I recently visited a small one man foundry in western PA. The man who had run the foundry had passed away 20 years ago. I was contacted by his widow inquiring if I would be interested in any of the foundry equipment/supplies. No one had been in the foundry since he stopped casting years before. It was like stepping back in time. He had made almost all of the foundry equipment himself. He was set up for cast iron, brass, bronze and aluminum. I took some photos of some of the equipment he had in the shop. He had a small blast furnace set up for cast iron. There were several lift out crucible furnaces that could handle anything from #30 crucibles up to #225. He also had a large furnace set up with a cast iron pot for dipping aluminum and bronze out with ladles for smaller castings. Everything was designed to be operated with the help of overhead hoists and a homemade crane system so that you wouldn't have to lift anything by hand. It was really creative and ingenious how the shop was set up to be operated by one person.
This was the hoist used to maneuver the ladles under the tap hole of the blast furnace and then over to the pouring area
The blast furnace used for the cast iron
Two lift out furnaces. Also the large cabinet in the front is a drying oven that the guy used for coremaking and keeping the crucibles dry. The cool part was that he had this piped in such a way that the heat generated from the furnaces was used to heat the oven. He had a homemade system that allowed him to monitor the temp to what he wanted. Pretty cool, and cost saving too.
This was the dip out furnace set up. The second photo is the burner and blower. It is set down into a pit so it is hard to see. All of these furnaces, with the exception of the blast furnace. were set up to run on waste oil, or veg oil, or kerosene, or diesel. He had separate tanks behind the shop. He would collect it over the course of the year and just modify the adjustments to the burner to burn whatever he had on hand at the time.
There were literally hundreds of wooden matchplates and patterns that the guy had made himself.
Homemade rotary tumbler, and homemade sandblasting cabinet