42815Re: Finding my Way.
- Aug 2, 2013Welcome to the group, Will.
I think that you have a leg up on me and a few others with your experience in making foundry patterns. There are lots of great people on this forum that will provide guidance on request and will help you solve a problem or two.
Starting with aluminum is easy and is a great way to get into the hobby.
Since you are concerned with possibly irritating your neighbors, you may want to consider using an electric kiln for melting the aluminum. It is somewhat slow, but it is noiseless and virtually odorless.
I picked up a couple of kilns for either nothing or next to nothing on Craigs list. The free ones sometimes need new elements but that it generally pretty easy to fix. Also, a cheap/free electric kiln is a great way to get a whole bunch of K23 or K26 (2600 degree F) lightweight refractory bricks. I've been happily using an electric kiln for about 7 years with the intention of partially switching to propane ("when I get a round tuit").
When I'm doing a casting session, I typically turn on the kiln and then ram up my pattern while it is heating. 45 minutes to an hour after turn-on I'm pouring. After my first melt, the subsequent melts can be done in about half the time. My favorite kiln is the smallest and only melts about 2.2 pounds of Al. The biggest kiln will accept full size aluminum car wheels for "hot-shorting" (breaking down).
If you decide to go with a gas burner, there are several designs and some good books by Mike Porter (a member/author here).
--- In email@example.com, "flyasub" <flyasub@...> wrote:
> I have just joined this forum so I guess I'd better introduce myself :-
> Having recently retired from engineering ("hands on"), and having
> recovered after being hospitalised a lot in the last 2 years or so, I am
> now finding that I miss everything, so I'm attempting to set up a home
> workshop in one side of my garage, hoping to try all the crazy stuff I
> thought up in the last 50 years or so - it may not get past the planning
> stage with some projects, but it'll all be fun, ie. so long as my body
> can keep up with my mind!
> I have always been interested in casting since I had the opportunity
> (for an all too brief period) to design and make foundry patterns and
> coreboxes for industrial valves, but never found the time to try actual
> Now I'm living in an area, quite close to other people so I want to be
> careful not to annoy my neighbours and get myself completely banned from
> doing any foundry work - the legality debate is something I don't want
> to even think about! - I think that barking dogs would probably get more
> sympathy than I would if I got on the wrong side of the neighbours!
> So, I really have to think carefully about what sort of furnace type to
> use, whether to bake my cores or to use the Co2 method for hardening,
> anything which will not draw too much attention to my efforts, (or draw
> too much from my wallet! ).I will probably start with aluminium (as you
> do), but possibly move on to bronze and even iron!
> No doubt all this has been discussed many times before in other threads,
> but as I said, I'm new here and I will welcome any sensible suggestions.
> PS. I will be away this weekend so may not be able to reply till Monday,
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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