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I Forge Iron

Is It Possible To Melt Pure Iron Into Round Bars?

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Hello All,

We've been trying to find a source for Pure Iron ( = > 99.6% ) round bars 3/4" diameter x 12" long, with little success. There are overseas sources but the freight @ duty is a deal breaker.

There are however sources in America for pure iron powder, at reasonable prices.

We are considering the purchase of a 15kw induction heater ( U.S. Solid sku: JFHFIH0001 ) to attempt casting our own.

What are the problems we may encounter? ( We will require (40) 3/4" a 12"  rods. )

What type of crucible would offer the least contamination ( particularly carbon )

Would the purity be affected?

It it difficult to cast a 12" narrow rod?

What type of mold would be the best, and offer the least contamination ?

We have our own machine shop so finishing will not be a problem.

Thanks For Reading.





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Thanks for your reply,

It's true we have no experience, but neither did you before you gained it.

Please don't assume we're stupid... we had to start someplace,

and this seemed like a good place to start.

""What one man can do, another man can do"" ( Robert A. Glover )

Best Regards.



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No-one is assuming you're stupid, but we have seen a lot of otherwise smart people do stupid things out of inexperience and ignorance. Don't take it personally.

What is your actual goal here? Is it the particular quantity of parts in a specific material and dimension? Or do you want to get into casting and happen to have a need for this particular item? 

Casting is best learned from an experienced caster. Do you have access to a school with qualified instructors, safety equipment, furnaces, and so on?

Please understand that people without experience (among whom you have explicitly included yourself) rarely know what a good starting place actually is. Considering how dangerous casting can be (with real and significant risks of serious injury, disfigurement, and death), listening to those people who actually have experience can literally be a lifesaver.

I'm not sure how quoting a marriage and family therapist is relevant to acquiring a difficult and dangerous skill, especially since that statement is so broad as to be practically meaningless. To be sure, one person can put in the time, effort, and attention to acquire the skills that another has before them, but that's not the same as saying that a neophyte can perform a skilled task equally with an expert. Experts got that way by accepting their own initial ignorance, learning from good teachers, avoiding stupid mistakes, and constantly practicing to improve their skills. That path is open to you, and we are here to help.

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You are here to help.

I already stated the goal, to acquire 40 iron rods 1" x 12"

So far not one of our questions have been answered.

We are simply trying to evaluate the process to see what's involved.

I'm sensing a level of arrogance here, self importance maybe.

It's not rocket science, colonists were casting iron 200 years ago.

Coming here was a royal waste of time.

Have a nice day.


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Colonists were not casting pure iron; they were making cast iron with a very high carbon content. Not at all the same thing.

If you want PURE unalloyed iron, it's currently produced but is not widely available. If you want WROUGHT iron, that's not currently being commercially produced but can be acquired fairly easily as salvaged material.

What is the intended use for these pieces?

It's hard to give an accurate answer when the question isn't clear. 

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It seems to me you are the one full of himself,  I answered you in my first sentence. There is a plethora of information posted here that you have not bothered to read, or try to help yourself any, and you then complain when we did answer you,  Iron is not a starting point for casting,  Aluminum is a much better starting point. which you would know if you took any time to educate yourself,  you cant just jump in and cast iron, as John explained its not a skill that can be self taught, and its expensive learning curve. but have a good life,and I hope you dont kill anyone on your journey

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Also, while we don't know where you are in the world, MineralMan, if you mean that *American* colonists were casting iron 200 years ago, please remember that the 1820s were decidedly post-colonial.

Also, colonial and post-colonial American foundrymen were not starting from scratch, but almost always had served lifelong apprenticeships with more experienced casters.

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So far you have not stated you are in America; just that the iron powder is.   To get high purity you really need to cast in a vacuum furnace to avoid atmosphere contamination.  I would suggest ceramic molds. Most steels nowadays contain some manganese to scavenge sulfur from the smelting process; is that allowable?  How coarse can the grain structure be?  Pure iron castings will generally be very coarse grained as there is not the alloying used to control it.  Also you seem to want to cast to size; not allowing grain reduction by rolling.

There used to be a company selling 4-ought steel with a carbon content of .0000x % to Blacksmiths.  I'd ask around about NOS for that. As I recall it was used for deep drawing originally, you may check those sources.  Search on Ultra low carbon steels.

Casting of cast iron was what the colonists in America were doing,  the Huntsman process of casting steel---much more involved!---dates to 1740 and was probably not done in "colonial America".  The real boom in steel casting came after the Bessemer/Kelly process in the mid 1850's was invented; though specialty steels were still teemed in places like Sheffield England till at least the 1920's. (I've skipped the crucible steel made in the early medieval period in Central Asia as it was dedicated to increased carbon steels and even wootz, which can have carbon contents of around 2%!)

BTW we help as volunteers and are not constrained to do so.  As the old saying goes "Treat your Volunteers like dirt and watch them erode away!"

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Mr. Frazer,

Methinks Mr. Mineral Man is a prime example of a person with a big Dunning Kruger problem.

Given time he may grow out of it, or earn a Darwin award with oak clusters.*



* a wee bit of entrained moisture would do the trick.

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If one found some 1018 (my steel supply carries it, but it's [slightly] more expensive than A36) then you could theoretically still come in comfortably under 0.4% carbon. The problem is whether or not other impurities will impact whatever he needs 99.6% pure iron for and the question is if the carbon content + any impurites < 0.4%.

They could test that with the proper instrumentation, which if they have these sorts of specs on their materials, they may have in their lab... or garage... or whatever. Not criticizing, I just don't know what his setup looks like.

I imagine forge capable of getting a canister that size up to welding heat and a press to bring it down to his desired size is going to get a little pricey though. 

Actually, I just did the maths. Each bar would only weigh about 2.7 lbs (I'm assuming 1" round not 3/4"), lets round it up to 3 lbs for loss to scale and turning it down to 1.00". I guess you wouldn't need all that large of forge, depends on your conception of large I guess.

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"Was that wrong?  Should I not have done that?  I tell ya', I gotta plead ignorance on this thing because if anyone had said anything  to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frowned upon"... George Costanza from Seinfeld when he got busted "fraternizing" with the cleaning lady at his new job.

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4 hours ago, MineralMan said:

It's not rocket science, colonists were casting iron 200 years ago.

That one made me laugh. so just because people used to do it it is easy? Tell that to she scientist still trying to understand how they made Roman Concrete.

It is a shame he ran away so soon, would love to have him build me a pyramid. They did that almost 4500 years ago, so it must have been super easy ;)

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