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Re: melting temp. Steel

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  • Rupert Wenig
    Hello Fred, I added some black pipe fittings to the last cast iron melt I did. I assumed that they were cast iron but soon found out that they were a different
    Message 1 of 20 , Oct 1, 2002
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      Hello Fred,
      I added some black pipe fittings to the last cast iron melt I did. I
      assumed that they were cast iron but soon found out that they were a
      different metal (alloy). Any idea what alloy they might be?

      Rupert

      >
      > Personally, I would be happy to be able to cast ductile iron, when I
      > get that far.
      >
      > Paul
      >
      > --- In hobbicast@y..., "Feiertag, Frederick J"
      > <frederick.j.feiertag@b...> wrote:
      > > Clint,
      > >
      > > There are a few factors to consider when it comes to casting
      > steel. The
      > > temperature of molten steel is high enough that you need to contend
      > with a
      > > whole new set of safety issues. 2900 degrees is not just hot it is
      > hot and
      > > bright. You will need a face shield with welding filter light
      > protection.
      > >
      > > Think about that for a moment. You have a crucible full of 3000
      > degree
      > > molten steel that is radiating like a weld puddle. Now when you
      > weld the
      > > puddle is just a tiny little blob that is really hot. Multiply the
      > heat and
      > > brightness of the blob to the size of the crucible. Next think
      > about how
      > > will you see your sprue and pouring cup? Don't forget the stuff on
      > the
      > > floor of your foundry. Dropping a crucible of molten aluminum is a
      > mess
      > > that can be dangerous. Dropping a crucible of molten steel is a
      > fiery
      > > nightmare that I don't want to contemplate.
      > >
      > > To heat the crucible and the charge to around 3000 degrees will
      > take a
      > > significantly higher temperature in the furnace. the light
      > radiated from
      > > that furnace will have a significant amount of ultraviolet light.
      > Yes you
      > > can get a sun-burn on exposed skin from your furnace operating at
      > these
      > > temperatures. Think about keeping yourself cool. The thermal load
      > placed
      > > on your body will be considerable. Trussed up in welding leathers
      > and a
      > > reflective coat, pants, spats, arm covers, gloves, and headgear you
      > will
      > > have trouble not becoming overheated.
      > >
      > > You notice that I have been using 3000 degrees in my message. To
      > pour
      > > molten steel you will need to have your melt in that range. The
      > small
      > > quantities of metal that a small scale founder might be able to
      > melt will
      > > loose heat so fast that quite a bit of superheat will be needed.
      > I suspect
      > > that even at 3000 degrees it will be dicey to get hot enough metal
      > into the
      > > mold. This isn't such a big deal if you are pouring a 20 ton tank
      > turret.
      > >
      > > Let us know how you make out. Casting steel for the amateur is the
      > > equivalent of running a marathon or something like that. There
      > ought to be
      > > an award for the first successful steel castings done at a private
      > residence
      > > by an amateur.
      > >
      > > Fred Feiertag
      > >
      --
      yvt

      Rupert Wenig
      Camrose, Alberta, Canada.

      mailto://rwenig@...

      http://www.cable-lynx.net/~rwenig/index.html
    • Feiertag, Frederick J
      Good morning Paul, I really don t know what welding filter would be best. I have used a #5 for cast iron and it was fine, I suspect that it would not be dark
      Message 2 of 20 , Oct 2, 2002
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        Good morning Paul,

        I really don't know what welding filter would be best. I have used a #5 for
        cast iron and it was fine, I suspect that it would not be dark enough for
        casting steel. However, the #10 will be so dark that all you would see is
        the metal/crucible. Not safe. Something in between is needed.

        A tilt furnace for steel is a good idea and I sincerely doubt that it would
        be practical to be pouring more than one mold per heat anyway. If your
        molds were small and your heat large, it is quite easy to have helpers to
        move the molds to the pouring position, pour, then move them aside for the
        next mold. (just like a production foundry) Not every foundry takes the
        melt to the mold.

        In the dark past of iron working, steel of the best quality was always
        "crucible steel". This was made in small batches in coal fired furnaces.
        I am confident that casting steel can be done by us amateurs. I intend to
        do it, but I also intend to clean up my shop and vacuum out my car......


        Fred Feiertag

        -----Original Message-----
        From: paul_probus [mailto:paul_probus@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2002 10:17 AM
        To: hobbicast@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [hobbicast] Re: melting temp. Steel


        Fred,

        All good points. By welding filter, how dark are we talking about?
        An Oxy-Acet. filter is fairly light (#3 - #5 Shade), while I have a
        #10 Shade welding helmet used for Arc (stick/mig/tig) welding.

        Another thought, this may be where a tilt furnace should be used.
        Place your mold right where the steel will pour out once the furnace
        is tilted. The problem with this, is what if you have more than one
        pattern you want to cast? You have to do them one at a time or make
        one large mold which would probably be heavy.

        As far as the other safety equipment, is there any difference than
        for casting iron, or can someone get away with using protective
        equipment for welding?

        BTW, there is a link on Ron Reil's page where the guy built an
        oversized Reil burner (the Monster Burner) and he tested the
        temperature it could reach by melting chrome (? I think it was
        chrome) which is supposed to melt at 3100 degrees and he was able to
        melt it. However, I know you were mainly concentrating on the safety
        aspect of casting steel, I believe it should be mentioned that the
        molten steel would probably attract (leftover) oxygen and carbon out
        of the products of combustion like crazy (ever try to grind a weld
        that was mig welded with a CO2-Argon mix that is predominantly CO2?
        I have, the weld bead became harder than the base and filler
        metal.). Ie. you probably will need some kind of flux (like with
        welding) or an inert gas (again, just like with welding) to keep the
        molten steel from absorbing too much carbon and oxygen from both the
        atmoshpere (when ready to pour) and the products of combustion in the
        furnace itself. Note: I am basing my statements on my experience
        with welding, which may or may not be applicable.

        Personally, I would be happy to be able to cast ductile iron, when I
        get that far.

        Paul
      • keporter@aol.com
        Shade # 8 would be my choice, but # 9 is the standard grade available (without special ordering) in full face plastic shields used for similar purposes in
        Message 3 of 20 , Oct 2, 2002
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          Shade # 8 would be my choice, but # 9 is the standard grade available
          (without special ordering) in full face plastic shields used for similar
          purposes in industry.
          Mike P.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Feiertag, Frederick J
          Paul, I missed some of your questions, so here is some more drivel..... You ask about protective wear. It all depends on how much metal you are going to melt.
          Message 4 of 20 , Oct 2, 2002
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            Paul,

            I missed some of your questions, so here is some more drivel.....

            You ask about protective wear. It all depends on how much metal you are
            going to melt. It also depends on how it will be handled. This is the
            scale of things issue again. If you intend to make tiny jewelry bits and
            can melt with any oxy/act torch like for silver or gold, then you don't need
            much more than the simplest welding get-up. IF you intend to use a crucible
            furnace with 40 pounds or more of steel and will need to pull the crucible,
            and transfer it to a pouring shank then I think the whole protective gear
            route is required. That means a full head to toe reflective suit.

            Regarding melt chemistry.... Steel melting does have a real active
            chemistry. Oxygen is almost the least of the problems. Maintaining carbon
            at the desired level will be a challenge.

            I see the issue of not so much controlling the chemistry as measuring it.
            Without some fairly sophisticated equipment it would be guess work. This is
            an area that I am concentrating on understanding. How to know what goes
            into the furnace, what changes it, and what comes out are the areas to
            understand. As I make any progress I will share it.

            Don't discount experience with welding. The weld puddle is a miniature
            steel foundry. The gas shielding and slags are carefully designed. The
            chemistry of a small scale steel foundry needs to, in effect, scale up the
            welding process.

            I also saw the links on using the monster burner to melt "chrome", (I still
            don't know what that means). Digital photos on the web are difficult to
            judge color temperatures but I think the fellow was close to hot enough.


            Did that capture most of your questions?

            Fred Feiertag



            -----Original Message-----
            From: paul_probus [mailto:paul_probus@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2002 10:17 AM
            To: hobbicast@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [hobbicast] Re: melting temp. Steel


            Fred,

            All good points. By welding filter, how dark are we talking about?
            An Oxy-Acet. filter is fairly light (#3 - #5 Shade), while I have a
            #10 Shade welding helmet used for Arc (stick/mig/tig) welding.

            Another thought, this may be where a tilt furnace should be used.
            Place your mold right where the steel will pour out once the furnace
            is tilted. The problem with this, is what if you have more than one
            pattern you want to cast? You have to do them one at a time or make
            one large mold which would probably be heavy.

            As far as the other safety equipment, is there any difference than
            for casting iron, or can someone get away with using protective
            equipment for welding?

            BTW, there is a link on Ron Reil's page where the guy built an
            oversized Reil burner (the Monster Burner) and he tested the
            temperature it could reach by melting chrome (? I think it was
            chrome) which is supposed to melt at 3100 degrees and he was able to
            melt it. However, I know you were mainly concentrating on the safety
            aspect of casting steel, I believe it should be mentioned that the
            molten steel would probably attract (leftover) oxygen and carbon out
            of the products of combustion like crazy (ever try to grind a weld
            that was mig welded with a CO2-Argon mix that is predominantly CO2?
            I have, the weld bead became harder than the base and filler
            metal.). Ie. you probably will need some kind of flux (like with
            welding) or an inert gas (again, just like with welding) to keep the
            molten steel from absorbing too much carbon and oxygen from both the
            atmoshpere (when ready to pour) and the products of combustion in the
            furnace itself. Note: I am basing my statements on my experience
            with welding, which may or may not be applicable.

            Personally, I would be happy to be able to cast ductile iron, when I
            get that far.

            Paul

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          • paul_probus
            ... Putting both replies together, yes. And they have been duly filed. Although I probably should not be, I was surprised that steel casting has been done in
            Message 5 of 20 , Oct 2, 2002
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              --- In hobbicast@y..., "Feiertag, Frederick J"
              <frederick.j.feiertag@b...> wrote:
              > Paul,
              >
              > I missed some of your questions, so here is some more drivel.....
              >
              ><Snip. Not "drivel" but much useful info.>
              >
              > Did that capture most of your questions?
              >
              > Fred Feiertag
              >
              Putting both replies together, yes. And they have been duly filed.

              Although I probably should not be, I was surprised that steel casting
              has been done in the small shop (I'm thinking here of a small home
              shop type outfit) with coal. I would think the variables in
              chemistry would almost dictate it being done in a specialized foundry
              with a special atmosphere over the molten metal, etc.

              Thank you,
              Paul
            • keporter@aol.com
              Fred s reference to welding might be taken a long step farther. Grinding up welding rod could make a very practical short-cut step to creating small steel
              Message 6 of 20 , Oct 2, 2002
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                Fred's reference to welding might be taken a long step farther. Grinding up
                welding rod could make a very practical short-cut step to creating small
                steel pours of known quality for tooling. Any input on this idea out there?
                Mike P.


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • John Odom
                The melting temp of steel is pretty high. I think the previous replies covered it. The difficulties and safety issues increase rapidly with the temperature.
                Message 7 of 20 , Oct 2, 2002
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                  The melting temp of steel is pretty high. I think the previous replies
                  covered it.

                  The difficulties and safety issues increase rapidly with the
                  temperature. Here on the web, we have to be careful because we don't
                  know how much common sense an individual who may read the answer,
                  perhaps not the original questioner, has. IN my work as a fire and
                  explosion investigator, I have seen some pretty stupid things done by
                  very smart people.

                  I have successfully cast pure ( 99.99% ) gold which melts at 2440 F.
                  I heated it to 2600, using a McEnglevan No 10 furnace. It took a lot
                  out of the refractory, though. It was much more difficulty and
                  dangerous than fine silver (melts at at 2253 F. ) poured at 2400 F,
                  which became routine.

                  John Odom, in Chattanooga, TN




                  -- In hobbicast@y..., keporter@a... wrote:
                  > Fred's reference to welding might be taken a long step farther. Grinding up
                  > welding rod could make a very practical short-cut step to creating small
                  > steel pours of known quality for tooling. Any input on this idea out there?
                  > Mike P.
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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