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Thread: How to Cast Steel... Got your attention?

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    How to Cast Steel... Got your attention?

    How Many here have Successfully cast, cast Fe???

    Really I'm curious

    Because if you can Pull that off, you could potentially Cast steel. There seems to be a silly amount of interest in casting steel... Mostly from people that seem to have no casting experience at all.

    If someone with sufficient experience, and the proper equipment Asks, I will provide step by step instructions on casting steel... WITH references, not just my experience and opinion.


    V/r HT1

    P.S. anyone built or used Steve Chastain's Oil Fired Tilting Furnace ??? it seems like a likely candidate for casting steel

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    I saw it in a book or online somewhere, but a guy relatively recently, perhaps in the last 10-15 years, melted and cast chrome moly steel (if I remember correctly it was chrome moly).

    He had a furnace arrangement where the burner came into the bottom of the furnace, and impinged directly onto the bottom of the crucible.

    At the time I saw it, I did not think much about it, since I did not know anything about foundry work at the time.

    I will look for it.

    That being said, I definitely would not try to cast steel, although as I have stated previously, I can easily melt the end off of a piece of rebar in my iron melt.
    Iron is difficult enough to cast. I don't need any more challenges.


    Edit:
    And the characteristics of gray iron make it great for engine work, with regards to resistance to vibration and wear, and its great machinability (no long sharp ribbons of swarf like steel has).


    Edit02:

    I found this quote:
    I saw somewhere...( probably linked from Ron Reil's burner site )...a guy melted pure chromium using propane...and Chromium melts at 3465F or something
    his furnace was designed with the burner at the bottom blasting straight up at the bottom of the crucible


    discussion located here:
    http://www.alloyavenue.com/vb/archiv...hp/t-5352.html



    Edit03:
    Link to Ron Reil's site here:
    http://ronreil.abana.org/Furnace.shtml

    and a sketch of the steel melting furnace here:
    http://ronreil.abana.org/fdrawing.jpg

    furnace photo:
    http://ronreil.abana.org/furnace1.jpg

    The graphite crucible that he refers to is made by Morgan, and is probably one of their "Salamander-Super" ferrous metal rated clay graphite units.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjcaster View Post
    I saw it in a book or online somewhere, but a guy relatively recently, perhaps in the last 10-15 years, melted and cast chrome moly steel (if I remember correctly it was chrome moly).

    He had a furnace arrangement where the burner came into the bottom of the furnace, and impinged directly onto the bottom of the crucible.

    At the time I saw it, I did not think much about it, since I did not know anything about foundry work at the time.

    I will look for it.

    That being said, I definitely would not try to cast steel, although as I have stated previously, I can easily melt the end off of a piece of rebar in my iron melt.
    Iron is difficult enough to cast. I don't need any more challenges.


    Edit:
    And the characteristics of gray iron make it great for engine work, with regards to resistance to vibration and wear, and its great machinability (no long sharp ribbons of swarf like steel has).


    Edit02:

    I found this quote:
    I saw somewhere...( probably linked from Ron Reil's burner site )...a guy melted pure chromium using propane...and Chromium melts at 3465F or something
    his furnace was designed with the burner at the bottom blasting straight up at the bottom of the crucible


    discussion located here:
    http://www.alloyavenue.com/vb/archiv...hp/t-5352.html



    Edit03:
    Link to Ron Reil's site here:
    http://ronreil.abana.org/Furnace.shtml

    and a sketch of the steel melting furnace here:
    http://ronreil.abana.org/fdrawing.jpg

    furnace photo:
    http://ronreil.abana.org/furnace1.jpg

    The graphite crucible that he refers to is made by Morgan, and is probably one of their "Salamander-Super" ferrous metal rated clay graphite units.
    I hate to question someone as loved as Ron, but I've had faceshields melt from steel pours at 3300, I have real trouble believing that crucible is over 2600 with him wearing a wife beater ive been in Medical and given corpsmen burns from touching my silver suit after a steel pour... Yes you wait and cool off before taking off the silver suits... the fluffy glove is believable though

    V/r HT1

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    I have my doubts too, but why does the end of a rebar melt off in my iron melt after 20 seconds of stirring?

    Edit:
    From online sources:

    -melting point of iron is about 2,200 F
    -melting point of steel is about 2,500 F


    Common Flame Temperatures

    Acetylene with Air 4532 F
    Acetelene with pure Oxygen 6296 F
    Natural Gas with Air 3562 F
    Propane with Air 3596 - 3623 F
    Propane with pure Oxygen 4579 - 5110 F
    Wood 3596 F
    Kerosene 3810 F
    Light Fuel Oil 3820 F
    Medium Fuel Oil 3815 F
    Heavy Fuel Oil 3817 F
    Coal 3950 F approx.


    From the Navy Foundry Manual:
    if a 1/2" iron rod melts after stirring in a molten iron bath for 15-20 seconds, then the temperature is 2,800 F or higher


    So from the standpoint of a Morgan Salamander Super clay graphite crucible being rated for 2,900 F, and assuming a good refractory rated at the same or higher level, then from a purely technical point of view, it should not be very difficult to melt and cast steel (unless the numbers above are incorrect).

    Getting the correct carbon content I guess is another story.
    Last edited by cjcaster; 06-16-2017 at 02:36 AM.

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    Moderator DavidF's Avatar
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    I was under the impression that steel could not be produced from a oil burning foundry as it rapidly absorbs carbon from the atmosphere turning steel into iron??
    A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor...
    http://thehomefoundry.org

  6. #6
    I am cast iron capable, and will continue to be so. However, I am still struggling with getting good iron (not "harder than Japanese arithmetic"...), I can just about imagine what troubles one would encounter with whatever mystery steel you would wind up with. Just not enough fine control. I think my furnace could get a small melt up to pour temp, but it would be very fuel intensive.
    Vade Libram Harenae.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidF View Post
    I was under the impression that steel could not be produced from a oil burning foundry as it rapidly absorbs carbon from the atmosphere turning steel into iron??
    your furnace must be designed to separate the furnace atmosphere from the melt... which I believe the Chastain's Oil Fired Tilting Furnace does, add a bit of inert gas, a lid, and it can be done!


    I've melted steel in a salamander in an induction furnace, the crucible MIGHT last 3 heats... doing it in a fuel furnace where the heat time might be several hours long... it would be SUICIDAL.

    V/r HT1

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    Quest for the Holy Grail? Hobby Cast Steel - why?

    Why do people want to hobby cast steel?

    Now if steel casting is just for the sheer challenge of DIY I am all for trying, give 'er, post here we'll help where we can but you'd better



    It seems to me that anything useful could be more easily fabricated, welded or smithed?

    Ductile iron would be way easier to hobby cast if you are after more strength than grey cast iron

    Aluminum 356 can be "realtively" easily heat treated, 200 series has really good strength but is very hot short, again good strength and way easier than steel

    If someone wants to move from commercial castings (no requirements for mechanical properties) to engineering castings (minimum meck props needed, safety criical) IMHO they need to tun semi pro

    I don't see any way to get good reproducible meck props without a spectrometer ($75K) to know and control your chemistry, tensile tester to verify meck props ($85K) and a met lab ($45K or more) to trouble shoot your failures
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    I'm 100% with Joe... I remember doing about half a dozen steel jobs while I was on in the Foundry of AD-15 most of the parts where for the Missouri or the New Jersey... and the most common parts we did... (try not to laugh) Watertight door dogs
    they looked like this save they had a 12 inch shaft to go through the armor... they where unique to the battle ships and no one made them. so if one broke we got to cast steel


    Our other hated steel job Portable cleats
    Amphibs used these, they where 16 inches across the horns, they where always coming up missing, I suspect marines threw them over the side to see the splash. they where really expensive, so if you could get a foundry to cast them, the money came out of the repair pool, which is a much larger pot of money then OPTAR, for replacements... anyone with military or government experience will understand the importance of which pot of money gets spent...

    Anyhow, in most cases I agree, casting steel is not the preferred route, and most people in here for the first time asking questions don't want to cast steel, they want to "make" steel... and that is a different critter, if you want to cast steel even as a hobbiest, and can afford it... as a hobbiest it is cheaper then Joe laid out, but it is still much more expensive then casting brass. I can lead you down the right road.

    you have to be willing to listen

    Right off the bat, the crucible furnace that most here are using, is really unlikely to work... at best you will destroy the crucible for every pour, and that would be expensive and dangerous!

    V/r HT1

    P.S. this is an upside down picture of a steel heat.. see the fluorescent light fixtures. no one at the printer could imagine that spray of sparks flying up rather then falling down... that is me to the right of the furnace. and yes I'm still that good looking


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