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Foundry demo

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  • Foundry demo

    I saw this cool foundry demonstration the other day, here is St. Louis at the City Museum, on holloween night. It was a group called The devils night iron works. They have a mobile melting furnace. It looks like something right out of a movie. All kinds of iron welded together in a big monstrous contraption. They have about 10 people working the project. I would say the furnace is about the size of 55-gal drum, and they pour what looks to be about 1 or 2 gallons of iron at a time. It takes the furnace about 15 minutes for each pour. Every one is wearing thick protective leather clothes, with comes in handy when some of the molten metal inevitably spills while pouring and sends fire and sparks covering a 30 x 30 foot area, which they are all standing in of course. One person stands on a platform and monitors the melting pot. This person is wearing a full silver almost space suit looking thing. Fire shoots about 4 or 5 feet out the top and sparks fly another 20 feet in the air. The amazing thing is this protective clothes with helmet and face shied allows the observer to momentarily stick their head into the flame and look down into the furnace!
    When it is decided that the metal is ready to pour, two people hold a crucipal in the middle of a long rod while another person knocks open a bung and out pours the molten iron. They then carry it over to awaiting molds and pour it in, while the bung guy sticks the stopper back in the hole, which still has some liquid metal pouring out, by hand. Must be some really tough gloves!
    Anyway, it was a really cool demonstration. I’m not sure if they actually do some commercial foundry work, or if they just get their kicks doing demonstrations like this one.


  • #2
    I think the melting furnace you describe is called a "cupola furnace".

    In it the fuel is in contact with the melt and limestone is use as a flux. The melting process goes quickly and liberates all the fire, smoke, and drama an otherwise peaceful neighborhood can handle for one day.

    C. W. Ammen's "The Complete Book of Sand Casting" covers the whole iron casting process which is elaborate, hazardous, impressive, and not for everyone.

    I'd reccommend the book to any home shop enthusiast for interesting reading. Ammen is a man of long and wide experience and he tells a good story. He's also a gifted teacher and knows how to pass on his trade in simple words. Ammen even includes information how to develop one's own sources for natural (quartz river sand, clays, etc) foundry materials.

    Anyone desiring to venture into foundry work should probably start with this book.

    [This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 11-03-2003).]

    [This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 11-03-2003).]


    • #3
      "Thats another book to put on my list" I thought...then checked the Barnes & Noble list of books under "C. W. Ammen"....he's written about nine other books on foundry work as well, and a couple of others on electroplating etc for good measure!
      Another book shelf extension required!

      Casting metals is fascinating allright, I worked in a friends bronze (lost wax) foundry for a while, the process is ancient and very tedious, but when it is time to lift the crucible from the furnace and pour, I don't think anyone has seen it too many times not to come and look again.

      I have just been reading about three Bessemer convertors that are still being used in the Urals, Russia, producing 1600 tons of steel per day - now that would be something to see!

      Lindsay has some books, both old and new, too.


      • #4
        Quick tip:

        Use the UBB tags to "hide" long URLs like that.

        Use the brackets (these: [] ) in place of the parentheses in the following manner:

        (url=http://www.reallylongurlsthatmakethescreenrallywideandyou )Click here(/url)

        And you get this: Click here

        There's also a brief tutorial immediately to the left of the text-entry window when replying to messages, labelled "*UBB code is ON"

        Just an FYI.
        Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


        • #5
          Thanks, Doc

          I've never had opportunity to learn those little tricks. Sometimes it's nice to insert a tables but when it do the formatting gets screwed up.

          Maybe I should get a book.