Power Hammer Purchace $8000

We are looking a buying a power hammer for the space.

We should be able to buy and ship it for under $8000, not bad when a new one would be $12200.

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Assuming hsbne treasury could even find this much money ( unlikely ), this would be the most expensive tool the space has ever purchased, and as such it would seem to me that it should be something that is more useful to more people than the current most-popular and most-used high-value tools ( such as the wood shop’s table saw, which was maybe around $5k? ). Personally I don’t think a majority of people at the space are likely to want to use this… and I don’t see myself using it either, but if I’m wrong and the majority support this purchase, then I’d expect it would need to be inducted , interlocked, training manual , regular monthly courses , and etc, in much the same way that the table saw ( and to a lesser extent the welder/s ) works. Alan, are you volunteering yourself to do the ongoing tasks that would come about as a result of this purchase, should it occur…?

So some very valid points throughout @buzz (which I’ll address below), but more positive wording when providing feedback to members attempting to improve the space would be appreciated.

Blacksmithing is undergoing a strong revival in interest right now, as are many of the maker crafts. many of them share something in common that they’re cheap to mess around with at home, but as soon as you want anything resembling decent equipment they cost an arm and a leg. This has always been the point of HSBNE, to provide a place where members can access equipment that would otherwise be out of reach for monthly membership fees.

Regarding the cost, it would take the equivalent of 12 new members (at 3 month discount rate) to pay off this capital expense in a year, or 14 members at our current monthly fee/per member average of approximately $45. A power hammer is so out of reach for so many hobbyist blacksmiths that I believe we would see an equivalent increase in membership. It would also enable those who may suffer from chronic pain (such as carpal tunnel or similar) to participate in the hobby.

Regarding your comment

This is a poor attitude towards the space and large purchases. HSBNE supports a wide depth and breadth of interests, and expecting everyone to share the exact interests is disingenuous. You’re not the only one who has expressed a similar sentiment in recent times, but it has to stop.

Regarding Induction & interlocks, for a machine of this nature that goes without saying. I have personally been undertaking industry recognised training in this area, and fully understand the risks presented by a power hammer. I am willing to put my hand up for the development and enforcement of this training, and hosting classes. I have also been working with Alan in various manners to bring his skills across the forge area up as quickly as we can, and once he is comfortable with his teaching capabilities I expect him to participate in the process as well.

Finally, regarding capital expenditure, the blacksmith cause currently has 1.8k at it’s disposal, I would like to suggest that 1.6k is put towards this purchase, with the remaining ~6.4k coming from general funds. In the unlikely event that the hammer must be sold, I expect it to hold it’s value very well, with only the cost of transport being lost.

This presents a unique opportunity for HSBNE to provide a further point of difference and interest to potential members, and a strong investment in our collective future.

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Every time someone proposes to buy something ‘new’ and expensive, theres big pushback because ‘noone here wants it’, and every time we do it, the membership grows because if you have it, they will come. It’s happened so many times its kind of impressive its still a trope we go through. Theres a reason woodshop is doing so well these days and brings people in, its now well equipped with the right tools.

Investing in the machines and tools inaccessible to the home workshop is :clap: why :clap: we :clap: exist :clap:. And every time we do it well, we grow as a group, which gives us more income, to buy better tools and machines.

A power hammer is, by definition, the sort of thing thats inaccessible to most people. Its the perfect tool for us to buy. Especially as @wixted has stated with the big resurgence blacksmithing is experiencing. I view us purchasing a power hammer as inevitable, its like having a woodshop with no table saw. Untenable to miss a core tool. And we get to save $4000 on this one, sounds great to me, buy it essentially at new quality but dont pay for the showroom depreciation.

I am also strongly in favour of all big machines like this having ‘care and feeding’, ie interlocks, inductions, classes, a nominated maintainer, etc etc. I think all those details need to be clear before the group votes on anything.

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My opinion only, but I think a “power hammer” as a concept to extend and support blacksmithing is a fabulous idea, I’m absolutely not against the concept in any way… I just think:
(a) making our biggest ever single purchase for one of the smaller cause/s seems questionable to me.
(b) if a power-hammer is such a cant-live-without valuable thing for the blacksmithing cause to have, why hasn’t anyone at least tried making something lower-cost to start with…? ( 30 seconds with google gave me the below video/s that both show a basic power hammer can be made for cheap ( under $200 if you have the inclination and basic steelworking maker skills ). I absolutely would support anyone who wanted to do a power-hammer for maybe a budget of $500 or $1000 … and if this first hammer gets used, and used, and used at every single opportunity for 3-6 months and gets worn out from being so popular ( like our first lathe, or maybe the table saw , or the mig) , then maybe , maybe I’d support hsbne going for something bigger… but even after all that I’d still find $12k questionable at best.
© I’m not saying its a bad purchase, I’m just saying that a 350W laser for digifab ( about 10k, and can cut thin metals ), or a multi-tool CNC routing table machine for metal shop, or a state-of-the-art- “saw-stop” with everything for woodshop would all be better purchases if we are intent on spending that amount of money.

homemade:


alternative suggestions we could buy for less than $12k:



Take the most expensive ‘SawStop’ industrial table saw they make, and buy every single option available, and it comes to about $11k … https://www.sawstop.com/table-saws/by-model/industrial-cabinet-saw
(I’m not recommending we buy any of these particularly, its just that each of these is worth less the power hammer, and would be much greater use by a much wider body of the membership )

Hi Buzz, why are you comparing to a $12k cost when the stated expected cost is <$8k?

I would say the difference is that the hsbne laser was 4k, and the table saw was 3.5k, and we bough them off the shelf. (The most expensive machine in HSBNE today is the A331 I believe, at 6.5k, helped by a grant) To my knowledge, you can’t really buy cheaper power hammers off the shelf, they start expensive.

It’s all well and good to argue that people should ‘build’ a cheaper version, but we’ve very rarely if ever had that approach successful. Its pretty clear over the history of hsbne that if we want a working tool it needs to come off the shelf or come second hand with minimal refurbishment required. I think the only example of this is the work refurbishing the laser cutter and that took years and multiple people in a big concerted effort. (and they didnt build from scratch)

While upgrading those other tools would be nice, we already have tools that are serving most needs today in those areas, whereas the blacksmithing area does not have their ‘core tool’. Its unfortunate that their core tool is expensive, but it seems to be the reality.

The only exception to this is the concept of a CNC table, where my own personal research seems to indicate we are on the hook for double this amount at $15k. I had a look at your link but couldnt spot what currency that was in or what shipping would be etc. I agree its a hard pick as to whether a power hammer or cnc table should be sourced first, and all things being equal where we could buy either from a shop, I would probably say cnc first. But to get $4k off the hammer? get it first, put that $4k saved to the cnc.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe if we have a power hammer, we’re the only public access workshop with one in SE QLD. Not even the blacksmith specialty groups have one yet due to their age/size as organisations. Thats a really big draw card for us. (And even if I’m wrong and QMAC have one, that barely negates that factor) Getting sheet goods (plastic, steel etc) laser cut is an increasingly affordable thing to do from any of the commercial outfits in BNE (See the work drew gets done regularly), so sourcing our own there (better laser and some cnc work) is less critical.

A final thought, a power hammer is very much a tool that is about the experience as much as it is about the result. A fancier table saw, laser or cnc sheet router are very much more about the end result. I think theres some level of value to consider there as well, for whatever thats worth.

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I think it was mentioned that one of our other big cost machines took a grant for us to afford it. Perhaps we could seek for another grant to help alleviate the burdensome cost of this machine?

Alot of videos online use powerhammers for pretty basic products, such as canister damascus. I feel this machine would be as invaluable as the table saw to produce a basic standard of work.

Not all the big machines such as the MIG and table saw get use from the general membership, and i cannot think of any big tools that have general membership value. As all thesr pieces of equipment require training, inductions and familiarity to use properly, which is typical specific to the cause members.

This machine may not have general communuty use any more than a table saw is useful to digifab. However it’s use and draw to the larger community would be massive. People expect to ser the tools they see in youtube videos. Not only will we look more “professional”, our capacity for workmanship will litteraly sky rocket.

I wouldn’t deprive the blacksmithing cause a power hammer any more than i would a MIG to the metalshop. HSBNE isn’t really about what we spend, as much as what we provide to the large community and members. This is a great opportunity for the space to increase its value far beyond than the dollar spent.

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If we’re going to have something swinging around 50kg or so of steel, then there is NO way I’d want it DIY’d - I wouldn’t even trust myself to build something that could potentially be that dangerous.

A power hammer is a massive draw for us, and would set us apart from most other maker/blacksmithing groups around.

Although I wouldn’t use it, I’m 100% for it

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A grant is a great idea, I was looking into securing one for this exact purpose. The problem is we will not be able to do that for this purchase, it would take too long. We would have to purchase a new one. We could still get the grant and use it to buy one or more of the other tools listed above.

What if we droped a deposit? And paid the rest when the grant came through?

Grant would probably take months

I think putting a deposit will really muddy the waters as far as accounting is going. The grant funds really like to know what their money got spent on, and that you did spend all of it on that thing you were applying for in the grant.

@vk4mdl had fun and games years ago with a mob known then as the Autism Association of Queensland (now Autism Queensland)… organising the update of their computer network for Y2K.

I believe for that they went for a grant. By the time the money came through, technology had marched on and they could no longer buy the items listed in the grant – I don’t recall the full details of what happened next, but basically there was a lot of “fun” trying to get the nearest equivalent and explaining the price discrepancy to bean-counters.

Ohh, and for most grants, anything you buy must be brand new.

As for DIY, that would be in the spirit of this place, but we do not want to build a widow-maker! Given the complexities of the forces involved, I wouldn’t be comfortable designing or building one.

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Also as far as classes and inductions for the power hammer a friend of Alex and myself, Martin Geddes has offered to run thoes. He has been a blacksmith for over 20 years and teaches course including the use of power hammers. At least until Alex has completed his tafe course.

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Just addressing a few more of your points directly.

Woodshop also had very few members who actively engaged with the cause until we invested in tooling for the area. (edit: at a rough guess we have spent or have voted to spend approximately 15k-22k in in equipment for woodshop over the past 3 years, some from grants, some from HSBNE funds) They now have 58 members, behind Digifab (60) and metalshop (61). A power hammer is a serious drawcard for anyone who gets into blacksmithing, so I would not be surprised if it saw a similar boost in member numbers.

I would put forward that the growth in the blacksmith area is in large part due to the amount of effort I have put into building and sourcing tools and equipment for the cause area. A significant amount of the equipment belongs to me, and lives there so I and others can use it. I have a wide circle of blacksmith friends, between who I can access 4 different power hammers. The payback for me to build a junk yard hammer just hasn’t been worth it, when I can access these hammers already.

Secondly, the power hammer proposed above is so much more capable than a junkyard hammer, that they are honestly not the same machine. A pneumatic power hammer has significantly more control and finesse, and is not liable to catastrophic failure like a mechanical hammer, which are notorious for springs exploding in your face. The tooling possibilities for use under a pneumatic hammer are also much more vast.

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