Introduction: Learn to Do Aluminum Sand Casting

MSFN = Makin Sumthin From Nuthin !
A Detailed Video Aluminum Casting Lesson Covering Everything You Need To Know As a Beginner Metal Caster To Get Started. A Start to Finish Video. Starting With An Idea and Casting Up a Finished Project…..

Watch The Video To Learn Details about Placing Patterns, Ramming Up The Flask, Putting in Sprues, Gates & a Riser then Finishing Off The Casting To Produce The Finished Product.







MichaelandDebbieM (author)2016-08-25

when grinding on aluminum ,i use grinding wheels for concrete. they do not load up like the others do. i get mine from harbor freight. the cheap ones.

Thanks, I buy some stuff from Horror Freight! :)

Laral (author)2016-07-19

This is just what I needed to see. I want to make an aluminum slingshot like the classic English 'Milbro Catapult Forks'. No longer made but there are knock-offs from England. Postage is high. If only I could get a plaster or silicone cast of one… Otherwise will have to carve out a model.

I see you made a video on how to make the furnace you use in your video. You should also embed that below the above video.


that would be a simple cast to do... I could knock it out in about 25 min IF I had the pattern. One could always make the pattern from wood or using a 3-D friends with one of those ?

That's what I thought, and yet, you have to pay $50 for one by the time you factor in VAT tax and international shipping. I even posted that in a forum topic on the brand and they deleted it. A 3-D printer would be nice but I don't have access to one. I'm thinking Fimo.

i have a separate instructable on that particular furnace :)

I see you added links to your other Instructables. I will have to study them all. Thanks.

andrewty (author)2016-07-23

acetylene is too hot for melting aluminium.

Propane is plenty hot enough.

Oxygen is also too hot.

A good propane/air burner will melt lead and aluminium.

But probably not cast iron. That needs quite a bit more heat. Oxy/propane is probably OK for cast iron.

I don't recall ever having referenced acetylene in any of my casting videos. I believe I can melt cast iron in my brass furnace using propane with forced air. I would never use pure oxygen under any circumstances for casting purposes. Thx for watching & commenting!

bc1235 (author)2016-07-19

I've been wanting to tackle sand casting for a long time. Thanks for the tutorial. Going to try it soon!!!

YW, keep us posted! Thx 4 Watchin! :)

stumpja (author)2016-07-19

Thanks for the tutorial. Very well done.

Thanks!! :)

PhyllisL (author)2016-07-19

Will the aluminum stay molten enough to melt it with an acetylene torch?

i have an Oxy Set, never actually tried it so dont know. My guess is no because you need the crucible soaking in heat and a torch will only heat a small area. May work but probly not cost effective.

p0laris (author)2016-07-19

Very interesting to see. Thanks for making the video (what is it you brushed on everything before soldering?)

Flux for soldering, comes in paste & liquid form :)

GraemeP3 (author)2016-07-19

What an interesting video! It took me right back to the 80's when I first learnt sand mould casting.

I like the idea of making a pouring spout separately although we just made a shallow hollow right next to the pouring spout and linking it to with a short channel, almost like you made on the flask bottom, next to the pattern.

I also watched your video on the green sand and there I just have a question or two. In my days we got our sand from a supplier and if it were to dry we added in raw linseed oil. The reason for this is that the oil has a much higher boiling point and thus the vaporization point is higher too. You don't want vaporization because that can cause a small explosion inside you mould, especially when casting a higher volume of metal. On average we would hand cast a volume of about 1-1,5 gallon of metal.

Our casting temperature was about 1100°F if my conversion from Celsius is correct. We had a lot of burnt sand which we had to discard afterwards.

Nonetheless, a very interesting video and I think I should just get my hands dirty with some casting!

Graeme Pierson

South Africa

The gases produced are permeated thru the sand itself unless the sand is too "wet". Many times a riser or vent isnt needed on small castings but I tend to use them in most situations . There is a fine line between too wet and too dry a sand but just takes practice :)


Thanks for watching & commenting :) The sand mixture I use although slightly damp is not "wet" and a steam explosion is relatively unheard of during the pouring process unless a highly excessive amount of water is used. There is water based casting sand (demonstrated) as well as oil bonded sands that you refer to. Both Work and work well. Melt temps are as follows:

Aluminum: 1,220 F

Brass: 1,710-1,830 F (depending on type)

Copper: 1,983 F

Cast Iron: 2,060-2,200 F (depending on type)

This sand mixed the way I showed in that vid will easily cast all of these metals. I have casted all but the cast iron due to the limitations of the crucible I am using. Melting cast iron in a steel crucible isnt safe. Need a clay/graphite crucible.

pheenix42 (author)2016-07-07

This is a skill that every person who has a workshop should learn. It opens up a lot of possibilities for making your own tools when you can't just buy one, or replacing a part on an old machine you can't find anymore.

What if I need a sprocket like this? Think aluminum that I make at the house would hold up?

skylane (author)midnightprophet2016-07-19

No. That sprocket is forged then hardened. Cast metal does not have the strength needed for a sprocket.

Correct, aluminum is not the right material for a sprocket

An aluminum sprocket wouldnt hold up unfortunately unless a really LOW load application. Cast Iron or Steel would be the choice there

Agree, I have made many things for my shop and around the home I would have had to otherwise spend money on. It is a very useful skill and glad I got into it some time ago :)

PhyllisL (author)2016-07-19

where would I find aluminum to cast with?

skylane (author)PhyllisL2016-07-19

Old window or door screen frames, soda/beer/etc cans, metal salvage yards.

i just use scrap I have parts, aluminum rims, lawn
mower engines, lawn furniture, soda & beer cans, etc....I have
stockpiled a few hundred pounds over the years getting it all free off

skylane (author)2016-07-19

Very nice and easy to understand instructable!

This reminded me of when I was in my teens. I "made things" with molten lead.

I tried to drill a hole in order to insert something , screw in a bolt or screw....

Well.. after snapping off my third drill bit, I finally realized why you don't drill into lead with a single speed drill motor!

Thanks for the great video.. and the one on making the green clay!

throbscottle (author)2016-07-19

Best set of instructions on diy aluminium casting I've seen so far :) Might get round to actually doing it one day!

Thanks for the kind words! Give it a shot :)

dreiduke (author)2016-07-19

Very nice Instructable.

But, don't inhale baby powder, it will clue your lung bubbles together.
And it can produce tumors.
Lung damage from inhaled baby powder is irreversible.

By the way, it (Baby powder or talcum) is used to clue a transplanted or collapsed lung to the pleura.

What i want to say, baby powder is not as harmless as it sounds.

I'll be sure to put on my mask & turn on the fan...Thanks!

Mic100 (author)2016-07-19

Very usefull thanks :)

Appreciate it! Thanks For Watching! :)

treymartin82 (author)2016-07-19

How do you make your sand? What do you use?

I have an instructable on making the green sand (technical name for it)

toolsit4 (author)2016-07-19

Very good video.

Thanks!, I appreciate ya! :)

zacker (author)2016-07-19

very cool video. I have to try and find some of that sand... can I use dirt from my yard? I used it for casting a few cement garden containers for my worked ok but I didn't have to handle the forms so I don't know if after packing it down, if it would stay in he flask if I moved them around too it did pack pretty good though. Its kind of clay like but sandy.

The Green Sand is very easy to make :)

No, can not use just dirt. Please see my other instructable on HOW TO make the Green Sand. Thanks for Watching! :)

richg99 (author)2016-07-19

Excellent presentation. I especially liked the added Text. A couple of the segments were a bit quick. The insertion of the two tubes was confusing until you later explained exactly what their functions were, and how you modified the pouring tube to adjoin the opening for the aluminum. Well done.

Thanks! It is an odd process but really simple with a bit of practice

I also have more casting instructables posted if you want to see other demonstrations on the casting process Have a great day & thanks for watching! :)

Norfolkson (author)2016-07-05

Nice little project, well done. Explained clearly and concisely. However I would like to mention that when drilling, grinding and sanding metal in particular and aluminium especially, a good quality respirator and eye protection should be worn unless you like to have nanoparticle aluminium in your brain via the bloodstream vectoring through mucus membranes in your nose, mouth and eyes.

Thanks! Yes, metal working in all forms poses its dangers and risks, especially molten metals. I encourage everyone to use as much PPE as they feel they need to remain safe.

BeachsideHank (author)2016-07-05

As a home shop metalcaster, I'm always open to learn from the experience of others, and what makes the Instructables site special is the opportunity for submissions to have supporting text and images that can clarify any aspects the author thinks may be important for the reader the grasp, they are something that can elevate an accompanying video to a higher level.

Being new to the site I will do my best to "learn the ropes" as quickly as I can. Thanks for Watching!

Sorry, forgot to acknowledge the video as being one of the better metalcasters out there, it scares me to see a bunch of 13 year- old boys doing this stuff wearing beach sandal thongs and bathing suits and tripping over each other. ☺

About This Instructable




Bio: MSFN is "Makin Sumthin from Nuthin", I suggest you do the same! Basically I take inventory of what I have laying around that most likely ... More »
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