Retired auto and machine shop instructor of 31 years. Have a BS degree as well a masters degree in vocational education. I was also a drivers education instructor taught after school and on weekends for 15 years. Still hold my state master mechanics certification in heavy equipment repair as well as my master mechanic certificate in Automotive repair. Served 22 years on our local fire department before retiring in 2007.
Reason for casting:
Started out as just something to do off and on in the evenings with something I loved to do and later after retiring from teaching I began to turn it into a business on a daily routine along with the required machining of the castings what then turned into an income better then I had gotten teaching.
How long have you been casting:
Going on 26 years. I had starting casting several years before retiring and was just doing it as a hobby on weekends and evenings, after retiring it became a small one man business in casting and machining and now includes electroplating.
Metals used in casting:
About 75% I cast with is aluminum and the remainder in brass.
Favorite way of keeping up with what going on here:
Just click on the site a couple times a week to see if any new things have come up. Also belong to these foundry associations.
The best thing you have cast.
Maybe not the best piece but one of the more involved ones I have done. Over the years I have reproduced thousand of castings along with the machining required to complete the item. This took me to an areas I have never been to which can be the best part of learning. Not that this hasn't been written about just for me it was new.
I only cast 14 of these legs with two having flaws from core shifts. A fire museum supplied me with original pattern and then purchased the first 6 and with the understanding of my making a master pattern for use in the future to cast more if it were to develop. I later sold 4 more to other fire museums and 2 to an equine stable.
Their early use was as a K barrier at the door exit in a fire station to keep a horse drawn wagon's wheel hub from hitting the door jamb if the wagon got too far over leaving the station. By having the wheel slid back over by the angle of the leg. Today it would just be two steel poles on each side of the door opening.
POP casting of the original pattern. I then remove 1/4"to 3/8" of plaster from the outside to make my master core pattern.
Once completed I used it to make my core box also made with POP.
Core made up with steel rod for support in the mold.
One of the two flawed castings. They can be TIG welded to save them.
As a final note I started out like many of you as just something to do as a hobby but as time went on I saw it as a real potential of being able to make it into a very profitable business. Many of you may be in the same boat to do the same having shown your skills since vocational skills in this country have been deemed unnecessary and now very few people are available to do these hands on skills that were at one time very common. Now due to many of today's educational systems vocational education has been removed from the high school programs. Back at the time I graduated I left my high school with the ability to operate almost all the wood shop pieces of equipment as well as in the metal shop being to operate an O/A welding/cutting torch, an AC/DC welder as well as several other machining skills offered in my high school. I am somewhat lucky that I have the opportunity to advance into some of the areas early on that made it much easier for me to get into casting and the machining as a profitable business after retiring from teaching. For several years now I have been fortunate enough to gross over a six figure income in this one man operation that I have established at my home. Bob