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Watch out Vermont Castings - Craig fires up his own foundry....

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by webbie, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Here it is!

    I'm firing up the backyard aluminum foundry for the first time!

    The wooden things on the ground are molds - the stainless bowl has a little experiment I am trying in "lost foam" casting.....

    Another pic shows the molds after casting - you can see the excess metal - it goes in one vent and then comes out the other.

    Most soon with the results - I already have learned a few things.....

    Attached Files:

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Here is one the the patterns after casting. I think the metal needed to be a little hotter and also perhaps the pattern was a bit screwed up - notice the flat face on the dog - not bad for a first try.

    You can see the thick round where the metal was poured in and the "gates" that allow it to flow to the impressions- then the small vent which I poked to allow the gases to flow and metal to fill.

    Attached Files:

  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The "lost foam" thing actually worked! This is a process whereby you can take a block of plastic foam - carve anything you want into it, and then put it in a bucket filled with sand. You then pour the metal in through a spout and the foam burns off, allowing the metal to fill the recess. The good part is you can cast just about anything this way - the bad part is that your pattern can only be used ONCE.

    IN this case, the pattern was just a block of styrofoam but I carved some letters into it freehand and also an X on the side, etc. It worked fine.

    Attached Files:

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  4. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Sand casting aluminium is probably the best way to cast it, less stress cracks than pouring into molds.

    Craig what the he)) are ya trying to do?
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Just have another hobby, that's all......
    I can make some gifts and stuff like that, and also possibly help a friend or two that may need some crazy part for R&D.

    Once I get the aluminum down, I'll try some bronze if I can get the furnace hot enough!

    I have to make a pattern for a nice Hearth.com plaque. Anyone want to volunteer to machine or carve one from a logo I can provide?

    Here is my first "product" - a nice paperweight for webwidows desk.

    Attached Files:

  6. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    I could probably machine one for ya but my bridgeport is tied up till at least February I am building a machine right now with a lot of small parts, maybe someone out there has access to a water jet, it's quicker and cleaner. :)
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, one of those programmable routers would be nice - or one of those 3D prototyping printers!

    I've always wanted to get one of those CNC plasma cutters - just for fun, mind you. Martha would not let me buy one for Extendaflue....but the funny thing is, she'd probably let me get one for a hobby!

    Something like:
    http://plasmacam.com/

    I'd be dangerous with one of those things....and it would fit into the new shop nicely. Heck if I know what I'd do with it.....I would have to get into the custom chimney cap biz or something....just so the hobby at least created something.
  8. Webwidow

    Webwidow Member

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    ah no she wouldn't....you wacky metalhead
  9. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Craig I will save all my Alumium scrap got atleast 50 to 100 lbs her now
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey, Elk - thanks - but, turn it in for scrap. Remember, I have about 30,000 lbs of extendaflues!
  11. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Pretty slick. Beats the heck out of the coffee can and charcoal filled bucket I experimented with years ago. I did cringe a bit to see the whole set-up was placed on a sheet of chip board, but I guess as long as you don't spill any molten aluminum!

    One question - is that actual foundry sand you're using or just some type of beach or building sand? The reason I ask is that most foundry sand I have seen has some additives (bentonite and coal) which turn it an off brown or even black color. They also help improve surface finish.

    Either way, it looks like with a few more pours, you should be able to start cranking out some slick castings.

    Corey
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The furnace is sitting on a piece of aluminum with some super high temp bricks below it (that soft stuff that oil burners fire into) and then the particle board - the wood didn't even get warm!

    I am using green sand.....it is a special sand with some clay in it. I think the color you are talking about is mostly once it has been used a bunch of times....it turns browner from the burnt clay, etc. - although there are a number of various types of sand mixtures.

    I also have some "parting dust" which you sprinkle on the pattern - I'm not certain, but it may improve the finish.

    One thing that is hard is to figure out the actual metal temp......there is a proper temp to pour at, and I am just guessing.

    There are some neat sites around the net relating to backyard casting. Some folks even built furnaces that are electric - or even ones using waste oil. Some are melting iron (2500 F), which I doubt I will ever attempt!
  13. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Looks cool craig. I don't think VC has to worry much about your AL wood stove though! LOL

    I took a metal shop class in highschool and made a few things using cast aluminum. One a drillpress vice that's still around today. I made a fireplace poker with a nice handle that I carved on the lathe. Handle screwed onto the steel part.

    I'm sure you'll have fun with it. I'm not sure why the CNC machine is such a big deal. They only cost a couple hundred bucks. ;-) Surely she would have no problem with that!?!
  14. 70marlin

    70marlin New Member

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    Very neat! Reminds me of shop class way back when we used red casting sand and wax figures.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Sheesh, that's a 4 year old thread.
  16. 70marlin

    70marlin New Member

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    Oldie but goody! Just cruising the archives!
  17. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, sheesh.

    Shari

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