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Just because it's not glowing orange hot doesn't mean molten aluminum isn't incredibly dangerous to just jump into playing with. Join a casting forum and better still take a class. Getting just a couple drops on you or in a shoe will leave permanent marks and a painful memory that'll last a lifetime.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Yep, I second the "go to a different forum" advise, the current forum (used to be backyard metalcasting) is www.alloyavenue.com , nice bunch of people and beaucoup information. As far as flux is concerned, I wouldn't worry about it, you are probably not going to be casting parts for the space shuttle so it's not really necessary. I do not use it, homebrew fluxes can actually cause more problems than they solve. Correct melting technique will serve you better, aka furnace atmosphere, quick melt time, and don't overheat if possible. Skim off whatever dross occurs from the melt, and you should be more or less good to go. Oh, and get safety gear, a faceshield, leather apron, and heavy duty welding gloves at a minimum.

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OddDuck means controlling the constituents in the furnace atmosphere. What do you think is in the forge when the burner is running? It's a matter of adjusting the burner properly for the purpose.

Please find folk who do this a LOT, and get involved. Casting is dangerous, VERY DANGEROUS. Please take a class.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty may be overstating it a bit, yes, it's inherently more dangerous than blacksmithing, but not massively so. Step 1, don't overthink it!!! Research, there are all kinds of proven and simple designs (not plans, don't confuse the two...) out there, and lots of info. Research, ask questions in the appropriate places, and again, use your head.

Yes, a gas forge can be used for a casting furnace, you are going to be limited in crucible sizes. As far as correct atmosphere, I mean whether you are running lean, rich, or neutral. Different metals like different settings. Heck, you could even (and many have done) a smallish melt in a coal forge with the correct crucible. A purpose built foundry furnace is well within the realm of anybody on this forum. Find one of those Xmas popcorn tins, that makes a pretty good sized first furnace. Find the crucible you are going to use and FIT THE FURNACE TO THE CRUCIBLE. This will save you a lot of problems in the future. I recommend a commercial crucible to start with, you can get them inexpensively link removed .

I also second Frosty, however, in finding someone who has done this and is doing it now to show you the basics. On AlloyAvenue there is a map showing where many of the members are, I can almost guarantee you there are a few in your neck of the woods. I also bet you they would be more than happy to show you the ropes, I know I would, but I'm in the opposite corner of the country from you.

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I took an "out of hours" class on casting at a local university's fine arts department.  We started casting day 1 with zinc and then moved to brass for the rest of the class.  We were using petrobond oil sand and getting the safety drill was worth the price of admission many times over!

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It may sound like I'm exaggerating but without knowing what you're doing it can be catastrophic. Riding a bicycle can be fatal if you don't know about riding in the road.

It's not my goal to prevent you from casting I'd just REALLY prefer you learn to do it safely. Safely, then learn to do it well.

Frosty The Lucky.

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  • 4 years later...

Alex:  You may want to consider taking a foundry course at your local junior college or trade school.  Dealing with molten metal is a hot, dirty, and dangerous job and you may not find it to your liking.  Also, do you have something unique to offer that would motivate people to buy your pots rather than the ones available for present retail sale which are industrially produced very cheaply?  Basically, if you are planning to make money at doing something you need a business plan which evaluates how much (time and money) you expect to put into something versus how much you can reasonably expect to get out of it.

Give us more details and we can offer ideas and suggestions.  Many of us have failed at business ventures and if we sound negative it is to try to prevent you from going down a painful path that we have experienced ourselves.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I spent two years in the early 90's working in a foundry pouring and casting aluminum. Metalloy in Hudson mi. We made intake manifolds for humvee motors, Ford 3.0 intakes, alternator brackets... etc...etc...

I was there when someone threw a cold, frozen wet, 20lb ingot into a full 1,000lb hot crucible. It blew the entire molten contents out of the pot and covered the entire inside of the ten foot tall exhaust hood. Fortunately, the front doors were closed and prevented the guys on the pouring floor from getting hurt.

Aluminum is one of the fastest thermo-transferring metals. It causes almost instant third degree burns on splash contact with skin.

Wearing chaps, foot arch protection bucklers, gloves and face shields- i spilled some on myself the week I got married. I bumped the small 5lb ladle bringing it out, and splashed my upper thigh. 2nd degree burns through my chaps and jeans put me off the pour floor for two weeks... and highly heat sensitive in that area for months.

It is easily very dangerous.

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