Aluminum Foundry

Discussion in 'Tools' started by Rndmann9, Jun 24, 2018.

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  1. Jun 24, 2018 #1

    Rndmann9

    Rndmann9

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    So after accumulating a lot of aluminum swarf I built myself a foundry. Turns out casting is pretty fun. Anyone else jump down this rabbit hole? Started as an empty helium tank. Some ceramic insulation blanket 1” a little bit of refractory cement and a burner made out of black iron pipe and a propane nozzle made from a copper welding tip. Works great. Green sand is the hard part. Easy to make. Hard to get moister just right expecially when it’s hot out side since it drys very quickly. I purchased some petrobond which is fantastic and produces nice surface finishes but it’s pricy. I’ll build on this thread as I gain experience.
     
  2. Jun 24, 2018 #2

    machinejack

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    Been down the same rabbit hole myself. You could change my name to Rndmann9. I only use my greensand for big project. Got 40 Lbs of Petrobond and love it. You really need a muller if you want to keep using it, as the sand next to the casting gets baked. Go look at Mr. Pete 222 on You Tube. Lyle has some very informative videos you can watch. Wood working skills come in to play as you will need patterns.
     
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  3. Jul 13, 2018 #3

    Rndmann9

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
    Done a couple projects now. I might have to put the kids to work for mulling. I just mix it good before I use it.
     
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  4. Jul 13, 2018 #4

    Rndmann9

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    Here is a couple of the foundry.
     

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  5. Jul 13, 2018 #5

    Rndmann9

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    53EF257F-5EEB-4B03-8125-1737FA1C27B3.jpeg 60F77E0E-D5D1-4D54-9B85-FC4702E24B50.jpeg A78953DE-4F7B-4DB4-9DFB-C3F7E2EE0919.jpeg The little pin was for an old safe that was missing one and here is the finished rifle saddle.
     
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  6. Jul 13, 2018 #6

    vederstein

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  7. Jul 13, 2018 #7

    Rndmann9

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    That’s my next step. I don’t have a 3D printer but I built a CNC mill and a printer is basicly the same principle so that also might be on the horizon. So far I’ve just made wood molds except for the hinge pin since I had an original.
     
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  8. Jul 13, 2018 #8

    cephas

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    Hey, Rndmann9, good write up! I had an empty R-22 bulk tank that I had used for remote compressed air tank years and years. Then I did a thoughtless giving it away and have been regretting that since.
    ---cephas
     
  9. Jul 13, 2018 #9

    Rndmann9

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    Took me a while to decide on a tank but I’ve had this one a while and finally used up the helium so figured it was as good as any. Ive seen propane tanks used. Just make sure it’s purged of any gas before you cut it or it could be a rather enlightening experience lol. Most expensive part is the ceramic wool insulation. I’ve seen people use aluminum beer kegs and cheap metal trash cans. since the insulation doesn’t let the metal get too hot. Clay flower pots will work too.
     
  10. Jul 13, 2018 #10

    Rndmann9

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    Thanks for the link. Been reading through it. I’m actually looking forward to winter. It’s some hot work right now with it being around 90f outside. What did you model in fusion? I use inventor personally but I do 3D drawings for a living so I’ve got several different options software wise.
     
  11. Jul 13, 2018 #11

    vederstein

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    I have access to a seat of Inventor. In the past I've use Intergraph EMS, Solid Edge, Solidworks, now Inventor at work. Except for EMS, which is totally antiquated, each package has its advantages and disadvantages. Personally I perfer Solidworks, but I no longer has access to it.

    ... Ved.
     
  12. Jul 14, 2018 #12

    Rndmann9

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    I use revit most of the time for work. Occasionally cad but I pretty much stopped using cad 10years ago and went to revit. Inventor for me took over for cad. I work for an electrical contractor. When I got inventor hsm a couple years ago I knew it was time to turn the mill into a Cnc mill.

    So my wife is a teacher and challenged me to caste her an apple for her desk. Challenge accepted. Still need to clean it up but an interesting shape to cast.
     

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  13. Jul 14, 2018 #13

    CFLBob

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    This is well timed. I have two five gallon buckets filled with aluminum chips and other swarf and I've been thinking about making a foundry to melt it down for other uses. I've seen other guys use a cast iron muffin tin to pour the melted metal into, just to reduce space.

    I should probably clean it up. I'm sure that besides being contaminated with some WD-40 or other oils, there's probably some steel swarf in there, too. Just because I've cut some and it might end up in the chip pile, too. I'm sure the oil would just burn off, but I guess the steel/whatever would either form dross on the top and get skimmed off, or maybe settle to the bottom.
     
  14. Jul 14, 2018 #14

    Rndmann9

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    Oil will burn off. The steel will do as you said and either sink or float up as dross. Keep in mind the muffins are just a convenient way to store it so further processing can be done down the road. Mines kind of mixed too. If you have a strong magnet you can get most of the steel to separate. Still got plenty to go not to mention aluminum cans. One thing to note is the swarf due to its surface area creates a lot of dross. If you can melt some solid first then dunk the swarf or cans it works better and doesn’t oxidize as quick Also if you can press the swarf to make them more dense. I’ve put it down a tube and used a dowl to make little “bricks” B1188CC6-F7B9-4BA5-BE60-041314516281.jpeg
     
  15. Jul 14, 2018 #15

    Rndmann9

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    The steel is easy to spot in the melt though since it will glow bright orange and not melt.
     
  16. Jul 15, 2018 #16

    Cogsy

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    Interestingly (to me anyway) the aluminium also glows red but is so reflective it's not easy to tell unless you're in low light or using a video camera on the right setting. I didn't realise you'd be able to see the steel in the ali but next melt I'll give it a go just for interest. Thanks for the tip.
     
  17. Jul 15, 2018 #17

    Rndmann9

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    Yeah I only notice the aluminum if I'm pouring at night. In normal daylight it looks like quicksilver. It's kind of neat at night because it's a dull orange but shiny at the same time. The graphite crucible is usually brighter than the aluminum. The steel however is pretty bright even in daylight since it's almost yellow orange in comparison. It's also noticeably more ridged when pulling off dross. Aluminum that hasn't quite liquified has a crumbly cake like texture.
     
  18. Jul 15, 2018 #18

    Rndmann9

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    If I melt some soon I'll try to snap a picture with the steel in the mix. I obviously try to avoid it but sometimes a small spiral of steel gets through.
     
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  19. Jul 15, 2018 #19

    Rndmann9

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    If I melt some soon I'll try to snap a picture with the steel in the mix. I obviously try to avoid it but sometimes a small spiral of steel gets through.
     
  20. Jul 15, 2018 #20

    SmithDoor

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    In California you would wait for fogy day on chips

    Dave
     

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