Lots of good things happening over at my shop. Finished parts are selling, and orders are coming in. My father and I are VERY busy trying to keep up. It seems like a long time ago when we pulled our used Johnson gas furnace out of the junk pile of one of our favorite places to scavenge. But that was only a year ago and what a journey it has been. In that time we have gone through 4 burners, a few lids, lots of oil and a huge learning curve, and don't forget the crucibles.... Oh the poor crucibles! May they each rest in pieces.
Now we are selling finished parts as fast as we can make them!
At this time two crossroads have come up. One is our furnace. It was well used when we got it and have fired over 400 melts in it. The poor furnace has way outlived its expectancy. I have burned up several lids and it no longer seals off. So a new one is needed.
At the same time, my furnace capacity is limited. It started out with a 10" bore to accommodate an A-10 crucible. Liner failure has eroded the furnace to allow an a-12 to fit. The A-12 only holds about 30 lbs of iron so part size is limited. I need more iron.
Some of you may remember my first furnace build. It never got finished. http://www.alloyavenue.com/vb/showth...highlight=leca
Here is why. I used leca to try and add some insulative value to the refractory. It worked and I ended up with nice bricks using molds of my own design. I got most of the bricks made less some of the body bricks. The lid and base were finished. When my Johnson furnace lid failed I grabbed the lid from my new furnace and made up a nice lid lifting system. It worked great.... Until I melted cast iron. The leca melted and when it did it fluxed the refractory causing failure after 10 melts. I may have had the wrong leca, or too much or too little, but it did not work out for me. Rather than use up my $150 a bag refractory experimenting, I decided to rethink and go with all commercial stuff.
So with those two factors I have an A-35 being delivered today and I just got back from picking up my materials for my new furnace. I found a place here in Houston that I am going to distribute all around. This place was great as were the owners. They are not well advertised as they cater to industrial and commercial customers. They do sell to individuals like me and are very nice to talk to. They are KT Refractories http://www.ktrefractories.com/index.html Jane Liu and her husband own the company and were very helpful. They stock most of what they carry and the pricing is GREAT!
I purchased IFB with 10 bricks per box for $49.75. These are 2800 degree brick! 9" x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2"
I got fiber blanket for $95. It is 2600 degree #8 that is 2' x 25'
I also got ceramic fiber board for a lid. I have not seen anybody use it for a lid before... it is 40"x48" x 2" thick. It was $91 for the sheet. I should be able to get 4 lids out of it very easily. They did not have the 2800 degree board like I wanted, so I got the 2300 degree board. I plan to hot face it with my Greencast 94 plus refractory. It is rated for 3400 degrees F.
My basic design is castable hot face over the IFB insulated by the blanket and all packed inside a 55 gallon drum. It should be well insulated and last a long time. Using commercial stuff it should go together VERY fast and be ready for use very quickly.
So my first question.... Has anybody used the fiber board for a lid before?
In all I am excited. I have a lot of work to do this weekend and will post the entire build here. I hope to build a new burner, lifting tongs, pouring shank, and the furnace. All while still trying to get parts out the door....
My goal is to melt an A-35 crucible of iron in it next Saturday. I am behind the ball and I find deadlines make for great motivational tools!!!
Pictures will be posted on Monday.