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Thread: Baby steps...

  1. #1

    Baby steps...

    https://youtu.be/LJwoJPe94Dk

    To start off:

    Yes, we're replacing our tong-system for a crucible with hooks and poles 'n such, our welding guy just hasn't gotten around to it yet. Until then, we're taking all possible "not-dropping-it-and-flinging-molten-metal-everywhere" preventative measures, which mostly center around not dropping it.

    Yes, we replaced our shoebox with something not made of cardboard immediately after this pour.

    No, we didn't end up pouring into the plastic tub beside it instead.

    So, now that all possible safety concerns have been addressed (yes, all possible), let's get to what else we learned.

    Modeling clay. Useful for holding the shape of something. Loses this quality at the temperature of molten aluminum.

    Modeling clay. Smells worse than literal shit at the temperature of molten aluminum.

    2nd pour, not shown:

    I carved some styrofoam into the shape of a basic case for a small piece of electronic gear. I then coated it in plaster, and let it dry.

    Drilled 5 holes through it. Covered it in sand. Poured molten aluminum on top of it.

    The styrofoam did a mostly impressive job of vacating the premises, but the aluminum did not make much progress on filling the void. I was left with a plaster shell locked onto a blob of aluminum with small bulbs of aluminum at each drill point.

    Was the styrofoam itself holding back the aluminum just long enough for it to harden and halt its ingress? Do I need to burn out the styrofoam before the pour?

    I believe the more likely explanation is that I had it laying horizontally, and was hoping the aluminum would flow that way. Do I need to try again with the exact same conditions, but nearly all flow in the vertical direction?

    Am I misunderstanding anything fundamental about the lost-foam method?

    Would things works just as well with a "lost-cardboard" method, or would cardboard leave too much behind while burning off? I imagine if it worked just as well it would be a thing I'd have heard of since cardboard would be easier to work with, but I figured I'd ask.

    Comments/concerns/etc welcome.

  2. #2
    Senior Member r4z0r7o3's Avatar
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    Wink

    Hahahaha, ROFL. Okay, now that's out of my system, I'll watch your vid...
    "Things that are complex are not useful, things that are useful are simple."
    - Mikhail Kalashnikov

  3. #3
    Senior Member r4z0r7o3's Avatar
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    ...I dunno what I'm talking about, but from what I saw, looks like the aluminum is over-done (too hot). It's also good that you recognized a few potential dangers w/o (spoiler-alert) burning the place down. Pleasantly surprised that box (or your desk) didn't catch fire, and you managed to keep any sources of moisture away from molten metal. Yes, you're right about getting your tongs a more betterer positive grip, hold on the crucible, very important. I had to watch that part with one eye, because the other side of my face was stuck in an "oh-god" configuration.

    However, all that said, you've now managed to melt and pour more than I, so congrats! Also, I applaud your courage, showing your mistakes, owning them, and posting anyway. Lots and lots of people are successful early on with lost-foam, so keep trying, you'll get it. Maybe try it w/o plaster, and just do something really simple, like the letter "I". That'll give you experience to move on to more complicated shapes.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, things that are useful are simple."
    - Mikhail Kalashnikov

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