Cylinder castings

Home enthusiasts discuss their Foundry & Casting work.

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hoppercar
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Cylinder castings

Post by hoppercar » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:34 pm

Building a live steam locomotive, it's nearly impossible to get a commercial foundry to pour a one off iron casting, from a loose pattern that's molded up by hand with coreboxes. Is there anyone on this chaski site, that takes on pouring iron jobs in there own home foundry ?

DavidF
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by DavidF » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:11 pm

You may wish to post your request on http://forums.thehomefoundry.org/index.php
Under request casting service. There is a couple on the forum that do quite a bit in iron..

RONALD
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by RONALD » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:42 am

Iron is something I tried many years ago, and found it was too difficult, plus the alloy could not be controlled.

Harold, with his Induction Furnace is about the only amateur who could do it correctly.

Here is a comment I made awhile back: http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/vie ... 14&t=98413

DavidF
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by DavidF » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:55 am

RONALD wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:42 am
Iron is something I tried many years ago, and found it was too difficult, plus the alloy could not be controlled.

Harold, with his Induction Furnace is about the only amateur who could do it correctly.

Here is a comment I made awhile back: http://www.chaski.org/homemachinist/vie ... 14&t=98413
So Harold is up and actively casting iron??

RONALD
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by RONALD » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:25 am

No, he is still in the process of lighting off the machine as far as I know.

It's too bad we live several thousand miles from Harold, (Onalaska, WA USA), you and I, I would imagine, would be eager to give him a hand.
Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 11.21.41 AM.png

Harold_V
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by Harold_V » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:48 pm

The process of activating the induction furnace is ongoing. There's still a lot to do. I recently got the base installed for the two furnaces I'll use, one with a 100 pound capacity, the other with less, say about 70 pounds (depends on how I line the furnace). Both furnaces have now been set, but I still have to make leads for them, and the cooling system has yet to be built. All of this demands a huge amount of my time, to say nothing of the cost, but I'm moving as fast as I possibly can. I spend my time, daily, on this project. Wish you were nearer, Ron. I count you a valued and trusted friend and would welcome your knowledge and assistance.

For the uninformed, cast iron can be easy to melt, but not so easy to control. Induction melting offers the opportunity to melt quickly, without alteration to the chemical balance of the charge. That's key to success with cast (or ductile) iron. In days of old, a cupola or arc furnace were the heating choices, although induction melting has slowly replaced both of them in industry. A cupola is a filthy melting system, requiring a bag house to control contaminants that would otherwise enter the atmosphere. Induction melting yields virtually no contamination. That pretty much eliminates a cupola from use, especially in commercial applications. There are still some in operation, however.

Some individuals have attempted to cast iron and have achieved success, but the results are not easy to duplicate, in particular when a fuel fired furnace is used. In order to cast these alloys reliably is not easy with such furnaces.

My aim is to be able to cast ductile iron with success. I may or may not accept outside work, all depends on the nature of my future plans. I originally started this venture with the idea in mind of building a UP Northern, making my own finely detailed castings. That was many years ago, and I didn't understand that the building process was going to consume so many years of my life. I am still keenly interested in seeing the induction furnace operate, however, and will continue the course until it is completed, or I am no longer able. Time is marching on for this old guy (79 years old now).

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

DavidF
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by DavidF » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:30 pm

Well, all I can say is that there is a few of us who manage to pour cast iron repeatedly with our home foundry set ups. Might not be the best or easiest way, but we manage...
I'm actually looking into building a cupola this summer. I just have to verify that the local supplier does in fact sell coke.
I figure that's going to be the most feasible way to make larger iron castings before who knows what....

Harold_V
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by Harold_V » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:33 am

For those who might find an interest, here's a few pictures of the project.
The furnaces needed to be mounted on an elevated base, if for no other reason, to get the coils away from the rebar in the floor. It would be subject to heating if too close to the field created by the coil. To that end, I designed a base that started with 8" concrete blocks, which became the forms for the grouted solid base. With the 1¼" thick asbestos top, the mounting elevated the furnaces to an adequate height. To prevent continuity, the rebar I used (#4, or ½") is made of fiberglass. I wanted to eliminate the possibility of the form moving should it crack.
DSC00137.JPG
I preinstalled the anchor bolts in the top pieces, which were placed after the grout filled the cells. That assured the legs would fit where they had to be. It turned out quite nicely.
DSC00138.JPG
Once the grout had cured adequately, I installed the furnaces.
DSC00142.JPG
DSC00143.JPG
DSC00144.JPG
The first picture in the above set of (3) shows the hydraulic pump that will power the tilt mechanism for the furnace near the pump. I chose that location to mount the pump for several reasons, although it made it real easy to wire, as all I had to do was install a fuse block and pick up power from the input of the motor/generator contactor. The location of the motor starter and position switch (a momentary contact switch) is ideal for emptying the furnace, and it used space that was, otherwise, wasted.

The other furnace did not come with hydraulic tilt, but I may be able to use my jib crane to lift the furnace. If not, I'll design and build a tilt mechanism that will perform the task.

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

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liveaboard
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by liveaboard » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:45 am

When I lived in India, I used to have all sorts of things made by a tiny local machinist [from whom I learned a great deal].
He would have 1-off sand castings made by another local shop when needed; iron, brass, and aluminum.
It was cheap enough, but the quality was pretty bad, especially the iron. full of blow holes.
I don't think they had anything like Harold's setup... but I never saw their foundry.

Meanwhile back in the US, my stepmother was pouring bronze [lost wax method] in the garage next to the house.
Her first castings were poor, but after some experience was gained, they came out pretty good.
She told me that dipping the pyrometer into the metal took too long [cooling is very fast], and the probe itself absorbed too much heat from her small pour [five pounds or so]. When she learned to judge the correct heat by eye, things started going better.

Anyway, to the OP; I assume you're in the US. You might be able to find a foundry in Mexico that would be financially viable.
Just a thought.

rrnut-2
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by rrnut-2 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:14 am

Wow Harold, that doesn't look like the same furnace that Liz and I brought out to you! Nice job. Did you use non-conductive hydraulic hoses
on the cylinders between the fittings on the cylinder connecting to the rest of the hydraulic system? Only needs to be 6-10" but it breaks the
circle.

You wouldn't have had a problem with the rebar if the bar was not wired together. Our foundry floors had rebar, but the bar had fiberglass
spacers glued between the bars so there was no electrical contact. Remember, if you have complete circle, you have an electrical path for
the induction to start heating things up.

Jim B

DavidF
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by DavidF » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:13 am

Beautiful set up harold...

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NP317
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Re: Cylinder castings

Post by NP317 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:17 am

Impressive, Harold.
It looks like either furnace will pour into the space between them, which will be a sand bed?
Compact design, nicely made.
Will there be a lift to get heavy flasks/molds into and out of the pour space?
I'm trying to visualize your functional setup.
~RussN

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