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[DPRG] Making Metal

Subject: [DPRG] Making Metal
From: Jim Brown james_121 at yahoo.com
Date: Wed Oct 18 06:54:21 CDT 2000

wow awesome!!!

I bought a bunch of 5-1/4 inch disk drives for about 50
cents each from the first saturday sale a while back just
so I could get the aluminum.  I never thought before to
make my own foundry!  Wow that sounds cool (or hot?)!!!
I can't wait to see your ingot!  Will you be at the
RPL this week?

Anyway, I had a good week too.  I found my old laptop
that has the old Trilobot software and even the
robot arm software.  I think Barry will be glad to
know.  Perhaps next year the robotic arm can be run
again at the pepsi-kid-around.

--- Eric Yundt <eric at facetcorp.com> wrote:
> As I type this, my first ever (Aluminum) ingot is cooling
> down!
> For a long time I've heard how easy it is for a hobbiest
> to build
> a little backyard foundry and cast parts.  This afternoon
> while
> taking a little "honey-do, stay-at-home" vacation time I
> thought
> I'd give it a try...
> I scrounged up a 3-lb (actually 39 oz) coffee can, a 16
> oz dog-food
> can, a couple of coat-hangers and a few bricks.  Then
> went shopping
> to get some "official" welder's gloves (leather gloves
> with an 9" or
> so cuff) and a bag of charcoal.  At the last minute I
> thought to get
> some sand for making a mold and reward myself with a
> long-handled
> pair of channel-lock pliers.  All I could find at Home
> Depot was
> some for-playground/concrete sand which has lots of
> little pebbles
> in it, but I managed to shake out most of them.
> I poked a bunch of holes in the bottom of the big can for
> air-flow
> and a couple of holes in the lip of the little can for a
> coat-hanger
> bail/handle.  The bricks were arranged on a piece of
> sheet metal in
> my backyard in a U-shape.  I made the "U" just big enough
> for the
> large can to rest by its edges and completely cover the
> area inside
> the "U" leaving only an air flute opening at the top of
> the "U".
> Then to make a mold I filled the bottom of a flower pot
> saucer with
> my so-so sand and poked a few pits in the sand about 1"
> deep and 1.5"
> in diameter.
> After "mining" 20 or so Mountain Dew cans from a nearby
> trash can
> I figured I was about ready to crank up YaTu Metalworks
> No.1.
> I halfway filled the large can with charcoal, stuck my
> little can
> inside it, soaked it all with starter fluid and then
> sparked it up.
> While the charcoal was heating up, I stomped down all my
> cans and
> rustled up a couple of old hair dryers to create the
> blast for my
> little blast furnace.  To super heat the charcoal I put
> my best hair
> dryer down in front of the brick "U", but after only 5
> minutes or so
> its thermal shutdown kept turning it off.  Not to be
> stymied at this
> point, I grabbed a vacuum cleaner and with a hose stuffed
> in its
> exhaust port soon had a much better "blast!"
> The vacuum cleaner exhaust soon had my furnace glowing
> and with my
> fancy gloves and shiny pliers I started putting crushed
> cans into my
> dog food can crucible.  After 15 minutes or so my 1st 4
> cans started
> shrinking down and then every few minutes or so I fed a
> couple more
> soda cans into the crucible.  I lost count, but I think I
> eventually
> added about 15 crushed cans into my little crucible
> before I gave it
> one last stir and removed it from the fierce flame.
> As I started to pour into my mold, I finally understood
> what "dross"
> was all about.  Probably 3/4 by volume of what I got out
> of my 
> crucible appeared to be junk floating on top of a little
> pool of
> shiny liquid aluminum.  I mostly scooped it off to the
> side and
> dumped the rest of it into one of my sand pits.  I didn't
> get near
> as much pourable stuff out of it as I expected and then I
> noticed
> that the bottom of my poor dog food can had partially
> burned through.
> None-the-less, I got my first ingot -- a lovely 1/2"
> deep, 1 1/2" by
> 4" blob!  Plus, many ideas about how to do it better next
> time...
> ;-)
> --
> Eric
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Jim Brown      james_121 at yahoo.com

jimgbrown at home.com http://members.home.net/jimgbrown
jim_brown at adc.com jbrown at dprg.org  http://www.dprg.org

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