PDA

View Full Version : Steel Casting



Techtchr
01-01-2013, 12:14 PM
Anybody on the forum do steel casting in the fingerlakes area of NY state? I am interested in having some musical instrument repair tools cast in steel with the possibility of marketing the finished product that I would machine. I'd also be interested in learning the craft and possibly setting up to do my own castings. I live in Auburn NY, about 1/2 way between Syracuse NY and Rochester NY.
Thanks, Matt

Techtchr
01-01-2013, 04:04 PM
OK, next best thing anyone within a day's drive PA, OH,IN, VT... that does metal casting? Would prefer steel but could use AL or Brass.
Thanks, Matt

bborr01
01-01-2013, 04:50 PM
Hi Matt,

You are on the right track by widening your geographic area but mostly going from steel to brass or aluminum. It takes quite a setup to cast steel. Cast iron is achievable in a hobby setting if you have a decent one. Brass is even easier and aluminum can literally be done with some charcoal and a few basic things that most people have laying around.

It mostly comes down to melt temperature. There are a few people on this forum that do some casting. I have a furnace and everything to go with it but the farthest that I have gotten so far is melting aluminum and pouring ingots.

There is a guy in wisconsin who does some casting. I think he goes by davidh. Wisconsin is quite a bit farther but maybe you can just ship a pattern and have castings shipped back to you. Flat rate shipping is pretty reasonable.

Good luck in your search.
Brian

Ries
01-01-2013, 06:47 PM
depending on the tool, have you considered a blacksmith?
many early tools were actually forged, not cast. In fact, most steel hand tools have been forged for centuries- current steel tools, like crescent wrenches or good screwdrivers, are drop forged in closed die presses, but forged nonetheless.
Lots of blacksmiths around these days, and some of them are as good, or better, than any historical smith.
Check with anvilfire.com, the abana website, or local groups.
http://www.nysdb.org/
http://www.paaba.net/

depending on the tool, you might also ask Kevin Potter if he is interested-
http://www.potterusa.com/

cast steel is very expensive, and is usually only done for very high end industrial uses. It exists, but I would imagine its way out of your price range.

Mcgyver
01-01-2013, 07:03 PM
Is there is a reason for cast steel? There are iron foundries around but I have no idea if casting steel is more involved than cast iron. As noted the casting temps are much higher for iron so there are fewer places that do it, and it gets trickey to do at home.

The backyard iron casters push the envelope - I'd guess thats a big part of the appeal....but whats the resultant quality like? If you're making barbels who gives crap.... but something fine that needs subsequent machining has to be done quality with intrustions, chills spots etc.

Ries
01-01-2013, 07:37 PM
Its not so much the temperatures- its the fact that steel is an alloy,(or, more precisely, one of several hundred alloys) and the different elements do different things at different temps- so, when casting steel commercially, a good foundry will have real time sampling of the exact chemical composition of the batch, and the ability to add a variety of metals and minerals to adjust the mix on the fly. This is not cheap. Compared to casting aluminum, which is basically like making candles- heat it up, pour it in the mold.

ldwilson46
01-01-2013, 08:55 PM
You might try Auburn Foundry - right there in town; they treated us quite well for a small job several years ago - don't know if they do steel; they might have other ideas

-ldw

dixdance
01-01-2013, 10:23 PM
Thompson Foundry in Ontario NY does bronze & aluminum sand casting. Real nice guys, they are very receptive to small time operators like myself. http://www.thompsonfoundry.net/About-Us.html

boslab
01-02-2013, 04:46 AM
A small run of steel would be really expensive, an investment casting shop would be your best bet, have seen tome tuning keys that were cast by a surgical instrument co, nice and shiny!
How about Malleable iron?, casts nicely and won't break, we'll within the remit of most foundries.
Regards
Mark

Forrest Addy
01-02-2013, 05:57 AM
If material is not critical you might consider silicon bronze. I'm told the stuff is castable to achieive fine detail, lends itself to low budget investment castings of high quality, stronger than most plain low carbon steels, and the material is widely available.

Here's a handy font of info: http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/24977-overview-of-metal-casting-for-beginners/

But I can't swear to the virture of silicon bronze. I'm parroting what I think to be good advice. My contact with foundry work was mostly to learn the vocabulary and processes so I could talk to the foundry guys and how best to abuse them at meetings and casual BS.

A classic: "Your castings would float if they didn't sink" said Bob Grinde amid a circle of white hats about 1972 referring to porosity in a sealing surface of a finish machined Level One casting. I saw Hempsted the foundry boss actually wince at this accusation.

Techtchr
01-02-2013, 06:57 AM
Thanks for the advice and excellent links!. The tools I'm considering would not lend themselves to the blacksmithing arts. I could use other cast Irons or other non-ferrous materials for some of the tools. One of the larger ones is 6" in diameter and 8" tall and the preferred metal would be steel or cast Iron of some form. The smaller castings would probably be fine in non-ferrous metals. Investment casting would probably not be a viable method for what I am looking for. I had not considered Auburn foundry because I didn't think they did that sort of work. I will check out Ontario as well. Thanks again!
Matt

Dr Stan
01-02-2013, 08:43 AM
Would SLS (selective laser sintering) work? I know the details it can hold and the strange & difficult to machine or cast shapes it can produce are quite interesting. I just do not know enough about your application to give advise on the practicality of its use. You can check with Emachineshop.com for a quote.

Mcgyver
01-02-2013, 09:35 AM
Thanks for the advice and excellent links!. The tools I'm considering would not lend themselves to the blacksmithing arts. I could use other cast Irons or other non-ferrous materials for some of the tools. One of the larger ones is 6" in diameter and 8" tall and the preferred metal would be steel or cast Iron of some form. The smaller castings would probably be fine in non-ferrous metals. Investment casting would probably not be a viable method for what I am looking for.

the constraints pique curiosity - can you post a pic or diagram of the part?

ironmonger
01-02-2013, 10:22 AM
I have been following along here, and this post peaked my interest.
I cast aluminum and bronze in my hobby foundry with a present upper limit of about 6 lbs of bronze at present. That led to my question regarding your description. Is this form you have solid? The 6" diameter and 8"height represents a largish chunk of anything, and bronze runs about $10 to $14 a pound.
My bronze castings are alloyed for each melt form copper and tin, with the ability to add metallic silicon. The castings I am imagining are beyond the capacity of all but the most dedicated home foundry. at about 1/3 lb per cubic inch that shape you describe comes out to about 75 lbs... plus sprues, gates and risers.
But the biggest limitation would be the flasks. None of this would be a problem for a commercial foundry, but tin the words o the first plumber:

"Hmm... this not be cheap"

https://cdn2.content.compendiumblog.com/uploads/user/69b9c248-5fde-4fb3-a624-f0a1a5800716/81ada1a9-89e7-4c85-a54b-674aa0f0763a/Image/082ac60db9eaf966722c4bb76b9cfc16/larson_earlyplumbing.jpg

as a retired plumber the reference was inevitable...

bborr01
01-02-2013, 11:05 AM
You might try Auburn Foundry - right there in town; they treated us quite well for a small job several years ago - don't know if they do steel; they might have other ideas

-ldw

Right here in Auburn? Really, like there is only one Auburn in the USA or the world. I sure wish George would make it a condition of joining this forum that at least a general location of members be given.

I wish I could have given you a little warmer welcome.

Brian