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Who Here Has Melted Aluminum? Answered

I had my dad weld up an ingot mold out of 1 1/2" angle steel, yesterday, and I started wondering. How many people have melted aluminum here? I have, but here its so hot (Florida...Southern Florida.), that its almost unbearable to melt it anymore. I'm getting into sand casting, and I was wondering if anyone had experience in that area. My .gifs are of my foundry, and how I made it. (they aren't exact)

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its a lion (author)2007-10-01

we went to melt some aluminum in the oven we had in class one day but it took it so long to get up to temperature, the aluminum was in there for about 5 minutes before the bell rang and we had to turn it off. about all it had done was turn bright red and had just started melting some of the really fine shavings.

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Derin (author)its a lion2008-06-29

my school has this kiln,it is so strong the teacher says it can even melt small pebbles

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John Smith (author)its a lion2007-10-02

Was it an oven, or a kiln?

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its a lion (author)John Smith2007-10-02

it was an oven. it was quite old, and took forever to heat up. probably the layers of ash that was caked onto the heating elements. surprised it never caught fire...

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PKM (author)2008-06-18

I've melted small amounts of aluminium (scrap and cans) in a coffee can furnace, burning wood charcoal fired with a paint stripper hot air gun. I wasn't quick enough to get any decent casts out of it but made a nice vague ingot shape (shrank a lot, probably from insufficient de-slagging).

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John Smith (author)2008-06-17

-update-

i have since switched to a propane burner. Details of it here:
http://backyardmetalcasting.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2207

I am Alt Ctrller there. Also on AIM.

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darkanima93 (author)2008-06-17

I melt lots of metals lead, copper, Aluminum. but I use a plain old torch works good takes a few to heat up the Aluminum.

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Sedgewick17 (author)2007-10-01

I have melted aluminun and copper before using a coffe can furnace.Man was that fun to do.I am trying to build a real furnace sort of like the one in your GIF,but I can not find any fire clay were I live bescause no one has heard of it.

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John Smith (author)Sedgewick172007-10-02

If you go to your local well drilling place, they might give you a broken bag of bentonite, which can be used in place of fireclay.

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Sedgewick17 (author)John Smith2007-10-02

Alright,I will check that out thanks.

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John Smith (author)Sedgewick172007-10-02

Oh, and I got half of a broken bag free, and it was perfectly powdered, in a bag. They gave it to me because it was a broken bag, about 25 lbs worth!

You can also use it for molding sand.

The pic is of the bag I got.

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Sedgewick17 (author)John Smith2007-10-02

I never knew bentonite can be used for this kind of thing thanks.what do you use for the separator powder?.Do you ever try lost foam casting,or wax casting?I had an idea of going to my local hobby store and buying a tank or whatever, and casting the parts in copper or aluminum and then ark weld the part together.

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John Smith (author)Sedgewick172007-10-02

For the parting powder, go to your local wal-mart or similar, and get lubricating graphite. It's powdered, and is perfect for that. I recommend that book I linked to before, as a starting point for sand casting. I've never done lost wax or lost foam casting, as most castings I need are one time things. What is lost foam casting? I've heard of it. Do you mean flask? Or are you talking about the helium tank? My furnace worked ok , but it was in no way ideal. I recommend getting the flowerpot furnace booklet at backyardmetalcasting.com. It would be suited better to what you would want to do. If you do do the one I made, you can PM me with questions, and I can help you out. Also, for the center form in my version, I used scrap 8" PVC pipe instead of cardboard. It left a CLEARLY smoother finish.

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Sedgewick17 (author)John Smith2007-10-02

Lost wax and foam casting is nothing more than a piece of wax ,or foam cut into any desired shape and then surrounded by compacted casting sand. When you pour the molten metal on the wax or the foam it will immediately melt. The only real advantages to this way is that you can cast more intricate parts, and the is no need to separate the two halfs of sand. I have plans on how to build a furnace that I brought from this catalogue http://lindsaybks.com I just could not find any fire clay in my area but I will get some bentonine like you said which should work. What did you use for the casting boxes?

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John Smith (author)Sedgewick172007-10-03

Try 1 by 3 pine, oak, or other wood. Guess you have saw this?

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Goodhart (author)2007-10-01

Yes, back in the days that I had a wee portable smithy's forge (also known as a rivet forge), I melted a bit of aluminum, a lot of lead, a bit of copper, and did a bit of steel/iron forging too. I was using bituminous coal however; first creating "coke" (no, not the drug nor the drink) which burns so much hotter, but is harder to light, so one uses it while the "fire is hot" so to speak.

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John Smith (author)Goodhart2007-10-02

What did you use the rivets for? The only time I've ever saw a one of those forges is when they built skyscrapers, and riveted the steel together.

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Goodhart (author)John Smith2007-10-02

Well, I wasn't into making rivets, but they used these for bridges also. I just wanted something to fool around with, without having to invest in an entire shop outright. It was a lot of fun, 'til I nearly burnt down the family Apple Tree (yeah, I know, the poem says it was supposed to be a spreading Chestnut tree LOL ). Here is a picture of one very similar to the one I owned:

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John Smith (author)Goodhart2007-10-02

How'd you almost burn it down?

Also, that looks pretty cool. reminds me of this page.

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Goodhart (author)John Smith2007-10-02

A nearby hulk of a VW bug (vintage '63, with the plumber's nightmare bumpers and all....just no engine or gas tank), caught a spark in through one of the "ahem" windows (which had no glass in it) and it landed on the seat. Long story short, we struggled to contain it, but it kind of damaged the south side of the apple tree and it never did produce well on that side again.

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John Smith (author)Goodhart2007-10-02

Really? I would have never guessed that it happened that way...

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Goodhart (author)John Smith2007-10-02

Oh yeah, the foam in those older cars had a "smolder" and a "flashpoint' (smolder until you gave it air, then WHOOSH).

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John Smith (author)2007-10-02

Try 1 by 3 pine, oak, or other wood. Guess you have saw this?

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jtobako (author)2007-10-02

Lost foam is another form of sand casting-fun, but the pattern can't be reused.

Have you been to http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/ or it's offspring abymc.com?

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John Smith (author)jtobako2007-10-02

I'm on the backyard one all the time. I haven't saw the other one, though.

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thebluemartyr (author)2007-10-02

i melted the tab of a popcan just by filling an asprin cap with isopropyl alcohol and holdin it over with a stick for a couple minutes, what program do u use to make that animation, .GIF files dont show up...

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westfw (author)2007-10-01

I've melted Aluminum foil with a match, and thin aluminum sheet with a propane torch... :-) Neat gifs...

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John Smith (author)westfw2007-10-02

Thanks, I did them when I was on vacation, so I had alot of time. The second one took me ~1 3/4 hours.

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