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I Forge Iron

Wes Henderson

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About Wes Henderson

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    Fabricating with every medium I can control. Glass, polycarbonates, plastics, carbon fiber, fiberglass etc... Drafting, welding, machining, engineering, physics.

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  1. I've actually been referred to another forum that is particular to foundry work for this topic. However, I'm still researching what sort of casting I plan on doing. I'm looking into the different types of sands. Can you make semi-permanent moulds? Something that can be used more than once?
  2. They have been since 1949 I believe. The Mont-Louis solar furnace, in France, was the first of it's kind. There are several others since then. Solar energy application isn't as widely applied because of the acceptance that there needs to be further development in certain fundamentals for it to become reasonably affordable, even for commercial application. More recent development in concentrating photovoltaics by the use of parabolic reflection or multi-panel concentration to a micro solar chips that can collect energy from hundreds of square feet of reflected sunlight have helped substantially. That limits the cost to mirrors instead of individual collector panels. It does increase the dangers associated with it however, thus limiting it in some applications. Researchers at MIT have also developed solar panels as "light as a soap bubble" as described further here DailyMail MIT Solar Cell. I'm sure that further development on some of the building blocks will make the reality and practicality of solar forges more applicable.
  3. This is genius... I'm baffled that this never occurred to me. Even for a shop magnetic pickup.
  4. May I start by saying that I am currently deployed and trying to plan a proper course of action for when I do return home and begin casting. All I can say is that I have at least six months invested in reading and another six months at least before I would even attempt anything. Secondly, I do not intend to jump into casting, ESPECIALLY more advanced metals, until I feel properly prepared. Preferably being told by more senior members that they do not feel it would benefit me to remain at the level I am at the time. Thirdly, I have an understanding of the risks involved, have a background in chemistry and thermal physics. With that being said I welcome all criticism and opinion both. I am not one to be offended, but please keep in mind statements like "you are going to win a Darwin award" offer much less insight as opposed to "you should preheat this so as to remove moisture because of the detrimental effects it could have when it makes contact with the molten metal". Now, with that all out of the way, allow me to get into the primary agenda of my thread. I'll bullet my points so as to simplify my intentions. - I do intend to be properly capable of casting iron at some point in my life. - I am looking for advice on time frame and milestones that I have yet to find. - I do intend to both take a class upon my return to the states and work personally with someone senior to this process. - I am hoping for insight as to what matters in terms of priority when learning. So, with those highlighted, I hope we are on the same page. This is what I believe I should do, and please feel free to offer your insight to correct me, as I have nothing but time to make amendments to my plan. I plan to begin with casting aluminum. Now, my question with that is what is most crucial to begin learning in regards to it aside from safety, obviously. I would think that when first starting, one should use virgin metal in a commercially manufactured crucible following a proven designed foundry so as to create as many scientific constants as possible, thus eliminating as many factors of variability. I also understand that degassing for aluminum is not as necessary as the process is for some other metals, which again, limits the variables. So, with this metal in particular, what is most important that I focus on perfecting? What are some milestones to work towards? How do you know when you are ready to move to the next metal? Furthermore, what metal is recommended to begin casting after aluminum? Through all of my reading and watching I have found a plethora of information, but these are the topics I felt were not covered by any person of proper credibility. It could very well be that perhaps I have not looked in the right places, so if that is the case, please offer me some help in where to look. Lastly, I further understand that any input received is advice only and I accept the responsibility and liability upon myself to consult a professional with anything beyond my own capability. Thank you in advance.
  5. Thank you much Frosty. It's my honor to serve. To avoid confusion, I go by Wes and Facebook wasn't reflecting the name update until I altered some of the settings.
  6. First of all, I will be honest and say that I copied this from my profile after writing it in the "about me" section. I have visited this site quite often and finally decided to become a part of it. May I start by thanking anyone who takes the time to read information about myself. So as to hopefully avoid the inclusion of being associated with many of the people of my generation, please allow me to define some of my backstory. Should you not care about that, you could simply skip to the paragraph following. I have always been ambitious; sated more by knowledge and finding resolute purpose behind it; resorting to logic over emotion; and having been often referred to as a "machine" for the amusement of others. I don't quite mind though. I actually pride myself in my obsession with having to make sense of the unknown and my superfluous knowledge of both the inconsequential and the more relevant. I was projected to graduate high school two years early, but my parents insisted I stay another year for the "high school experience". I appreciate their intentions, but I would have much more appreciated one less year in the social cliques and fallacy that such a place truly prepared you for the "outside world". So I was only able to graduate one year early. Fair enough... At least I had that. Some weren't so fortunate to even graduate after four years. After high school I intended on going to college. The key word is intended. My parents, again following their view of what was best for me, wanted me to attend a local college after seeing my older brother fail out of college due to being consumed with "college life". They wanted to be able to help me keep true to my intentions and not deviate from what a proper, self-respecting student should do. *Sigh* Again, I appreciate their intentions, however misplaced I felt they were. Having decided to postpone my enrollment in college until I was eighteen, not realizing that the state would consider me an emancipated minor at the time, I enrolled in cosmetology school. Odd for someone like myself yes, but that is another story entirely. Interestingly enough, as the school covered aesthetics, there was a remarkable amount of chemistry involved which helped me retain my sanity. During the end of my time in cosmetology school I met the woman that I would end marrying. She had a two year-old at the time whom I am the father of now and always will be. We met, married, had our second child, moved in together and bought a house all in our first year together. Needless to say, it was a stressful start for the both of us. She helped me become more emotional and not quite so daft when it came to social queues and sarcasm. I was a bit like Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory After two and a half years of dating, we decided to get married and found out we were once again expecting. At the same time I decided to join the U.S. Navy. I was anxious to escape Ohio and pursue a structured career that would allow my family and me to travel. To sum up the introduction to myself, I am a U.S. Navy sailor, I am married to the most amazing woman and we have three children together. I am twenty four years old (as of 26DEC91) and my wife is less than a year older than myself. I have worked as a machinist, mechanic, manager and more. My true passion is starting with a problem, contemplating a resolution, drafting a design and then making that creation come to life. I am more than willing to pass on the knowledge I have on any matter to anyone who is willing to learn. However, should someone display that they lack a certain interest, that willingness quickly diminishes. I appreciate those people on forums who are here not because they themselves need questions answered, but enjoy answering the questions of those junior to them and I hope to learn as much as I can from those such people.
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