Introduction: Military Unit Plaque Aluminum Casting

About: Metal casting, knife making, design and more!

Today we will be showing you how to turn all those aluminum cans you have laying around into a simple and elegant wall art.

Step 1: Equipment


you should always wear proper protective equipment for every project. this project you will be working with molten aluminum at a temperature of over 1400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Safety Equipment:

Face Shield

High temp wielding gloves

closed toe leather shoes

strong tongs

Fire extinguisher

Next is the foundry equipment you need for melting the cans, it can range from a simple metal bucket or trash can lined with plaster or high temperature kaowool and a fire source of propane or charcoal with a air source like a hair dryer, if you are looking to create your own equipment you can look up some amazing videos from the King of Random on youtube or buy more professional equipment which i prefer from Devil Forge.

Metal Foundry equipment:

Metal Furnace


Hot Foam Cutter or razor blade

wire brush or wheel


steel spoon

steel rebar rod

hack saw


once you have all of your equipment gathered all you will need is some last few items so you can actually design your plaque or piece of art.

Foam Board


a Picture of your Design.

Step 2: Cutting Your Mold

Once you have an idea of what you want to cast you need to print off a picture, cut out the boarder, glue it to your foam board, then use a razor or a hot wire foam cutter to cut out the outline of your casting.

next we use a dremel to carve out any writing or design we might want in our plaque.

Step 3: Bury in Sand!

Once you have your your mold cut out place it face down in sand and gently move your mold back and forth pushing it deeper in the sand to fill in any lettering or design, then cover the rest of the mold in sand leaving a center 1 inch square exposed, this is where you will be pouring in your aluminum.

Step 4: Melting the Cans!

once you have your mold buried its time to heat up your furnace and start melting cans!

Be very careful during this process, molten metal is very dangerous and can cause 3rd degree burns in a matter or seconds if exposed to your skin.

when you get your furnace up to temp start melting your cans, once you filled your crucible be sure to stir your metal and scrape any excess debris from paint or any other contaminates that might of been in your cans.

once you do that you are ready to pour!

Step 5: Pouring Your Metal

When your aluminum is clean turn off your furance and transfer the crucible to your mold pan, pour your aluminum into the mold till it starts filling up your sand funel and pour any extra aluminum you might have in your crucible into a cupcake pan or cast iron ingot mold.

Step 6: Pulling and Cleaning Your Casting.

After you pour your casting wait about 5 to 10 minutes to pull your mold and then submerge in a bucket of water to help cool it off for handling.

your casting will have a lot of carbon built up from burning out the foam mold and heating up the sand so now we take a wire brush on a drill to help knock it off and polish the plaque.

Step 7: Final Touches

For this mold we added a traditional unit challenge coin to the front using super glue and painted over the lettering with a high gloss black paint to help the plaque pop.


and here is the finished product!

This plaque we did for the US Coast Guard Cutter ANVIL, but you can use the same method for almost any picture or plaque you can think of!

Casting Contest

Participated in the
Casting Contest