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Anvil, flexi, polisher


#1

Hi All, I’m looking at adding a few things to my home studio soon and
would like your advice or thoughts on what exactly I should get.

First is an anvil - when I went to college there were a couple of
anvils there (maybe blacksmiths?) which had a flat section and horn,
with a square hole at the outside end of the flat section. I would
like to get an anvil like this but am not sure what type of places
would supply them. I wish to start doing some cold forging in
silver and raising hollow-ware so I am wondering what anyone
experienced in these things would recommend as the basics required
in the way of hammers and stakes. Also, will commercially available
stakes automatically fit the square hole in the anvil?

Second is a flexi-drive. I have done a fair bit of research on this
and had a look at what is available from suppliers in my city… I
think I will go for something middle of the range - before I go and
buy one though is there anything I should watch out for? Are there
any minimum requirements of the machine for working in metal.

Finally, I am looking at getting a polishing machine. I have heard
that you can modify a grinder available at hardware stores by adding
tapered mandrels and that this should be sufficient for the job.
Again, is there anything in the way of minimum requirements that I
would need to consider, and is there anything I should avoid? Also,
I have heard many times of people using a modified vacuum cleaner
for dust extraction for the polishing process - for anyone who uses
this, how effective is it? Does one need to wear a dust mask in
consideration of the dust that is not collected by the vacuum
cleaner?

Thanks all for your help, I greatly appreciate it!
Tina


#2

Tina,

I’ll tackle part of your question since I have first-hand knowledge
of it… the grinder --> polisher conversion.

I got a grinder for $29.99 at Costco. Removed the grinding wheel on
1 side and replaced it with a tapered mandrel (available from Rio,
Metalliferous, 47th St. Jewelry Supply, and others). Then purchased
a $19.99 shop vac and an extra air filter for it.

I took an old 3-drawer nightstand and bolted the grinder to the top
of it (perfect height for use while sitting, and each drawer holds
its own set of compound, buffs, and finger protectors, which makes it
even easier to avoid picking up the wrong one!). The cannister of
the shop vac sits behind the table on a cinder block, which raises it
to the perfect height. The shop vac’s hose goes to the 5" wide
t-shaped tool that came with it, which I drilled 2 holes into and
bolted to the top of the nightstand just behind and below where the
tapered mandrel is.

Now comes the creative part. I use a cardboard box that is just the
right size as the “cabinet” for my homemade dust collector. This let
me cut out the perfect shape for that 5" hose tool and for the side
to allow the mandrel to pass through. I cut a piece of old window
screen about 1" larger on all sides than the hose tool, to keep
pieces from getting sucked in to the vac. The window screen is
duct-taped securely to the opening in the box. Once I got it all
perfectly configured, I covered the entire box with duct tape,
providing a sturdier surface and one that is easier to clean, then
screwed the box down to the nightstand. If I need to replace the
box, it’s pretty simple to do so, but you’d be surprised how sturdy
the configuration is.

The draw from the shop vac is significant and sufficiently powerful
to handle the vast majority of the dust from polishing. (Even when
I’m using a “real” polisher with a “real” dust collector, by the way,
I use a clear face shield which also acts as a dust deflector.) I
clean the screen as it gets clogged by lint and dust, just as you
would with a real dust collector cabinet.

So I figure with a little elbow grease and ingenuity, my entire
polishing setup cost me about $55 - 60 total, and I still have access
to 1 grinder wheel on the polisher. I simply couldn’t afford a
professional dust collector cabinet (a couple of hundred!) at the
time I put mine together, and it’s worked beautifully for me… so I
don’t see any need to change it at this point.

Hope this helps a bit!
Karen Goeller

@Karen_Goeller


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry


#3
    First is an anvil - 

I’m not sure but a good anvil is hard to get, I’ve heard of sections
of railroad being used. I have what you described but in "mini"
version.

    Second is a flexi-drive. 

Do you mean flexshaft? If so I say go for the best quality right
from the start. I currently use a dremel with flexshaft and I regret
not having gone for the Foredom with a #30 handpiece. Either way, the
dremel was cheap and did the job(but is falling apart and makes alot
of noise.

    Finally, I am looking at getting a polishing machine. 

The problem with regular bench grinders is the speed at which it
rotates. Ideally some sort of rheostat to control the speed would be
needed. I’d suggest if you can afford a few hundred dollars to
purchase a specialty polishing machine, as they run much smoother and
quieter.

Jon


#4

On the anvil, forget about it for now. The hardy hole is not the
same size as the stakes you want to use. I would recommend to buy a
very large vise. One that can be turned around 360 degrees but also
the jaws can be angled. Mount on heavy stump. This way you can use
anything for stakes. Invest in a good raising stake, it will make
doing raising a whole lot easier. For hammers it will take at least
three, raising, planishing, and forming,. The size/weight of the
hammers depends on what ga of material you going to use. By the way
anvils are meant to be used while the piece you are working on is
hot. If not you will damage the anvil. The surfaces are rough on
anvils compared to stakes. Happy hammering. Warren Townsend


#5

Actually the low cost grinders are not a bad idea. The 3450 rpm
speed is the same speed that the special polishers run at (Baldor
motors being accepted as best). The best and expensive ones have a
little better bearings and will last longer but they cost about 5+
times more. The cheap ones have enclosed motors as well and will
last a very long time in polishing service .

The recommended speed for coarse grinding on non ferrous metals
will equate to a about 2" wheel at 3450, medium polishing would
call for a 6" buff at 3450 and an 8" buff at 3450 for super
polishing sterling (Per Hekki Seppa’s “Form emphasis for
metalsmiths”). These are all induction motors and will not change
speed with a rheostat! There are some low speed grinders available
that run at 1750 rpm and some that run about 1150 rpm , these cost
more . These are really for tool sharpening where the lower speed
is desired , but polishing likes the higher speeds. You may
feel more comfortable with the lower speed 1750 units-- some do.
I use 3" medium buffs and 6" finish buffs at 3450 rpm on Delta
$30 grinders.

Jesse


#6
I got a grinder for $29.99 at Costco.  Removed the grinding wheel
on 1 side and replaced it with a tapered mandrel (available from
Rio, Metalliferous, 47th St. Jewelry Supply, and others).  Then
purchased a $19.99 shop vac and an extra air filter for it. 

I did a similar conversion, and I like it very much, except for one
thing- the noise factor. The shop vac is VERY noisy. I have to wear
ear plugs. Maybe I should just get a quieter shop vac. Are there such
things? Karen, is yours that noisy?

Janet Kofoed


#7
So I figure with a little elbow grease and ingenuity, my entire
polishing setup cost me about $55 - 60 total, and I still have access
to 1 grinder wheel on the polisher.  I simply couldn't afford a
professional dust collector cabinet (a couple of hundred!) at the
time I put mine together, and it's worked beautifully for me... so I
don't see any need to change it at this point.

Karen - Well, I gotta say, I am really impressed! Could you post a
picture of this puppy?

Margery Epstein


#8

Anvils - I have seen them in any number of size ranges in jewelers
supply catalogs, old-fashioned hardward catalogs and farm supply
catalogs (ones that would have farrier type equipment). I don’t know
that much about the cold forging and raising that you are looking
for, so I will leave the details of that to someone else. The only
anvil I have is a mini one about 4 inches across the horns, as all my
forging is on a very small scale. Flexshafts - There are a lot of
decent ones out there from any of the jewelry supply catalogs. Mine
is a Foredom, probably about the lowest cost motor they make. I use
a quick change handpiece, and I beat the daylights out of them.
Motors usually last me 5-8 years with just the occasional brush
change and maybe a new shaft in between. Handpieces last me a
couple of years, usually, but only because over the years I have
collected a box full of parts from deceased units and learned to do
my own maintenance on them. The heavy duty handpieces would last
longer, but I like the thin ones with the duplex spring drive. I
would suggest staying with the major brands to ensure the most
interchange of parts and accessories, both for convenience and
maintenance.

Polishers - Depending on the size of your work, why not look at the
all-in-one units offered in most jewelry supply catalogs. They are
a motor with spindles mounted on a dust collector box with a blower
motor in it. Most use furnace type filters. Yes, a dust mask can be
a good idea, depending especially on the effectiveness of your
collector and the ventilation in the room. If your polishing needs
are greater than that type can handle, then it might be worth
building your own. Make sure to have sealed motors, though, so that
the dust doesn’t kill it. Hope this helps Jim


#9

Janet, Mine isn’t horribly noisy, but I got the smallest one they
have. If it bothered me terribly, I suppose I could enclose it in
some kind of sound-soak box or get an extension hose and move it
further away. Just hasn’t been an issue for me at this point.

I should have also mentioned that I plugged them both into a
switched outlet/strip, so they turn on/off at the same time. But I
can also run them separately if I need to.

The grinder itself is VERY quiet, by the way.

Karen
@Karen_Goeller


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry


#10

For those who are interested in my cheap grinder/polisher setup,
I’ve posted a set of pictures on my website, along with a copy of my
writeup on how it was made.

You can view them at:

http://www.nolimitations.com/orchid/polisher.htm

If you have any questions, I’d be glad to answer them, as well.

Thanks!
Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry


#11
   I did a similar conversion, and I like it very much, except for
one thing- the noise factor. The shop vac is VERY noisy. I have to
wear ear plugs. Maybe I should just get a quieter shop vac. Are
there such things? Karen, is yours that noisy? 

Hi Janet, I’ve had a Rube Goldberg exhaust setup for soldering and am
in the process of replacing it. I don’t think that “quiet” is a
primary design goal for shop vacs; however, it is a goal for
computer fan manufacturers. My new, improved “unconventional"
solution (one step above Rube Goldberg…) will be powered by a very
quiet 230CFM computer fan (muffin type) that I bought at an online
computer component store. This is in the air throughput range of the
lower end dust filters in the supply catalogs. There are more
powerful fans if you’re willing to have them be larger than 6”,
though the bigger ones are harder to rig the output to flexible
clothes drier hoses. Could you use this type of setup?

My setup is still for soldering, so I have a noxious fume problem
that you won’t have with a polisher which I haven’t solved (no good
opportunity to vent to the outside). I’ve assumed from their cost
that the form factor of the replacement filters for the air
purifiers in the catalogs will be much larger than I want. Can the
organic fume filtering material be cut and still be effective?
I’ve considered channeling the output through 3M organic vapor
respirator cartridges, but am concerned that they will inhibit the
airflow considerably. Does anyone have suggestions for that part of
it?

Linda in MA, where all the rain is turning my garden into a lush jungle


#12
 The shop vac is VERY noisy. I have to wear ear plugs. Maybe I
should just get a quieter shop vac. Are there such things? Karen,
is yours that noisy? 

I built a box with a door on it that my shop vac sits in. Leaving
about a half inch gap all the way around at the bottom for air. Not
sure if the gap is needed or not. But it lowered the noise by over
half…

Daniel Hamilton


#13

FDJ tools has a polish hood for under 50 bucks. I put 2 inch holes
on each side behind where the buff wheels are and used 2 inch PVC ,
then reduced to a size to fit the shop vac hose. I also installed a
florescent lamp made for under cabinets , in the top of the hood.
Works great.

Daniel


#14
For those who are interested in my cheap grinder/polisher setup,
I've posted a set of pictures on my website, along with a copy of
my writeup on how it was made. 

Aha! What I was doing wrong with mine, besides the noisy shop vac,
was to enclose the whole polisher in a box, rather than just the
spindle with the polishing wheel. On the other side I have a large
cratex wheel which doesn’t produce all that much dust. Your setup
looks much more efficient. I think I’ll shop for a quieter shop vac
and redo my setup more like yours. Thanks!

Janet Kofoed


#15
   I did a similar conversion, and I like it very much, except for
one thing- the noise factor. The shop vac is VERY noisy. I have to
wear ear plugs. Maybe I should just get a quieter shop vac. Are
there such things? Karen, is yours that noisy? 

Hi Janet, I’ve had a Rube Goldberg exhaust setup for soldering and am
in the process of replacing it. I don’t think that “quiet” is a
primary design goal for shop vacs; however, it is a goal for
computer fan manufacturers. My new, improved “unconventional"
solution (one step above Rube Goldberg…) will be powered by a very
quiet 230CFM computer fan (muffin type) that I bought at an online
computer component store. This is in the air throughput range of the
lower end dust filters in the supply catalogs. There are more
powerful fans if you’re willing to have them be larger than 6”,
though the bigger ones are harder to rig the output to flexible
clothes drier hoses. Could you use this type of setup?

My setup is still for soldering, so I have a noxious fume problem
that you won’t have with a polisher which I haven’t solved (no good
opportunity to vent to the outside). I’ve assumed from their cost
that the form factor of the replacement filters for the air
purifiers in the catalogs will be much larger than I want. Can the
organic fume filtering material be cut and still be effective?
I’ve considered channeling the output through 3M organic vapor
respirator cartridges, but am concerned that they will inhibit the
airflow considerably. Does anyone have suggestions for that part of
it?

Linda in MA, where all the rain is turning my garden into a lush jungle


#16

A solution I prepared in building my own polishing lathe to
eliminate noise was to use a bathroom exhaust fan with a fairly
decent cfm (110 cfm) mounted to the back of a home made hood. A
furnace filter was placed between the inlet at the back of the box
and the fan. Try to find a fan with a squirrel cage versus an axial
fan - tends to work better. Richard Dubiel