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View Full Version : What should I have cast in iron?



Doc Nickel
07-02-2008, 07:31 PM
The local metalworking shop is hosting an "iron pour" this 4th of July weekend. They had two previous events that I wasn't able to make, due to distance, time and money, but this one's local and free to watch.

However, they also are offering the option to have an object cast in iron, if you make the mold, for $150.

That's pretty steep for my current finances (which are, at the moment, effectively zero) but an interesting opportunity. I assume there's going to be a vague size restriction (no life-size statues of Napoleon astride a horse, etc.) and, more importantly, I'll need to have the pattern done and in to the shop by close of business tomorrow.

Any suggestions?

I don't know the quality of their iron or techniques, so I don't think I'll be casting any flywheels or faceplates or pulleys.

The only thing I can think of at the moment is perhaps a new arbor support for my Nichols (http://www.docsmachine.com/machineshop/nichols04.jpg) mill- one with enough beef on the lower end to accept a "running" bearing, instead of the stub-end bushing as shown.

Also, the knee gib of that same mill is cracked; it's a cast-iron "half a dovetail" piece, that could probably be just as easily machined out of a chunk of 1-1/4" square Dura-Bar (if they sell it in that size or close to it.) $150 might be a bit steep for that.

Any other ideas?

Doc.

Michael Edwards
07-02-2008, 07:34 PM
Shaper vise? Just spit ballin here.

ME

Doc Nickel
07-02-2008, 07:54 PM
That's the kind of thing that needs to be steel, or at least forged. In any case, I have a good vise for the little Lewis, and various lines on two others for the big Stockbridge.

Now, the Stockbridge does need at least three levers- ram position lock, table traverse, knee- but again, that sort of thing needs to be steel, or malleable iron, or forged, etc. Semi-unknown-quality cast probably isn't worth the time here.

Doc.

Optics Curmudgeon
07-02-2008, 08:11 PM
Is that some new development? Every shaper vise I've ever seen was a casting.

Joe

Chipslinger
07-02-2008, 08:42 PM
Is that some new development? Every shaper vise I've ever seen was a casting.

Joe

Yep , Cast steel.:cool:

Rustybolt
07-02-2008, 08:57 PM
Face plates. They're damned expensive if you can even find one that will fit your lathe.
Compound angle plates.
A set of bench centers
Surface plates
I'm sure they're are others, I just can't think of anymore off the top of my head.

oldtiffie
07-02-2008, 09:10 PM
If I read Doc correctly it means $150 per item/piece/part. On that basis it might be better to think again for multiple part items such as vices etc.

Michael Edwards
07-02-2008, 09:31 PM
However, they also are offering the option to have an object cast in iron, if you make the mold, for $150.

That's pretty steep for my current finances

I'll need to have the pattern done and in to the shop by close of business tomorrow.



I don't know the quality of their iron or techniques

.


The more I think about it, seems to me like a bad combination, big hurry not sure of quality etc. I would say go and watch, maybe find out what kind of iron they are pouring, and how good of a job they do. FWIW, there are a lot of durable goods made out of cast iron, like millions of crankshafts, and some shaper vises. Check out http://www.harpritsan.com/ His website is in the middle of a refurb, but you can see on the main page a split pic of the shaper vise made from 60,000psi malleable iron. Also, if you have to make the pattern and mold anyway, why not take your time and figure out something you can really use then shop around for a small foundry that will do onsy twoseys. Even if you have to ship it, the extra cost wouldn't be too bad an a small part. Of course you know we are all expecting a report on how it all went. ;)

ME

lazlo
07-02-2008, 09:40 PM
Yep , Cast steel.:cool:

Almost all quality vises, including Kurts, the old USA Wiltons, etc are made with ductile cast iron.

Kurt is very proud that they use Class 80 Ductile (80,000 PSI) in all their chuck bodies. The jaws are hardened steel, obviously.

For the size, an unobtanium shaper vise for one of those large shapers you have sounds like a winner to me.

Doc Nickel
07-02-2008, 10:18 PM
True. And actually, after seeing the interesting swivel-jaw vise on that Perine shaper (http://www.docsmachine.com/machineshop/perineshaper.jpg) I saw, I did think briefly about making some patterns and trying to duplicate something like that for my Stockbridge.

I may still, and you can be assured I'll be grilling the ironmongers at the pour about the types and quality of their materials. At this point I honestly don't know if these fellows are experts with years of experience behind them, or a couple of guys who read Gingery's page a couple of times and then tacked together a homebrew cuplola out of an old freon tank.

If the former- which I hope- I'll definitely have to ponder that vise a bit harder. But for the moment, I was trying to think of a somewhat simpler project that I could have done, but one that, given the cost, would still perhaps prove to be useful in the shop.

I'd love a surface plate, but I'd have to buy a granite plate to scrape it in, and given how short I am on room, I might as well just buy the rock and be done with it. :)

Doc.

lazlo
07-02-2008, 10:28 PM
I'd love a surface plate, but I'd have to buy a granite plate to scrape it in, and given how short I am on room, I might as well just buy the rock and be done with it. :)

I was going to suggest a camelback (scraping master), but that has the same problem, and you'd also have a hell of a time making the mold.

The mold for a shaper vise seems a lot more straighforward.

oldtiffie
07-02-2008, 10:42 PM
Making a mould or pattern can be very involved and may require considerable acquired skills. Not the least will the "shrinkage allowances" and allowances for post-moulding machining.

JRouche
07-02-2008, 10:52 PM
I dont know anything about Anvils but always wanted one.. Can you cast one in iron and plate the top in a durable steel?? JR

pcarpenter
07-02-2008, 11:10 PM
Yeah-- I would have advocated for a camelback straightedge too. You could make the portion of the mold that is the straightedge with just a rip or two on a piece of 2x4. The camel back portion of the mold is a big arc of plywood with a big rib across the top and some simple vertical ribs. As patterns go it could be one of the easier ones. The holes in the arch could be machined in afterward to make the pattern a bit quicker.

Me...I have a broken arm that shifts the planetary back gear in or out on my shaper. Maybe you have a broken machine part somewhere too?? The original could be the mold...and then "finger in" the missing piece. I keep thinking about re-pouring the piece I need in aluminum instead of cast iron, but its something I can fabricate a functional replacement for out of a slice of 6" steel pipe with a few weldments.

Hmmm....such short notice...

Paul

oldtiffie
07-03-2008, 02:47 AM
There has to be a financial limit on the cost of the iron as well as a physical one as regards the amount of iron that can be melted and poured in the equipment available surely.

Doc Nickel
07-03-2008, 03:18 AM
There has to be a financial limit on the cost of the iron as well as a physical one as regards the amount of iron that can be melted and poured in the equipment available surely.

-I'm sure there is. I wasn't planning on doing up a 24" camelback or an 18" x 24" surface plate with heavy ribbing and cast-in feet. :D

As I said earlier, about the only thing I could think of- as an actual workable project, and not too large- would be an overarm support for the Nichols. That'd be about 8" long, perhaps 2" thick, and roughly teardrop shaped with the widest point being about 4".

I have no idea what this groups' capabilities are, or for that matter whether they're doing lost-wax or rammed sand flasks.

I'll probably pass, as I don't have a pattern or even an idea for a pattern- and definitely don't need to blow $150 right now, if I even had it to blow, but I figured I'd ask and see if somebody had a really interesting idea that would make it worthwhile to have it done.

I will say I like the idea of those table extensions on that fellow's Atlas castings page. I've felt the table on my Lewis was a bit small- it's only about 7" square, and too thin a casting to have any T-slots. Perhaps if this group is a bunch of semiprofessionals, and actually pour iron for pay rather than just occasionally for show like this, I might toy with the idea of making a pattern for a bigger, thicker table- at least thicker on one face for T-slots, and maybe drilled for simple threaded holes on another.

Again, you can bet I'll be asking questions, writing down the details, getting contact information, and taking a bloody great lot of photos. :D

Doc.

dan s
07-03-2008, 04:06 AM
Doc,

What about a custom faceplate?

-Dan

wierdscience
07-03-2008, 08:37 AM
I wouldn't do a straight edge,any casting would also need to be stress relieved,not something the kitchen oven will handle:D

The mill overarm was a good idea.

Quetico Bob
07-03-2008, 08:54 AM
The camelback sounds neat but seeing as I donít know what that is yet, I probably go for something with an odd shape that would be difficult to make out of standard material. Maybe along the lines of a heavy tail stock for a future mill project.
Cheers, Bob

Quetico Bob
07-03-2008, 09:25 AM
Correction, Iíd probably go for something odd shaped like a camel back. Now that I know what it is.
Cheers, Bob

spkrman15
07-03-2008, 09:34 AM
Doc,

My vote is for a faceplate, a riser block, something along that lines. If you machine it after the casting and it is no good, no big loss. If it works out you have something that you can do the various OOPS with.

Whatever you do....take pics

Rob :)

madman
07-03-2008, 09:43 AM
I made two Bench rest rifle rest bases many years ago, Cherry Wood for the form and had a mennonite friend pour the iron cast the mold ect. It came out nice.

Duffy
07-03-2008, 10:21 AM
With the time that you have left, (if any,) whatever you decide will have to be quick. A face plate or riser block for sure, but most importantly, make a styrofoam pattern for "lost foam" casting-no draft required. Duffy

Doc Nickel
07-03-2008, 04:19 PM
Oh, man, there's one: A tailstock! Thanks Bob!

Too late/too complex for this stage, but I have been keeping in the back of my mind- when I remember, that is- an idea to make a "dovetail" long-travel drilling tailstock.

I'd started thinking about it several years ago when I needed a new tailstock for my Logan lathe- which came with a 6-station turret. I have occasional need to drill fairly deep, at least in relation to the factory tailstock which only has about 2-1/2" of travel.

My idea was to try and make a dovetailed tailstock that was kind of like a shaper ram, with a gib for wear and the whole works, driven by a rack-and-pinion capstan wheel, like a drill press.

I may have to move that back up the list, if these guys can cast me some good material.

I'd forgotten about the lost foam, too. That'd make for a quick and easy form, though a "sanded" area might give kind of a rough finish...

Doc.

dan s
07-03-2008, 04:33 PM
how about a multi setting carriage stop?


http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26326&highlight=stop

Quetico Bob
07-03-2008, 05:25 PM
Not up on casting techniques. Since I saw this post itís like O-man wish I was in your position. I would have my TOS tailstock off in a jiff over to my sons sand box to make a form. I know itís a little more complicated than that but it canít be that much more is it?
Cheers, Bob

hardtail
07-03-2008, 07:14 PM
My coworker/buddy does lots of aluminum and bronze casting in fact he has the tumbler at his place to prepare the sand for the others, anyway most all the clubs castings are with foam today, the high density type. There is a fella in the club that does CI and I asked what he uses for feedstock, he replied engine exhaust manifolds, when I asked if he cleaned them prior he replied that most of the contaminents disappear @ 2200F........wink. I think thats the temp, maybe a little hotter for CI, anyway the guy does a lot os parts that are obsolete now for machinery restos etc. Have fun even if they don't do your part this year.

darryl
07-04-2008, 07:06 AM
' what should I have cast in iron '

How about leg-irons for politicians with election promises cast into them-

oldtiffie
07-04-2008, 07:53 AM
' what should I have cast in iron '

How about leg-irons for politicians with election promises cast into them-

Nah - not good enough.

Just cast them into prison?

Nah - not good enough either.

They've "F"-ed just about everything else so why make an "Iron Maiden" for them and let's see 'em "F" that!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_maiden_%28torture_device%29

It would be truly ironic would it not? (Sorry - not).

(Note for AK Boomer: DON'T even think about it!!!!).

Swarf&Sparks
07-04-2008, 09:27 AM
I'd go along with the leg-irons Mick.
After they've been lashed up to a grating and had 36 licks of the bosun's pet :D
(and then have the surgeon rub em down with salt and vinegar)