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Thread: 1942 enormous rope drop hammer - photo

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    Jon
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    1942 enormous rope drop hammer - photo

    1942 enormous rope drop hammer.

    Huge drop hammers work day and night forming sheet metal parts for United Nations bombers and fighters at the North American Aviation plant, Inglewood, Calif.
    Fullsize image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...d%2C_Calif.jpg



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    Supporting Member gatz's Avatar
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    So, what are we looking at here? I understand the drop-hammer forming die set-up
    but what is the purpose of the long lengths of rope?

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    Supporting Member IAMSatisfied's Avatar
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    The ropes are part of two windlasses (I'm assuming), which are your basic gear reduction mechanisms for lifting the heavy weight. I'm not sure just how the mechanism releases to drop the hammer, but I believe there's a point at which the shaft(s) on which the rope is wound freewheel, thus dropping the hammer. Why there's so much rope used in this application is a mystery to me, as a typical windlass doesn't need that much rope.

    Here's an example of a motorized drop hammer along with a photo of the electric motor, gear reduction and rope drum (notice how comparatively little rope is used in this application vs. the above photo):
    1942 enormous rope drop hammer - photo-rohr1.jpg
    1942 enormous rope drop hammer - photo-rohr2.jpg
    Last edited by IAMSatisfied; Jan 29, 2019 at 12:05 AM.

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    The ropes dont appear to be wound tightly enough to indicate that they were used to raise the weight. Also the coils appear loose enough that if they were allowed to free spool at acceleration velocity they would certainly overrun and tangle. But I couldnt google up any vids of one in operation. So I dont know either?

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    Just looking at the information available in the photo -- it looks like the ropes leave his hands and go back and up over the machine -- second, there is a small portion of each rope that is very dirty. Just my 2 cents worth I wonder if the machine as we see it is "set to drop" and the operator has to set the drop in motion by pulling down with both hands at the same time. Then the rope may well pull through his hands, thereby making that portion of the rope dirty. As the drop hammer resets into the raised position, the operator would retrieve the slack and his hands wind up in the position we see in the picture. Just my guess.

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    Also, since only 10% of Americans are left handed, it might make sense that once the hammer falls he probably releases the right rope to retrieve the parts, thereby making the right-rope less dirty than the left. Since production might be used for pay or raises, or bonuses, finding a rhythm where by the least amount of time and energy is lost to produce a part would suggest such an explanation is feasible. Again, just a thought.

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    Just a guess, I am thinking the extra rope is to allow the "working" end of the rope can be cut off when it is worn and new rope pulled off the storage pipes. This would help to eliminate waste, as only the worn end needs to be discarded.

    Just like an anchor rope, it typically wears at the bottom end where it chaffs against whatever is on the bottom.



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