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Found 27 results

  1. Hi All, I am new here but I wanted to share my 3 year long project to create a functioning arc furnace capable of melting pretty much any metal using simply the electricity from a common outlet. That was the goal anyway... After 3 years, I determined that, while a common 120V household outlet would likely melt steel in small quantities (less than 5 oz.) it wouldn't be efficient for anything larger. The project was inspired by a similar project produced by Gregory Hildstrom, you can simply google Hildstrom carbon arc furnace if you are interested in seeing his project. Anyway, his ran on a very expensive lincoln 275amp welder. My goal was to produce something similar but which would shrink the size of the furnace and increase its efficiency to the point where melting and casting steel at 2,000W was a reality. The accepted minimum wattage to melt a pound of steel from most sources is about 300W of direct heat from an arc furnace, making it much more efficient than coal or external (burning) heat source, which usually requires many thousands of watts of input to melt the metal due to all the wasted heat from inefficient combustion and the need to heat the surroundings to the melting point of the metal. Whereas an arc or induction furnace directly brings the metal up to its melting point and the incidental heating of the surrounding is only useful to keep the metal molten long enough to cast it. The stages were as follows: Furnace Mark I, II and III utilized a UPS tranformer putting out 24V AC or 36V DC (once rectified) Mark I was an AC furnace using two handheld graphite electrodes and was an indirect heat type. there was no smoothing and the arc was unstable and not easily capable of what I was looking for. It was scrapped for parts. below is the super simple schematic of the furnace. Mark II Mark II was a rectified DC furnace which was manually controlled. It tended to trip it's breaker constantly as it had no current control mechanism. Mark III was the first Computer controlled furnace and while it worked and the computer was supposed to regulate the current by shunting it through a resistor when it went too high, it was not fast enough and the leads began to overheat from the high current running through them (the transformer leads were only 10AWG and couldn't be changed as they were part of the transformer. This furnace also had a water cooling system in it which would keep the electrode cool by housing it in a water jacket and feeding the coolant through a small PC radiator to maintain its temperature. Mark IV was the most sophisticated furnace yet. It ran on a 1500W switch mode power supply and had both an arc furnace feature and an induction preheater. Sadly it was never completed and burned up the Pulse width modulator used to control its current during testing. These are a few of the pictures of it. A schematic would be very time consuming to create so I never did. Below are some of the production pictures and initial testing. The Mark V Furnace Worked and is the one that will be the benchmark for any future furnaces. It is capable of around 6,000W but is run around 3,000W most of the time. Power supplies are expensive so I did just cop-out and buy a 200A welder which I couldn't even build for the price I got it for and it has been very reliably running between 60A and 100A. The furnace has an arc length adjustment which, once the amperage is set, is how the total wattage of the furnace is determined. Cont'd below Below are some of the pictures of it running with both copper and steel. it will melt up to 3 lbs of copper all day long on a standard 120V outlet at 1,500W A view of the control board of the furnace. The screen displays amperage, voltage, wattage and Watt-hours of runtime. The Amico welder below is an IGBT inverter welder capable of 100% duty cycle at 153A running on a 240V two phase outlet. This is a blob of molten steel that cooled enough to get a good picture over the top. This was about 18oz of steel and took around 8-9 minutes to melt at 1,900W. Videos of the furnace running can be found here. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1QrslaRjOQTNyxaA5C7mcQu4EX4auMvuc?usp=sharing
  2. Hello all, First post here to show some results of experimenting with the slip casting of aluminiumoxide (alumina). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slipcasting Got interested to make shapes with refractory oxides by the posts of MonkeyForge and Mellin although they were using zirconia and veegum/bentone and were forming the mass by hand. Zirconia is a little too expensive to mess around with so i went with alumina. Using a combination of digitalfire.com, wikipedia, google patents, google scholar I found a lot of info which I all read. But a lot of it was above what was achievable at home. And a lot of it is about achieving the "perfect" results. I just want a useable result... So... what did I do. I already had some alumina-bentone clay (97%/3%) because at first my idea was to make shapes by hand but I found that really difficult. So I made a batch of slip from this clay by adding lots of water and mixing it with a blender. Aiming for a consistency of heavy cream as was mentioned on DigitalFire. This I poured into a simple plaster of paris mold made out of a plastic drink cup. It worked but was incredibly slow in forming the walls. The plaster was sucking in the slip very fast at first but after a millimeter or so it slowed almost to a stop. Dried my plaster mold in the oven and tried again, same result. Not great, not terrible. Remembering what I read somewhere that bentonite has a "problem" with releasing water. The bentone in my slip was creating a layer and allowing almost zero water through. Created a new batch with 99% alumina and water. Poured into my plaster mold and behold incredible fast wall forming. Now almost too fast to keep the mold full. It dries really fast in the mold and releases itself from the mold walls within a couple hours. Then let it air dry for a couple days. With this succesfull "recipe" I made a larger batch of alumina slip, specific gravity was around 2.40 and the bucket was really heavy. But the slip was still really fluid. It will settle if you leave it sitting for a while so you have to mix it good before use. Also made a mold for a crucible and a burner head. These can be seen in the pictures I added. The crucible was some random cup I found somewhere and the burner head was 3D printed. Also 3D printed a hole pattern as a guide to drill out the holes in the burner head when it was dry enough to handle. The crucible I have not fired yet. The two burner heads are already fired and 1 of them sintered well because it has a nice ring to it when you hit it with a metal item. The other one is strong but has a somewhat empty sound when you hit it. I didn't really had a procedure to fire them so maybe that's the problem. I fired slowly for 3 hours to about 1000 degrees celsius and then went full power for about 1,5 hours, no idea what temperature, then slowly back to 800 degrees in about 3 hours, then i turned off the burner and closed up with ceremic blanket to cool down during the night. Measured temperatures were at the exhaust of my furnace (my thermocouple wire will melt inside). I hope the inside reached at least 1200 degrees celsius. (Using natural gas and a forced air burner) The same method can be used to cast items with zirconia, magnesia, etc. But you will need a higher temperature to sinter it well. Hope you guys can use some of the info and use it to create more cool stuff.
  3. I am looking a way to create a good cast/mold for my aluminum smelting projects. I have been curious about using wood ash or clay for the cast. Just because those are the only materials i have besides regular dirt. Please help what would be the best to use in your exerience or knowledge? And how do i acheive the best outcome with the items i have available?
  4. So i'm trying to make a mould of an old axe head i have (which i believe is viking inspired) to bronze cast as a gift. I use green sand to make my mould so my problem is that i can't get a mould to keep the gap in the axe-head. The only idea i have come up with is putting a steel rod made into the shape of the gap and putting it into the mould but i would prefer an alternative as this would take a lot of time and i don't think i have the proper tools. If anyone can come up with an alternative way i would appreciate it.
  5. This is my first post, which I hate to make a series of questions but the deed is done. I'll try to find a place to be helpful, but I am pretty knew to this so I don't know where that would be. I also do not know if this is the correct place to pose a question, if it is not I apologize and ask I be told the correct place. I would absolutely love to make cast iron cook wear, but that seems to be very outside the realm of possibility for my self at the moment. I really want a nice solid skillet that wasn't purchased from lodge. So I was thinking about casting bronze cook wear. I have seen videos and read stories of people doing it but they don't seem to get into the safety side of cooking with bronze. So does anyone have any Idea how to make cooksafe bonze? Or if that is even a thing? Information on the subject is very limited. The only safety tip I can find for cooking with bronze is don't cook acidic foods for the same reason you shouldn't do it with copper cook wear, not much more info than that though. I mainly need an idea for a source of leadfree tin, or just a source of tin. On a related note what about crucibles. I found recipes for fireclay crucibles, which I know are cheap and will crack after a few heats, but will it work for this? I would rather have to make a crucible over and over than buy an expensive one and always fear it will crack and Ill be out the money. As I said, cast iron is a long way off, but out of curiosity where does one find iron? All I can ever find is mild or hard steel, I don't think I have ever seen purchasable iron, even if it was labeled as iron it turned out to be just very low carbon steel. I can post pictures of my forge set up if needed, it's pretty ugly though so Ill refrain unless it is needed. Totally unrelated to this post, as this is my first post I have no idea what the tag system is so I made some up that I figured might exist. Is there a list somewhere? I looked but did not see one, granted I didn't look very hard. Oh and if you don't know an answer to my question, but know of a resource that may contain the information I seek I would love to hear about it.
  6. Pyrolized Bread Metal Casting Foundry Well earlier today I found this video posted yesterday by one of the guys I subscribe to on YouTube. He isn't the most safety conscious person, but he is an experienced machinist. The entire set up should of been outside, but its his house right? Its an interesting concept and he understands it and enjoys nerding out on the scientific to those of us who are not as, well you know...
  7. Hey guys I made a video about casting aluminum and when I poured the molten metal into a mold I made, it started to bubble. Why does it do that?
  8. I have a question concerning the longevity of a greensand mold, specifically what is the maximum time period I can make them in advance of casting before they begin to crumble? I am taking a metal working class at my local university and, due to time constraints, I only have 1 class left and I am worried that I am not going to be able to cast my bronze projects. It occurred to me that I could make my molds at home and then cast them at my last class, but I am concerned about the molds drying out beforehand; could I coat the outside in parting dust and plug the risers to prevent dry out? Thanks for any help.
  9. Hello, I am an acupuncturist who goes through a good quantity of surgical stainless steel needles, likely 316 or 304? Currently I have to send these needles as biohazard material to a certified waste disposal company. I am looking for ideas on how I could possibly repurpose this material for potential art projects. I understand that SS is difficult to melt, so casting may not be an option. I also understand that any use of this material would have to include sterilization because of the biohazard nature of the waste. My initial thought was that melting the needle would take care of that aspect, but the more I read about SS, melting does not seem like a great option. I would appreciate any idea that you may have. I kind of tripped into this forum, so maybe I am not in the right place. I also have zero experience with metal work, so I do ask for patience. Thank you so much.
  10. Hello all, I am a new member and this is my first post. I just wanted to share my first few backyard metal casting projects, all of the pics posted are with rough sanding/grinding only, I hope to take some new pictures of the finished products soon. I have found a lot of very helpful information on this site and would like to pass on my thanks to all the experienced members who have taken time to post tutorials for us newbies. So far I have learned that I can do this and that I am more handy than I thought, but that each project comes out a bit different than what is in my head, and that each one has it's own lessons to learn from and take to the next project. 1. very first project, learned to make sure the casting molds are the right size for the amount of metal your crucible can fit, both were intended to have integrated stands but did I not have enough aluminum to cast the stand. 2. couple of ingots, made an aluminum bronze by melting copper into the crucible that still had some aluminum left over from a previous pour (unintentional but I like the result and may make a small bronze decorative knife blade from this ingot) 3. A present for my wife (the heart with our anniversary date) and a mother's day gift for my mom (who is a Disney Fanatic). 4. Rough sand on my F-22 profile desk sculpture (since sanded to a nice smooth finish) 5. Bathroom towel rack (this is a finished product, both my wife and I like an industrial unfinished look for our house's style) 6. towel rack in use 7. first attempt at a copper axed head, rough finish for now. I plan on mounting on a dark stained custom wood handle.
  11. Hello fellow metal workers, I have some questions regarding making aluminum tank tracks for a robotics project. The tank tracks are 4.25" wide x 5/8" tall (length TBD) they are made up similar to the way an Abrams tank track is put together. I found a metal works company who specializes in turning small 6061 aluminum - rubber coated wheels and though expensive they can produce what I'm looking for. So now I'm back to the tank tread portion which I'll probably make myself. My experience: 10+years experience with TIG welding/fabrication and can weld most things. Many years ago I read a book on backyard metal casting because I wanted to cast aluminum tank treads. Back then the guy was using a Pyramid furnace (the company is no longer in business) to cast aluminum tracks. So here I am wanting to pioneer this venture again with many questions. After reading the beginner pinned thread and all the safety precautions, Aluminum casting seems a little scary/intimidating as well as an enormous investment of time to learn a whole new universe of skills and the safety surrounding them. Therefore I've come to these questions which I hope others can help me answer. A:) Would a furnace produce acceptable enough results in fit and finish for this type of application? (or am I better off in fabrication?) B:) How much cost investment is there in buying a high quality furnace, crucible and safety gear? C:) Roughly how much time investment is there in learning to cast small aluminum parts? D:) What is the mold material needed? E:) Are there any up to date extensive youtube videos or good book recommends specifically for casting aluminum. I have concerns with doing it safely as well making sure the mold is built correctly. Additional massive concerns about what the results will be after I Invest huge amounts of time and money in it. Will the results be good enough for this use? And more importantly will they be better than a machined/welded/fabricated alternative. In other words: Which route is shorter and produces the best results? I'll attach some drawing and pics of what I'm trying to manufacture. Thank you, Av
  12. I am taking a metalworking class at my local university and am planning, amongst other things, casting two jewelry boxes, one for each of my daughters. I'm planning on making them out of mild bronze, and they will be approximately 7 inches long by 3 inches wide by 3 inches deep. Should I cast the individual plates and later weld them together, or can something this size simply be casted in two pieces, namely the box and the lid? Would it make more sense to simply cast ingots and beat them into plates? Thanks for any help! (Attached is an image of the basic design I am going to attempt to recreate.)
  13. Is it safe to cut into a brand new empty propane tank to make a foundry? It was bought without ever being filled, so am I guaranteed I won't blow up or should I still remove the valve?
  14. I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this but I've got some questions on casting brass. I was given all this brass for free and was wondering if I could cut it into smaller chunks and melt it down and pour it into brass hammer molds. Or if there are other things I can do with them. Now for those of you who know about bushings how they have those ones that have graphite in them theses ones are not all of these are solid graphite free inch thick brass bushings. Each one ways 50lb so if any one knows if this can be done please let me know also they are out of a turbine of some sort. the one with my hand on it is a quarter of one of the bushings which would be the one with the big chuck gone. there are not cracks in them they are cuts made by a cutting wheel. the bushing are not cast either
  15. It was suggested by someone I trust that my next furnace (to cast a minimum of 50#) a pour should be a tilting one - I agree - I have a 21" diameter compressor tank to make that and my muller - but looking for plans. Chastain has a book but cant find a copy - they want $700+ on Amazon for it. and as much as $2k! anyone have any designs they can share? Thanks.
  16. This is a 5" x 7" clay plaque pattern I made for a bronze casting class I'm taking. I like working with hot metal lots better to get shapes I want.
  17. Hi! I started my smithing/smelting adventure not long ago. I've built a furnace, melt some alluminium, poured it into my clay cast, let it cool down (and used water to make the process faster). Then I wanted to make a sword out of it (as it was just a base stick cast). I heated it up, hit it with a hammer and... it just cracked. Later I discovered that I can even tear my casted metal pieces apart with my bare hands... Please tell me guys, what am I doing wrong?
  18. Nobody Special


    Heh heh.....my new casting furnace works GREAT. Steel crucible on the other hand..............
  19. Nobody Special


    Heh heh.....my new casting furnace works GREAT. Steel crucible on the other hand..............
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