Introduction: Spider-man Lost Foam Investment Casting

For Christmas this year I wanted to get my little sister a nice gift, but was not sure what to get her. Having recently created my own aluminum melting furnace, I decided I could create her a nice and personal gift.

She's a huge fan of spider-man, so I decided to create her a lost foam Casting of a spider man mask.

I won't post any descriptions about how I created my foundry furnace or burner, as there is a plethora of information on the web about the topic. However, I have added a couple of links below that I found useful during the design process.

Burner design ->

Furnace desgin ->

WARNING!!!: You have a brain... USE IT! Building and working with a foundry furnace is "NOT" child's play. It can be very dangerous and anything that happens is not my responsibility! Please take the time to read and study all the safety procedures that are available on the net, as well as your local library. You are responsible for yourself and your own safety.

Also, burning foam is very nasty stuff and is likely not healthy to breathe. Wear a respirator!!

Step 1: Creating the Piece in Foam Insulation

The inspiration for this project (I actually made my own version) is aluminum cast entwined hearts It's a very well laid out instructable, and a pretty nifty project.

Unlike Spike3579, I did not have the advantage of cutting my hearts on a CNC router, so the first portion of this instructable details how I sculpted Spider-Man out of Blue foam insualtion.

I began by printing and cutting out an image of Spider-man's mask, and tracing the outline of the mask and the eyes, then cutting out the overall mask. Ideally I would be able to cut this with a hot foam cutter, but have not created one yet, so I had to do with a very sharp  knife.

Bear in mind that EVERY SINGLE DETAIL that you make in your foam piece will show up in your aluminum casting, so be sure you take the proper amount of time to work to get your foam piece just right, because it is much easier to work in foam than metal.

Once the overall shape was cut out I used 220 grit sandpaper to sand a bevel around the whole of the mask to make it look less blocky. I then used a soldering iron on medium heat to Melt out the eyes. There may be a better tool for this, but the low heat from the soldering iron allowed me to create a depression for the eyes without burning through the foam... I think it turned out fairly well.

Step 2: Detailing the Piece in Foam Insulation

With a permanent marker, I carefully transferred the web pattern from the image to the foam piece, and used a dremmel cutting wheel to cut a shallow depression in the foam. I also used a dremmel sanding bit to clean up the eyes which were "soldered" down, and any other imperfections that I could find.

I made a few mistakes with the cutting wheel, which definitely showed up in the casting, but overall I was pleased with how the hand cuts turned out.

Once the lines were cut for the web, and I was happy with everything else on the foam piece it was time to glue on the risers. I simply took some scrap pieces of foam and super-glued them onto the mask.

Step 3: Prepare for Casting

Once the risers were glued on I painted on a thin layer of drywall compound, and let it dry overnight. I carefully buried the whole piece in sand and encircled with some metal pipe I had laying around.

Step 4: Melt Metal and Pour

When pouring, be sure to be in a well ventilated area and wear a respirator, burning foam is very nasty stuff and is likely not healthy to breathe... Be sure to take safety into account if you do this yourself. 

You can see from the pictures a couple of different raw castings, my first one had a defect on the front.. Likely from not compacting the loose sand enough when preparing.

This is a pretty straightforward step if you have the equipment and experience, feel free to check out some of these links for more details.

Burner design ->

Furnace desgin ->

Step 5: Finishing

To finish this I used a metal cutting wheel on a grinder to cut off the sprues, and a dremmel with a metal brush to clean off the front face. There wasn't an excessive amount of cleanup needed on the front due to the drywall compound giving a high resolution.

Thanks for reading!

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