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Old 10-17-2017, 08:33 AM
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Default The Making of The Little Foundry

I know, the title is incorrect, and this was the making of the Furnace. But there are other things I scabbed together in the process. I will upload pictures as I can, but here is a link to a video of me making it.

https://youtu.be/LV0_KZtsHsg

Feel free to skip my ramblings in the beginning if you must and jump to about... 1:58.

I've had plans to make one of these for a couple years at least, and even bought some clay graphite crucibles back then. Being an engineer, and a Master Black Belt Procrastinator, I was way to caught up on getting a perfect design and plans rather than doing what I did here, a "Quick and Dirty". I've got a prototype multi-fuel burner that I made last year, need to further troubleshoot, and never got to it. I wanted to look at a 20 gallon galvanized trash can for a shell and use a castable refractory cement for making the furnace, but then I wasn't sure how much to get and then how I would control a curing procedure, so I dragged my feet on that not wanting to fail at the cost of the stuff. Finally I got it in my mind to just see if I'm interested in doing this stuff, and went for the Quick and Dirty, bought some ceramic blanket, a 12 quart bucket, some fire brick, recycled a propane torch from a forge I made ages ago, and went from there. A 100 or so beverage cans later and I made my first aluminum ingot. It's not much to be proud of, as I know it isn't of good quality, not sure I would rate it at fair even, but its something, and I might be hooked on getting a better process and making things. I didn't bother with fluxing or degassing on this one, it was once more very quick and dirty. Only room for improvement on the quality from here on up.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:44 AM
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Some pictures of the build.

I screwed up the first wrap of ceramic blanket, and have a wedge of material to fill the gap. I know I should have known better than to cut a rectangle thinking it would fit. Worked out though, if needed be in the future, I rolled the bucket on the blanket and will cut a profile like that.

Cut fire brick with a cold chisel and hammer, cracked it won't places, but you some blanket underneath it.

12 quart bucket didn't come with a lid, guess I use left overs from other projects.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:49 AM
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Even though I have the graphics crucibles, I didn't have tools made for picking them out and pouring. I decided to make one, and a simple snatch tool from a old project. Probably scratched my head for an hour about how to modify the picking tool to be able to do both pick and pour, then welded a nut to the bottom of the crucible and used a rod as a third point to tilt from.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:51 AM
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Used a bathroom fan for a blower. This is what I got from first ever pour. I will rethink my molds as the release was hard, not enough draft angle I guess.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:35 AM
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Default The Making of The Little Foundry

Take angle iron and invert into a v and weld caps on the ends. Perfect mold!

Scrap friend of mine had made a furnace to melt alum scrap and had it pouring into 4x4 or 6x6 angle that he had on a rotisserie. Welded beads on the inside that said “Stolen from .... salvage” made it hard for someone to take and sell themselves to another scrapper.


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Old 10-17-2017, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toprecycler View Post
Take angle iron and invert into a v and weld caps on the ends. Perfect mold!

Scrap friend of mine had made a furnace to melt alum scrap and had it pouring into 4x4 or 6x6 angle that he had on a rotisserie. Welded beads on the inside that said “Stolen from .... salvage” made it hard for someone to take and sell themselves to another scrapper.


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Yea, I figured C-channel had the right geometry, and that this size by this long was roughly 2lb ingots. Turns out that "Junior Channel" has some steeper walls than regular C-Channel.

I would have liked the stackability of these, but may go towards muffin pans or something as well. Angle is a great option as well, just not great for stacking either, but better than rounds from a muffin tin.
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weldor2005 View Post
I will rethink my molds as the release was hard, not enough draft angle I guess.
Aluminum shrinks quite a bit when cooling so I think your draft angle may be fine. Any roughness will cause it to grip.. I have brushed on used motor oil on the molds and then set them on top of the furnace to warm and burn up the oil. This leaves a good carbon coating on the mold and prevents sticking.
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Old 10-17-2017, 11:40 AM
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The angle ingots will stack pretty well. Lay a row down and then you fill in the v’s with next stack 180 degree rotated. Then next layer rotate 180 degree again and stack up. If you can keep them consistent in height per bar, it will stack up just like Lincoln logs. Or that other game that you stack up and then take one piece out till the tower topples.


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Old 10-17-2017, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toprecycler View Post
The angle ingots will stack pretty well. Lay a row down and then you fill in the v’s with next stack 180 degree rotated. Then next layer rotate 180 degree again and stack up. If you can keep them consistent in height per bar, it will stack up just like Lincoln logs. Or that other game that you stack up and then take one piece out till the tower topples.


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Jenga
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Old 10-17-2017, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironman View Post
Aluminum shrinks quite a bit when cooling so I think your draft angle may be fine. Any roughness will cause it to grip.. I have brushed on used motor oil on the molds and then set them on top of the furnace to warm and burn up the oil. This leaves a good carbon coating on the mold and prevents sticking.
I did not heat up or use a mold release. I certainly can give that a try, and then look for areas of concern.
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