Gabe Moses

Help refueling charcoal furnace

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So I recently made a furnace to try to melt copper and aluminum but I've run into problems adding more charcoal to it.  Once it gets kinda low my two options are either taking the lid off to add more and losing a lot of heat or trying to toss it in from the hole in the top of the lid which keeps heat in but often charcoal lands in the crucible and I can't get it out. I tried covering the top of it with some steel mesh but it fell apart before the copper had melted. Any advice would be awesome.

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have you though about building in a loading chute on the side?

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14 minutes ago, Steve Sells said:

have you though about building in a loading chute on the side?

That sounds like it might work, I'd just have to find a way to stop all of the fuel from piling up on one the side that has the chute. Thanks for the advice.

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A bit more complex: Loading chute in the top piece and make the top piece so it can rotate allowing you to distribute the charcoal around.

A conical stainless crucible cap also came to mind...

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Good evening,

There's worse fluxes than charcoal out there, or you could cover the crucible.  What's your furnace design? My last charcoal furnace burned through charcoal fast, but got to melting temps ridiculously fast.  Are you using hardwood charcoals? At the least, avoid briquettes like the plague.

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I second covering the crucible and you can just load the charcoal through the top with no problems except maybe needing a vent to in the side near the bottom to draw air. 

Pnut

 

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Mine always drew pretty well through the drain hole. I wouldn't make a solid fuel furnace without one. Heck, my last propane one had one.  If you have a crucible come apart and your metal doesn't drain out the bottom, then hot or cold, it suuuuuuuucks trying to scrape it out without damaging the refractory...with good crucibles and proper treatment, they don't come apart often, but you should always act as if it could.  I used to make sure my furnace was elevated, and put dry sand underneath with a small well in it just in case.

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