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Thread: Aluminum Foundry Metal Grain Refiner (TiBor) & Modifier

  1. #1

    Aluminum Foundry Metal Grain Refiner (TiBor) & Modifier

    I bought several barrels of Strontium and TiBor at a foundry close out auction (sadly it was the place I used to work).

    I am offering it in small lots to help out hobby casters.

    I have it for sale on eBay , since I want to create an account.

    I want to keep the price low so everyone who needs it can get some, unfortunately I can’t create a Buy It Now price until I have enough feedback. I intend to list it for $5.00 plus shipping once I can, so don’t bid too high, I will keep setting up new auctions until eBay lets me set a Buy it Now price.

    What is a Modifier, What Does it Do, Why do I Need it?

    Typical foundry Aluminum casting alloys (engine blocks, heads, transmission cases, pistons, wheels, other cast scrap) contain 5 to 12% Silicon.

    Unmodified castings made from these alloys contain coarse, plate-like crystals of Silicon which forms during solidification (eutectic Silicon). These Silicon particles are in the form of brittle needles which reduce the strength and ductility of the casting. They also tend to create porosity by inhibiting the flow of molten metal (feeding) in to areas of the casting as it solidifies.

    With Strontium modification, a different and improved cast structure is developed in which the Silicon phase is “modified” by the action of Strontium to become fibrous and finely dispersed. The result is improved mechanical properties. In particular, both ductility and machinability are improved.

    Strontium also tends to reduce the size and shape of harmful iron compounds, resulting in improved ductility. It can reduce the embrittling effect of Iron contamination if you melt/pour with a steel ladle.

    Modification has been called “the poor mans heat treatment”, since it improves as cast strength without the need for heat treatment.
    Please note that if you are melting low Silicon alloys (Aluminum cans, siding, ladders or extrusions) this Strontium modifier will not make any improvement since there is little Silicon to modify. These materials are not designed to be cast, and you may want to consider changing to an alloy designed to be cast to improve your casting success.

    What is a Grain Refiner, What Does it Do, and Why do I Need It?

    When metals solidify they develop a grain structure. Slowly cooled metals (for example from sand casting) have a relatively large grain size. Faster cooled metals (for example from die casting) have a smaller grain size. Benefits from a smaller grain size include; better feeding for reduced shrink porosity and stronger castings.

    A grain refiner promotes a smaller grain size even in a slow cooled casting.

    Here is a good practical publication that explains this in a bit more detail.

    How to Use

    As per manufacturers recommendations add 3 rods per 100 pounds (or 1 rod per 33.3 pounds).
    With a few rare exceptions, it would be hard to overdo it, so just add 1 rod of each if you are melting less that 30 pounds per melt.
    With a small melt, add both the TiBor and Strontium rods as soon as all the metal has melted, and gently stir, skim and pour.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Newport News, VA
    Might help to speed things along if you do more than one listing

    I know I'm more interested in the Strontium than the TiBor rods, too :-\
    Some people are like Slinkies - not really good for anything, but you can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

  3. #3
    Joe, I would suggest getting a flat rate box from the post office and seeing how much it will hold (check both the sizes) and put the offer right here in this thread rather than eBay (well leave it on eBay too, might sell some to folks that dont visit here).

    Let us know how much for a box and we can paypal the money and you save the 12% fee or whatever it is on eBay.

    I recently looked at selling some things there recently after not selling anything for years and was shocked at how bad they are raping sellers with sale price fees as high at 15% +insertion fee if it sells or not +fees for extra pictures +about half a sozen other ways to nickel and dime the seller to death. Really I am shocked they are still on top after putting it to their bread and butter that way. When i started on eBay it was a quarter to list an item and that was it, then they added the 2% of the sale price which was ok but come on 12 to 15% and the seller does all the work... i am looking for a new auction site, sad too as I have been there from the very beginning (less than 100k members), my eBay handle is my own first name.


  4. #4

    Thanks for the ideas

    Good ideas, thanks.

    I had no idea if there would be any interest in this, but it seems our little hobby is pretty sophisticated. There were about 13 unique bidders.

    I wanted to set up an eBay account (separate from ny wife's) so I thought I'd start with this.

    I will also take the suggestion to create a listing here, and offer the Sr and TiBor separately or combined.

    I am right on the US/Canada border and I will look at the shippings costs on both sides.

    Thanks again, happy casting!

  5. #5
    With the flat rate USPS box in the US it is just $12.95 *I think) for up to 70 lbs) the small box is $4.95 up to 4 lbs.


  6. #6
    Senior Member ragingslab's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Uranus, Nebraska
    Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box $4.95 8-5/8" x 5-3/8" x 1-5/8"
    Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box $10.70 11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2"
    Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box (Domestic Addresses) $14.50 12" x 12" x 5-1/2 (They went up this year).
    The boxes are free and you save a little if you print your postage at home.
    BYMC Google map
    Be and remain passionate about SOMETHING!

  7. #7
    I'd definately be interested.
    If it's not broken or substandard, I don't own it.

  8. #8

    Aluminum Foundry Grain Refiner (TiBor) & Modifier (Sr)

    I have listed more TiBor and Sr on eBay. Lots of it left yet.

    I finally got enough feedback to make a fixed price listing, so you can buy more than one lot.

    So far I have sold 15 lots all across North America (AB, NY, CO, ME, CA, AZ, VA, AL, WA, OH) and even to Norway!

    It seems there are a lot more hobby casters out there than I thought. I'm not sure the word hobby even applies to some of the excellent work I have seen here, more like master crafstmen!



  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Newport News, VA
    huzzah! I've been waiting for some more to pop up! Will need to jump on there this evening once I get home from work- stupid work iternet blocks a lot of fun sites :?
    Some people are like Slinkies - not really good for anything, but you can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

  10. #10
    I purchased a couple of the lots offered and will be looking forward to buying a larger quantity soon.

    Wanted to point out that pdf Joe posted above is awesome, like a mini metal casting book with loads of information in it, not just grain refinement. Every new person to the forum should be directed to a copy of it as it is a quick read and the glossary along with the pictures and text make for a good primer in metal casting.


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