Melt Aluminum for $3 and some begging!

Step 1: Begging and Buying

The Sauce Can Foundry

This is a really fun project that doesnt take much time at all and once completed enables you to melt metal!

::Warning::This activity does involve fire and very high temperatures, so bring your common sense and competence along. You should engage in metal melting activities fully covered, wear leather boots, jeans, and a long sleeve shirt. Use eye protection and gloves over your hands.

- 2 used Papa Johns sauce cans (just walk in and ask for a couple, early morning or early afternoon is usually when they prep sauce)
- 1 used bean can
- 4 inch diameter x 24 inch length Galvanized Oven Vent
- Blower with a power source
- A few screws or rivets
- Foundry stand (jackstands and a grate in my case)

- Can opener
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Drill with proper bits
- Sheet metal bender (in my version)
- Tin Snips (scissors might get it done too)
- Hammer
- Sharpie
- Clamps
- Pliers

- Charcoal
- Cans or other forms of aluminum
- Welding Gloves
- Lighter Fluid (optional)
- Tongs or a coat hanger for holding the crucible
- Spoon with extended handle for dross Removal
- Eye Protection
- Somewhere to put the molten metal, I used a muffin tin.

If there's something in this list that you dont have or cant get then try and improvise (except on the safety stuff). The first time I made one of these furnaces the duct was made from left over rain gutters. And the blower came out of a microwave. Just give it a little thought and start building and see what you can come up with.
How do you get the ingots out of the tin? I have six that seem rather stuck.
awesome man, i want to build one now
Awesome idea, what other types of metal can you melt?
with that type of furnace, you can melt any metal that melts under 700&deg;C but it's better for a beginner to stay with aluminum because some metals, like zinc and magnesium, can be very dangerous to melt(zinc fumes disease, magnesium fire at over 3000&deg;C).<br />
I built forge after seeing this instructable, but instead of the pizza can I used bricks, and instead of the bean can I used a crucible from <a rel="nofollow" href="http://budgetcastingsupply.com/">http://budgetcastingsupply.com/</a>. I also used a shop vac as some comments have suggested. I liked the construction of the duct here, and used it as a starting point for mine.<br/><br/>Overall, I think this instructable is a great introduction to 'forgery'<br/>
What can you use melted aluminum for?
Do the alumium cakes make your fillings hurt like foil does, or do you just eat them anyway?
I'm sorry... what? i just don't quite understand your question. you dont eat metal. it poisons you (heavy metal poisoning). and what aluminum cakes are you referring to?
hes joking
. You mean these are not going to be part of the Ultra Butch S&M Queer Festivals training diet for REAL men?
could you use a 12 volt plastic computer fan for the blower?
I dont think it would have enough flow. But I dont know how much this A/C fan has. Give it a try and tell us if it melted the metal.
Alright, I'll try when I have time. :D
Cool! Is it possible you could make a lantern-battery-powered carbon arc furnace?
this is similar to one i made out of a piant can and a shop vac that i reversed =]melts good <br/>
thats awesome :-) but, how is the can not melting, but yet the inner metal is ? even if its the same metals ( aluminum can, w aluminum can shards for melting?)
The Crucible can is made of Tin (or should I say steel), and it has a hotter melting point, but it did get hot enough to glow red. The Crucible can is certainly the weak point in this setup. I'm sure the can's inner coatings contaminated the aluminum. For actually casting things (which I will get around to one day), you would need a better crucible before you needed to improve anything else.
hmm. ok, well i want to build this to melt metal, and i would be using a can probably a small coffee can or a x-large bean can, and i would be wanting to melt steel, aluminum, or mixes in the can would that work? :-\. i really dont know how to explain what im trying to say, like if you had an aluminum can you could only melt aluminum, and if you had a steel can you could melt anything up to steel (melting point) and if you had a steel can with melting steel it wouldnt melt through? Sry for all these questions, but hey if you melt metal you want to make sure it does not go through and cause a river of molten metal to spew all over your stuff :-X!
Ok, here's a little chart of melting points from lowest to highest<br/>Metal Name Melting Temperature F&Acirc;&deg;<br/>Tin 450<br/>Lead 621<br/>Aluminum 1218<br/>Magnesium 1240<br/>Bronze Cu+Sn 1562<br/>Brass Cu+Zn 1652<br/>Silver 1762<br/>Gold 1946<br/>Copper 1981<br/>Cast Iron 2300<br/>Steel-High Carbon 2500<br/>Stainless Steel 2550<br/>Medium Carbon 2600<br/>Nickel 2646<br/>Low Carbon 2700<br/>Titanium 3263<br/>Iron 2786<br/>Chromium 3034<br/>Tungsten 5432<br/>Carbon 6512<br/><br/>I stole it from <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.muggyweld.com/melting.html">Here</a>Here. As you can see aluminum <br/><br/>melts at only 1200 degrees . (After finishing this I had to make sure that cans were made <br/><br/>of steel, wikipedia was ambiguous about it and several other sites so I took a magnet after <br/><br/>some cans we have here) <br/><br/>Most bean cans are made of steel with an inside tin coating (After finishing the above <br/><br/>chart, I had to make sure that cans were made of steel, wikipedia was ambiguous about it <br/><br/>and several other sites. So I took a magnet after some cans we have here, it is steel). So <br/><br/>its melting point is Approx. 2500 degrees (high carbon steel). So the furnace produces <br/><br/>somewhere between 1200 and 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, because the can doesnt melt. <br/><br/>To make an uncontaminated melt your gonna need a better <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucible">crucible</a>crucible. There are quite a few ideas for building a crucible from things laying around, all available with a quick google search. :P<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://ezinearticles.com/?Building-A-Hobby-Crucible-Furnace&id=153129">Heres one for example</a>Heres one for example ....<br/>
I have a similar set up and my steal can did melt. or to be more accurate the hot aluminum slowly leached through the can till I had holes.
hmm...i thought the melting point of aluminum was ~900.... o well. Great project, when i get the time, i will have to try this! =D<br/>
hi aluminum melts at 660 degrees Celsius you might be thinking of silver thats 960 degrees Celsius the chart above is in Fahrenheit
:-) thanks
hello i think i can help you with that if you would like to melt aluminum you could use a steel pot or can but stuff like copper brass bronze iron needs a ceramic crucible becuse these metals would disove the can crucible and that is realy dangerous one day i would like to put an instuctable on this subject and building a propper furnace. chhers
Gingery! GINGERY! GIIIIIIINNNNGEEERRRRYYYYYYYYY!<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://lindsaybks.com/dgjp/djgbk/cruc/index.html">make your own crucibles.</a> there's also a bunch of fun kid stuff, like science project ideas, and a couple big books of all the crazy science stuff that <em>didn't</em> work through history. its pretty cool if you don't already know about it.<br/>
nice rendition. mine uses an old hair drier and some tube for air supply.
when you melt the ingot down later, it wont be free of slag. that is the oxides forming form the extremely high temps as well as simple air exposure.
Um first of all, you didn't really mention anything about your blower = ( sad face...<br/>Second of all, like the guy below asked, the pizza sauce can will eventually start to melt/deteriorate from the high temperature. Correct me if im wrong, but if you have used it a couple of times you are probably noticing that. Just from my own personal experience, soup cans that i used as crucibles started to fall apart after like two uses.<br/>
so is this good if you just want to heat up metals too, but you put them in for less time? Also... The can doesn't get melted at all does it?(the one holding the coal)
nice forge, i got a suggestion you can use an air compressor instead of the blower thats what i use, it works great and higher pressure = hotter flame <br/>
what happens if you heat up a cender block up to the temperature that melts aluminm? does it explode like river rocks in a fire (which is cool until you look down at arm and find shrades of rock and blood, not cool >:(
dude thanks this is a great forge and cheap too.
Another source of good crucibles and crucible related information is Budget Casting Supplies:(http://www.budgetcastingsupply.com/Crucibles.php)<br/>And with free shipping it usually works out fairly economical!<br/>
anyone know if you can have too strong of a fan? i have an old central AC fan that puts out some major thrust. would it put out the fire or would it help?
yes the fan can be too strong if there is too much air then you would get what is colled an oxidizing fire kind of the same as a cutting torch you want a reducing fire {just too little air for perfect combustion} and that olsow help to reduce the oxidation of the metal
If the fan blows too much air, it will melt the steel can. I use a blow drier (the kind used for hair) on low to melt metal. It doesn't take much air. :) stoobers@gmail.com stoobers.googlepages.com (my projects!)
You could regulate the speed with a variable transformer like a varistat or you could restrict the air going in the fan which would reduce the air flow. Have you thought about a scrap hair drier gun (lo-hi) ??
It MIGHT work, but most likely, it'll blow your coals straight out of the firepot. If you're slightly less unlucky, it'll mearly bring your coals upto a temp high enough to melt/seriously soften your tin-can crucible. Adding a hole in your ductwork, and a varible cover, you can make your own "airflow gate" to use the big fan. To give you an idea, I have used a shopvac exhaust to drive a coal powered IRON furnace. yes. MOLTEN IRON! That's probably less airflow than yoiur AC fan.
you can try you really dont want fire u want hot coals
Well I'm not sure but I don't think so,but a too big fan can blow away too much heat. Think of it as a heatsink,the faster the air goes,the cooler it is.
Most likely, yeah. If you had a really big furnace it would work great though. :)
check out the Gingery books from lindsaybks.com. build furnaces, crucibles, blowers, etc for very low prices.their book Building a Gas-Fired crucible Furnace shows how to build a furnace, gas supply, crucible, crucible tongs, blower, etc. oh, and it melts iron.
Really nice Instructable,thanks! I think a more substantial crucible would be a used steel disposable propane bottle that's cut to size. Also I loved the suggestions by others especially about the foam/plaster mold technique. I have an old motorcycle that the sissybar/luggage rack is no longer available for,I'm going to try to make them,as used parts are rare and costly.
Great instructable, I would recommend not using metal at all as the crucible and juat using one of those really small teracotta plant pots. Or just invest in a proper ceramic one, it's probably worth it if you are going to be using this regularly/seriously Otherwise, great use of materials and will start asap.
About how long does the Al take to melt?
hmm, perhaps an alternative would be to use a dremel tool with a cutoff wheel attachment, then deburr and sand the edges, or use tin snips if you have a fine touch. i dunno though; just putting my 2 cents in
This thing looks awesome! I'm going to have to start gathering parts, I've been contemplating building a furnace/forge for a while, now that I've got my lathe I might as well build it. Just one question to make sure I have the theory down, the coals provide the heat, and blower provides the air that makes the coals hotter correct? Basically what I'm getting at, it's just a system for blowing air past the hot coals? Theres no propane or any such things? Also, how much charcoal do you burn through usually?
Yes, it is basically a system to blow air past hot coals making them burn hotter, and consequently faster. When I did a burn I filled the furnace the first time, then I think I filled it 1-1/2 more times, which to me seemed about the same amount of charcoal as cooking on my barbecue. :) (about half of a smaller bag) The response to this project has been more than I ever expected , but it would be really great to see someone else attempt to build it. It's really not that hard at all, just very dangerous.
The whole setup seems very nice and easy to run, as well as cheap. Not as much as propane, and though a waste oil burning furnace/forge would be nice, it's more complicated than yours. Weather sucks and it's Christmas, but when everything improves I'll work on building it and post my results. Thanks for the reply and the great instructable!
sweet god...ive been looking to make cheapo arrowheads...thanx +1

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