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Thread: New guy in WI

  1. #51
    Today's attempt was better than ever before:

    The downside is my plaster foundry died a hard death today. Thats like, 4 times firing it up. I think i'm going to try remaking it with castable refractory instead of plaster and sand, and just use it for aluminum until i get the bigger better one built. I think i have everything planned out for the next one, just gonna spend some time gathering materials and getting ready to make it.

    I did notice that the stuff appears to cool on the outside, solidify, and shrink, squeezing the liquid copper inside and causing it to squirt out the top. It was quite odd to watch. Another ingot i made got dumped into water much quicker and it formed a few cracks in the middle because i assume it couldn't relieve pressure while cooling. Still, every attempt to get copper was better than the last. I'm calling that a win.

  2. #52
    Don't know if anybody is interested in seeing, but i lined my destroyed plaster foundry with cheap castable refractory.

    its cheap stuff from the home improvement store, but i think it gave me some valuable experience. in other words, i made a mess of the whole thing and im glad i didnt ruin good cement doing it. the stuff i got is rated for 2400f and i think im only going to use this for aluminum and cooler melting metals. When i get the Gingery style one built, i think im going to try to make it tough enough for copper alloys. im not sure it will exactly be like the gingery one, but i plan on using his instructions for the most part. using the big vent pipe suggestion opens up some design freedom that i might exploit , also by the time i get around to building it i should have 240v power in my garage for my welder, so i might try to integrate a wheeled cart. i have some time to figure all that out, though i recently got some cast aluminum that needs turning into ingots.

    i also got some scrap sheet and heatsinks. id like to try the suggestion that adding a little copper to pure Al might improve it. Also now that i got some zinc, would a little of that help the castability of non-silicon containing aluminum? I was planning on keeping the zinc for some of the Gingery lathe parts that he suggests should be tougher alloys, but more is always available.

  3. #53
    I saw that video the other day when you posted it, Im interested in seeing how that stuff holds up. I know it says 2400 degrees, but as with most stuff in hardware stores when it says high temp, it's usually 2400 degrees for a few seconds, but usually 1500 or it starts to break down or melt. I subscribed to your channel a while back when you first joined because I had gotten a good laugh from the first foundry video you posted, the voice over was priceless, lol. I never went with the gingery design when I had gotten started but just designed it off of various other people's designs that I found in pictures, which was long before I had ever even heard of this site or dave gingery. As youve discovered, you dont need to go by one specific design, but going off of a proven working design does help. Also, congrats on getting a full ingot of copper, it looks like you had quite a bit of gas bubbles in it tho, but is still major progress. I never could melt copper using charcoal, or much above aluminum's temps. I did get yellow brass once, but it froze in the crucible and caused all kinds of headache.

    I tried adding copper to pure aluminum, and it did make a nice machinable alloy, but didnt cast as well as the silicon based stuff. For more pure aluminum, I usually just keep ahold of it and use it to make aluminum bronze, or save it until I can get some engine pistons to mix 1:1 with it, and it'll make some really nice castable alloy. Engine pistons usually have around 12% silicon content, and A356, the most common castable alloy usually has around 5-6% silicon, so you can do it that way.

    I wouldnt add zinc to aluminum, I tried it before and just ended up with an alloy that just gave me all kinds of trouble. If you want a really strong zinc alloy for parts/projects, I would look up zamak, Ive used ZA27 and it's extremely strong stuff, yet as easy as aluminum to melt and cast. From what I remember, it's close to the strength of cast iron.

    Too bad you didnt live closer, during the summer, we usually have casting parties here and I have a box or two with all of the gingery patterns and everything that you could use.

  4. #54
    glad you enjoyed! Its fun making those videos. The cement will get tested in a couple weeks. i dont plan on doing real high temp stuff. it cant be worse than plaster! ill find out, though.

    the copper ingot worked only with maximum amounts of lump charcoal and the right amount of air. i assume a better refractory material would make the job MUCH easier, as very broken plaster cant be a very good insulator. that lump charcoal gives off some serious heat. i imagine if i didnt have a crucible too big for the foundry, it would also be easier to melt copper with charcoal.

    i think temperatures were too low for pouring in my case. i got it melted but not very fluid, and the surface of the ingot solidified instantly upon pouring, unlike the aluminum ingots that went so smoothly and stayed liquid in the pan for long enough to get a shot of it with a video camera. i dont have good data of temps having no thermocouple and i certainly dont have experience controlling the temps, so its hard to say what exactly i was doing.

    i looked up zamak, looks like very affordable stuff. the parts that need to be stronger in the lathe project require a bit of work by hand after casting, so i dont know how tough i really want it! i did think how awesome the lathe would look in bronze, but i think aluminum is required with all the hand filing and stuff!

    I definitely want to try aluminum bronze, i think judging by how much pure aluminum i have, i could make a few pounds of the stuff once i get the new furnace built since i have plenty of copper to mess with. Also, now that you mention pistons, i know a guy who works at an engine rebuilding shop. i wonder if they ever junk any aluminum pistons...

    A casting party sounds like a good time! i have a friend here with an art degree, maybe i could convince him to put down the paint for a minute and try some bronzes...

  5. #55
    Haha enjoying your channel, you are making lots of progress. Best of luck with the jeep i rebuilt a cj2a before (no body work though) and it was a lot of fun. I remember the one i worked on being a little bigger than your model for some reason... haha Keep the videos coming!

  6. #56
    I was planning on building my gingery lathe out of zamak rather than aluminum, even if it was a little harder to machine because of the vibration dampening properties. Zamak is very close to cast iron in that aspect where as aluminum and bronze will ring like crazy and carry the vibrations through the whole lathe to the tool bit and creating massive amounts of chatter. I never actually got enough zinc to make that much zamak so just ended up beefing up the castings from 1/4 to 3/8" thick for the bed, and making it so it has reinforcing ribs throughout everything so that it cant twist at all.

    In my experiments with various copper based alloys, they dont seem to pour like aluminum at all, it seems to pour more like a heavy version of maple syrup, but hot. I havnt done that much brass and bronze, but Ive found bronze to actually be easier to melt and pour vs brass. If you mix the pistons in 1:1 with the extruded stuff, you wont really see much of a difference in the feel when casting, but if you pour stuff that has thin parts on it like cooling fins and such, the extruded stuff will have a nightmare of a time filling out the fins where as the new alloy will flow into everything much easier and you'll end up with slightly less shrinkage.

    Here's a link for you on pouring temps, I would also look up color charts for blacksmithing colors also, it'll get you within a general range for temps

  7. #57
    Thanks FrostOak! I'll definitely keep them coming. I might be a bit delayed in progress for the coming weeks but ill be back to working on that soon.

    cae2100, Zamak is pretty cheap from what I can see, but i would be a bit hesitant to want to hand file something that hard! I had an idea to make the lathe as recommended, but once i had the ability to machine stronger materials i would remake some of it in stronger materials. can you imagine how cool a brass lathe would look?!

    From what i read, copper pours kinda crummy, but mine solidified so quickly i doubt i had it up to pouring temp. i had it more like barely melting temp and that was as hot as i got, so i poured then. When i melted that ingot up there it was still with the plaster lining in the foundry, probably no insulation left at that point as it was mostly crumbled away.

  8. #58
    Subbed for ya bud.
    Visit me:
    "Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war"
    -- Donald Trump --

  9. #59
    Thanks! just FYI it's gonna be a while between videos. i'm not really trying to build a popular channel, just make videos when i do stuff in my garage for fun.

    I do have some questions, I just got to know a guy at a christmas party who used to do some home foundry stuff when he was in school. He thinks getting back into it would be lots of fun. Turns out he works at a shop that rebuilds engines, and could potentially grab lots of cast aluminum engine parts from the scrap pile. I've read on here that pistons have a higher silicon content than things like cylinder heads, would those be preferable? Is the silicon to make the pistons expand less under the heat of the engine or something? wear resistance?

  10. #60
    You guys see pauls latest video? Poor bastard was wearing 4 layers of clothing! Someone PLEASE send him a propane burner and get this man some heat. He was out in the driveway with a frozen mountain dew heating his charcoal furnace.

    Keep plugging away at it Paul. This is not a fast return hobby by any means. Patience, balls and a little brain power will see you through it. What kind of welder did you pick up. Saw a bottle of argon. You a tig guy?
    Visit me:
    "Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war"
    -- Donald Trump --

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