Here are a couple of interesting plans from my project binders. When I am browsing the web and I come across a plan I like, I usually print it off rather than risk not finding it again and I like paper copies. This works ok but it starts to take up space after a while. Here's over 6000 pages in binders.
I also have a love for good patents with details, to that end here's my collection of workshop and yard tools and machine patents, 10,000 + pages. If there's any interest I'll upload more from these two sources in the future.
So first from my blacksmithing binder comes this great vertical vise By Brian Gilbert, editor of "The Hammer's Blow" newsletter. I liked this the minute I saw it, probably build one this summer for my metalworking and ventilated shops, cut and dig a cube in the floor or pull a patio stone and fill with concrete with a hole in the center to slip the vise in.
Click on images to expand.
This one is from one of my project binders and was originally published in Mechanix Illustrated. Don't know if the time will ever present itself but I have always wanted to build a small cupola just for thrills. This is a 9" bore cupola and would be better operated as a cupolette batch melter than as a cupola continuous melter. The design does not include a slag port, you can keep an eye on the slag build up in a batch melter better than in a long continuous melt. If you fill the tuyeres with slag, your done, down for repairs.
The other concern is the size of the bore 9" is about as small as you can go. The only fuel that you can use that will not cause you problems is metallurgical coke. Now a days you pretty well have to live near a foundry or steel mill to get it. You can do it in larger cupolas with charcoal or coal, the ancients even did it with wood before charcoal was developed but it was very inefficient with much metal being oxidized up the vent. Browsing the web many home hobbyists have tried 9 and 10 inch bore units with charcoal, with less than satisfactory results. 12" or larger bores might be more successful with charcoal. I have a few plans for larger bore cupolas that I might upload at a later date.
If you can get the coke this is a nice little furnace that can be easily run on your own relatively safe.
Here is a picture that has made the rounds, around the web and in foundry books. The picture was taken in 1898 in Shanghai, pretty primitive. Apparently this was the state of most foundries in China at that time. Mind boggling how far they have come in a little over 100 years.
And here's your chuckle for the day. A chuckle only because no one got hurt. Its amazing one of those boilers didn't go KABOOM.