Hello! My name is Martin Radvany and I am a high school senior who is currently in the process of creating my senior project, a human skeleton cast out of aluminum.
Skeleton Sculpture Drawing
But before I get to anything else, many "thank you"s must be made.
Firstly, huge thanks to DavidF, FishBonzWVa and Zapins and the rest of the awesome people that made this possible by helping plan this all on my other post.. Thank you!
Secondly, I would like to thank Mr. Smith and Mr. Mentzer from Lancaster Foundry Supply for supplying me with my materials. Mr. Smith helped me source the correct materials and finish planning while Mr. Mentzer met with me when I drove up to Lancaster, PA from Baltimore, MD. Mr. Mentzer took a huge portion out of his day to answer my questions, check over my plans and even gave me a tour of the warehouse while teaching me a TON about the metal casting process. Thank you for your time and expertise gentleman!
Thirdly, I couldn't have done this without the help of three of my teachers. Thank you Mr. Conn and Mr. Smith for letting me use the robotics lab and tools and thank you Mr. Shang for helping me plan this project, use your classroom as work space and even bringing in your own routing table for me to use. I'm sure there will be metal filing everywhere when pieces start being produced; sorry in advance.
Lastly and most importantly, I have to thank one of the amazing guys working at my school's transportation department, Mr. Ronnie. He has been kind enough to take time out of his day every single afternoon to help me put this project together. Without him, I wouldn't have been able to use the industrial welding, drilling and cutting tools needed to complete my tools. He's the one to thank for the awesome paint jobs on all the tools! He even allowed me to come down any afternoon to work and I can't thank him enough for his time, patience and for teaching me about the different tools in the work shop. He's solved more problems on this project than I can count and has allowed me to move quickly through the building process. Hopefully we'll be working together throughout the project because his knowledge and craftsmanship has opened up a lot of possibilities. Thank you, Mr. Ronnie.
The burner was a recreation of Turner Forge's propane burner.
Tools : hand drill or drill press, 1/16 in. and 3/8 in. bit and a wrench.
- 1 x Half inch to three eighth inch brass flare (3/8 in. - 1/2 in.)
- 1 x Half inch to half inch brass gas shut off valve (1/2 in. - 1/2 in.)
- 1 x Half inch to half inch iron male to female elbow (1/2 in. - 1/2 in.)
- 1 x Half inch to one eighth brass reducer (1/2 in. - 1/8 in.)
- 1 x One eighth to one eighth brass nipple (1/8 in. - 1/8 in. x 4 in.)
- 2 x One eighth brass cap (1/8 in.)
- 1 x One inch iron plug (1 in.)
- 1 x One inch iron tee pipe (1 in. 1 in. 1 in.)
- 2 x One inch to three fourths iron reducer (1 in. - 3/4 in.)
- 1 x Twelve inch with three fourths end steel male nipple (3/4 in. 12 in. 3/4 in.)
- 1 x One inch to one and a half inch iron reducer (1 in. - 1 1/2 in.)
- 1 x Teflon tape
- 1 x Propane regulator and metal braided hose combo with three eighth inch female connection (3/8 in.)
- 1 x Propane tanks
I mostly followed the steps shown by Turner Forge with only slight tweaks by me. I choose this design because it's made from basic plumbing parts from Home Depot and Lowe's and can be assembled without welding. This was before I realized I had a reliable way to weld but I like this design anyway.
1. Drill 1/16 bit hole into the middle of the top of one of the 1/8 in. brass caps. Put the other one aside for now.
2. Drill 3/8 bit hole into the middle of the top of the 1 in. iron cap.
3. Take 1/8 in. brass nipple and push it into the hole made in the 1 in. iron cap until only the threads are sticking out of the top of the cap. Use a rubber mallet gently to force it into the snug fit while still trying to avoid destroying the threads on the nipple.
Gas Delivery System
1. To avoid repetition, Telfon tape will be used on all threads in the gas delivery system to avoid leaks and a hand wrench will be used to tighten joints. ALWAYS wrap the tape clockwise when putting it on threads.
2. Take the un-drilled cap and tighten it on. This will stop the gas flow so a leak test can be done after the gas delivery system is assembled. Having two of these caps allows you to disassembled the piece in the future and recheck for leaks.
3. Attach 1/2 in. - 1/8 in. reducer to the end of the 1/8 in. nipple.
4. Attach 1/2 in. - 1/2 in. male to female elbow to to the end of the 1/2 in. - 1/8 in. reducer.
5. Attach 1/2 in. - 1/2 in. shut off valve. Rotate so it is easily accessible.
6. Attach 3/8 in. - 1/2 in flare to the end of the 1/2 in. - 1/2 in. shut off valve.
7. Attach your propane house to the 3/8 in. - 1/2 in flare and use Windex or soapy water to conduct a leak test. Fix leaks and then replace the solid 1/8 in. cap with the drilled on and tighten well and conduct a leak test for the 1/8 in. cap.
Gas Delivery System
1. Teflon will no longer be needed for joints at this point.
2. Attach 1 in. 1 in. 1 in. tee pipe to 1 in. plug of the gas delivery system.
3. Attach one of the 1 in. - 3/4 in. reducer to the outlet opposite to the entrance of the gas delivery system.
4. Attach 3/4 in. 12 in. 3/4 in. male nipple to the 1 in. - 3/4 in. reducer.
5. Attach the other 1 in. - 3/4 in. reducer to the end of the 3/4 in. 12 in. 3/4 in. male nipple.
6. Attach 1 in. - 1 1/2 in. reducer to the 1 in. - 3/4 in. reducer.
Fully Assembled Propane Burner
I simply placed my torch on a cinder block with the propane tank placed as far away as possible and let it fire away. I posted this on my other thread but I'll link it here again. It works pretty well. I probably need to drill some holes in the tee pipe for some more air but I'm pretty happy how it turned out.
Video of Working Propane Burner
My forge was inspired by FishBonzWva forge.
Tools : hand drill, 1/4 bit, varying hole saws, philip's head screw driver, wrench, metal hammer, nail, 5 gallon plastic bucket, small plastic containers, 1/2 measuring cup, brushes of varying sizes and a whisk.
- Sixteen inch diameter steel waste container (16 in.)
- Eight feet of two feet by 1 inch Kaowool (8 ft. of 2 ft. - 1 in.)
- Ten pounds of Satanite (10 lbs)
- Package of twenty-five quarter inch by two and a half inch bolts with matching nuts (25 of 1/4 in. - 2 1/2 in.)
- 25 extra nuts for the one fourth bolts (1/4 in.)
- Fifty one inch washers (50 of 1 in.)
- 2 x Firebricks
Drawing and Calculations
Written Forge Plans
1. Drill a 3 in. diameter hole in the side of the metal bucket. The bottom of the hole should start 3 3/4 in. from the bottom of the bucket. Burner hole.
2. Drill a 1 in. diameter hole in the middle of the bottom of the bucket. Spill hole.
3. Drill a 4 in. diameter hole in the lid of the bucket. Vent hole.
4. File down sharp edges of these three holes.
Holes in Side and Lid
Hole in Bottom
5. Measure and cut Kaowool to specified portions.
- 2 x 12 in. diameter circles for floor.
- 2 x 16 in. diameter circles for lid.
- 2 x 48 in. x 12 in. x 1 in. strips of Kaowool for walls.
- 1 x 40 in. x 2 in 1 in. strip for floor. This does not have to be continuous, just long enough to fill in the gap between the side of the floor piece and the wall.
Note : putting a container over squares of Kaowool and cutting off the excess is a good way to get a nice round circle. Find round two round objects on with a 16 in. diameter and the other with a 12 in. diameter.
1. Use a sharpie to mark out holes in the lid for the bolts to hold the Kaowool on.
2. Use a hammer and nail to make a dent on each marking for the tip of the drill to catch onto.
3. Use the hand drill to make 1/4 in. holes at each marking and file off excess metal.
4. Place a bolt into each hole and fasten with a washer and nut.
5. Apply red paint to the tip of each bolt, line up your 12 in. Kaowool circle and pressure down to the mark the Kaowool. Repeat step with the other piece.
6. Cut a slit at each red dot on the Kaowool. Line up the Kaowool with the lid and press the bolts through their corresponding slits. Repeat step with the other piece.
7. Fasten down the Kaowool layers with a washer and nut.
8. Use the rim of the hole in the lip to cut out the vent hole.
Lid with Bolts
Lid with 2” of Kaowool
Lid with 2” of Kaowool and 4” hole
1. Line the bottom of the bucket with the two 12 in. diameter pieces of Kaowool and pack 1 in. x 2 in. strip around the edge. Pack down to make sure it's even.
2. Line the side of the bucket with one of the 48 in. strip. Mark where the Kaowool overlaps, remove, cut and reinstall. Do this until the layer is tightly packed to the side of the bucket and repeat for the second layer.
3. Push a 5-gallon bucket into the furnace to push Kaowool to the walls and floor.
4. Hold down the area around the burner hole and cut a hole diagonally into the Kaowool wall so the propane torch blows along the wall and swirls when it is fired.
Body with 2” Kaowool and 3” hole
The Satanite was an easy material to work with. It mixed easily with water and the only hard part was learning to get the right consistency. It was simple to apply after the first layer; the first layer was pretty difficult but that was probably just me learning how to use the stuff. I had a total of three layers on the lid and four layers on the body with additional patches to fix cracks. I allowed the Satanite to dry over night before firing. Each time, I heated the furnace up in gradually longer burns until the stone set. Some of the middle layers looked gorgeous while the functional one I have now looks messy. O well. It'll probably turn grey at the top when I add more air and get to hotter temps in the future.
I used two firebricks to make a plinth. I took the first brick and used a file to round out its edges so it could fit inside the forge and cut two additional pieces for the side. I got it to glow if that means anything.
Third Firing Body
Third Firing Lid
Fourth Firing Body
Fourth Firing Lid
Video of Forge with Lid Off
Video of Forge with Lid On
Body Glowing Red Hot
Lid Glowing Red Hot
Painted Furnace Top
My goal with these crucible tongs was to avoid having to use both lifting AND pouring tongs so I made a hybrid. I spent a lot of time thinking about the design while reading various threads. Thank you!
- 3 x Thirty-six inches of three fourths steel bar (108 in. of 3/4 in.)
- 2 x Thirty-six inches of one eighth steel flat (72 in. of 1/8 in.)
Drawing and Calculations
Written Crucible Tong Plans
Tools : Mig or Tig welder, saw blade, file
- Long Arm : 36"
- Short Arm : 22"
- Legs : 13" 13"
- Top : 8"
- Handle : 6"
- Stop : 2"
- Lock : 2"
- Bottoms : 1" 1"
- Spacers : 0.5" 0.5"
- Angled : 5" 5"
- Curved : 10" 10" 10" 10"
1. Marked the steel bars to be cut into the correct segments with the saw blade.
- #1 bar : 36"
- #2 bar : 22" 8" 1" 1" 0.5" 0.5"
- #3 bar : 13" 13" 6" 2" 2"
- #1 flat : 10" 10" 10"
- #2 flat : 10" 5" 5"
2. Cut a 14 degree slant on the two 1" pieces. This is so a metal flat can be placed at an angle later.
3. Assemble the pieces to check for errors; I found out that I wanted the short handle to be a little shorter so I could grip the larger side. Edited down the short arm length from 26" to 22".
Sections of Metal
I used stands, clamps and levels to hold the metal in the right place for good welds. This description of welds will be crude because our own plan was to just following the pictures and looking at it set up seen in the clamp photo.
Clamp Side View
Clamp Top View
DISCLOSURE : If my design looks weird, maybe it's because I'm left handed and this seemed like the most comfortable set up for me.
1. Weld one of the 13" legs to the end left side of the 36" arm to form an L
2. Weld one of the 1" bottoms to the side of the bottom of the 13" leg facing inwards.
3. Weld one of the 5" bottom to the side of the 13" leg and the 1" bottom at the angle given by the slanted 1" bottom. Use crucible to check if adjustments are needed.
4. Weld the 2" stop bar under the long arm 18" from the handle end of the 36" long arm.
5. Weld the 8" top bar to the 13" leg on the 36" arm just above where the crucible sits.
6. Weld the other 13" leg to the top of the 22" short arm to form an L.
7. Weld the other 1" bottom on the opposite end and side of the bar of the 22" short arm on the 13 leg.
8. Weld the other 5" bottom to the side of the 13" leg and the 1" bottom at the angle given by the slanted 1" bottom. Use crucible to check if adjustments are needed.
9. Weld 6" handle onto the side of the 22" short arm so that if placed together with the spacing for the a10 crucible, there are two 6" handles at the end of the tongs.
Hinge and Claws
1. After assembling the halves, bend the 10" flats around a pipe with pliers for a loose curve. Two of these curved bars sit on the slanted bars attached to the legs on each half to hold the bottom of the crucible while the other two curved bars are placed higher up to hold the top of the crucible.
2. It is easier to curve the bars to the correct place on the crucible while the halves are together and must be bolted together to create a hinge.
3. To the create the hinge with a bolt, place the crucible inside of the halves and squeeze them around the crucible. Mark the location of a good fit, remove the crucible and readjust the halves the same way when the crucible was inside.
4. Tape the halves together so the hole can be drilled through all at once. Mark a 1/4 in. hole through the side of the halves and drill through both the short and long arm.
5. Place a washer on each side of the halves and one in between and then twist the bolt in and cap it off with a nut. Cut off the excess of the bolt.
6. While we're at the drill press, drill another 1/4 in. hole through the top of the long arm and through on of the 2 in. bar piece to create a hinge for the locking mechanism; a swiveling bar out of a bolt, small washers and a nut. This locks the moving arm in place so it can't open during transport.
6. Place the crucible in the loose claws and hold it in there while the end of the claws are pressed in by a vice that slowly curves the flat steel bars around the crucible. Cut off excess metal if need. Be careful not to squeeze and crack the crucible. Leave a tiny bit of room for expansion.
7. Clean up welds with a file. So. Much. Filing.
So all in all they turned out pretty good. They hold they crucible firmly and I can handle placing the crucible in and out of the furnace even with a hunk of aluminum in it; it still need to cut this chunk down but it's a good practice weight. I will be applying rubber handles on the end of the arms for extra protection.
Demonstrating a10 Crucible Tongs
Fully Assembled Crucible Tongs
Tongs Gripping Crucible
Painted Crucible Tongs with Rubber Handles
Decided that the metal flask boxes were too expensive so I tried creating my cheap alternative out of wood.
Tools : hand drill with various bits, corner clamp, wood glue, routing table, chop saw
- 2 x Thirty-six inches of three fourths inches by three and one half inches wood plank.
- Wood screws
- Black and Orange Paint
- 4 x metal handles
Drawing and Calculations
- #1 Plank : 13" 13" 13" 13"
- #2 Plank : 13" 13" 13" 13" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Pieces of Wood
1. Mark a line 3/4 inches into one end of each 13" board for connection to other planks.
2. Mark lines 3/4 inches into each side of the wood and draw a 12" lines.
3. Mark a 1/2 inch further to the middle from each line and create two more 12" lines.
1. Use chop saw to cut out eight 13" planks and six 1" wooden pieces.
2. Use routing table to cut out the marked grooves in each plant. 1/2" wide and 1/4" deep.
Front of All Eight 13" Wood Pieces
Front of Single 13" Wood Piece
Back of All Eight 13" Wood Pieces
Back of Single 13" Wood Piece
1. Place pieces of wood in corner clamp and adjust. Remember, the top of one piece goes into the side of another.
2. Apply wood glue to each piece of wood and rub is thoroughly.
3. Drill pilot holes for wood screws.
4. Drill in wood screws to hold pieces together.
Two Halves of One Box
5. Repeat the process to create the other three pieces.
6. Place two of these pieces in the corner clamp, apply wood blue and drill/
7. Repeat for other side to create first box. Repeat to create second box.
Both Boxes with Locking Pieces
Applying Locking Pieces
1. Paint boxes and locking pieces to your liking.
2. Stack boxes on top of each other and mark the center of the top box.
3. Position the top locking pin in the middle, half hanging off the box, with tape to hold the position.
4. Place a pin on one side of the top pin to create one of the bottom pins of the bottom box. Drill pilot holes and drill in.
5. Drill in the middle piece to the top box.
6. Drill in the other side piece onto the bottom box.
7. Repeat for other side.
8. Mark and apply preferred handles to sides.
Painted Boxes Separate
Painted Boxes Together
I'm really happy how these turned out and I can't wait to use them tomorrow! I will be drilling holes for a plywood attachment for these next week to make flipping them easier.
Painted Flask Box with Handles
I’ll be editing periodically to correct errors and fix formatting.
Update 3/25 : Hey all! I just finished buying the last couple items for this project and I hope to attempt a casting tomorrow! I will be updating my posts and galleries tonight with my flask box build and paints jobs and will make a new post if my casting is a success. I'm going to start with the hand and a ball and see how it goes. Thank you everyone!