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My aluminum melting start

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  • Alan Millar
    I m just now documenting my metalcasting adventures which I started about a year ago. You guys know all this stuff, but here is some of my learning adventure.
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 8, 2010
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      I'm just now documenting my metalcasting adventures which I started about a
      year ago. You guys know all this stuff, but here is some of my learning
      adventure.

      Yeah, that teensy-weensy little pool of molten metal in arc welding was
      cool, but it was time to move up to the next level. A big glowing pot full
      of silver liquid awesomeness. Oh, yeah.

      My initial charcoal foundry:
      [image: 20081116_foundry_IMG_1175.sized.jpg]

      I have been reading about other people's exploits in melting metal and
      sandcasting with it for a year or two, both in books and on various
      websites. It all sounded rather complicated and intimidating, until I came
      across a particular Instructable on the Pizza Sauce Can
      Furnace<http://www.instructables.com/id/Pizza-Sauce-Can-Furnace/>.
      It advertised "Melt Aluminum for $3 and some begging", which just
      coincidentally matches my ideal price range.

      By all descriptions, aluminum was one of the easiest metals to start with,
      and is certainly readily available as scrap. It was my first objective.

      I made a simple foundry furnace using two steel cans, one inside the other
      with a little air gap between them. Not an efficient furnace, but a simple
      proof-of-concept. I punched some holes in the bottom of the inner can,
      filled it with charcoal, and blasted it with some air from the shop-vac
      blower. And guess what? Yes, it proved the concept.

      Foundry can and shop vacuum blower:
      [image: 20081116_foundry_IMG_1176.sized.jpg]

      I melted some scraps of aluminum in a tin can from the kitchen. That tin can
      is a "crucible" in fancy-pants foundry talk, and it's not actually tin, it's
      steel. But it is also thin steel, and the charcoal got so hot with that
      shop-vac blower, that it burned right through the can. The funny part was
      that I didn't know right away that it had burned through. Because the can
      was surrounded by a pile of coals, I couldn't see the sides. But I could see
      inside, and I got a nice gleaming silver pool of molten aluminum filling
      part of the can. So I started adding more aluminum into it, to fill up the
      can. It was amazing how much I could add to that can and not fill it up. It
      was a magical can. I could just add, and add, and add, and add more
      aluminum.... Until I finally got a clue and realized that it had to be going
      somewhere.

      I dumped the tin can (ahem, I mean *crucible*) of aluminum into a simple
      mold I made from a piece of steel angle-iron, to get a nice triangular bar.
      That's an "ingot" in fancy-pants foundry talk. After the charcoal cooled, I
      found the secret magician's trap door where all my aluminum went from my
      magic crucible. Under the coals, between the two steel buckets, was strange
      rounded chunk of aluminum. Oops, rather, I mean, look at the fascinating
      sculpture I formed from my special aluminum drip art process. Yeah, that's
      it... Yeah...

      Melted aluminum:
      [image: 20081130_foundry_IMG_1197.sized.jpg]

      My assistant Maurice observing the art pieces:
      [image: 20081130_foundry_IMG_1196.sized.jpg]

      The shop vac was too much, so I replaced it with an old hair dryer, which
      was much better. I also replaced the air-gap steel bucket with a better
      fire-brick bucket. More on that to come later.

      This is also on my personal website with pictures at
      http://www.bolis.com/amillar/tools/backyard-aluminum-melting

      - Alan


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • sf3810@gmail.com
      *Alan,* * * *What a delightful account of your research and development. With your great attitude and your persistence you re going to cast some great things.
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 9, 2010
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        *Alan,*
        *
        *
        *What a delightful account of your research and development. With your great
        attitude and your persistence you're going to cast some great things. You
        might consider trying to sell some of your modern art results on e-bay to
        help finance your R&D.*
        *
        *
        *Thanks for sharing your experiences.*
        *
        *
        *Bruce Roosa
        *
        On Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 5:29 PM, Alan Millar <amillar503@...> wrote:

        >
        >
        > I'm just now documenting my metalcasting adventures which I started about a
        > year ago. You guys know all this stuff, but here is some of my learning
        > adventure.
        >
        > Yeah, that teensy-weensy little pool of molten metal in arc welding was
        > cool, but it was time to move up to the next level. A big glowing pot full
        > of silver liquid awesomeness. Oh, yeah.
        >
        > My initial charcoal foundry:
        > [image: 20081116_foundry_IMG_1175.sized.jpg]
        >
        > I have been reading about other people's exploits in melting metal and
        > sandcasting with it for a year or two, both in books and on various
        > websites. It all sounded rather complicated and intimidating, until I came
        > across a particular Instructable on the Pizza Sauce Can
        > Furnace<http://www.instructables.com/id/Pizza-Sauce-Can-Furnace/>.
        > It advertised "Melt Aluminum for $3 and some begging", which just
        > coincidentally matches my ideal price range.
        >
        > By all descriptions, aluminum was one of the easiest metals to start with,
        > and is certainly readily available as scrap. It was my first objective.
        >
        > I made a simple foundry furnace using two steel cans, one inside the other
        > with a little air gap between them. Not an efficient furnace, but a simple
        > proof-of-concept. I punched some holes in the bottom of the inner can,
        > filled it with charcoal, and blasted it with some air from the shop-vac
        > blower. And guess what? Yes, it proved the concept.
        >
        > Foundry can and shop vacuum blower:
        > [image: 20081116_foundry_IMG_1176.sized.jpg]
        >
        > I melted some scraps of aluminum in a tin can from the kitchen. That tin
        > can
        > is a "crucible" in fancy-pants foundry talk, and it's not actually tin,
        > it's
        > steel. But it is also thin steel, and the charcoal got so hot with that
        > shop-vac blower, that it burned right through the can. The funny part was
        > that I didn't know right away that it had burned through. Because the can
        > was surrounded by a pile of coals, I couldn't see the sides. But I could
        > see
        > inside, and I got a nice gleaming silver pool of molten aluminum filling
        > part of the can. So I started adding more aluminum into it, to fill up the
        > can. It was amazing how much I could add to that can and not fill it up. It
        > was a magical can. I could just add, and add, and add, and add more
        > aluminum.... Until I finally got a clue and realized that it had to be
        > going
        > somewhere.
        >
        > I dumped the tin can (ahem, I mean *crucible*) of aluminum into a simple
        > mold I made from a piece of steel angle-iron, to get a nice triangular bar.
        > That's an "ingot" in fancy-pants foundry talk. After the charcoal cooled, I
        > found the secret magician's trap door where all my aluminum went from my
        > magic crucible. Under the coals, between the two steel buckets, was strange
        > rounded chunk of aluminum. Oops, rather, I mean, look at the fascinating
        > sculpture I formed from my special aluminum drip art process. Yeah, that's
        > it... Yeah...
        >
        > Melted aluminum:
        > [image: 20081130_foundry_IMG_1197.sized.jpg]
        >
        > My assistant Maurice observing the art pieces:
        > [image: 20081130_foundry_IMG_1196.sized.jpg]
        >
        > The shop vac was too much, so I replaced it with an old hair dryer, which
        > was much better. I also replaced the air-gap steel bucket with a better
        > fire-brick bucket. More on that to come later.
        >
        > This is also on my personal website with pictures at
        > http://www.bolis.com/amillar/tools/backyard-aluminum-melting
        >
        > - Alan
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • postello@msu.edu
        Looks like my start, except my assistant is a cat. -- All that is artificial, is also natural. René Descartes ... about a ... learning ... was ... pot full
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 9, 2010
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          Looks like my start, except my assistant is a cat.
          --
          "All that is artificial, is also natural." René Descartes
          > 1644Quoting Alan Millar <amillar503@...>:

          > I'm just now documenting my metalcasting adventures which I started
          about a
          > year ago. You guys know all this stuff, but here is some of my
          learning
          > adventure.
          >
          > Yeah, that teensy-weensy little pool of molten metal in arc welding
          was
          > cool, but it was time to move up to the next level. A big glowing
          pot full
          > of silver liquid awesomeness. Oh, yeah.
          >
          > My initial charcoal foundry:
          > [image: 20081116_foundry_IMG_1175.sized.jpg]
          >
          > I have been reading about other people's exploits in melting metal
          and
          > sandcasting with it for a year or two, both in books and on various
          > websites. It all sounded rather complicated and intimidating, until
          I came
          > across a particular Instructable on the Pizza Sauce Can
          > Furnace<http://www.instructables.com/id/Pizza-Sauce-Can-Furnace/>.
          > It advertised "Melt Aluminum for $3 and some begging", which just
          > coincidentally matches my ideal price range.
          >
          > By all descriptions, aluminum was one of the easiest metals to
          start with,
          > and is certainly readily available as scrap. It was my first
          objective.
          >
          > I made a simple foundry furnace using two steel cans, one inside
          the other
          > with a little air gap between them. Not an efficient furnace, but a
          simple
          > proof-of-concept. I punched some holes in the bottom of the inner
          can,
          > filled it with charcoal, and blasted it with some air from the
          shop-vac
          > blower. And guess what? Yes, it proved the concept.
          >
          > Foundry can and shop vacuum blower:
          > [image: 20081116_foundry_IMG_1176.sized.jpg]
          >
          > I melted some scraps of aluminum in a tin can from the kitchen.
          That tin can
          > is a "crucible" in fancy-pants foundry talk, and it's not actually
          tin, it's
          > steel. But it is also thin steel, and the charcoal got so hot with
          that
          > shop-vac blower, that it burned right through the can. The funny
          part was
          > that I didn't know right away that it had burned through. Because
          the can
          > was surrounded by a pile of coals, I couldn't see the sides. But I
          could see
          > inside, and I got a nice gleaming silver pool of molten aluminum
          filling
          > part of the can. So I started adding more aluminum into it, to fill
          up the
          > can. It was amazing how much I could add to that can and not fill
          it up. It
          > was a magical can. I could just add, and add, and add, and add more
          > aluminum.... Until I finally got a clue and realized that it had to
          be going
          > somewhere.
          >
          > I dumped the tin can (ahem, I mean *crucible*) of aluminum into a
          simple
          > mold I made from a piece of steel angle-iron, to get a nice
          triangular bar.
          > That's an "ingot" in fancy-pants foundry talk. After the charcoal
          cooled, I
          > found the secret magician's trap door where all my aluminum went
          from my
          > magic crucible. Under the coals, between the two steel buckets, was
          strange
          > rounded chunk of aluminum. Oops, rather, I mean, look at the
          fascinating
          > sculpture I formed from my special aluminum drip art process. Yeah,
          that's
          > it... Yeah...
          >
          > Melted aluminum:
          > [image: 20081130_foundry_IMG_1197.sized.jpg]
          >
          > My assistant Maurice observing the art pieces:
          > [image: 20081130_foundry_IMG_1196.sized.jpg]
          >
          > The shop vac was too much, so I replaced it with an old hair dryer,
          which
          > was much better. I also replaced the air-gap steel bucket with a
          better
          > fire-brick bucket. More on that to come later.
          >
          > This is also on my personal website with pictures at
          > http://www.bolis.com/amillar/tools/backyard-aluminum-melting
          >
          > - Alan
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
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