Home Metal Caster... am I the only one in Sydney???

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Topic: Home Metal Caster... am I the only one in Sydney???

charlesian2000's avatar

charlesian2000

21 Posts
Fri, 2nd December 2011, 6:48pm

Hi Guys,

I melt metal, I alloy metal, I get metal hot and belt it with a hammer... am I the only one?

Anyone interested in starting an interest group?

 

Regards Charles


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les's avatar

leslie williamson

95 Posts
Thu, 8th December 2011, 8:48am

Hi Charles, and how are you. You are not the only person that casts things out of metal. I use to collect old trophies from the op shops and melt them down as they were made of Puter, which is soft and melts at a low temp. but now it is getting quite hard to find as most trophies are plastic.  I made all the name plates and emblems for model cars and other things.  I made all my first machine tool with melted aluminium but it took up a lot of room which I no longer have. I am interested in what you are making. I will look forward to your reply. Good luck and enjoy your hobby,   Les.


I like to build small replicas of things as I don't have a big enough shed

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charlesian2000's avatar

charlesian2000

21 Posts
Fri, 9th December 2011, 10:14pm

Hey Les,

You don't need a lot of space, I've done a lot of the hard work to make the hobby scalable.

All you need is a heat source and a way to contain it.

You can make a furnace body out of a single K26 fire brick, a Sustagen tin, and some packing.  Run it on a hand held propane burner.  You use a 250g crucible.  The whole setup is safe enough to use a set of test tube tongs.

It's hot enough to melt copper, alloy bronze, gold silver etc.  Lots of fun to be had there :-)

 

Regards Charles


Reply:

les's avatar

leslie williamson

95 Posts
Sun, 11th December 2011, 10:00am

Hi Charles, that sound like a pretty neat set up you have. What do you make with your molten metal?

I found it hard to get foundry sand to make my moulds as all the foundries now seem to be in China. I have got a whole set of books here on how to make all machinery like drill press lath, shaper and various other things. Now that you have brought the memory back I must look them up.  Let me know what you are making as I am very interested. Enjoy your hobby  Les                            


I like to build small replicas of things as I don't have a big enough shed

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Manxman's avatar

Manxman

25 Posts
Mon, 16th January 2012, 8:06pm

Charles and Les,

 Sounds like you two are into all sorts of foundry, here is an interesting site for you to look at.

Kneeslider has some good articles.

Cheers Manxman

http://thekneeslider.com/page/2/


Reply:

Laser_Man's avatar

Robert Shafran

3 Posts
Tue, 17th January 2012, 5:29pm

Hi there Guys i am interested in casting i have collected thousands of aluminium cans and have been looking at lots of u tube clips on the subject i am just about to purchase a small 600 x 900 cnc machine for doing some work with aluminium so thank Manxman you the url

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charlesian2000's avatar

charlesian2000

21 Posts
Wed, 18th January 2012, 6:36pm

Cool.  Once you've melted metal, a whole lot of possibilities opens.  The the ultimate recycling, and surprisingly easy to do.

For aluminium you can use solid fuel, liquid fuel, or electricity.  For brass and bronze (copper, gold, silver as well), gas and electric.

Gas is the most efficient option, and council regs don't seem to have a problem with it.

Electricity is really too slow for my liking.  Oil fueled furnaces... my council would say no.

The first question you have to ask yourself is how much do I want to melt? 
Can I manage that volume by myself or do I need a friend?
The next is how quickly do I want to melt it?

Most of the equipment you can make yourself for a modest investment in materials.

Regards Charles


Reply:

Manxman's avatar

Manxman

25 Posts
Wed, 22nd February 2012, 9:17am

Hi there gents,

A bit more casting news for you from The Kneeslider,

Manxman

http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2012/02/21/casting-the-musket-v-twin-engine/


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palpeter's avatar

palpeter

9 Posts
Wed, 22nd February 2012, 10:36pm

Hi Charles and all,   Not long back I dabbled in casting stuff from melted pewter. I brought 2nd hand mugs from the 2nd hand shops and bought some Plaster of Paris from the craft shop.

  I made the plaster hard  in 2 halves, then made the indentation of a shape (a small heart) in the tops and done a sprue, etc, joined the halves and clamped them together.  I snipped up the mugs into small pieces

about pea sized and put some in a soup ladel and heated it up with a butane can till it melted and poured it in.  When cooled I unclamped the halves and took my heart out. Quite pleased with myself untill I used my bench grinder to clean up the cast, the pewter is still in my grinding wheel but the heart turned out OK.

Also made some vee shaped things the same way, I found that pewter is easey to work with, very easy to melt. I lost interest a few months back but now you have refueled my interest.

                                                                                 Thanks to all

                                                                                    Jeff...   Port Lincoln SA

  PS..  Good thing about Pewter is that it can be remelted if your first cast fails !!


Reply:

stephensd's avatar

stephensd

3 Posts
Thu, 21st June 2012, 12:45pm

Charles,

I am interested in home metal foundry casting.

I hope to get a Flamefast 600 S crucible furnace connected up in future at home. Furnace makers literature said it is capable melting grey cast iron, but I am mainly interested in Al currently. Have some pewter, Zn alloy, plus scrap Al metal stock. I make my own patterns, being a hobby woodturner. I also have tried making cores using sand with linseed oil as a binder & some dextrin. However I would to obtain a cheap sand muller for mixing sand mixes.

Thanks,

Regards

Stephen D 

 

Reply:

stephensd's avatar

stephensd

3 Posts
Thu, 21st June 2012, 12:51pm

Charles,

A follow up to my last reply, I am based at Hazelbrook in Mid Blue Mtns, & go to Katoomba Mens Shed which is where I found out about this forum using its BFS facility.

Is anyone interested meeting up together at some location, say a pub?

Regards

Stephen D

Reply:

ModerationTeam's avatar

The Shed Team

60 Posts
Thu, 21st June 2012, 8:12pm

hi StephenSD - great to see you are getting involved with The Shed Online, just a reminder though to everyone that we can't post personal details online but you are able to exchange details with "mates" through the personal message system

Cheers

The Shed Online Team



Reply:

Singeon's avatar

Singeon

230 Posts
Sun, 24th June 2012, 10:05pm

charlesian2000 writes
--------------------------------------

Hi Guys,

I melt metal, I alloy metal, I get metal hot and belt it with a hammer... am I the only one?

Anyone interested in starting an interest group?

 

Regards Charles

Hi Charles..I am too far away for a pub get-together...but

I have a friend...from secondary school..with whom I have kept in-touch for many years...he is a serious millitary modeller...club member, all that sort of thing..I was a long time ago but discovered wine, women and fast cars...:-)

He casts his own historic figures from lead....using moulds purchased from others in his groups or on-line....there is a huge market for quality scale figures of all types and centuries....I wonder if this is too small a scale for you or something you might like to have a go at?....the market is a quiet but large one...the moulds I think are a type of hardened rubber or similar...the higher the detail the better...start with copies and work on to originals?...the moulds are quite valuable...the finished pieces even more so...

Chess pieces obviously come to mind for me when you mention Pewter...combine with a chippy in the shed to produce something special?

Dont know if you have tried it yet...Perhaps this type of thing might pay it's way and open-up new avenues for your skills?

Just a thought,

Cheers,

Steve 

 


Reply:

Bundaboy's avatar

Bundaboy

55 Posts
Mon, 13th August 2012, 10:49pm

I dabbled in this a while back. Built myself an electric furnace (Hebel bricks) which is temperature controlled and melts aluminium quite easily. I tried a few lost foam castings with so so success.

I have given it up for the time being because I can't for the life of me source the raw materials required to progress e.g.

Refactory

Green sand/Petrobond

Bentonite

Fire Brick

CO2

other things that don't spring to mind

The big foundry suppliers just don't want to know about backyard casters I'm afraid.

If you know of a source please let me know.


Eating healthily doesn't really make you live longer... it just seems like it

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artwombat's avatar

artwombat

1,681 Posts
Tue, 14th August 2012, 10:36am - updated - Tue, 14th August 2012, 10:39am

I have been around the fringes of this one.  I made a steel mould and cast a sextant in aluminium by melting old diesel locomotive (cane train) pistons in the proper forge It came out with no clean up necessary.

I also made Ned Kelly's gun as a 13kg cast iron wall plaque. But I had it cast in a foundry.

I also did a lot of inspections on foundries (odour complaints) The green sand (casting sand) they use is just sand with some clay in it. Shell moulds are all the go now and they are made in a waffle maker type thing out of the same as they made cores with.

I have not done it but there is a lot on the net about flower pot furnaces/forges. You just need a terracota pot and a hair drier some heat beads and a melting pot.

I also believe that investment casting (disappearing wax) has a new brother in styrene foam. When the hot metal hits styrene it disappears.

So the easy way is make a one of pattern from styrene, use it to make a green sand mould melt in the flower pot and pour into the mould but do not breathe the fumes.

Pewter is tin maybe tin/lead and the old stuff was prob not pure with other metals too.  You can cast tin lead into a centrifugal rubber mould.  They used to use old wind up gramaphones - wind it up a few Turns and let it spin while pouring into the centre of the mould. They removed it straight away and tumbled the pieces with soapy water and ball bearings.  Then it went to the electro platers which made it bright and shiny and hard and suitable as jewelery

I am casually interested in rubber mould supplies and the rest of the set up is achievable in the shed.

 

I hope that helps.

 

cheers Col

 

 

 

 


Reply:

charlesian2000's avatar

charlesian2000

21 Posts
Tue, 14th August 2012, 6:49pm

Hi Boys,

It's been a while from my original post.

Supplys :-

Refractory:  Depends on the type you need, but I suggest Kaowool (a Pottery supply will sell you cut to size pieces, Thermal Ceramics only sells 7 metre lengths) as it's light and very efficient, you do need to wear a dust mask when installing the wool, but once you use the hardener it's safe.  If you want a hard refractory then you could visit Foseco.

Greensand/Petrobond II:  You could make a muller and mix your sand, but a better alternative it to ask a non-ferrous foundry for some sand.  I took a 20 litre bucket and $20... was also offered a job :-D  There are foundries around Kirrawee that are friendly... they may offer you a job too :-)

Bentonite:  Kitty litter, you just need to crush it.  If you get a pre mixed sand then Bentonite clay is unnecessary.

Fire Bricks:  sI get soft fire bricks like K23's and K26's from Pottery supplys, you can also get K28's but they are over kill and way to soft in my opinion.  Hard fire bricks... BBQ's Galore.

CO2:  Never needed it myself (in fact I'm getting rid of it as I speak :-D), but I assume this is for setting sand cores?  Whenever I need a core I use a molassas mixture, and bake the cores in the oven... when the wife it out.

What I usually do is find something I need do a little research and find a alternative product.  I like to deal with friendly companies.

 

Regards Charles


Reply:

charlesian2000's avatar

charlesian2000

21 Posts
Tue, 14th August 2012, 7:02pm

Hi Guys,

Part two :-)

 

Lost Foam Casting

One of my favorite subjects :-)

Lost foam casting is the poor mans cousin to investment casting, but the casting results can be of a fairly high quality and minus the headaches of investment casting.

The one-off foam models are destroyed in the casting process, and have no seam lines.  It is faster to do.  The down side is that making multiple models can be a headache, depending on the complexity of the model.  You can use store bought models... like Halloween skulls, they seem to be popular at the moment, but crafting a model is a lot of fun too.

When I do lost foam I choose to use a high density architectural polystyrene, that you can get from Clarke Rubber (you have to order it in, and carrying it to your car is an adventure, the slightest wind blows you all over the place).

Although you can use ordinary sand for this process for aluminium, then you use metals and alloys with a higher specific gravity, you need to use a bonded sand, otherwise the sand just blows out due to the head pressure of the metal.

The bonded sand I use is similar to petrobond sand, except it's hideously expensive.  The results are very close to investment quality, and the sand lasts a relatively long time.

The good thing about lost foam casting, is that equipment setup costs are relatively small. and the learning curve is very, very shallow.

Attached is a rough test I did using a fillet product from the states.  The model is the architectural foam that I mentioned earlier, and I cast out of sterling silver in Delft clay (the expensive casting sand).

 

Regards Charles

Attachments:

TheEye.jpg


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Bundaboy's avatar

Bundaboy

55 Posts
Wed, 15th August 2012, 12:56pm

Thanks all.

I have been looking at getting into casting for quite a few years now (maybe decades) and have pretty much exhausted all of the nominated sources mentioned as they either no longer exist (around Sydney or Southern Highlands where I now live) or are very expensive. The BBQ Galore source for hard fire bricks is one I hadn't heard of and I am keen to try thanks for that one.

Pottery supply places are very scarce around here these days. I have visited a couple over the years but they are extremely expensive and not really viable.

It should be possible to make one's own green sand, however I have come up against 2 problems, I can't find a source of bentonite clay, and I can't find a source of fine enough sand.

The idea of kitty litter as a source of bentonite is one I am well aware of and may pursue further, however the last time I looked I found that they make the kitty litter out of something else these days (like coconut husk or recycled paper).

One source of refractory I have recently become aware of is so called "builder's clay". I haven't come across it yet but it is meant to be readilt available - anyone used it?

continued next post...


Eating healthily doesn't really make you live longer... it just seems like it

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Bundaboy's avatar

Bundaboy

55 Posts
Wed, 15th August 2012, 12:57pm

...continued:

CO2 is certainly not necessary but is recommended and used by MyfordBoy on YouTube (an excellent watch if you are into this sort of thing) so thought it might be worth a try down the track - but I need to get the critical components first.

I have sent off enumerable emails to the major foundry suppliers but have yet to receive a single reply.

I must admit I haven't explored every possible avenue since I have been down in the Southern Highlands (haven't had the time), but if any one is around that area, or around Sydney even, please let me know if you have been successful at sourcing any of these things.

Has anyone built their own burner?

Also I have noticed some using weed burners as a burner - they appear to be only around $20 each in the US but they are few and far between in Oz and appear to be around the $100 mark and aren't nearly as powerful.

In reality though, if I could just find a source of green sand or the components to make green sand I would be able to proceed happily.

Anyway I hope this thread continues to attract comment - all information is useful.

Cheers,

Gary

 


Eating healthily doesn't really make you live longer... it just seems like it

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artwombat's avatar

artwombat

1,681 Posts
Wed, 15th August 2012, 5:59pm

BB

I am sure green sand is sand plus a small amount of clay. It would not take much messing around to get the mix right

 

Cheers Col


Reply:

Bundaboy's avatar

Bundaboy

55 Posts
Wed, 15th August 2012, 7:44pm

artwombat writes
--------------------------------------

BB

I am sure green sand is sand plus a small amount of clay. It would not take much messing around to get the mix right

 

Cheers Col

Oh you are perfectly correct, but the sand has to be very fine and the clay has to be bentonite (actually there may be substitutes but they are even harder to get I think).

The mix is no problem as that is well document.

Strangely, Australia is one of the biggest sources of bentonite clay but as yet I haven't been able to find a direct source. It IS available in chemists for oral consumption but in that form it is VERY expensive.

 

Cheers,

Gary


Eating healthily doesn't really make you live longer... it just seems like it

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