Introduction: Melt Aluminum With a Hole in the Ground
I've been interested to try this design for use as a survivalist foundry for quite some time now. The name of this type of fire pit is a Dakota Fire Hole, and I thought with a little extra air flow provided by a fan it might have the potential for some real heat!
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Some notes regarding casting:
It can be dangerous to pour molten metals into a casting surface that has not been pre-heated to drive off moisture. The bubbles you see forming in my cast at the end of the above video are formed from water boiling off the soil. While I was not too concerned with the danger while wearing proper safety gear and pouring onto an aerated surface, there is a chance of rapid expansion of water throwing molten aluminum into the air, especially if using metal casting forms.
Some excellent DIY casting methods have surfaced in the last few years that would be fun to try with this furnace. Of particular interest to me is lost foam casting, so we'll see if I get around to another video on that subject in the future.
Items used for this project:
- Shovels (both standard and narrow)
- Steel pot
- Channel locks or vice grips for lifting the hot crucible
- Fire wood
- Scrap aluminum
- Safety gear (eye protection and/or face shield, non-synthetic clothes with long sleeves, closed toe boots)
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