Casting Metals

Discussion in 'Norm's 2 stroke repair center' started by Norman, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. Norman

    Norman LORD VADER Moderator

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    Any of you guys casting your own parts? What is your green sand mix? What type of furnace you using? what you using for fuel?
    How successful have you been?
    I did some casting with my Dad when I was a kid and also in high school. Back in the day it was common to make your own parts by casting. I wish I'd kept all of my Dad's and Granddad's sand casting tools now.
    Now I'll have to build a furnace probably charcoal fired and forced air feed.
    make a batch of green sand
    crucible to hold the metal in for melting and lifting tools for pouring the metal
    and a flask,sand ramming tools, sand box, sifters, the list goes on and on.
    If you've ever poured metal its a hoot to do.
     
  2. aspireonescs

    aspireonescs New Member

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    been planning on doing this myself, i was thinking about a propane furnace. youtube has alot of sand casting videos, have to read/watch up it before i go and take the plunge :)
     
  3. Norman

    Norman LORD VADER Moderator

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    Here's the latest on the sand casting project.
    I've made the sand mixture of silica sand and bentonite clay. Mixed 10 lbs. of sand to 1 lb. of clay. The clay was powered , sand sifted to remove and trash etc.
    I made the cope and drag for ramming up patterns in out of some scrap lumber. The flask measures about 8" by 10". Also 2 backing boards.
    I then build 2 steel crucibles out of steel tubing about 4" in dia by 6" tall. Made the lifting tongs
    dross skinner and assorted tools. Made a ingot tray out of angle iron to pour aluminum into.
    I broke up about 6 briggs engines that were for the go kart. I went on an aluminum hunt and ended up with a 5 gal. bucket full.
    I then proceeded to make a crude furnace out of bricks I used 3 bags of charcoal to melt about 15 lbs of aluminum into ingots. I'm now going to build me a real furnace and try used oil to fire it
    The charcoal was dirty, nasty work I now have less hair on my arms, I wore myself out melting the aluminum. I had fun.
    I ordered the Gingery books to make a lathe, metal shaper, and a mill they should be here today or Fri.
    I jumped into to project with both feet and will be soon casting something. I did do a quick and dirty casting of a aluminum rod by stabbing a length of tubing into the bucket of sand, pulled it out and filled it with melted aluminum.
    Last night a rammed up 2 heads for the china engine in the sand just to see if I could make a mold of the heads they came out good enough I could of poured them if I'd had the metal melted. So there is a way to make a modified head if a guy want to. Or any other part of these engines that is aluminum.
     
  4. Ilikeabikea

    Ilikeabikea Moderator

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    I got to get over and look at your setup. You always amaze me Norm.............:D
     
  5. ZRTMWA

    ZRTMWA New Member

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    Seems like it would be good for molding your own sprockets although I know absolutely zilch about sand casting
     
  6. Norman

    Norman LORD VADER Moderator

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    just get the Dave Gingery books 1 to 7 the books will get you going. Or look on the net there is tons of stuff from making your own green sand to making the furnace to melt aluminum.
    The Gingery books will tell you how to make a charcoal furnace to melt aluminum. Then you learn how to take that knowledge to make your own metal lathe,metal mill, metal shaper, drill press,dividing head to machine gears if you have more time than money these books are good.
    You will with a lot of work will end up with a machine shop filled with machines you built yourself
    if you can drill a hole, use a metal file, hack saw. All of these machines are made with hand tools

    Lot of the ways these machines are made is a lost art but its been done by many if you don't have the money and want these tools then make them. heck I broke a part on my metal lathe a while back its a sears brand atlas lathe the cost to replace the broken part was over $100.00. If I'd made the darn lathe in the first place then I'd be able to just make another part to replace the broken part from melted aluminum the cost would be only in my time and the price of the fuel to melt the metal. I hope to get Ilikeabikea interested I need to make a waste oil fired furnace
    then the cost will be very low.
    I'm working on making the furnace out of a big popcorn can. I'll make the lining for it out of refractory cement. build the furnace stand out of rebar or conduit.
    Did you know you can melt aluminum in a simple coffee can or any tin can!?The answer is yes.
    Aluminum scrap metal is every where so your supply of metal is limitless.
    Well what you waiting for guys make your own tools and you can make your own china engine.
    Just the way you want it.
    I did build my own airplane from plans, it been going for over 30 years now. So I think I should be able to make these tools.
     
    #6 Norman, Mar 26, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  7. TerrontheSnake

    TerrontheSnake New Member

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    LoL, it is so awesome that you have brought this up Norm! I am making a gingery foundry also as well as a tunnel furnace. I am using the bottom half of a large oil barrel, refractory cement and will also be building a pour stand for my foundry. I want to do an aluminum block with cast iron sleeve top end for the china motor. Its funny how I've been gone for so long but as I come back everyone is trying the same stuff I am...great minds really do think alike!
     
  8. sudjim

    sudjim New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I have been mixing (mulling) my own green sand from regular sand from Lowes, used for mixing with cement. I was taking KITTY LITTER and grinding it down to a powder with a coffee grinder. 8 to 1 as far as a ratio to the sand (By volume, not weight) It is cheap but works poorly. I suggest going out and get some petrobond. It is oil based, not water based and holds up much better. You will get no fallout, and the detail is well worth the price.

    I use a graphite clay crucible (#6 works best) The size works best for the furnaces I have built. I either use the large popcorn tins and a clay flower pot as a liner. Lowes or Home Depot sell a small steel can that worksw very well for the purpose. My last furnace lasted over a year of regular melts.

    POBOYS is a seller on ebay that sometins sells blacksmith tools. He fashioned me a set of crucible tongs that was about 27" long that I still use. Was about $40, I think.

    I keep my aluminum segregated. When I get a part like a piston or engine body, I melt that separate from extruded aluminum, like cans. Cans make shiny molds , pistons make strong, dull molds.

    I use charcoal, but will move up to propane. I guess I'm waiting for motivation. I bought a small squirrel cage blower to power my furnace. Works well for what I do.

    As for casting my own parts, I have only done some decorative stuff so far, since I do not have access to good machinery now. I have the Gingery books on PDF format, and if I had the time and enough money to quit my job, I'd tinker, build, and fabricate all day long.

    If you want to be successful as a newbie, I suggest good sand, a good supply of quality aluminum, and lots of time to fire up the furnace. It is one of the most rewarding feelings, peeling back the slag on the top of the crucible and seeing pure silver liquid ready to pour.

    Jim
     
  9. sudjim

    sudjim New Member

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    Oh yeah, cast iron buscuit try is my ingot mold. And pour aluminum down an ant hole, you get nice sculptures.

    Can't wait to make a custom clutch cover ( and a helmet form fitted to my head )
    Jim
     
  10. TerrontheSnake

    TerrontheSnake New Member

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    LoL, metal in ant holes, thats great I just watched this documentary where they poured 10 tons of cement into a large anthill in africa. It is freakishly beautiful, and almost scary how smart ants can actually be.
     
  11. sudjim

    sudjim New Member

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    Here's a couple shots of my first furnace and then my second one.
    Notice the first used a hair dryer and i gutted the heating element and ran it off a 12v battery charger at 2 amps. Let me know if I can answer any questions on building or melting. I am by NO MEANS an expert, but I have been messing around for about 8 years or so doing this.
    Jim
     

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  12. Norman

    Norman LORD VADER Moderator

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    Looks like you guys like to do some of the same things I like!
    Hey today I started on making the furnace. I'm using a large popcorn can. I bought some refracroty cement,perlite,portland cement,fire bricks,and more playsand.
    I've lined the bottom of the can with a mix of refactory cement mixed with perlite, sifted play sand,portlandcenemt. The mix is with very little water,I rammed it in place about 2" deep, made a 1 1/8" drain hole in the middle. Next will be the fire brick for the walls.
    The bricks are easy to cut with a hack saw so I should get a nice tight fitting wall. I have some srainless steel sheet metal I might line the furnace with to protect the brick I want to use waste oil for fuel. I'm afraid the extreme heat will eat the bricks so the thin stainless steel sheet might help protect the brick at least where the main part of the flame jet will hit it.
    I made the top of the furnace with a mix like in the bottom and about 3" thick with a 4" hole in the center. I ran coat hanger wire through the lid for poorboy rebar.
    Welded on some home made handles on both the lid and the main body.
    I'll have to take some photos if I can stop long enough, just been to busy.
    I want to be able to raise the lid with a foot lever and be able to swing it out of the way so I'll start working on that soon. For me its been fun so far.
    When I was a kid my Dad made a complete electric motor reminding machine by casting the parts in aluminum in our basement we had a stoker coal furnace for heating the house . Dad also used the house's furnace for melting the aluminum. I was his helper I made all of the sand cores for his molds. I was around 12 years old I got a good education on sand casting from my Dad. I learned about every cuss word in the book and some ones that weren't in the book from Dad when a pour went south or a mold dropped out. I also was the muller for the sand did it all by hand.
    My Mom sold our house about 10 years ago all of the casting stuff was still there in the basement, it went with the house I wish I'd taken it when she offered me all that casting stuff. If I would have the only thing I would need is a furnace. I didn't ever plan to casting anything again.
     
    #12 Norman, Mar 26, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  13. ZRTMWA

    ZRTMWA New Member

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    That was too sick!!!

    YouTube - Worlds Biggest Ant Hill AMAZING
     
  14. Ilikeabikea

    Ilikeabikea Moderator

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    Here's Norms furnace.

    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  15. Fabian

    Fabian New Member

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    Hi Norm

    Great to see this threads progression.

    What are the chances of casting a newly designed cylinder, but copied of the original HT style cylinder porting configuration and making it a "big bore" at 60mm.
    You could then use a Husqvarna 3120 piston for an engine capacity of close to 115cc.

    Fabian
     
  16. Norman

    Norman LORD VADER Moderator

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    It could be done the mold would take a bunch of time to figure out and make.
    I don't think I'd want to try it.
     
  17. sudjim

    sudjim New Member

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    I agree. You would have to make the cyllinder, and make a core where the hole is and all the passages. I have never done a casting with a core. I wonder how they cast it at the factory. If we could get our hands on their mold with cores, I bet they could be cleaned up. I may tear down a cylinder to see what is steel, and how it is pressed or attached to the aluminum.
     
  18. Norman

    Norman LORD VADER Moderator

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    I test ran the furnace today. I burned 2 gallons of oil made a mess, burned a hole in the drive way, burned the wheels of the furnace cart.
    Part of the lids insulation came off. When the thing did run it sounded like a jet. Got hotter than
    4ell then as it was going good I put in a little more oil in the fuel tank, didn't know the oil had water in it to make a long story short the fire went out. I cleaned up the mess patched the hole in the concrete repaired the furnace. Now I'll let it set until next week. I plugged the drain hole in the furnace bottom. The hole has there in case the melting pot leaked, instead it would leak oil and set the small wheels on fire,I planned to make some steel wheel now I have to.
    I'll need to get some more waste oil and try it again.
    It will melt aluminum fast if I didn't have the drain letting oil out the bottom setting the world on fire and blowing a hole in the driveway.
    Did I say fire is cool? When its burning right there is no smoke. Just some noise and lots of heat
    this would have been a good winter project.
    It reminded me of working on the oil rig when the well blew out and caught fire,except here there was no screaming or cussing.
    More to come.
     
  19. Norman

    Norman LORD VADER Moderator

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    I've been making patterns for the Dave Gingery metal shaper. Been pretty busy up making them.
    I've got the ram part made today. I made the frame parts yesterday. Lot of wood patterns to make then cast.
    I could even start casting and have the main frame done if I can get the castings to turn out good
    that will be the tough part. I'll have to post some photos of what I've been up to.
    Ilikeabikea took some photos of me ramming up a cylinder head but he hasn't put them on here so maybe he will sooner or later, I did the head pattern just for fun and practice and to show Bob how its done.
    Norman
     
  20. Scotchmo

    Scotchmo New Member

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    Wood patterns are good for limited production. If you just need one item out of aluminum, you can make an expendable pattern out of Styrofoam. No need for cores, draft or cope and drag. I built a gearbox in college (30 years ago) and made the case in the school foundry. The pattern was made of Styrofoam glued together with white glue. Fill it with sand and bury it. Use a Styrofoam sprue and riser or some thin wall metal tubes poked into the Styrofoam that you can pull out before you pour. The molten aluminum vaporizes the Styrofoam and leaves the metal copy in it’s place. Allow about 3% in the pattern for shrinkage. Do in a well ventilated area as the Styrofoam vapor is bad.

    The lost foam process was not that common back then but is now widely used to make complex engine blocks and other components.

    On a side note. I recently located the remains of that gearbox and the mini-baja car that it was used on. It was missing a lot and overgrown with weeds in the backyard of someone living about 20 miles from me. My brother actually found it after a conversation with a co-worker. It was my senior project in college. I am going to attempt to resurrect it. I dug out some old pictures.

    The first picture is of the completed gearbox and the other two are from the competition. It was sponsored by the SAE and held at Cal Poly Pomona that year. We were from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. These collegiate mini-Baja competitions are still held today throughout the world.
     

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