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do you cast aluminum?

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  • do you cast aluminum?

    I know the has been bantered around before but a quick search didn't ring any bells.

    If I were to have a project that required some aluminum casting but I was not setup to do that nor was I likely to be in the near future but wanted to have some pieces cast for making, say a small slant bed for a widdle cnc lathe to mount some THK linear bearings on that I happen to have for just such a use...

    ...are there any known people or groups out there that you know of that do that sort of thing just because they need to get some use of all the work they put into seting up a foundry and are not afraid of money...

    Kevin

  • #2
    If you were closer I would give you my old furnace.I never get to use it so why not.

    My advice is hit the yellow pages and find somebody local that casts ornamental iron,if you do the patterns,most times they will cast what you need reasonable if you can wait until they are doing a pour.

    I have taken the odd mould down to the local scrapyard and passed it under the spout of the're scrap smelter.They usually do a lot of tranny cases so the alloy ain't that bad and it only costs me $.51/lb
    I just need one more tool,just one!

    Comment


    • #3
      This is funny! I was just going to ask the same question.
      I got a call from a steel supplier here wondering where to get some bigger chunks of aluminum. Seems a lot of retired guys are buying lathes etc. but large alu bits don't happen around here.
      I'm thinking of building a furnace also. Did quite a bit of reading the last few days.
      There is an old guy here who does some (this is the guy who doesn't use oil on the lathe ways).
      He has legs welded onto a Chevy SB oil pan.
      He uses a Tiger torch on the bottom and another on the top. When the mess is melted he grabs the oil pan with two sets of vicegrips and runs outside with the works and pours the alu into wooden boxes for moulds! Yikes!
      The steel place is scared to deal with this guy so he asked me if I can do this.
      A couple things I can't find in the stuff I found through Google...
      He throws Borax into the melt to flux it...do I have to do that? I couldn't find it mentioned in any home foundry writeups.
      I need to make some 6" and 8" round pieces.
      Was thinking of using pipe for moulds but I'm wondering if they'd need to be split and use them as two piece moulds so I can get the pieces out.
      Was going to use the bottom part of a propane cylinder for a melting pot and fire it with a forced air burner made for BBQ briquettes.
      I've melted lots of lead but no alu.
      I have some alu cylinder heads and some pistons already scrounged.
      I've read about how to make moulds with lost wax, sand etc. but can't find what to use for simple mould for rough cylinders and squares.
      Was the old guy right to use just wood?
      I'm assuming you'd have to cover the wood with wax.
      These guys are willing to pay a pretty good price for these pieces so I'd like to take a crack at it.
      Thanks!
      Russ


      [This message has been edited by torker (edited 03-16-2006).]
      I have tools I don't even know I own...

      Comment


      • #4
        Get Gingrey's(sp?) book on the charcoal foundry. In the $10 range. It will give a practical BASIC discussion of the entire process, including pattern making. His other books go into more details. Charles

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        • #5
          Charles, Thanks, I'm going to build roughly the same burner as a guy has on his foundry site. Well, maybe a little nicer than his, it's pretty crude.
          I want a frame for the pot so it can swivel and a table on casters to move around under it for filling moulds etc.
          The burner he made uses a small squirrel cage fan with a speed control. Seems awful simple to me.
          I have tools I don't even know I own...

          Comment


          • #6
            Here is the site for casting.
            http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/forums/index.php
            This is a totally amazing site. check out your local community college they may offer a casting class. Ours is going to offer one in the fall which is nice because i will be able to ask question and get answers that you can always get form a book.

            ------------------
            Glen
            Been there, probally broke it doing that
            Glen
            Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
            I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
            All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

            Comment


            • #7
              I have melted up a batch of aluminum using a sawed off propane bottle for a crucble; it worked fine and shows no sign of serious burning but obviously will need replacement sometime; but there are lots of propane bottles around.
              I use a 20 lb propane cylinder with the top cut off and a refractory lining burning charcoal for a furnace. My home made refractory is perlite with some stuff called "CPD" to hold it all together. The perlite is a good insulator and I found that after a run I could pick up my furnace with my bare hands--it was just comfortably warm. I've also wondered about borax flux but never tried it and I've heard of using sulphur.
              One caution though: If you start cutting up propane bottles be sure to get all the propane out first. I fill them with water then empty them before cutting.

              Ken

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              • #8
                a very good book to get before you go haring off melting stuff is Casting Aluminum" by C.W. Ammen.
                Put out by TAB books. ISBN 0-8306-1910-0.

                it goes in to the basic chemistry making furnaces burners ect .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here is a hobby foundry supplier site I have a number of books from them the one on furnaces, forges and kilns and burners is well worth the price for any body planning on using old propane tanks and really great operating burners.
                  http://www.budgetcastingsupply.com/
                  somebody on this board has the book and has made up improved burners form this book and loves them

                  ------------------
                  Glen
                  Been there, probally broke it doing that
                  Glen
                  Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                  I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                  All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by railfancwb:
                    Get Gingrey's(sp?) book on the charcoal foundry. In the $10 range. It will give a practical BASIC discussion of the entire process, including pattern making. His other books go into more details. Charles</font>








                    [This message has been edited by Carl (edited 03-16-2006).]
                    THAT OLD GANG 'O MINE

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                    • #11
                      The Gingery books are a nice resource. I have most of them and quite a few of the foundry books from Lindseys include the big Navy book.

                      It looks like I'll have to setup my own foundry to do this. Looking around at the improvements made in propane burners it seems that they are quite viable for the small shop use.

                      This site shows the construction of a Reil EZ burner. http://metalcast.boorman.us/index.html and a foundry.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lindsay Technical Books has added the Michael Poter book #1590 Gas Burners for Forges furances and kilns it is 19.95. Thier spring catalog #633 hit the mail box today.
                        http://www.lindsaybks.com/
                        This is were to get a current edition of C.W. Ammens book on casting. $23.95
                        http://www.edwardrhamilton.com/title...9/0198315.html
                        They have an amazing assortment of books at great prices.

                        ------------------
                        Glen
                        Been there, probally broke it doing that
                        Glen
                        Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                        I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                        All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Looking around at the improvements made in propane burners it seems that they are quite viable for the small shop use.</font>
                          I think Gingery used charcoal because it was the least expensive viable option.
                          THAT OLD GANG 'O MINE

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have only cast lead and bronze.

                            Alcoa had a plant down the street from me, closed end of 2001, I think. One of the "new startup" companies in its place melts AL scrap just had a big dinner 1800hr last Thursday to tell the fifty workers, the place was closed, by 2000hrs the place was on fire.

                            That was one of the places I was looking for work. The other half of the building is where a friend has his biz. I was suppossed to start there next month.

                            Plenty of melted metal down the street, today. The place was stacked 10-12 high with "ingots" about 4x4x2 ft.

                            ------------------
                            Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."
                            Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Russ,

                              Look around for some damaged irrigation pipe, maybe ask some farmers. They get run over by tractors and they are toast.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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