'll look up and publish the chemical constituents later today.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/01/12 09:34:33 EDT

I know I'm late on the stainless stamping topic, as Jock noted hydraulic presses are used industrially for stamping. For most hobbyists this may be out of your range. How about a nice used arbor press? We're talking cold stamping, right? When I make and sell stainless swords for swallowing, I stamp them on one side with a personalized serial number and the other side with my initials. I use a relatively moderately priced letter-number set and do my strikes on one of my anvils with a leather pad in between. A 3 pound hammer is sufficient and I am stamping on 14 to 12 gauge sheeet.
   - Nippulini - Sunday, 04/01/12 09:52:35 EDT

Arbor Presses - Punches :
Arbor presses don't have much punch for their size. They are designed for long stroke tasks such as pushing arbors in and out of parts to be machined, do light broaching and light pressing of fits.

My Greenerd #3-3/4, 5 Ton arbor press is a huge thing that weighs over 500 pounds and needs a bench, stand or table to mount it on of equal or greater weight. It was misused by someone by sledge hammering the end of the ram, probably trying to press a bearing out or some such job that needs a hydraulic press. It needs a heavy stand that is bolted to the floor to get full capacity out of it. . .

A bench top jeweler's hydraulic press that weighs 1/10th as much can produce 3 or 4 times the force. But even then the cold stamping it could do is limited. Would work great on a small touchmark.

I've had enough character punches fly off like bullets that if I had much of it to do I would make a fixture to hold the punch. I've got punches from 5/16" to 3/32" and used to put a big logo on shovels and dustpans in 1/4" characters. "DEMPSEY'S OLD MILL AND FORGE" with a small anvil and date in smaller characters. Customers loved it and were will to pay more . . . But it was a LOT of work by hand.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/01/12 15:24:32 EDT

A knife maker came to our guild a few years ago and demonstrated stamping with a small arbor press. He pulled the stamp against the blade he was stamping, then whacked the top of the ram with a big hammer. There were a number of gasps from the audience. But it was about a $50 press, and I guess it would stamp quite a few knife blades before the ram got too messed up to use.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 04/01/12 20:22:57 EDT

Coolant Lubricant : :
I looked it up. . its Dihydrogen Oxide. Very good stuff. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 04/01/12 22:58:47 EDT

Arbor Presses : The ram on my big press is 2-1/2" in diameter and the top mushroomed out to about 2-3/4" from the abuse. It stops about 1" of its design stroke. To disassemble and repair the press I'll have to grind off the mushrooming and inch or so of swelling as well as hand dress the rack teeth in that area. . .

After sorting it out I want to modify it with a socket for 1" shank tooling, an end cap for when there is no tooling in use, plus an eye bolt on the top for a return counter weight (the hand wheel takes two hands to lift the ram back to the top. . .). To do so I'll need to get the ram into the lathe to face and bore the working end.

   - guru - Sunday, 04/01/12 23:32:07 EDT

Coolant/lubricant : I have used that stuff, but We added soulable oil to it so it worked even better.

Some people would like to see it banned, as it does kill many people every year.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 04/02/12 00:17:53 EDT

Dihydrogen Monoxide : Guru, here is a page that details the dangers of dihydrogen Monoxide:
Dang, and I have been using this stuff in my quench tank for years! I wonder how to safely dispose of it?
   quenchcrack - Monday, 04/02/12 10:32:43 EDT

I found several very good MSDS on the substance but none agreed in full. I added the part about excessive short term ingestion being fatal. Few people realize they can OD on it. It happens most often during hazings and contest shows but infants are easily affected.

All documentation agreed that there are no special disposal precautions.
   - guru - Monday, 04/02/12 10:48:19 EDT

My problem is not disposal, its that I do not work in the shop enough and it evaporates before I get a chance to use it OR mice and insects get into it. I should probably cover it better.
   - guru - Monday, 04/02/12 11:01:29 EDT

And to think that my town will actually pump low-pressurized dihydrogen oxide into my house for a small fee...
   Alan-L - Monday, 04/02/12 14:42:17 EDT

DHMO : Consider yourself very fortunate, Alan. Down here, we have to collect the stuff in the wild and carefully store for use later.
   Rich Waugh - Monday, 04/02/12 17:31:38 EDT

Any sources for a good case hardening compound? Figured since we're talking toxic chemicals...
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 04/03/12 11:22:33 EDT

Cyanide is commonly used but most places are getting away from it for obvious reasons. . .

For the small shop true casehardening (part, charcoal, sealed) works the best if you want more than a microscopic surface treatment. Bone charcoal is supposedly more effective than wood charcoal.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/03/12 12:43:58 EDT

Camo Dip Kits : I am looking to see if anyone has used these camo dipping kits before:


   Sledge - Tuesday, 04/03/12 15:49:42 EDT

Camo Dip Kit : I camo dipped my chain saw so I could sneak up on trees when I am hunting firewood. I felled a nice tree, put the chainsaw down in the grass and never saw it again....
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 04/03/12 16:28:19 EDT

Looks pretty expensive to cover a MAX of 16 square feet and probably less with waste. Anyone with a minimal amount of hand skill knowing what they want could produce similar results with three or four $5 cans of spray paint. . . with the exception of the photographic effects.

The only purpose I could see is for a product when you need fairly uniform finishes for a catalog operation. The big problem is still cost. And I can see a lot of preparation masking various areas and clean out the paint the floats into the wrong places. . . There is STILL a lot of labor and the tanks and whatnot are not part of the cost.

There are all kinds of ways to productionize camouflage and decorative paint jobs. For a brief time back in the 70's custom car painters used lace as a mask to paint decorative areas. It was kind of a cheap cheat and did not hold up long as a desired style. That was just before high art fantasy air brush works came on the auto scene. Fully original works of art done on the vehicular surface.

The lace was a form of stencil. I've designed three color heaxagonal matrix stencils that tiled so that you could cover a variety of surfaces with what looked like a random camo pattern. Stencils can also be used free handed such as the way leaf stencils are used on some camo paint jobs. These work very well over a general broken two color area (tiger stripes with soft edges).

If you PRACTICE this kind of art you can get very good at reproducing similar patterns time and time again OR be completely original every time. All without any high degree of artistic rendering skill.

Now, HERE is a resource.


They sell areosol spray cans of paint in a wide variety of colors AND sell spray caps or tips that vary the spray pattern from wide to narrow lining. $100 worth of paint from these guys will cover a lot moe than 16 square feet. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/03/12 18:18:58 EDT

Case Hardening Compound : Kasenit is the store-bought stuff and it works okay for a hard layer a few thousandths thick. You can get it at MSC Ind. Supply or McMaster-Carr, I'm sure. There will undoubtedly be a haz-mat shipping fee.
   Rich Waugh - Tuesday, 04/03/12 19:40:27 EDT

The Kaynes sell Kasinit which is now cyanide free.

I never recommend these compounds because the old ads implied you could make all kinds of tools that need to be tool steel from mild steel. A hard surface does nothing for a soft core. AND is it is just too easy to pick up used tools and springs for such purposes.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/03/12 19:53:05 EDT

tool and Die schools : hello everyone, I am wondering what people's thoughts are about going into tool and die making. I am 21 and have graduated from high school and am just finishing up my second year of college(many of which classes were metalworking related). The last two semesters of school I have been preparing to transfer to a different school and start in a metallurgical engineering program, but I think I might be more successful and happy in an actual metalworking trade itself. I have a strong metalworking background thus far, with both formal and informal education in machining, welding and blacksmithing. I could really use some advice about the idea of going into this field (especially with what I've heard) and where the "harvard" of metalworking or tool and die making is located. I live in Utah, but there is nothing "tool and die" specific in the whole state that I know of. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. thanks.
   RM Howell - Tuesday, 04/03/12 21:53:19 EDT

RM, Most trade school courses in this regard are pretty much the same. They are the the elementary school basics. High school is your first industry job where you have an apprentice card and graduate to the next level or two. College is when you are hired as a journeyman machinist in your next job. Graduate school is the next job. . .

Most of the folks I've known that took various machine shop and metalworking courses were never taught the entire book for the course. Often part of the book was the course and there were no follow up or advanced courses to finish the book. IF you have taken any of these kinds of courses then finish the book on your own. Try to find access to the machines or tools being discussed.

If you want a really broad inclusive education in the field you will need to be willing to move from place to place and job to job in true Journeyman fashion. OR move to a big industrial city and keep changing jobs. Learn everything you can at one place then move to the next. Its often the only way to get a raise these days in most industries, so it is expected.

Your two year Associate degree will help but these days a four year degree is your best assurance of steady employment. On the other hand technology changes so fast these days that to keep up you have to continuously update your skills. More and more shop tech is computer related and CAD skills are helpful as many machines run directly from converted CAD drawings. Understanding standards (ASTM, MIL SPEC. . ) is becoming a critical skill even at shop level.

Just a few decades ago Tool and Die guys did almost everything by hand. There were various hydraulic tracer mills but they followed a hand made pattern made from blue prints by a skilled worker and the results were often worked by hand to perfection after the machine was through. Today most complicated die sinking is done using digital models and stereo lithography. Rapid prototypers often make original models from 3D CAD drawings and they in turn are used to sink dies using EDM.

Quite a bit of work is still being done by hand but those jobs are disappearing fast (moving to low wage countries). But there will always be a demand for guys that can step into a job on an unfamiliar machine, figure it out as he sets up the job and be making parts the same day. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/04/12 01:40:27 EDT

Books for the Courses Above : The three primary references I know are:

1) Metalwork : Technology and Practice (a standard covering the basics)
2) Modern Welding (a standard)
3) Machine Tool Practices - Wiley (covers most machine tools)

All three of these books are constantly updated and the authors change so I have not listed them. They are the most common text books in IA classes. I would also recommend a manual drafting course (on top of CAD).

Supporting these references are:

Machinery's Handbook - Industrial Press (any edition unless it is for a course - I would want an old 1950-60's edition and a new one).

The (New) American Machinists Handbook - McGraw-Hill

Mark's Mechanical Engineers' Handbook 6th Edition (I think that is the last). This is more of an engineering reference than Machinery's but cover's many topics in a different light.

Besides the first three basic text books there have also been numerous books written on machine work. Many are in reprint but often they are book one of two where book two gets into the more unusual manual machines, vertical turret lathes, slotters, cylindrical grinders, gear hobs . . These are the ones to find.

There are also a bunch of new books that are down and dirty how-to or what used to be called "shop kinks" - those little tricks that increase efficiency and make job shops pay. Industrial Press publishes and distributes a number of them.

Machine Shop Essentials by Marlow
Machine Shop Trade Secrets by Harvey
Welding Essentials - Galvery and Marlow
Welding Fabrication and Repair - Marlow

I had some issues with the welding books and have not published a review. Marlow reproduced the stock material sections illustration from the 1940's Machinery's Handbook that includes 5 sided Pentagon bar. . . something that may have never existed and certainly does not now. Its getting difficult enough to find octagon bar in alloy steels. . .

If you memorize Machine Shop Trade Secrets you may become the "go-to" guy in the shop. . .

Years ago we dealt with a two brothers that ran a job shop. I watched one setup and drill a six bolt circle on a flange. He calculated the coordinates faster than most people can get the work in the vise and had the job done faster than I could make a dimensioned sketch by hand. In the job shop its skills like these that makes the difference.

Another fellow we had working for us needed a large boring bar for a job. Most boring bars are never the right size and stiffness is critical to get a decent finish. He picked up a piece of 2" (50mm) diameter bar and welded a carbide tipped turning tool to the end. He bored the hole, cut off the end of the bar and put it back in the stock rack. . .

You don't learn these techniques in the classroom. You learn them in the shop, on the job.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/04/12 10:36:21 EDT

Tool and die makers : The very best general-purpose machinists I've known were tool and die men who were riffed from big companies that downsized. These guys went on their own with used machines they bought carefully and in most cases rebuilt completely and now stay very busy doing one-off jobs that simply aren't profitable, (or in some cases possible) for the big specialized CNC shops. These are guys who have both the machine tool experience and knowledge PLUS very good business sense and the savings or credit worthiness to get financing. None of them got out of school and opened a business immediately, they all spent ten or more years in industry really learning the ropes. I think there will always be a market for guys like this to serve, but it requires getting your name out to the potential client base.

Dave Boyer is one guy who can probably give you some very good advice about tool and die work. He's one of the most generally knowledgeable guys I've ever met when it comes to metal working and I'd consider whatever he says to have some serious weight behind it. Jeff Reinhardt (ptree) is another guy with considerable experience in industry dealing with tool and die men, and he'd be another source of good information. I'd guess that both Dave and Jeff will offer some suggestions.

One thing I will advise, though I'm not a tool and die man, is that you get all the educational certificates you can reasonably amass. College degree(s), trade school certs, seminar certs from machine tool manufacturers, etc. While they may mean little in terms of your real world knowledge, they do give you a basis for negotiating salary with an employer. Employers often like (read, need) paper certs to comply with union and/or labor board regs when setting salaries, so the more you give them, the more easily they can pay you what you think you're worth. Hopefully, anyway. (grin)
   Rich Waugh - Wednesday, 04/04/12 10:54:12 EDT

Tool and Die school : I'm listening. Does it help to go into a specific tool and die program verses a basic machine tool program? I have already had one full semester of machine tool after high school and some machine tool as a high school student.
   RM Howell - Wednesday, 04/04/12 12:28:09 EDT

Specific programs at many community colleges and trade schools are usually setup in cooperation with local industry who need people with those skills. They provide the prerequisites and filtering for an apprenticeship position. Basically they show the employer that you are trainable. Most of these schools also require math and writing classes which the employer also wants their people to have.

For answers to these questions you need to talk to the counselors at the school. There is usually no mystery about who is sponsoring the program and the school often knows how many people they are hiring.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/04/12 13:16:56 EDT

Tool and die makers : While trade schools are a good option, many of the very best tool and die makers I ever worked with wereguys who worked their way up in union shops and went from Operator to machinist to lead made to tool grinders to tool and die makers all through apprentice programs. Many of these programs are now sadly gone.
In the shops I grew up in that had these programs it was generally a 15 to 20 years on the job to reach tool and die apprentice, and about 2 years as an apprentice.
At VOGT as I recall, the T&D apprentice program called for 2000 "Good Hours" IE doing the tasks prescribed for the program, which also included night school classes. Once a journeymen's card was achieved, those guys could run any machine and make any part and were true masters of the machine tool trade. At Vogt we had over 450 major machine tools and every process I can think of, so lots of experience available. We were probably unusual though.
We hired many of our "Operators" from a local trade school, and these were the pool for most of our stars.
These old school T&D guys made me look good every time. I gained their trust, listened and they helped me learn to "Design for manufacture" That is, draw the parts to be made by the equipement available, in ways that allowed use of STANDARD tooling and components whereever possible. I learned most of what little I know about machineing from these guys.
   ptree - Wednesday, 04/04/12 13:46:01 EDT

Design details and OJT :
My dad came up through the design world starting with an art degree and a mechanical background (Grandpa ran a garage and Dad served as a machinists mate in the Navy). His first job was for a company that did a broad range of artistic design. He created the original Piggly Wiggly Pig, created fancy Coca-Cola type logos for businesses in the Cincinnati area then went on to a mechanical engineering firm as a draftsman. There he started making detail part drawings using ink on linen then moved on to doing design work. In five years he worked at 4 businesses supporting machine tool manufacturers, automotive production lines and testing the engines for the X-15 rocket plane. Then he moved on to a design job with Babcock and Wilcox. They were looking for a machine designer with a broad range of experience and creative background.

At B&W he designed some of the world's first automated robots, then moved on to full scale atomic reactor core mock-ups, then control rod drives. The shop he headed also built and mechanically tested reactor fuel assemblies. From there he moved into quality control. . . which at the time was a euphemism for expediter. What needed expedited was pumps, specifically the seals which did not work. He spent the next decade working in pumps including patenting the balanced moment seal, a basic mechanical patent which solved a problem all high pressure rotary seals have that was not fully understood. After retiring he spent the next 20 years in the same pumps. We fixed those nagging problems the pumps had from the day they were first installed, leaking gaskets.

The point, he started simple as an artist, learned on the job and worked his way up to nuclear engineering.

I learned to make detail drawings from my Dad. We had our own drafting standard. In general terms it simply said that drawings will be understandable and notes will be as copious as needed. Dimensioning was to the old standards that everyone from engineers down to apprentices could understand. Tolerances were as loose as possible to get the job done. Our drawings had shading, screws and gears rendered, not just mysterious centerline symbols. . . There were as many views and cross sections as were deemed necessary to make the drawings clear and understandable. We drew on gridded Mylar and some of our 1/4 scale drawings were as much as 14 feet long. . .

We always received praise from our subcontractors because of our easy to understand drawings. I use the same drawing standards in my CAD drawings.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/04/12 16:16:59 EDT

I was thinking of using a case hardening compound for a few reasons. One, I do not own a coal forge, my gassers wont fit a box. Two, I plan on making some anvil swages and fullers from mild steel and figured a good tough hard shell would be nice. My newest anvil (the 172 pound PW) has a 1" hardie hole, all my hardie tools are 3/4" for my little 100 pounder Wilkinson.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 04/04/12 16:43:36 EDT

What do you need to do to be able to sell your creations : Hello, My name is Joseph and I love to do blacksmithing, Im 17 and Im doing a project for school for economics where we have to get a budget set up. And I wanted to know how much it would cost to actually get a whole workshop, and all the tools?
   Joseph - Wednesday, 04/04/12 17:13:20 EDT

What do you need to do to be able to sell your creations : And if I wanted to sell my stuff would i need a permit?
   Joseph - Wednesday, 04/04/12 17:14:55 EDT

Joseph this question totally depends on what country you are in---which you didn't provide. This is the world wide web you know.

May I point out that a whole workshop for someone doing knifemaking is quite different than one for someone doing ornamental gates. You must specify your questions to get answers that make sense.

We also have a stated policy not to do people's homework for them; but will help point you in the right directions.

BTW don't forget your salary, cost of commercial space, insurance and tax costs, costs of fuel and materials, advertising, HEALTH INSURANCE if you live in a country that doesn't provide health care, money towards retirement. Sales staff, cost of attending craft fares or a Gallery "cut". Also think about costs of increasing your knowledge and skills through attending classes and conferences. Oh yes don't forget the cost of capital!!!

If you are in the United States of America I'd check to see if the Small Business Administration had any help available locally that you could use to work up a business plan.
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 04/04/12 18:07:20 EDT

Jock, I started as a tester in the lab, moved to doing process troubleshooting in the shops and then machine re-design, then machine design and eventually the title of Plant engineer. In the middle I also ran the powerhouse. I had an opportunity that seldom exists anymore, a huge company, family owned that saw raw talent and mentored and guided and provided opportunity to learn grow and advance. Those shops were like a playground to a techno-freak like me. Like your Dad, I had military experience, had a engineering associate and went from there. Drew ink on cloth, did a bit of CAD, learned Hydraulics pneumatics piping steam boilers and big compressors. Learned to do rigging etc.
The key is ;earn! nothing is too trivial, too far from your field.
When you feel confident you have nothing more to learn, you have it down, retire.
   ptree - Wednesday, 04/04/12 18:37:58 EDT

Getting started in the Tool & Die trade : The usual way to become a tool and die maker is through apprenticeship. Some states set standards and recognise apprenticeships, it helps to be in a state recognised program if You change employers before completing an apprenticeship.

Typically, a tool and die apprenticeship requires 8,000 to 10,000 shop hours and 4-5 years of night school or corospondence school. You may get some credit for schooling You have recieved previously, or related work in the field, that is up to the employer.

You need to find a company that offers an apprenticeship, and that has become more dificult in the last 20 years. You may have to move to a more industralised area.

Having some trade theory and actual hands on machine shop training through vo-tec school or community college makes You a more desirable candidate for apprenticeship in the eyes of an employer.

Union shops genrally offer apprenticeship positions to employees on a seniority basis before offering to the general public. If the only companies You can find offering apprenticeship work on this principle, You may have to take a production job first and wate Your turn.

Some job shops offer tool & die apprenticeship but never do specific tool and die work. In this situation You do learn how to make parts, but You don't get experience with the actual mechanics of any type of tool, die or mold. If You have a good mechanical aptitude, You can redily adapt to other jobs requirements when You get them.

I worked in tool & die in an era when most of the work was done with manual machines. Today as the others mentioned, You will be using CNC machinery for some of the machining, and the blueprints will be CAD generated. You will need to be comfortable working on inch graduated machines, but from metric drawings. No big deal. Shop math is heavy on algebra and trigonometry, learn it and be comfortable with it.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 04/04/12 21:31:33 EDT

Surface Hardened Tools : Nip, The kind of tools you are speaking of need to be tougher than mild steel. The case hardening would help reduce frictional wear from the scale but do nothing to reduce the distortion. Fullers need to be hard and tough. Bottom swages do not need to be as hard but will still distort with use.

If you make these tools from mild steel DO NOT case harden them. It will just be a place for cracking to occur. 4140 is a good steel for this purpose.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/04/12 21:35:17 EDT

What do you need to do to be able to sell your creations?

Joseph, As Thomas noted it depends on where you live. See our FAQ The Law and Blacksmithing. If you are in India you need permission from every level of government and political or religious organization to setup a manufacturing facility. If you live in Hong Cong the last report was you needed to do nothing.

Then there is the practical side. Your products need to be well made, look good, be durable and well finished. They also need to be competitive. We live in a global market. Workers living in Asia living and working working on a dirt floor sell products imported to the U.S. Workers in Eastern Europe where the economy is still in the dumps produce beautiful work using modern machinery AND sell it in the U.S.

In the U.S. IF you want to make a full time living from your products you probably need a minimum of $20,000 to as much as $50,000 in equipment if you buy new. As noted it depends on the TYPE of product. Then you start with a list of tools. But you will also need a place to work. This cost varies tremendously according to location. You may be working out of a barn on your farm. OR you may need to rent in an industrial area.


Cutoff Saw
Drill Press
Oxy-Acetylene Welding setup AND cylinders (rented + fuel).
Arc Welder (MIG or TIG for production work)
Power Hammer OR Press depending on the type of work
Vibratory Finisher to deburr, descale and clean up (See Burr King).
Air Compressor to run hand tools if NOT part of power hammer cost.
Heavy steel work benches and OR weld plattens.
Hoist, Crane or Fork Lift to handle machinery and product.
Various production hand tools and small tools (files, grinders).
Various hand tools (mechanics set to maintain tools and machines).
Tool Chest(s) to organize and store tools.
Stock Rack and Steel Shelves

You may also need machine tools to make dies and forms for making your product.

12" Engine Lathe
Bridgeport Type Milling Machine
Accessories and tooling for both (doubles the cost).

Depending on how accurate you want to be determines how detailed the list. Then you go on line and start pricing equipment. DO NOT go to Harbour Freight, Grizzly, Northern Tool or the other online discount chains. A shop quote from them will give you equipment that will only last from a month to six months with few exceptions.

When you have better defined your question (it begs of details), then we can help you better. But you will have to go out and get the prices. I recommend you start with a spreadsheet.

You will also have to set a shop rate. . . Its more difficult than you would think and most people do it poorly and end up poor.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/04/12 22:22:28 EDT

Nip, if you do not have access to 4140 for tooling, truck axles from the junkyard will work well, just oil quench. I am using many anvil tools from truck axle in the as forged condition and they work fine on hot steel. Avoid water quench on axle stock, it tends to quench crack easily
   ptree - Thursday, 04/05/12 07:07:11 EDT

For hand held fullers and groovers flat stock works pretty well. That means leaf springs which are mostly SAE 5160. The as-forged condition works pretty well as ptree noted above. Otherwise this is an oil quench steel.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/05/12 08:11:15 EDT

Hardy Tools : Nip,

It is easier to make one adapter to sleeve down the 1" hardy hole to accept 3/4" shanks than it is to make all those new tools. A few little bits of 1/8" flat bar or sheet and a twenty minutes cutting and welding and you're done. I make them with a 1" flange all around the hole to support the hardy tools evenly and prevent the sleeve from falling through the hole.
   Rich Waugh - Thursday, 04/05/12 09:58:51 EDT

1" to 3/4---you ought to be able to find some sq tubing that will do that. Cut down the corners and fold the flaps out and you get the anvil face pads as a trivial exercise.

Actually I have a nesting set of such tubes for my 1.5" hardy holes to be able to use 1" hardies in them.
   Thomas P - Thursday, 04/05/12 12:21:15 EDT

Square Bushings : Another way to bush a hardy hole is on two sides only. Thus a piece of 1/4" angle would do the job (1" down to 3/4"). If your shanks do not fit the resulting "hole" then taking some material off the outside of the angle will correct the fit. This is a lot easier than correcting the inside of a tube.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/05/12 15:22:33 EDT

What do you need to do to sell your Items : Hi my names Joe, and I was curious but would I need a permit to sell my items, like if i were to make knives or others metal things to sell online or in person?
   Joseph - Thursday, 04/05/12 15:44:32 EDT

Tool and Die programs : I have been looking into transfering what schooling I already have and starting at DMCC (a community college in Wisconsin) that offers a AAS in tool and die making. It seems like it would be an attractive thing for future apprenticeships or employment. Does anyone know if they have a good program, or if it would be worth while? Thanks for the comments everyone.
   RM Howell - Thursday, 04/05/12 15:45:19 EDT

Tool and Die programs : Excuse me, not Wisconsin, DMCC is in Iowa.
   - RM Howell - Thursday, 04/05/12 15:57:59 EDT

Phone Scams :
After calling every operator at "Credit Card Services" a low life thief and lair, telling them to get an honest job, and filling reports with both the "Do not call list" and FCC their calls have slowed. . . These people PRETEND to be your credit card company and offer to lower your credit costs. All they do is charge you $900 or more and do nothing beneficial. They are well known criminals that are easy to find that our government has done nothing to stop. . .

NEW SCAM : This one starts with, "This is Microsoft Security. We have detected a security issue with your personal computer. . ." These are more theives working from a boiler room. They want you to go to an internet address and download a "security" program to your computer. This is spyware that will report everything from email addresses and bank accounts WITH passwords to the theives.

The fact that both operations call millions of numbers on the do-not-call list repeatedly means they are criminals before they open their mouth. Their first words are fraud and it gets worse from there. If you give any of these people ANY kind of private information you are screwed. DO NOT DO IT!

The "Microsoft Security" fraud is new and they will change their methods. Eventually they will claim to be Homeland Security or some such. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 04/05/12 17:34:32 EDT

I love those calls---cause I don't have microsoft on my computers!
   Thomas P - Thursday, 04/05/12 17:47:56 EDT

Scams : The "Don Not Call" list is a good idea in principle, but it dies nothing to stop the people who dial numbers sequentially without a qualm about whether or not that number is restricted. Both my numbers are on the list and I still get the occasional call, usually from one of the political parties I refuse to associate with. I haven't gotten the credit card or computer scammer calls - yet.

I cannot why anyone would give out ANY personal information over the phone to someone they don't know quite well. I get calls from people who have mis-dialed, and when I tell them that there is no "Joe" at this number half of them will ask "Who is this? or What number is this?" I just laugh and hang up. I won't even give out my *name* to a stranger on the phone, much less any other information. I didn't get the phone in order for other people to have a means of prying into my personal life or information; I got it so I could make and receive phone calls to and from people I actually want to share something with. The same with my email - it is for my benefit, not others.
   Rich Waugh - Thursday, 04/05/12 18:44:03 EDT

4140 : Dear Guru,
We have to make and harden some washers.
They need to be hardened to Rockwell C 36 to 42
There dimensions are as follows;
OD 75mm
ID 40.5mm
Thickness 20mm
They will be used to retain steering ball joints on earthmoving equipment.
Appreciate a recipe and process instructions from you and your knowledgable friends.
Kind regards,
   Bruce Golightly - Friday, 04/06/12 00:09:35 EDT

SAE 4140 Torque Washers :
Bruce, On a critical part like this I would recommend you go to a professional heat treater with all the proper equipment to do the heat treat and test the results.

The Heat Treater's Guide says. . .
HARDENING: Austentize at 1575°F (855°C) and quench in oil.
TEMPERING: Heat to produce desired hardness.
~ 860°F for 350 HB (38 HRC)
The tempering value above was read off a large increment graph in Brinell and then converted (which is not always reliable).

Both processes could be performed in salt baths reducing scaling. A pro would probably use inert gas furnaces.
   - guru - Friday, 04/06/12 01:11:33 EDT

More on 4140
   - guru - Friday, 04/06/12 01:39:32 EDT

4140 : Dear Guru,
Unfortuantely we do not have access to a pro, we are in a remote part of Indonesia....
We do however have the tools to heat accurately.
Please confirm if this is correct;
We harden by heating to 1600f, then quenching in oil.
Then we temper by heating again to 850f, and allowing to cool slowly.
How should this cooling be controlled for the tempering process?
We have a ambient temp here of about 90f.
Looking forward to your advice was again and many thanks.
   Bruce Golightly - Friday, 04/06/12 01:51:37 EDT

Sorry, I botched the degree codes. The numbers are more readable now.

The tempering range is probably 825°F to 900°F. You may want to test some parts as washers are fairly thin and batches of alloy vary.

After tempering you can air cool OR quench to cool. Cooling time is not critical at this point.
   - guru - Friday, 04/06/12 03:34:03 EDT

April Fools. . . . : Dihydrogen Monoxide or DHMO is water (H2O). I was surprised we had no takers. . . or maybe they just did not post.

The dhmo.org web site is a bit of a parody. But it takes a shot at public educational and the mass hysteria that can be caused of anything given a chemical name. It also points out how MSDS and warning labels have become so confusing that even pure water appears dangerous.
   - guru - Friday, 04/06/12 03:51:02 EDT

4140 : Dear Guru,
Thanks, that should get us out of trouble.
   Bruce Golightly - Friday, 04/06/12 05:23:28 EDT

Striker hammer issues : So a while ago I asked about my Striker hammer having wierd problems: inconsistent force and irregular rhythm occasionally. I got a few suggestions about the valves being the issue, and I checked them and they look fine. lubrication seems fine as well.
It just occured to me that I read in the manual that it is not recommended to hammer cold material. The previous shop guy here hammered many many feet of 3/8 x 2" handrail caps ALWAYS cold. Could this have damaged some part of the internals in the piston or ram?
   Lincoln Jamrog - Friday, 04/06/12 13:15:04 EDT

Cold Forging :
Lincoln, A well built hammer with good hard dies is generally not damaged by cold forging. Bradley recommended cold dressing of parts for a fine finish and BigBLU sells dies used to cold texture (as they do in their shop) miles of bar.

However, besides damaging soft dies, the sharp shocks do cause more vibration which can loosen parts, settle anvils and possibly cause cylinder wear at a long repeated work height. . . The Chinese hammers are also not known for high quality castings and this kind of shock can break loose sand inclusions which can cause damage to pistons, rings, valves and possibly clog ports. Loose debris would definitely cause erratic behavior.

I do not have my Chinese hammer manuals handy but many of this type machine have a spring loaded check valve (usually on the side). The valve seat and stem wear and can cause erratic behavior on machines that have these.

You may want to pull the heads, inspect the bores and possibly pull the ram and inspect the rings.
   - guru - Friday, 04/06/12 14:26:29 EDT

Chinese Hammers :
Found a Striker Manual for a Shanxi C41-40 / 25. It shows a ball check valve under the ram cylinder cap.

On the Hot Iron Tech (Wolf) hammer there is a check valve on the far end of the center rotary valve (idle valve) bore. In the Shanxi the spring operated check valve is in the end of the middle valve. Both in the same place but drawings show different construction.

All these spring activated valves can have broken springs, worn seats, galled stems. If they do not self activate properly or uniformly the hammer will not perform uniformly.

The valving also has a LOT of small holes that could be partially blocked if over oiled, greased or other gum is in the system.
   - guru - Friday, 04/06/12 17:02:24 EDT

check valves : Having worked in the valve and fitting industry for 21 years I will tell any who will listen that check valves were about 15% of our total volume of valves produced and 75% of our customer complaints. The amount of force available to operate the valves is small, and almost anything will keep them from seating. Springs do break, gums, gum up the works, a hard particle will cause failure to seat. Many small pressure differential check valves use o-ring seats, and these are often attacked by the use of the wrong lubricant. Or a hard particle holds the disc off the seat just a tiny bit and the O-ring extrudes right out of the groove. I have lots of check valve experience since we mad disc, ball, and swing checks both with and without springs. We made them for low pressure gas to 2500# steam. We made them for chlorine, oxygen, phosgene and acetylene service. We made them for alkylation and NACE service. I still hate check valves:)
   ptree - Friday, 04/06/12 20:18:54 EDT

My experience with check valves is sparse. But I've designed and built a few and speced a few. I've repaired a lot of old fuel pumps that used little stainless disk valves with light springs. The usual failure mode was dirt and the occasional broken spring. I made the valves for my bellows, a type of flap valve.

I also made the replacement valves for my little sears air compressor. These were simple shim stock valves held in by self tapping screws. We bought the compressor in the late 1960's. When it quit and I pulled it apart I found it had been shipped with only one of two valves! We ran it that way for 30 years!!!

The one stem type valve in the power hammers is like an automotive valve with a 45° seat. They last a long long time in most service the failure mode in automobiles being carbon build up, then a leak leading to burning (like with a cutting torch). In non-exhaust applications it is usually valve stem wear causing the valve to seat off center and leak or debris battering the seat or bending the valve stem.

They seem like fool proof devices but the fail often.
   - guru - Friday, 04/06/12 22:08:54 EDT


The Do Not Call list doesn't apply to political parties or charities, so they aren't breaking the law when they call you. It also doesn't apply to companies with which you have an ongoing business relationship. I would have switched to fiber optic service long ago if the durn phone company didn't keep calling and asking me to do it!
   Mike BR - Saturday, 04/07/12 07:10:33 EDT

The main reason engine valve last as long as they do besides great metallurgy is the very positive spring seating action. In flow operated spring checks the seating force is very low. In metal seated valves, for true leak free seating the seating surface needs to slightly deform under the seating force. Hard to do with a small low pressure check, The reed valves such as in air compressors have large surface area compared to seating area.
In the high pressure steam check valves we typically had stellite 6 seats intergral welded to the body and either a 410SS disc heat treated to Rc 34-38 or a Stellite weld overlay seat on the disc.
The swing checks had low differential to open, and nice area to seat ratio, but were also subject to debris jamming the pivots. In 2500 psi/1200F steam a tiny leak would wire draw the seat, and then errode the softer body material and would eat the steel body like fast water on sand.
   ptree - Saturday, 04/07/12 08:37:33 EDT

Check valves : Jeff,

I have a check valve in the air circuit of my Kinyon-style power hammer and I want your opinion on which is better for that use - swing type (what is there now) or spring check. I have both, just wondering what you would use.
   Rich Waugh - Saturday, 04/07/12 09:29:31 EDT

Thanks for the hardie tooling ideas. I have one anvil that the hardie hole is slanted from top to bottom. Real tough getting a good fit. Jock, real good one with the H20 bit. I am in the process of making my first hammer (it's about time, right?). A small straight peen made of 1" octoganal steel from Perth Amboy Dry Dock (stamped in the material). I am using Wyger's instructions, so far it looks nice. I'll send photos when finished.
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 04/07/12 16:47:34 EDT

Rich, if of equal quality, the swing check will open to full flow faster, decreasing response time, and a swing check is usually at or near full port for no extra cost. A spring loaded check has to reach a differential pressure that will lift the disc or ball before any flow occurs and usually have a lower Cv for equal conditions. Not knowing the application in the circuit, hard to say which is better, but a swing check is usually more durable in the higher cycle rate applications, with only a reed valve being able to handle faster cycle life without premature wear. I have seem first quality disc check valves worn to complete failure by high rate cycling in less than a days service. Think really old piston compressors like a big Worthington that would have a 2" pipe discharge. The reed valve failed and the mechanic just stuck a nice big disc check with about 1.5" disc stroke and the disc weighed over a pound. Since that compressor was running something like 850 RPM that hardened disc battered itself to nothing in sort time:) I have also seen 440C balls worn so much they fell through the seat in that type of service.

Now in Pneumatic controls the check valves in pilot circuits need to be fast and seal tight. They usually have elastomeric seals and very soft springs. But if you are talking swing check that is usually at least a 3/8" valve and much bigger than a pilot line.
   ptree - Saturday, 04/07/12 18:55:56 EDT

Forge Welding tips needed : I have tried five or six times to forge weld and have not yet succeeded. At this point I would just like to sucessfully forge weld something and then build from there. Can anyone make some suggestions for a relatively easy forge weld that would be likely to succeed? Let me tell you what equipment I have and what I have tried. I have both a propane gas forge and charcoal forge. I don't think that my 3/4" pipe burner propane forge has enough insulation for forge welding as it is a brick pile forge from insulating fire bricks. I tried two or three times with it and only made a big mess with the borax. I don't want to try and forge weld in it again because it really messes up the insulating fire bricks. I then made a charcoal forge thinking that it may work better for forge welding. I made a bee hive mound a couple of times but was unable to sucessfully forge weld. Each time so far I have made a billet plates that I ground clean and then tack welded together. I also attached a piece of rebar as a handle. Several of the tries were with spring steel sized about ½” x 1 1/2" x 8". Two more tries were with a stack of (4) 1/4" mild steel plates sized about 1 1/2" x 1 1/2". I suspect that excess oxygen has been some of what I am fighting. I also think I may have ended up not having a clean coal fire by the time I finally got a bee hive formed. There could have been clinkers at the bottom. I have been using a hair dryer with a gate in front of it to run the coal forge. Once I got the bee hive white hot and then turned off the air and stuck in a small stack of plates. However, the fire started cooling off and the plates did not come up to white hot and so I finally turned the air back on. My coal forge fire pot is 5" deep and about 9" x 11" long at the top. The sides slope down to about a 5" x 5" bottom. The flux I have used is plain borax that I cooked in an oven to drive off moisture. I have considered trying to use natural charcoal in the coal forge to forge weld. My thought is that maybe the charcoal would at least not have issues like coal with clinkers contaminating the weld.
So any suggestions for an easy success that I could build on?
   Andrew - Saturday, 04/07/12 21:37:08 EDT

Andrew, I answered this question in length when you originally posted it last month. It will be in the archive which I have not had time to post.

We answer questions EVERY DAY and rarely does one go for more than a few minutes if we don't have to research it and at the most a day or so if I do not know how to answer the question.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/07/12 22:00:22 EDT

X1 Power Hammer Video

Dave and I finally got a chance to make video of the X1 hammer running today. We only took a couple minutes of video because we still have work to do on the other hammer. We got the frame cut and some of the fitting done. Also made the final treadle changes so that a foot block is not needed to operate the hammers. Will do more video when the hammers are both running and bolted down.

Today was one of those typical days in the shop. We went to the auto parts store to get some spray paint . . . Then the fork lift dumped a bunch of hydraulic fluid and started making knocking sounds. . Another trip to the auto parts store. . the Shop manual for the Komatsu doesn't say what kind. . . wasted half an hour trying to find it then made a guess at the right fluid ($50). The fork lift was still making noise so I checked the oil. . . ANOTHER trip to the auto parts store. It was after noon before we got started on WORK.

The old used fork lift I bought has been a constant maintenance item for the little use it gets. First it was a set of tires . . then we had to fix the exhaust (step one, remove counter weight). Today it was fluids and the the mast has needed new seals. Needs brake work too. Two jobs for an expert I think.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/08/12 00:05:51 EDT

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