Low Cost Aluminum Foundary

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Introduction: Low Cost Aluminum Foundary

One day I went to a party and saw that a hefty amount of aluminum soda cans were being thrown in the trash bin. I wondered and decided to repurpose these cans into small Aluminum "Muffin" Ingots for casting.


***DISCLAIMER*** Liquid aluminum is over 660 Celsius so use all precautionary measures. Long pants/sleeves, resperator, heat gloves, face shield, etc.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Materials:

Backyard Grill Charcoal Chimney Starter

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Backyard-Grill-Charcoal-Chimney-Starter/19581245

Unica Stainless Steel Cup (18 oz.)

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Unica-Stainless-Steel-Cup-18-oz./21633441

2 in. x 2 ft. PVC-PW Sch. 40 DWV Pipe

http://thd.co/1hHL71y

2 in. PVC DWV 90 Degree Hub x Hub Elbow

http://thd.co/1hzsxTa

Style by Revlon 1875 Watt Dryer

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Style-by-Revlon-1875-Watt-Dryer/14551419

Backyard Grill Deluxe Stainless Steel Grilling Tongs

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Backyard-Grill-Deluxe-Stainless-Steel-Grilling-Tongs/23597948

Backyard Grill Briquets, 8.3 lbs

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Backyard-Grill-Briquets-8.3-lbs/43922466

MainStays 12-Cup Cupcake Pan

http://www.walmart.com/ip/MainStays-12-Cup-Cupcake-Pan/14913178

Masking Tape


All of these items can be found at Home Depot and Walmart for insanely cheap prices.

Step 2: Connect the PVC to the Elbow

If you purchased the right parts. The PVC Pipe should slip right in with the PVC Elbow for a tight lock. After that just slip it in to the opening you created in the perimeter and match up with the center bricks.

Step 3: Create a Safe Brick Perimeter

I had some old bricks lying around the backyard so i used them as a do not cross visual and also if an accident were to occur around the foundary, the bricks would prevent spreading. I put 6" of clearance frome each side of the center bricks and an opening for the pvc pipe to slip in.

Step 4:

Now Tape the cool button down on your Revlon and slip it in to the end of the PVC Pipe away from the brick perimeter.

Step 5: Placing the Foundary Body

Now that you have your brick perimeter set up and the pipe is centered, set bricks to elevate and place the Charcoal Chimney Starter centered with the Bicks and the PVC Elbow.

Step 6: Placing Charcoal

Set down some paper and douse them in charcoal lighter fluid, also coat the charcoal as well. This will ensure that the charcoal will light and burn efficiently.

Step 7: Placing Crucible

Before lighting the fire, place the stainless steel cup (crucible) into the center of the furnace. Place charcoals around the rim of the cup to ensure leveled heating. After everything is set light the charcoal and wait for the charcoal to be at a steady burn.

Step 8: Applying Air

Once the charcoal is at a steady burn, turn the Revlon on to the low setting making sure the cool setting is taped down. Wait 2-5min before adding cans.

Step 9: Smelting and Pouring

Place cans and push down until they are melted. Be sure to scoop up the impurities and slag the cans produce. When you have enough aluminum in the crucible, pick up the crucible with your stainless steel tongs with a firm grip and pour into muffin pan. Be sure to throw the aluminum "muffin" into a bucket of water as it is still very hot when it solidifies.

Step 10: Aluminum Ingot

Now that the aluminum is cooled, you can either show it off or melt a couple cupcakes down for some sand casting projects!


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do you use nonstick cooking spray or just dump the aluminum in there

56 Comments

wanna do this so bad might just make this my birthday present ya and todays my birthday woooo

I made a similar version and melted through 2 stainless crucibles, one identical to the one used. Looks like an ss cup is good for one pour with perhaps 8-10 cans of alu, i think once you reach beyond that the steel fails. Going to look for a proper crucible, the rest of the setup works great, beware, this thing will eat a whole bag of charcoal.

I use half of an old fire extinguisher and it looks just as good as when I cut it in half. Simply take an old fire extinguisher (preferably A small one) and cut it half with A hacksaw. It works great!

Have you ever sanded the colors off the cans? That's one less impurity - or is it easier (and less time consuming!) to get rid of it after the cans are melted?
LOVED this 'ible! I think I just might be able to replicate your process! Thanks!

couldn't you just use grease and make a crucible holder? just wondering.

My PVC ended up melting, so I got some galvanized steel pipe instead. However, the largest size I could get was 1 1/4, so the airflow was greatly reduced. Any suggestions?

Be careful I got that same steel cup and put some holes in it because my foundry got too hot

Wouldn't it melt the PVC?

Just so you know, most compressed charcoals like the above contain a relatively high level of sulfur. It is released at the high temperatures of burning charcoal (actually much less, but we won't get into that). That liquified sulfur does get into your aluminum and can influence how it casts. I can't remember off hand, but I do remember it isn't good.

This is an easily accessible means to wet your feet with aluminum casting. I would recommend insulating that charcoal starter with some rock wool if you can find it to improve your effenciecy.

Thank you for your input! I did not know the sulfer levels in the charcoal could change the structure of the cast. I will use your advice and better this project in the future. I'm only 15 so I'll be learning all the chemistry aspects next year. Thank You!