Step 6: Final Remarks

One thing that cannot be stressed enough, you're working with molten metal and extremely hot temperatures. Gloves, proper eye protection, long sleeve flame resistant (aka, not underarmor) shirts, jeans, boots, its all necessary. Keep water away from the molten metal, if water were to directly contact the molten metal its *possible* that the sudden expansion of the steam could cause a small bubble-popping like effect and splash the metal out of the crucible.

Soda cans are not as horrible as most people say. While its true they contain a bit more slag than most other scrap metal, its easily removed, and after being melted down a second time to try to get rid of even more slag, they were reasonably pure. In short, for someone just starting out melting metals, soda cans are great. They're free, melt quickly and easily, and when you end up wasting 30 of them experimenting you don't feel bad about it.

When collecting scrap metal to melt down, be sure that you can actually fit the piece of metal into your crucible, or have a method of breaking it down. A dremel is invaluable in this aspect, with a cutting wheel and about ten minutes, I had a three foot piece of solid aluminum pipe broken down into manageable pieces. The little rubber/plastic caps on pipes melt easily enough, however the screws/rivets need to be cut out of the pipe (again by use of dremel) otherwise it turns into unnecessary slag.
bahi3 years ago
Nice instructable, It covers lots of real life problems involved in homemade foundry, thanks.
khaeotixs6 years ago
i wouldn't recommed casting into dirt. it may contain small spots of dampness/wet or just be a tad too cold and lead to a reaction with the metal that is effectively an explosion of molten/semi-molten metal. i only had this happen once, and since then i found a brick with a V in the top of it. i heat it in the forge for half a minute or so to remove any possible dampness, then place it to one side for casting into. hope this stops someone ending up with burns like mine were ;)
IdahoDavid6 years ago
Heed the safety caution cited here. Several years ago I was involved in salvaging the lead from logs used on a Scout rifle range. Lead melts at a considerably lower temperature, but in its molten state is pretty nasty stuff. We were creating lead ingots by pouring the molten material into small trenches scraped into the dirt. The solidified ingots were then dipped in water to cool. An ingot I was working with overflowed its trench and I dipped the misshapen lump in the water and without thinking put it back into the melting cauldron still wet. The resulting explosion of melted lead left my face spotted with numerous burns and my Scout shirt with several holes. (I was lucky it didn't burn my eyes.) It is amazing I survived my teen years!