New guy with a new foundry

Home enthusiasts discuss their Foundry & Casting work.

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crazydrummerdude
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Location: St Charles, MO

New guy with a new foundry

Post by crazydrummerdude » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:29 am

Warning: I post a lot of pictures.. because I take a lot of pictures.

This first post will be an introduction. I'm a recent college graduate; aerospace engineer with minors in explosives engineering, mathematics and materials. As a materials student I took some casting classes. Because of my interest in casting, I got a job in the school foundry for my senior year, received some scholarships from the American Foundry Society, and started planning my own backyard foundry. When I told people at my school about my plans, they thought I was crazy. Maybe I am.

So, here are some pictures from my casting classes/work. If I posted pics of my aerospace/explosives work, this thread would never end.

Preheating a ladle for an iron pour:

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From furnace to ladle:

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Preparing a thermal analysis sample:

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My initial design of a riser/gating system for a scale brake piece in no-bake sand, styrofoam was burned out before pouring:

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A later design after the pour:

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The part with risers and gating knocked off:

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Effective feeding throughout:

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Often, we would have open foundry days where people could come in and carve some styrofoam to be cast in green-sand aluminum.

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Aluminum isn't as exciting as iron:

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One of the open foundry days, I quickly made a Hello Kitty for my friend who is obsessed with them:

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:lol:

..and a bunch of other stuff..

Anyways.. I found BudgetCastingSupply and occasionally ordered some materials to make my own furnace, some petrobond, a 10# crucible, etc. On craigslist, I found a handful more clay graphite and silicon carbide crucibles, then some hand tools. On ebay, I found some flasks, some aluminized clothes, and some lifting/pouring tongs. Then, a search of the near by craigslists revealed an ad for a furnace that was way too good to pass up. A 400-mile round-trip, and I has a Johnson 520K 250,000 BTU natural gas 20# (aluminum) crucible furnace.

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I had to rewire it, though. With too many motorcycles stealing my time and money over the past year, I finally got around to finishing the wiring. As of last night, I think it's fixed.

I would love to convert it over to waste oil, as I have several 55-gallon drums of the stuff, but I need to do some more research before then. So, natural gas it is.

Can't wait to get pouring..

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hammermill
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by hammermill » Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:50 pm

open foundry days what a neat idea.

good to see you got some personal protective gear.

Harold_V
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by Harold_V » Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:38 pm

Can you talk about the induction furnace that was used to melt iron? Make, size, nature of the power supply----solid state or motor/generator? Frequency? Capacity?

Thanks. You're going to be an invaluable member of this forum.

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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steamin10
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by steamin10 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:25 pm

The suit is the REAL DEAL for working in an iron and steel foundry.

I just use Fire resistant Greens, ( welding covers ) and face mask or hood. Always protect the noggin for those pops that can roll down your back.

That is a killer setup, (as in good) in that school. And the furnace you aquired, should be very good for aluminum, and bronzes, if a bit oversized. Big is good. Too small, is way off the mark, and virtually unusable for beyond capacity work. Good score. 8)
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

RONALD
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by RONALD » Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:35 pm

Here are the suits we use when we pour bronze or brass. I had to cut holes in the back of the head cover because you just could not breath properly without them. These coats are only frontal shields, we do not face our butts toward the hot metal.

For aluminum, we use less cumbersome attire.

The last one is a colored photo I copied out of a 1906 crucible catalog. If they could go back in time, OSHA would love to visit that foundry.
Attachments
Pouring bronze 1.jpg
Pouring bronze 2.jpg
1908 Foundry.jpg

Harold_V
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by Harold_V » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:02 am

RONALD wrote:The last one is a colored photo I copied out of a 1906 crucible catalog. If they could go back in time, OSHA would love to visit that foundry.
Heh!
One need not go that far back in time. The foundry I used to frequent looked much the same.

I can see the wisdom of the extensive safety gear. It's something I must explore. Don't have a clue where to start.

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

RONALD
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by RONALD » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:46 am

Harold, no Safety Glasses, not much clothing, poor shoes, poor lighting, not much ventilation, that may still be the scene in India or China for small operations, but any real foundry operation in most of the industrial world would soon be sued out of business today. Many hobby foundries may still look like that, until they splash molten metal on bare skin!

Also, just to the right of the smoke, in the background, there appears to be a young boy, probably fifteen or so, watching the pour; no child labor laws!

When I got to move the foundry out of the school in the 90's, and set it up in my backyard, one of the first things I did was go over to: http://www.chicagoprotective.com/catalog.html , in Skokie, IL. and buy some protective clothing. They have a catalog you can download.

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steamin10
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by steamin10 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:29 am

IMHO; if you stay with aluminum casting, lightweight gear is all that is necessary. Fire resistant cotton, even blue jeans or duck are fairly good for splash protection, work boots, with tops under pantlegs. Sparks and drops can get down in a shoe, and cause an Indian Hotfoot dance. Welding stuff and sheilds that protect the collar are next, so any blows cant run metal drops in. And of course at least welding gloves. A welding apron of leather is good for most home shops.

As said before I use welding greens. For the occasional pouring, it is fine. Keep in mind that the more you do, the more risk you may involve. A professional in the foundry uses a pound of cure for an ounce of threat. Your risk factor may vary, but a tank top, shorts and flip flopps, aint gonna make it. Be real with your choices.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

hammermill
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:43 pm
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by hammermill » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:04 pm

good protective gear is not hard to come by for the home hobbiest
with a little shopping on ebay i mannaged to outfit three folks with good gear that is less expensive that a single trip to a emergency room, lots of time even foundry boots with hi temp soles can be had for 30 bucks.new as overstocks.

Harold_V
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by Harold_V » Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:39 pm

Thanks for the leads.

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

crazydrummerdude
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by crazydrummerdude » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:28 pm

haha! Leave it to me to start a gear thread.

People harass me all the time for wearing protective gear when I ride motorcycles.. but like what's been said, all the gear is cheaper than one trip to the emergency room. Here I am with my first old BMW:

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crazydrummerdude
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Re: New guy with a new foundry

Post by crazydrummerdude » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:37 pm

Harold_V wrote:Can you talk about the induction furnace that was used to melt iron? Make, size, nature of the power supply----solid state or motor/generator? Frequency? Capacity?
I have little more information on those furnaces. I just worked with them, I never worked on them.

But, speaking of safety glasses, I am a jack-of-all-trades and have been recently heat-treating some 416 steel at 1850F. My coworkers don't believe in safety gear. I supplied the aluminized gloves. I think I'll bring some of my glass-blowing gear.

Speaking of that, hot ovens are addictive. Here is some other stuff I've made:

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..etc..

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