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Hello all! First off, this is my first post to this site, and I'm super excited to join this community! Recently, I became enthralled with the idea of casting my own waffle iron (hence the name Madam Waffles), so I set off to design my own foundry to cast iron. Below I have briefly described my idea and design up to this point. I would greatly appreciate some feedback on the design! If there's something glaringly wrong, I'd like to know before I start the build. Additionally, my specific questions are as follow: What are the rough calculations you do to determine the size of your foundry? (I don't want to have to go in with the heat equation, material properties, etc. Is there a rule of thumb for the combo of insulation materials I'll be using?) Will this actually get hot enough to melt cast iron? Is 20-gauge steel over-engineering the outside? Lol Does the little table thing I have for the crucible make sense? Is it necessary? The Design I'm planning on making this propane-fueled with a forced air burner. The following screenshots show the bare-bones structure. It is to be made of 20-gauge steel sheets, 1-inch, and 2-inch square pipes. I want to weld those things together (I'm a xxxx welder though--just starting out, so that'll be fun). The weird piping coming off the side is the air blower (I got lazy with the CAD so did rough estimates for layout/dimensions. That's why it's square and then cylindrical.). I did not show the gas line piping, but it'll be a combination of brass fittings with a solenoid valve for safety (connected to the blower) and a needle valve. The hook things on the side are for a thermometer. I plan on finding smaller ones, but those were the only ones on McMaster that were close to what I wanted (I wanted the CAD). Dimensions Height ~22.5 inches Diameter ~18 inches Burner Diameter: 1-1/2 inches Insulation I want to have two 1-inch ceramic blankets with 1/2-inch of refractory on the sides (3/4'' on the lid and bottom). Additionally, I want to put a kiln brick(?) (the white bricks that are good insulators--not fire brick) under the crucible on the little table thing in the center. Pictures Final Notes Sorry in advance for lack of jargon, newbiness, etc. I appreciate and welcome all comments, questions, and concerns! Thank you!
Back in 1999 it seemed only prudent to get gone from our dying local shipyard and return to the ornamental iron business. So during one of the many layoffs I hired on to a local metal arts shop, to see if they could teach me anything new. And therein came my first site of a gas fired forge; it taught two good lessons in short order. In the first place it became obvious that bending metal hot beat cold bending all hollow. Equally plain came the knowledge that something better than that dragon was needed for such a central tool. You see it was a fan-blown forge, run on natural gas; just about the worth combination you could ask for containing heat in the forge interior, instead of spilling out all over the shop; that monster was keeping a 2000 square foot building toasty warm in the middle of December! Thoughts of putting up with that in my little garage was not welcome; and so began the search for a compact heat source, and my encounter with naturally aspirated burners. Back then, there was a battle going on between the devotees of fan-blown and NA burners, which I wanted no part of. And over the years I've let the controversy slip happily past my notice. But, with the introduction of ribbon burners it is time to say enough is enough. Just like every other piece of heating equipment from lighters to torches, ribbon burners are designed to contain heat, so as to get as much work as possible from the energy being expended; not so with old stye plain fan-blown burners. So, what is left to the credit of these out of date forges? They are simple to build; nothing more...logically, no forge at all is even simpler to construct. Of course plenty of people would rather avoid the hassle of building one of the more complex forges, and lots of them don't have the funds to buy one of the standard commercial forges. But, there is a growing number of low price gas forges coming onto the market recently; they are between one and two hundred dollars, which is about how much the materials for that old fan-blown forge is going to cost anyway. You don't have to settle for a poor forge; just take a look at all your options.