Hammer Update

These are the most recent pictures of the mechanical power hammer project. I still need to align the ram with the anvil and install the dies, construct the wood base, and add more weight to the ram (It is only 95 lbs at the moment.)


4 Responses to “Hammer Update”

  1. 1 Dave Cardwell
    March 22, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Will… Don’t know if you ever finished the power hammer project,but I hope so… Quite a labor intensive project,but it looks great from over a year ago…

    I’m thinking of building one and have started collecting various materials. I doubt I’ll attack such a large design…probably something under a 50# hammer.

    Good Luck … Dave

    • March 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I am still doing some fine tuning work on the hammer.

      I have a ton of recommendations and advice that I can provide in retrospect, so let me know if any questions come up as you plan your build.

      The primary recommendation would be to square everything up and weld the major components together. I put a huge amount of engineering and labor into making the machine break down into components weighing less than 200 lbs each in order to facilitate movement with two guys and pickup. I ended up have to add all sorts of braces and rethink the design the entire way through. Plus, it takes forever to line up and produce hundreds of bolt holes.

      If I had to do it over again, I would weld the whole machine up and use the time saved to build a portable gantry to move it on and off a double axle trailer.

      The main technical issue that I have been dealing with is belt slippage and burning. Yes, the belts actually melt and smoke up a storm. The power coming from the primary drive shaft is too much to push through a single “A” type V belt. There is a tendency for the belt to stretch out when it does grab, so I have to replace the belt constantly. The problem needs to be solved by replacing the pulleys that connect the primary drive shaft to the secondary cam so that the bottom pulley is larger. I think the bottom pulley is only 1.5 inch connected to a 16 inch, so the lack of surface area in contact with the belt on the small pulley is not able to translate the necessary torque. The problem is that the pulleys are welded to the driveshafts because even with a flat ground into the them, the pulleys would slip and cut a spiral groove down the shaft in no time.

      So, long story short, I have a lot of information to share it you want the details.

      I got a lot of info from this guy in Switzerland:


      Not sure if it is still up on his site or not, but he is also a good contact.

      Feel free to ask me any questions. In case my email does not show up, its:


      Good luck on the parts hunt!


      • 3 Dave Cardwell
        March 23, 2012 at 12:06 am

        Hi Will;

        Most generous offer on the info.. Thank You !

        I examined your anvil pictures and I wondered about all the holes/bolts/rods it took to assemble the anvil alone ,but it sure looks great.

        I looked over the linkage that actuates the hammer and you probably made it more complicated than it needed to be. Most of the antique hammers were fairly simple machines (some were not) You built a crank for your hammer didn’t you? I will probably do the same. I designed an eccentric assembly like most of the older hammers used,but it’s so complicated & hard to fabricate it would take as much time as the rest of a machine to make. I hope to make my crank so it can be taken apart ,but that’s still in the thinking stage at the moment.

        I was really taken with the fabricated anvil you made… Is it filled with concrete or something else ? I have access to railroad tie plates which are 6″x 9″. I intend to stand them on end and weld them together until I have a 6″ x 6″ x 9″ block then stack them 3 blocks high & alternate the center block 180* this should give me a 6″ x 6″ x 27″ tall column then I’ll encase the corners with large angle iron and weld in filler plates in between the angle iron corners. You see now why your anvil facinated me…LOL. These plates don’t fit very closely and there will be internal gaps which is why I was interested in your “filler” material.

        That’s my “intention” at any rate…We’ll see how it actually works out.

        Eventually I’ll build not only an upright design similar to yours,but a small Helve type hammer also. This anvil fabrication is for the smaller Helve design I’m working toward until I find more larger material for the upright hammer.

        I’ve accumulated most of the measurements for a rather simple Helve Hammer design that’s about 5′ long 40″ tall and 15″ wide . I’m going to attempt the Helve design first to get my feet wet….and then attack a larger project.

        Again…Thanks for the reply and Good Luck on your project…Dave

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