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Paint Can Furnace with Accessories, Lost Foam Casting, and More!

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When I started to cast aluminum the end goal was to build a lathe from scratch following the dave gingery machine shop from scrap metal series of books. Now that I have the lathe, I won't necessarily need to cast large parts all the time, and thus it seemed like a good idea to build a smaller furnace that would be quick to setup, would cool down quickly, and would also be portable. I was initially planning on building a small furnace from a big coffee can, but when in the paint section of a hardware store I noticed new empty paint cans for sale ( for $5 each ), and decided these would be the way to go ( more capacity and I wouldn't have a bunch of instant coffee to drink ).

For more information about this project visit it's project page here:
Paint Can Furnace with Accessories, Lost Foam Casting and More!

And for more information about my other projects feel free to checkout my projects blog from time to time:
the Morgan Demers blog

Project Video:

Step 1: Prerequisites: Tools Required

- Hand Drill ( drill press is nice to have though )
- Hacksaw
- Basic set of drill bits
- 6-32 tap ( for burner tube locking screws )
- 1/4-20 tap ( for pipe nipple crucible )
- 5/16-18 tap ( for lost foam pressure head tool )
- Tin Snips
- Paper Punch
- Screw Driver ( Philips Head )
- Sharpie
- Straight Edge ( or ruler )
- 2x3 or 2x4 scrap wood for mashing and mixing
- Trowel ( nice for mixing refractory )
- Cheap Paint Brush
- Tarp ( at the very least needed for mixing refractory on )
- Wire Cutter
- Center Punch
- Hammer or Mallet
- Vise
- File
- Foam Cutter ( Utility Knife or Hot Wire Cutter )
- Low Temperature Hot Glue Gun
- JT539t Torch ( or equivalent )
 
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danm_daniel5 months ago

This is the most cohesive instructable I have seen on metal casting. Thank you!

libertyss18 months ago
Very well written Instructable! I remember Dave Gingery from Lyndsey Publications my dad use to get 30 years ago. Dad never built the furnace so I sent him your Instructable and maybe he will now...lol! Thanks! Well done!
pj631 year ago
What a Fantastic instructable....Extremely well written and Discriptive ....Congrats and Keep up the GOOD work.....
bmatthew210 months ago
I built a furnace using most of the the techniques listed and the jt539t torch with extension hose. My refractory is only sand and plaster, which I use for blacksmithing. Works great.
jmcready11 months ago
How long do you have to let the forge heat up for with the propane torch? I bought the cheapest Bernzomatic propane torch with the simple nozzle, will this get the appropriate results?
Morgan_Demers (author)  jmcready11 months ago
I would recommend the JT539t, it has their swirl flame and is designed for brazing, hotter / more efficient flame. It also is only $28 at our local ACE hardware store. That torch gets my furnace up to 1300 deg. F in 20-30 minutes from a cold start with a charge of aluminum in it, so pretty much pouring in 30 minutes.

Other torches will work, but will take longer to get the furnace up to temperature. Also, this is not a forge for heating metal for forge work, it is a fuller contained furnace for melting metal. There may be better options out there if your intent is forge work.

Cheers,
Morgan
NeuroPulse1 year ago
Any ideas to cast aluminum with a smooth surface? Some other material for the mold?
you can try using a two part resin with the sand, it picks up high detail, and when used with extremly fine sand can prduce a fine surface with can be lightly sanded and pollished
Pwag1 year ago
Is this only hot enough to do aluminium?
Morgan_Demers (author)  Pwag1 year ago
No, you could melt brass and bronze in it for sure ( probably silver and gold with the right burner ). At some point I'd like to use it to melt small quantities of sterling with a graphite crucible for art / jewelry projects ( if I ever get to it ).
I enjoyed the video very thorough. Could you tell me is insulite the same as fire clay? It is refractory cement, though I am not sure how to use it.
Morgan_Demers (author)  bricabracwizard1 year ago
Hey, all I could find on 'Insulite' is this information "INSULITE is a light weight Perlite based aggregate which when combined with portland cement, sand and water produces an ultra light weight concrete that is used for insulating roof decks and light weight floor fills, insulating structural rock decks, curtain wall systems and for a variety of permanent insulating applications.", which doesn't sound like a fire clay substitute, however if you go here: http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/refractories.html, and look at his '2 buck furnace formula' recipe, he uses perlite, sand, portland cement, and water so you could possibly use insulite as a 'perlite' replacement in that mix.
I'll see how it goes with insulite, the packaging says it's for kilns and pizza ovens. Thanks for your input. This is a very inspiring instructable, just to see your step by step process...more detailed than I've ever seen before and on video!
Wow! What a great and thorough instructable! I just got into backyard foundry and in the process of moving up from using charcoal to propane. Your video was very helpful to a beginner like me.
sleeping1 year ago
Thanks for all the work putting up this great instructable.
thebear11 year ago
thank you for sharing this lots of good info nice job on putting this together