Friday, July 22, 2016

July Sweat

Here in East Central Kansas we are suffering a heat wave.  Not a record one but miserable none the less.  On top of that the AC in my shop developed a leak and required repair so I have missed so forging time there.   I hope that in a week or so I can get in some early morning forge time.  Meanwhile I will keep busy doing some small fabrication projects for my own use, tall sprinklers, and doing computer work.  

I came across the them “corn sweat.”  Never heard it that I recall.  That surprises me as I have never been very far away from corn in July.  I’ll post more about the tall sprinkler project but I just wanted to share this while it is still in the current events category.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Dick Lanne, NY Blacksmith

Recently, I received an email from a friend pointing me to an article about a blacksmith in Ballston Spa, New York.  I wasn’t familiar with the smith but I enjoyed studying the nice photographs of his well organized shop.  Thanks, Terri.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Iron Artifact Identified

        Today I attended a members meeting at the Prairie PastTimes Gallery in Cottonwood Falls, KS.  I was looking over some of the display areas and noticed a piece on iron hardware on an old step ladder which was seeing service as a display rack.

The rusty iron object caught my attention and I immediately thought it looked familiar.  On closer examination I realized it was very similar, perhaps identical, to the artifact I had recently been asked to help identify.  Bingo.

A mirror image pair of these are mounted on opposite ladder legs.

I still don’t know a proper name for the thing but I know it once belonged to a step ladder.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What is It?

Recently, I received an image from: Lonnie Baker and he asked if I knew what it might be.  It was found in a tree that was cut down he was estimating that it might have been made in the 1800’s.  He said he had one person guess it might have been a part off a turn of the century binder.

I couldn’t help in the identification and asked permission to post it and see if someone else might have a good idea.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Repairing the Tumbler Gear Motor

Thursday, July 16, 2015
I turned on the tumbler as I left at 1600.  About a minute later a heard a thump and the tumbler stopped turning.  I went back in and found the exhaust fan and the tumbler motor were still running.  I turned off the fan and the timer switch.  A quick inspection revealed a small ring of steel had fallen onto the chain and the shaft of the gear box broke off.  Big trouble.  I pulled the service cord to the motor and left for the night.

A neighbor friend, Tom, is an engineer retired from the army reserve.  He seems to know about everything there is to know about engineering and some other things too so I consulted him.  He agreed to help me take apart the gear motor and see what would be required to get the tumbler running again.

The next morning, Saturday, we took the gear-motor off the tumbler and disassembled the gearbox.  It is a right angle worm gear design. The damage was clearly visible.  The 1” shaft to the roller chain sprocket was broken and the brass gear had a number of sheared off teeth.  We did a lot of degreasing and put all the relevant parts in the vehicle but had to wait until Monday to consult with an industrial bearing company.

On Monday we learned that they don’t rebuild anything but would try to find parts for us but ultimately weren’t successful.  Tom did some further checking and gave me a number to call.  I called and found that a brand new synchrogear motor would cost $960 + freight.  The E435 gearbox alone would cost $480 + freight and that is what I ordered.

2 HP E435 Synchrogear motor.
Tom came over at about 1000 and we started working on the rebuild.  With one trip to a farm and ranch store we found all the additional parts we needed.  Finished at 1630.  A hard day with Tom doing most of the work. We added an idler sprocket to take up chain slack.  And we also made some changes in the guards so at the end I’m in better mechanical shape than before the break-down.
A painful experience like this should provoke some thinking about ways it might have been prevented or mitigated.  Considering that it took the two of us over six hours to complete the job I may well have been better off just buying a new motor.

It occurred to me that If I had built the tumbler in a manner similar to my hydraulic press and the reversing bar twister I may have been better off.  In those cases the motor connects to the driven component through a Lovejoy coupler.  That makes them modular so either component can be dealt with independently.

Motor-Coupler-Pump linkage.

Motor-Coupler-Reduction Gearbox linkage.

One last point.  Tom suggested a better way to control the alignment of the 2” shafts turning the cylinder - mount them with paired pillow block bearings on both ends.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gorilla Tape Bumpers

On 7/28/11 I wrote a piece about vise handle bumpers.  

Since then I’ve changed my method a bit.  Now I just use Gorilla tape.  I pull off about 8” or so of the two-inch wide tape and rip it down the middle to get two 1” strips.  These easily wrap adjacent to the handle end-stop.  Over time they compress and make a very effective and durable pinch-preventing bumper.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Coal Trip 7/29/15

My friend Wayne and I exchanged email for about three months trying to work out a date to make a trip to the coal mine.  Fortunately it has been too hot to forge for a while so I haven’t been needing it to stay busy.  My bin probably didn’t have 50 pounds left in it when we set off for Oklahoma Wednesday morning.

Wayne and Dianne arrived here about 0830 with a trailer which could carry 2 1/2 tons.  I drove my Pickup which could carry a ton and picked up my friend Tom to ride along for interesting conversation and driving help.

We stopped in Coffeyville for lunch then proceeded to the mine.  Wayne had made arrangement for us to get a tour of the strip mine so we did that before loading.  When I made my first trip to the mine some years ago they were working a seam about eight miles north of the grinding/screening site where the scale house is located.  They have finished working there and it is reclaimed and back in grass. The site we got to see is a mile or so southwest of the pick-up site.

We followed the supervisor to the hole and walked around to spots where we could look down and watch the heavy machinery working.  The coal seam is 12”-18” thick and about 50 feet below the surface.  They use huge dozers to move away the overburden and create the sloping drive path down to the coal seam.  A thin cover is left over the seam until the actual coal removal process begins.

A mining shovel creates a high-wall and bites away at it and fills haul trucks which drive the overburden up to the surface and dump.  A high-dump coal loader scoops up the coal and fills the trucks which move the coal to the crusher site.  After the coal has been taken away the backfill process begins.

Removing the Overburden.  The coal seam is the flat area in the upper left corner.
Pushing overburden to backfill mined area.
Leveling the Top. 
Creating the high wall. 
Mining shovel loading the Haul Truck.
High Dump Coal Loader.
After the tour we drove back to the scale house and weighed in and drove to where the stoker coal was piled.  The operator of the high-dump loader was very patient and accommodating, as usual.  His bucket holds close to three tons and we only need to load a fraction of that.  He cannot see my pickup bed from the cab so it takes some guiding to get loaded without getting buried.  I take rakes, shovel and broom so I can fill every bit of the bed and clean up.  It takes the operator three lifts to complete our fill as we work to rearrange the coal between each drop.  It was hot and dry but not windy and the sprinkler trucks had been watering the roads so it was the cleanest trip I have experienced.

Filling my Tundra.

Filling Wayne's Trailer.

Tom drove us back to the scale and we weighed out at exactly 2000 pounds.  Earlier I told the scale operator that was the amount I needed.  She seemed amazed that it was precisely what I got - to the pound.  The price was $68.00. Add on about $55.00 for gas and that isn’t bad for a fuel budget. At my current forging rate that should cary me for a couple of years.

Google Earth View of the Crush Site.
Google Earth View of the Mine.

We drove back to Coffeyville and filled up with gas for the trip home and got some cold drinks.  The air-conditioning didn’t quite keep up on the home trip but otherwise it was a great day.    Home again at 1830.
Filling My Coal Bin.

I remain somewhat astonished and grateful for the friendly and patient attention we receive from every person I have encountered at the mine.  I feel sort of guilty for bothering them with our pitifully small purchases which cause them more trouble than their big customers.

This diagram does a pretty good job of illustrating the coal strip mining process.