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

webbie Posted By webbie, Dec 3, 2006 at 8:11 PM

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  1. webbie

    webbie
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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.....
     

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  2. webbie

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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.
     

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  3. webbie

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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.
     

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  4. GVA

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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

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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.
     

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  6. GVA

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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

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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

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

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

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

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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

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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
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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

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

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

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

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    Yeah, sheesh.

    Shari
     
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