Intro: Centrifugal Casting Machine From a Washing Machine
This project came about, out of sheer necessity as I will explain shortly.
I have to say from the start though that, this is NOT as per say, how to do it yourself with step by step instructions and parts list (though I will do my best to list those parts that I had to purchase). but how I did it and possibly how you could also do it, following some of the basic steps I took, that is, if you need one of these and like me, can't afford to buy even a second hand one let alone new and *can* get hold of a suitable washing machine like the one I have used and are good at DIY as well as have some basic electrical and electronics understanding.
For those who do not know what centrifugal casting machine is, here are couple of web links with some basic information and pictures:
Good basic info:
And if you have the wallet, here is a new one (in the UK)
Couple of Ebay listings of second hand ones:
When using electrical tools and equipment. always follow manufacturer's safety rules and advice.
And if you intend to dismantle a similar machine for customising purposes please seek professional help if you are unsure of anything to do with electricity and electronic circuitry.
Step 1: Inventory
- Washing machine, (ebay)
- 2 x aluminium disks (ebay) (10"x4mm) (most exoensive parts)
- 2 x threaded rods 3ft x 10mm (local hardware store)
- Speed control unit ebay (China)
- AC filter (salvaged from the same machine)
- Wood, plywood, perspex (local hardware store and various sources)
- 6 x lock nuts (10mm) (ebay)
- 35 x nuts (10mm) (local hardware store)
- 3 x wing nuts (10mm optional) (local hardware store)
- 1" x 12" aluminium flat bar x2 (ebay)
- screws, bolts, PVA glue
- Junction connector block (car boot)
- Steel wire (3m dia x 3ft 3of) (ebay)
- Electric drill,
- Hand Saw
- Screw drivers
- Dremel with various cutting and drilling bits
- Tapered reamer
Step 2: Process Before
In my spare time I used to make and sell buckles from the Captain Jack Sparrow outfit and up until now, I have been casting those all by hand individually (That is another ible that will be published here soon) which is a very tedious and hard work because the resulting casts need lot of cleaning before they are ready.
Having a centrifugal casting machine will make this a much easier process and less time will be spent 'cleaning' each piece and when I say cleaning, I mean going over each cast with a file and other suitable tools to get rid of excess metal, sharp edges and imperfection which some times can take up to 2 hours for each piece.
Step 3: The Machine
'Kenny', (name given by the manufacturer of this washing machine) is a smaller size (to its larger cousins used in most homes) and is suitable for RV's, caravans and yachts and bought it off of ebay for £5 That was few years ago. The seller listed it as not working but when I plugged it in after bringing it home, it worked fine but the only problem I could find was that it was not draining the water out after the wash cycle. So decided to re-list it on ebay as I thought someone could make a better use of it than I and clearly indicated its fault and within a week it got sold for £20
However the buyer (who paid for it soon after the listing ended) never came to collect it and even after giving him additional 2 more months to have it picked up, it never happened and so I informed him that I had no other option but dispose of it as it was taking up space in my garden. He apologised and said that I could keep the £20 and apologised again for the inconvenience he caused.
Step 4: Dismantling Process
So, I got to work and began to take it apart and salvage parts that I wanted to keep and throw away the rest. The only thing that I eventually ended up throwing away was the outer casing because I had no storage space for it.
When its inners begun to reveal itself, I begun to see the possibility of converting the main mechanism into what I have been dying to get hold of for so many years now.
Not the first time I've taken apart a similar one of these so it was a straight forward unscrewing all the nuts n bolts
of the outer casing. Being careful not damage anything to get into inner parts.
Step 5: Removing, Measuring and Drilling the Drum Pulley.
Removing the drum pulley took a little bit effort as this machine sat outside in the garden for couple of years and really was surprised how good it still looked when I opened it up.
Once the pulley was out. it was time to find the centre from which I can mark six points to drill the holes. This also proved to be a challenge as there was already a large hole in its centre but luckily this plastic ring which also came from the machine, acted as a stencil in helping me to find those crucial points.
The next challenge, proved to be THE most difficult of the whole endeavour. The pulley turned out to be made of hardened steel and no matter what drill bit I have used (metal, masonary..) and no matter how many times I called out loudly ""Muaddib", could not even make dent.
Eventually found a drill bit that did make a dent with the help of copious amount of engine oil. Unfortunately that lone drill bit was only 3mm in diameter. The hole I wanted to open was at least 10mm and SIX of them.
The tapered reamer was very helpful in enlarging these holes but the toll it took on my right hand, would not recommend it to anyone.
Step 6: Cutting and Preparing the Thredded Rod
6 of these were cut and and a lock nut installed at the end of each.
Step 7: Measuring and Drilling the Aluminium Disks
These are 2 of 10inch x 4mm disks. They were also bought off ebay and were much easier to drill.
Step 8: Finding a Solution to an Unexpected Problem
The problem I have encounter after inserting the threaded rods was, because the drum pulley was convex from the middle and bulging from its centre outwards, it was making the rods slant outwards. To counter this, I thought of the need to pull them inwards towards the centre and to do that, I used steel wire rods that I already had from previous projects. Perhaps, it is not the best solution for this particular problem but it seemed to work and that's what mattered.
Step 9: Installing the Aluminium Disks
Installing these were probably one of the most exciting part of this whole project.
Step 10: Cutting, Preparing and Installing a Container Ring
The 'Ring' is what holds the two piece moulds between the two disks and unfortunately this was another difficult item to get hold of (due to its unusual size) so I had to improvise (even if I could find one, it would have been way too expensive). So my solution was to use two piece aluminium strips, bend them to two arcs and join them as seen in the above pictures. Bought these also off of ebay and one continuous piece would have been far too expensive then buying two shorter pieces so that's what I did.
The strips measured 16"x1"x 4mm
I probably could have come up with something better, but progress sometimes is lot slower than we expect.
Having said that, there is room for improvements and I am looking forward to seeing others doing this much better than I have so far.
Step 11: Motor Speed Control-Test
As you saw during dismantling process, the washing machine had its own, wires, connections, circuit board with its timings for different washes, but you would have to be an electronics genius to be able to modify and make use of its own board and dials. Unfortunately I am not one of those so the idea was to research, make or buy one of those speed control units.
In fact, this process took the longest as I wanted to make sure, I did not do anything to damage the motor as it would be very difficult to find a replacement and not to mention costly.
So the hunt begun. I first ordered one of those cheap Chinese units (No offence meant to Chinese people) but due to being too simple and not enough information on how to connect all the wires from the motor to it, I decided to research more. Unfortunately there aren't many (if any) videos on youtube or anywhere else where this is demonstrated clearly and how you could connect each of these wires.
I keep finding a *better looking* (but not being sure if it would do the job) motor speed control units on ebay and decided to order one. The unit I ordered did have some basic wiring diagram but still there were BIG questions in my head that needed answering before I could even begin to understand how to connect all the wires from the motor. Answers from the seller to my questions about this were, lets say, less then satisfactory.
I then came across this website where this guy had indeed created a unit that apparently does exactly what I was after but unfortunately it was bit too expensive for me.
I also have to add that there lots of circuit diagrams on the net about this control unit and probably I could have built one had I took the time to delve into it. But time was of the essence so I thought, better get one that was ready made.
I have to give credit to Keith J. Cockburn (of the above website) for the info I gained on the importance of using the mains 'Filter' in this project. I have to say that I do not fully understand the full technicalities of this filter but from I understand, it filters out any irregular surge in the AC current therefore protecting the motor as a result. If this is not correct, I would love to hear from those who are more knowledged than me.
Below is a short footage of the very 1st test I did with the speed control unit (and a spare motor from a normal size washing machine I salvaged) after I kinda figured out how to connect each of these wires.
Testing a larger washing machine motor with the speed control box.
Step 12: Base Support and Stand
I decided to make a base for the machine to raise it to a level where I can work comfortably.
I had some spare wood so this is what I came up with.
Step 13: Top Cover and Feeder
In order to protect the motor and the belt from possible flying hot metal beads, it is necessary to built a barrier, a protection of some sort. So here is what I have done.
This process is still ongoing and more pictures and info will be updated soon.
Step 14: Organising and Securing the Cables/wires
Making sure that nothing is dangling about underneath the covering or get in the way of the running of the motor.
Step 15: Fixing the Wobble
When I did the first speed control test, I have noticed a bit of a wobble with the aluminium disks, specially the one on the top. This was due to unequal distance from the top of the drum pulley to the disks itself and we are talking about millimetre precision. After adjusting the height of the each of the disks from their contact/anchor point with the threaded rod, the problem was mostly fixed. However there was still an annoying rattling noise coming from the new construction. Upon close examination (see above pictures-'before'and 'after') the steel wire pulling in the threaded rods was the cause of it. So after securing those the problem was fixed.
Step 16: First Outdoors Test
Born out of sheer necessity. This is a 'small factor' washing machine converted to a centrifugal casting machine.
Took several months with lots of trials and error to reach to this stage. This video demonstrates the first successful operation in open air environment. There are few more steps remaining before it is put to full use