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Cody Fagley

my new aluminum sword

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Hey I am currently making a sword out of 3 heavy duty rolls of aluminum foil (it actually gave me enough metal to work with haha.). I was wondering if anyone has done anything with aluminum? I'm really curious about how hard it can get. I planned on quenching it in olive oil.

:EDIT: Also, are there any thoughts on whether or not I should make it into an alloy of Iron / Aluminum? Maybe add more carbon?

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Iron + aluminum makes either brittle iron or brittle aluminum. Not very useful. Aluminum can be forged, and foil is made out of a pretty ductile alloy so it should forge alright. You should probably cast it into a blank first, I don't think it would forge weld at all. Heck, your best bet with the tinfoil is melt it and cast it into a sword blade. Count on losing about half of the foil as dross in the melt. Cast it like they used to cast bronze swords. Be warned, you will probably find yourself a whole new hobby though!

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Actually, Al nuggets are added to a steel melt to float off the dross... just as limestone is used in cast iron. I have forged Al, some alloy's are fine, also some alloys do get HT for aerospace things... as for rolls of foils, Is this guy serious or just trolling???

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heh, it was more of an experiment in all honesty. I wanted to see how much it of it would be usable. Normally I work with Iron, Steel, or Cobalt. This was just a "for fun" project. But I appreciate everyone's responses!

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sounds like the sort of mad thing my kids would try - i salute you! would be interested to see what results you get...

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One problem with aluminum foil is the foil is so thin, and aluminum develops a tough, relatively thick oxide layer. If you melt the stuff down in a furnace you get a small fraction of the weight in usable aluminum.

You would be better off scrounging some washing machine motor frames and aluminum auto parts to melt down, and then doing a casting that is adequately oversize for stock removal, and removal of the cast medium (sand), etc. You may want to research metal casting, and google "backyard metal casting" before getting too hung up on this idea. This search may take you places you haven't thought of before, so have some time when you go. Pack a lunch.

Lastly, Cody, you profile reflects that you are under 18, so PLEASE have parents permission and such before starting these endeavors. Metal arts use fire and heat, as well as have an level of safety for yourself, the people around you, and property.

Phil

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Yeah, I've never done any metal casting before. I will definitely look into it. And I see what you are saying as well. Aluminum foil is REALLY thin, that is why I was going to try using 3 rolls. And I planned on firing them as rolls as well. Though I really like your ideas of getting car parts, I might have to give it a whirl.

As for my age, I understand that I am young and naive. Though I have a 28 year old brother and a 26 year old brother that have helped me learn the trade for a couple years. I have very much to learn, but I suppose that is why I'm here ;)

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I've never done any metal casting before. I really like your ideas of getting car parts,

You may want to first make a sword from wood and spend the time it takes to get it right in all aspects of stock removal and construction. It is not as easy or as quick as your think. It requires learning what to do, and how to do it. Much easier to make a mistake with a piece of pine board that you can throw out and start over than with a piece of metal in which you have invested 100's of hours. You may want to do some research into what metals they use to cast those car parts. I was using car part aluminum and melting it into ingots when I found *someone* has mixed magnesium as a part of the casting. NOW I have a quantity of hot, liquid metal that is ON FIRE and no proper way to put it out. So what do YOU do ???

You will have more cost in the personal protective clothing, shoes, chaps, apron, gloves, eye safety glasses, full face shield, hard hat, and ear plugs then if you just purchased the sword you like. I am not suggesting you do not make your own casting, but an aluminum sword is very limited in use. Paint the wooden sword with aluminum paint and at 6 feet no one can tell the difference. I am not discouraging you from the project, just trying to save you time and effort by pointing out that you are trying to accomplish 2-3 crafts all at the same time, and all on the first try, with no mistakes.

IF it is indeed a sword you want, take a knife making class, or several classes, to learn how to do that properly, then progress from there. The time and money you invest will jump start your learning by a factor of years and the education will serve you well as you progress in the craft of bladesmithing. Swordsmithing is a specialty and advanced form of bladesmithing and a craft unto itself.

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Here is a site that shows the ancient art of sword casting in it's most primitive form. This gentleman is in England and offers workshop on sword casting for a fee. Save your money up and take the workshop. http://www.bronze-age-swords.com/index.htm & http://www.bronze-age-craft.com/ :blink:
This way you will be able to carry out the tasks of a Bronze Age sword smith with knowledge and safety. Good luck in your quest for knowledge of smithing and casting. B)

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Thanks bentiron. That workshop had some very enlightening material on it. There was some good work to be shown there. And it would be a good idea for me to look around my area for some workshops. I believe there is one going on for the forth of July in Cody atm. I will look into that.

@Glenn: Yeah I know what you are saying. I prefer to make 2 or so projects going on at the same time, which is what I have now, just to rotate and add variety to the craft since it is such a long project. I know I'm going to make mistakes. I'm a very patient person. And I am very glad you told me about your magnesium experience, I would not have known to check for such. and I appreciate the advice.

Also I appreciate the advice you gave me about the classes / Wooden sword. You are right, it would be a very good idea to start with wood first and work from there. :)

I understand I don't have the experience for many things. But I came here to accept advice and to learn from ya'll.

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I understand I don't have the experience for many things. But I came here to accept advice and to learn from ya'll.

We all started out knowing nothing. Experience comes with practice, making mistakes, then correcting those mistakes. Did I mention practice?

There are many things out there that are, or can be, harmful. Please research the safety aspects of everything you do. Personal safety is just that, your PERSONAL responsibility.

If you have questions, just ask, someone has been there already and can help.

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May I commend to your attention "The Complete Bladesmith" as a tome with information on swordmaking in it. If your local public library does not have a copy ask them about doing an Inter Library Loan, AKA ILL, on it. Here in NM it costs me a dollar to get any book from over 90 different libraries including university ones! (And they check them out for a 3 week period!)

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I've seen a handmade aluminum knife with bends on each side that enforced it's sturdieness. It was light, and sharp, but only a art piece. I know nothing about who made it, but where it came from. I wish I could find the owner again, and ask, but that was years ago when I was in the military.

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IIRC, the Hollywood prop masters carve out their aluminum swords from alloy 122 bars. They also use rubber and/or plastic, depending on what happens to the "sword" and the stunt-person in the scene.

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i have never forged aluminum by the time it is hot i falls apart when i pick it up. by the way pop cans are cheaper. it will not harden it is so soft that when you grind it ti will not spark. i you want a base ball bat. then you might make one.

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