Hello folks! I was away for quite much time. Exams, Preparations and what not.
And here I come back!
Want to cast your own personalized metal key-chains ? Stick Around.
Not too long ago... I started my metal melting endeavors. I made a mini metal furnace inspired by NightHawkInLight's Soupe Can Forge. I went on to make my own mini furnace which uses coal as fuel [Blow torch also does the job].I will soon post the tutorial of my version.
Why do this? Simple! DIY-ing is fun!
One thing you definitely don't want to forget when headed out the door is your keys. That's why this durable metal key-chain is perfect for holding all of your keys in one place!. Since they go with you everywhere, they make the perfect personalized item to put your name on and get as much daily exposure as possible[a.k.a looking cool ]! And also, When I make something, pouring all my creativity and efforts, the thing sort of "attaches to me" and so in this tutorial we are making, casting a custom key-chain from Molten Pewter. And if you ask me, melting metal is a thrilling experience.[Its dangerous too.... :)]
A word of warning guys... Molten metal might seem intriguing to play with, if you are not careful, its not for you. Molten metal may splash on the skin and cause severe burns. Its very important to have all safety equipment's before you attempt this project.
With that said... Let us begin.
If you like this project you can reward me by using your shutter clicking skills and sharing my work to all your friends. In return, I'll cook up more Instructables to share with you. Any suggestions or queries are welcome in the comments. Thanks for your support! Don't forget to vote:D
Step 1: Watch the Video!
Here is a HD video for you to take a tour through the entire build.
If you like it, then show me by hitting the like button!
Step 2: Get the Materials
The following is the list of materials you will need in this project :
1) MDF Sheet [6mm thickness]
3) Mini Furnace with a crucible [Tutorial coming soon... !]
4) Coal to fuel the furnace
5) Polishing Sponge wheel
6) File [s]
7) Safety Goggles and other safety equipments
8) Laser Printer [to print the calligraphy letter]
9) Basic Maker tools [Hammer, Knife... the list goes on]
Step 3: Safety First! Molten Metal Involved
Safety first guys! The project involves molten dealing with pewter metal. The melting point of pewter is 170-230 degree Celsius. Its relatively lower than most metals but burns are like hell !
Small amounts of splash of molten metal can cause serious burns!
Proceed with Caution !
Some Useful tips while dealing with molten metal:
DO NOT touch anything that is hot, wear leather gloves when doing foundry work.
For outdoor use only. Not For use by minors or individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Never leave furnace unattended for any reason during operation. Always pour molten metal on sand or dirt floor. Molten metal spills on concrete floor causes dangerous results from trapped moisture in the concrete. Do not operate near anything flammable. During use, never introduce anything to the melt (liquid metal) that has not been preheated first. Pre-heat items in the exhaust flame on the lid. A cold item placed into the molten metal will cause splattering and dangerous splashing of molten metal!
-- Source: foundry101.com
Step 4: Choose a Beautiful Calligraphy Alphabet and ... Print It!
Warnings over, Now the important stuff.
We will need a alphabet [of your choice] printed on A4 paper. Follow along..
1) Google the alphabet you like. Or go to this http://calligraphyalphabet.org/ and get the letter of your choice.
2) Reduce the size of the letter to what you want your keyChain size to be. i.e. Scale it down.
3) Print it !
NOTE : The letter you choose may contain details [curved letters etc...] but much detail will cause difficulty in casting. So choose wisely.
Step 5: Paste the Artwork on MDF Board.
Pretty straight forward...
Take glue and stick the Paper on the 6 mm MDF board. That's it.
TIP : Cut extra paper on the borders . Makes the further work easier.
Step 6: Carve It Out!
Time for some serious work!
Take the piece of mdf on which you just pasted the art, Using hammer and knife I carved the letter in the MDF.
1) Hold the piece of wood in A small bench vise, this makes life a lot simpler!
2) according to your alphabet size, drill out a hole that is not bigger than the alphabet. Confusing? .. Photos speak a thousand words!
3) The drilled hole makes a starting point for our hammer and chisel to munch on!
4) Go on... Lots of carving...
Note: The MDF board is soft material to work on. This is an advantage as it takes less efforts but due to its soft nature,it can break where we dont want it to! so take your time for this step.
TIP: This step is worth to invest time and get it correct. Carve all details very clean as the end result of casting depends on this steps.
There are many ways to do this step. Eg. Use a CNC machine or a Laser Cutter. But since i have NONE I am using a knife and a Hammer.
Details matter , Its worth to get it right
Step 7: Finalize the Mold
The letter you carved will serve as a mould when you have a supporting piece of wood below it.
1) Get a scrap piece of plain surface MDF wood.
2) Stick it with the Glue.
3) Let it Set.
4) After carving and sticking the pieces, you get a mold for your letter ! Perfect!
NOTE : The wood you choose for bottom should have no moisture. Remember? Molten metal + Moisture = BAD explosions!
Step 8: Melt the Pewter Metal
Time to melt some metal.
1) Heat up the furnace [with crucible] to about 200 degree Celsius.
2) Add the metal in the crucible.
3) Wait for it to melt ...
NOTE: Dry the crucible before adding metal. Molten Metal + Moisture == BAD Explosions!
4) Add flux if needed . This separates the SLAG [impurity] from pure metal.
5) Remove the SLAG.
6) There you have ... Molten Pewter ready to casted into beautiful keychain.
7) Go to next step...!
Note: High temperatures are involved here, stay cautious. You may get burn marks if you are not careful.
Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.
Step 9: Pour It!
Time for casting our keychain.
1) Carefully take the crucible out of the furnace.
2) Get the mold we made in earlier steps.
3) Gently tilt the crucible so that the metal pours out into the mold.
4) Let the metal take the whole space of the mold. this way you get maximum details.
TIP: Heat the metal enough so that you don't have solid metal stuck in the furnace while pouring. My first attempt, I had waited some long before pouring so i got Freeze-ed metal in the crucible while pouring.
Step 10: Extract the Cast Metal Piece
1) Let the mold cool.
2) Using gentle force, get the metal out of the mold.
3) It would be good if you can preserve the mold for future casting. I could not,
NOTE: The mould and the metal in it is seriously very hot. You can see it smoking. Be patient and let it cool down. Be gentle in knocking out the metal piece. Extra force will deform it.
My dad said to me, 'Work hard and be patient.' It was the best advice he ever gave me. You have to put the hours in. - Simon Cowell
Step 11: Trim the Extra Metal
I ended up with some extra metal so I used my wire cutter to trim the extra metal. Cut Cut Cut...
Step 12: Polish It...
Casting the metal might have left some unwanted marks on it. Get a clean surface by polishing it.
1) Get a spongy wheel[That's what I read on the wheel, I don't know the exact name!]
2) Pour some water [lubricant], and start working in circular pattern gently.
3) Take the polish wheel and start polishing the keychain.
4) Do it until you get the desired texture.
Step 13: Make the Keyring Hole
For our key-ring to be attached to the Casting, we need to drill out the hole so that we pass our key-ring into the metal cast piece.
1) Take a very Small drill bit.
2) Slowly Drill the hole into the metal. The pewter is soft so drilling is easy.
3) Now take a Small Screw to tap the hole to make it bigger.
NOTE : I used a PCB drill bit [not the best idea] for this purpose. Then i Made the hole bigger by "Tapping" it with a small screw. Refer to photos please.
Step 14: Attach the Key Ring
1) Take the upper part of a key chain[thats what I can say, I don't know exact name!]
2) Push it through the hole we made earlier.
3) Make sure that the fit is snug and secure.
4) Give it a wipe.
5) Attach it to your keys.
6) Be proud of your work.
7) Show it to everyone.
8) Look cool :P
Step 15: All Done!
Time to say goodbye !
Hey friends , time to say goodbye to all of you. We had a great time. If you love this project perhaps you like some of my others. Do check them here . Also tell me what do you think of this project.
Any suggestions or questions ? Post them in the comments , I will be glad to answer them. Good Bye !