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Machining cast aluminum? possible?

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I want to make an idler wheel, and a drive wheel out of aluminum for the belt sander I am assembling, and I was wondering if this is would work..

I have access to 30 or so 6x2x2 billets of cast aluminum, and I was wondering if, after making a casting of.. lets say a 2x6 wheel with a plug like extension to mount in the metal lathe, can I turn it down like I would purchased aluminum stock of that size and shape? are they the same, even though the aluminum has been cast?

I realize that this aluminum, may be contaminated.. but if this would work, with cast 6061 aluminum, then I think it is worth a shot, as apposed to spending $100 on a chunk that size

anyway, any help would be appreciated as always, thanks.

Edited by RainsFire
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Why recast? Just chuck up the 6x6 billet and turn a wheel out of the 2 inches on the end. Drill the hole and use a part-off tool to cut it off the billet. Remember to set the compound at one or two degrees from parallel and cut towards the center of the wheel from both edges to give it a slight crown, so your belts track good.

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  • 5 weeks later...

You can melt aluminum with charcoal briquets if you have to. With crucible made from pipe capped on one end. You can make a wheel very easily melt the aluminum. Then skim the dross off top of the melt. You then just pour it in empty coffee can. Pour it a little deeper than you what finish wheel. Once you have a blank wheel center and drill it. Then do all your machining on a mandrel.

Hope this helps

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Casting aluminum and 6061 are two different animals. If you want to cast, use old scrap castings as your material source. You will find the 6061 (a wrought alloy)will melt but not "run" very well into a mold unless it is very well preheated. A casting alloy will more than likely machine better too......imho......Kerry

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