Friday, January 7, 2011

air compressor, wreck, and power hammer

For some time now I have been wanting a power hammer. A power hammer is an electric or pneumatic-powered hammer that delivers far heavier hammer blows, much faster than I can with my hand hammer.

Before a blacksmith has a power hammer, he can work with steel up to 1/2 or 3/4 inches thick efficiently with his hand hammer. Stock any bigger than that takes too long to shape and creates too much wear and tear on an arm. I found this out in one of my recent jobs when I tried working with a lot of 3/4 inch round bar. :-)

After a blacksmith gets a power hammer, he can work stock sizes up to 2 inches or more efficiently. Another great thing about power hammers is, they never get tired.

As I usually do when I need a tool, I was going to build my own power hammer.

Then I came across an air hammer at a good price. An air hammer requires a large air compressor to run it, so I also found an air compressor at a good price. Both were located in Indiana. The compressor was about 80 miles southeast of Indianapolis, and the air hammer was about 80 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

                                Here is the compressor on the trailer. It has about a 120 gallon holding tank and a 7.5 HP electric motor.

We went and picked up the air compressor first.  After getting close to Indianapolis, it started to snow. It was already bitterly cold, and even though it wasn't a heavy snow fall, it stuck to everything it hit. The road was beginning to ice in some places, so Dad reduced our speed. While travelling northward, we spotted a semi truck that had jack-knifed and tangled with a smaller truck. The person in the smaller truck was thrown from their vehicle. The ambulances had not yet arrived, but some other motorists had already covered the body with a blanket.

We had not proceded more than a couple miles past this grim scene when, while travelling in the right hand lane, the truck lost all traction and began to drift into the left lane. (We were towing our 20 foot flat-bed trailer.) We continued over the left lane without gaining traction, and entered the median, the truck beginning to turn towards the left and the trailer beginning to jack-knife rotating toward the left side of the truck. The median was somewhat abrupt and without much abaitment in our speed we ploughed through it, sliding and still moving forward as well. Even though we were on the ground, the truck was still out of control and entered the oposite side of the interstate amidst oncoming traffic. The truck made it completely across to the other side, smashing into the guard-rail with the front facing in the direction of the flow of traffic, but still angled into the right hand lane. The trailer was turned sharply to the left of the truck, but was completely over the road.

At nearly the same moment that we came in contact with the guard-rail, a Camaro smashed into the back right hand corner of the truck. I was sitting in the front passenger side seat, and as we slid across the road I saw this car in the corner of my eye. He was so close, and we came out of nowhere so quickly that I doubt he had any time to react at all!
After checking with each other inside of the truck to ensure we were uninjured, which, praise be to God we were not, we got out of the car and Dad checked the man in the Camaro. (Dad is a retired professional fire fighter and is used to that sort of thing.) The man was ok but shook up a bit, as were we all.

I did not get any photos at the scene but here are a couple of the Camaro after it was towed out of the way. 

The truck was banged up pretty good, but in comparison suffered little due to its greater weight.
The back right-hand corner is bent quite seriously as this was the point of impact, and the conetic energy of a Camaro at 50 MPH is not to be despised. The muffler was crumpled up and jammed into the tire a litte but did not blow the tire out. The tow truck was able to straighten this and so make the truck driveable. When the trailer jack-kniffed, it bent the back left-hand corner as well. The impact from the Camaro threw the CD player out of its position and Kayla (my sister) who was in the back seat leaning forward, was slammed up against the back window, breaking it out. Her head is bruised nicely, but she still seems to retain sanity......well as much sanity as before! :-) The impact also shifted the camper top backwards a few inches.
The front of the truck was dented from the impact with the guard rail as well.
    Here are some pictures of the truck!

When the 20 foot trailer hit the abrupt change from going down into the median to coming back up out of the median, the air compressor was torn from its straps and sent sailing. From the looks of things, it hit te ground in the median, tearing off a 2x4 that was screwed to the legs on the compressor. This bent one of the legs slightly. From there the compressor landed on its side and slid completely across the road and into the emergency lane behind the Camaro. A couple parts are broken and I am trying to locate a compressor repair shop that will fix it back up. The compressor slid on the motor guard and so I think that there is no damage to major parts.

This was quite a shocking experience, but we are thankful to God that it was no worse. If we had slipped no more than a second later then the cars that slammed into us would have been a truck about the size of ours and towing a fifth wheel camper, taking out our trailer, and a semi truck hitting the back of our truck. Both of these vehicles were closely followed by more semi trucks that would undoubtedly have wrecked as well.
However, there is little use in thinking of what could have happened. Our Lord is in control!

After this "little" ordeal, the truck being operational, we proceded to pick up the hammer. The hammer I got is air powered and has a 60 pound hammer head. A 20 pound weight can be attached to the hammer head to make it an 80 pound hammer.
After about an hour of work we got the thing loaded, packed up, and headed home.
Today I worked on dissassembling the hammer for clean-up and paint. I also unloaded the hammer by myself. This was interesting.
Here are some photos during dissassembly.

After the anvil base was removed! (The anvil base is the round object in the extreme left of the picture.)

After the removal of the base plate.... The base plate is a piece of 1 3/4 inch thick plate metal about 20x30 inches. It is VERY heavy!

Here is the back bone of the hammer. I'm attempting to transfer it into the metal working side of the shop. It is even heavier than the base plate!

This is the hammer head part.

The anvil post! Somewhat cleaner than what it was before I started working on it!

The primary hammer parts.
                                                             Foreground: anvil post
                                                             Center: base plate
                                                             Back left: hammer back bone
                                                             Back right: hammer head

Same parts with a little bit of shop red!


1 comment:

amateur blacksmith said...

Hi I am Don't Tread On Me, on the I Forge Iron forum. I just came to look at your blog and I find it to be a vary good one. I agree with what you sead it is a mericle that you were not heart. Goodby and God bless.