gadget

first furnace, first melt

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I'm posting some of the photos I have taken as a thank you for all the great information that I have found here.

I've learned more than a few things here including many safety tips such as using a rigidizer on the Ceramic Wool.

My son helped me out as I ran around solving minor process issues.

I tend to over engineer but figure this furnace will be fine for up to 2500F. 

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I bought the burner from Devil Forge.

Where and why would you add a check valve?

thanks in advance

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The check valve prevents a backflash from igniting your tank of propane. Most connect to the regulator and the hose connects to it.

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However propane UNLIKE ACETYLENE doesn't flashback!  Propane requires oxygen to burn and so a line full of propane CAN'T BURN.  Now if you are using pressurized O2 with your burner there is a very slim possibility of higher pressure O2 managing to seep "upstream" in a lower pressure propane line; but using ambient O2 NO Possibility!

Acetylene is different. It will exothermically decompose even without the presence of an oxidizer and hence REQUIRES a flashback arrestor. Acetylene makes suicidal lemmings look sane and stable and if it wasn't for the fact it was in common use before safety regulations were around; I doubt it would ever be allowed for use out of strictly controlled circumstances!

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Good info about Acetylene. I will not look at my crappy Harbor Freight torch the same way, again.

Thank you.

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Mandatory for Acetylene and it needs one just before the regulator mounted on the tank----a forklift driving over an acetylene hose has set one off before---why there is a pressure limit on acetylene gauges, why the tank is filled with a material that is then soaked in acetone and the acetylene dissolved in that, why there are headspace limits and why no dented acetylene tanks can be used  and why we tell folks DON'T TRY TO REUSE AN ACETYLENE TANK FOR ANYTHING!

Propane? Propane tanks need emptying and cleaning before cutting and torch cutting is not a good idea; but we build forges from them and I have a 14' long one that I'm thinking of making a smoker from...

Acetylene is just emo!

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Hola, so you have a ridgidizer and a coating? Breathing friable kaowool sucks.  You also want a drain in your furnace so if you have crucible failure the metal goes out the bottom.  Always be prepared for crucible failure at any point in the process.

Cans are a lot more work than they're worth. Thin cross section so lots of surface area, meaning lots of slag from oxides. For aluminum, I liked to drag home car parts from the junkyard.  Busted transmissions have a loooooot of aluminum, although you have to break up large pieces first.  Some of my earliest castings started life as aluminum piston heads.

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I appreciate your caution.

After doing a little research, I think I understand the difference in opinion.

You have a background in glassblowing, correct?

I believe Oxy/Propane torches are fairly common in that industry and, as Thomas said, a flame arrestor/check valve is recommended when you are using pressurized Oxygen and Propane in a torch.

My burner combines air in a venturi, just like a BBQ grill.

It will run at 100,000 btus on its own and up to 300,000 btus when a compressor line is attached.

There is no chance of the air being forced into the fuel line since the fuel and air are combined in the venturi.

Even when I add an air compressor on to it, it is still not going to make its way into the .30 jet in the burner.

If I tried to over pressurize the air by cranking up the compressor the air will just escape out the vent holes at the back of the burner.

---

Yes on the rigidizer and coating. The horror stories on this site were more than enough for me.

I will definitely put a drain in before the next melt. Thank you. Do you have a suggestion other than drilling a hole?

 

I used half of my cans on the first melt and lost about half the weight to dross/slag.

I'm going to use Morton Light Salt (potassium chloride) for flux on the rest of the cans just to see if the result is significantly different but I have to agree that using cans suck.

I'm already collecting it from other sources...I have an old ladder that will probably go in next.

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There are aluminum alloys more suited to casting than others are. Melt down cast aluminum scrap for best results; transmissions, pistons, patio furniture, car wheels, intake manifolds, etc..

Now as to safety and PPE...... sneakers, shorts, and no jacket???? When we did pours we had a full silver suit and boot covers. I don't care if it is just aluminum, I don't want molten anything on my skin.

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I'm not going to make any excuses for my son's attire but I will say that I kicked him out of the area before removing the lid and pouring.

I was wearing aluminum leggings over boots and jeans with a welding jacket under a similar apron and gloves and face shield.

My father died of lymphoma and to this day I am convinced it was caused by absorbing 50 years of chemical cocktails through the skin...

it was a different time then... safety is my primary concern.

 

I know of a wheel/tire shop with a whole backyard full of busted wheels.

How do you know the quality of the aluminum?

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Wheelium is some of the better backyard friendly AL you can use. Very close to A356, usually. With transmission housings you have to be careful you don't get a magnalium  (magnesium/aluminum alloy) one. It's difficult to tell the difference just by looking. Biggest problem with wheels is breaking them down to fit your crucible. luckily I have a furnace big enough I direct melt them into ingots, and then use the ingots. Cylinder heads are good, engine blocks are good (again, the problem is breaking them up...) control arms are good. Next on the list is extrusion, easier to make it crucible friendly but not as good for casting. Don't waste your time with cans, it's not good aluminum for casting or machining. Oh, and I second, third and fourth a drain, it's not IF you have a crucible fail, it's WHEN. They need to be considered a consumable item.

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17 hours ago, gadget said:

I appreciate your caution.

After doing a little research, I think I understand the difference in opinion.

im not sure who youre addressing here but there is no OPINION about using a check valve. it makes no difference if youre using a venturi or a weed burner torch the check valve needs to be installed at the regulator before any devices. period, its not an opinion. as for rigidizing the wool, thats all well and good but youd have to breathe in massive amounts of the fibers for many years before the onset of silicosis and other related, still always needs to be done also not an opinion,just that an explosion will kill you a lot quicker. so thats less of an immediate safety concern than the lack of a check valve. you want to buy ingot for your aluminum use 356 alcoa its good stuff, you dont need any fluxes or degassing with it either , at least not yet for a backyard rig. good luck and always wear your safety gear.

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" there is no OPINION about using a check valve. it makes no difference if youre using a venturi or a weed burner torch the check valve needs to be installed at the regulator before any devices. period, its not an opinion"

By checkvalve do you mean the backflash arrestor or do you mean a flow check valve?  If you mean a backflash arrestor valve; then millions of propane fueled burners sold commercially by liability adverse large corporations do not use them. I've never seen a propane grill with a check valve; the propane water heater and propane furnace in the Casita I rented did not have a checkvalve.  My propane kitchen range in my house installed by the local propane company does not have a check valve. (They did pressure check every joint from the tank to the range...)

A blanket mandate for a backflash arrestor check valve sounds like an opinion to me. Propane cannot burn back upstream without the presence of oxygen.

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The easiest way I spot magnesium is the color. It oxidizes quickly and turns a gray coloration. I love TIG welding magnesium. Welds very easily and has a green glow unlike the super bright white aluminum has.

A356 is the cast version of 6061, so a general all around alloy with good properties.

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9 hours ago, gwynlaredogranger said:

as for rigidizing the wool, thats all well and good but youd have to breathe in massive amounts of the fibers for many years before the onset of silicosis

Ceramic Wool Insulation, Safety Alert by Chuck Wright MD

Please present references and your credentials, to back up your statement. This is not personal, we want to read  the information and learn.

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Glenn-i always err on the side of caution. i run every deice in the shop with one way valves, my glory holes have triple lockout safety sytems with relays, fluid power gas actuators etc. if im using a janky set up in a backyard then why woudlnt i take every conceivable precaution? if im in a residential neighborhood ten feet form a wooden scrap pile why wouldnt i take that extra step to ensure that the tank can never blowback? im sure its not necessary ,it may be ' just an opinion' (isnt everything these days? are facts dead?)but its always better to overdo safety than to under estimate waht 'could go wrong'. i mean ,i dont know what youre driving at Glenn and i realize that my anecdotal experiences are irrelevant ,but if i had to chose between rigidizing wool, that i may encounter a few hours a month in fornt of, vs. putting a check valve on a tank running to a home meade foundry, id chose the latter all day long since it is a more immediate threat. threat assessment is par to fsafe shop practice as you know, i know you have a ton of experience and knowledge too, so you know what im driving at. even if i have ten degrees in engineering and years of experience with combustion systems, annealers, automated control systems , ultra violet sensors, flame control etc, i can still be worng, (i dont have any engineering degrees, just took classes in college) and i can know nothing about al of that and still be correct in suggesting that a flashback arrestor ( or checkvalve) is usefull for anyone using buringn propane, a gas grill int eh back yard isnt the same thing as a high temp burner. why would i demand the same safety set up for two different devices? just saying...

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My question relates to the statement about breathing in massive amounts of the fibers for many years before the onset of silicosis. 

The site is viewed by over 150 countries of the world and errs on the side of caution.  Each person is a unique individual and reacts differently.  What is the minimum amount of fibers inhaled that cause problems?  

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making a statement like you did about the fibers not being a real issue is very irresponsible

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The site self corrects. This is one example of the self correction.  gwynlaredogranger, thank you 

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That's what's insidious about some respiratory dangers is they're cumulative and may not produce symptoms for years. I spent a few years on the compound line at a rubber refinery and didn't always wear proper ppe. Three years of pouring Hi-Sil into batches of rubber I'm sure I caused some damage to my lungs. I knew the dangers and chose to take off the respirator due to the extreme heat on the line but I wonder how much damage I actually caused to myself.

Pnut

Edited by pnut

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All this about Silicosis and unnecessary flash arrestors and nothing about his PPE? He has some good PPE but it still casting with a T-shirt, short pants and canvas shoes. He should have at least blue jeans and leather shoes, along with some type of arm covering. 

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