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Everything posted by Kang

  1. Boxer Rebellion: Box-Turtle Folk, WIP

    Annealing the bronze will be easier than making good castings in straight copper, from all I've seen and read. Copper loves to oxidize, especially when molten... The swords look great! Easy for me to say when it's not my blood, I know, but IMO it was worth all that pain. Happy healing! Kang
  2. Even if the blends on the NMM are not all fully as smooth as they maybe could be, the reflections are in the right places and IMO they absolutely sell the whole "I'm actually made of shiny metal" look. Great job! Kang
  3. 03463: Golanth, Half Dragon Warrior

    Good job! You'll have to do one in old-timey Ottawa Roughriders colours next... :) Kang
  4. Kev!'s 77520: Deep One Servitor

    Nice job! Deep Ones always remind me of the Squishers of Crackclaw Point, as described by Nimble Dick Crabb: "They look like men till you get close, but their heads is too big, and they got scales where a proper man’s got hair. Fish-belly white they are, with webs between their fingers. They’re always damp and fishy-smelling, but behind these blubbery lips they got rows of green teeth sharp as needles. Some say the First Men killed them all, but don’t you believe it. They come by night and steal bad little children, padding along on them webbed feet with a little squish squish sound." - George R. R. Martin, A Feast for Crows Martin's world had its own Deep Ones, once upon a time; mayhaps they are one and the same... Kang
  5. <facepalm>The pliers-and-rebar-based ingot tongs above can't be named Ser Robert Tong, that is already what I named my crucible tongs! So, the pliers-tongs are now named Tong Belwas As in, "Tong Belwas needs no tinkly bells... Tong Belwas needs liver and onions!" Better. Also, the next project will be building a newer, bigger, better, actually working sand muller. A sand muller is like a big mixer that, in addition to just stirring, also squashes and fluffs and scrapes and smears. The point of it is to get each grain of sand coated in clay. It will be a modified Princess Auto (AKA Canadian Harbor Freight) cement mixer that I got on sale with some nameday GC's I got from the lovely Mrs. Kang (and some leftover LongNightsmas money), which means that most of the moving parts are already built for me, I just need to fabricate an overhead arm to bolt on and suspend the wheels and scrapers and plows from. And trim down the top of the mixer a bit. And maybe weld a steel plate on the bottom of the bucket that can take a little more wear than the sheet metal the basic mixer is made of... Should keep me busy for a while I guess; I'll try and get some video as the build progresses, for those who are following along. Here's a similar one built by a fellow I know as HT1, formerly a highly skilled molder in the US Navy (back when the US navy did foundry work; now he's just a highly skilled molder) who's forgotten more about molding and casting metal than I'll probably ever learn. Main difference is, mine will be blue. And I have a slightly different wheel picked out for mine, off an old lawnmower: Not 100% sure about the wheel, it may be a little too big around and not wide enough and slightly on the knobby side. I'm still in the early planning stages, really just posting this already now as a sort of self-motivational tactic. Of course this means my crappy old not-quite-a-muller will have to give up its name, Big Bucket Mull, so the new one can take it, and whatever is left of the old one once I scavenge any parts I need for the new will be called simply The Smallbucket. It sure isn't getting any easier to come up with these clever ASOIAF-themed names for homemade foundry equipment! Kang
  6. Never really checked out this section much before, but it seems like a good place to put some pictures of the stuff I've been working on over the past few years. I'll start with the very beginning of my molten metal obsession which began 3 years ago during the 13th annual "Boys' Camping Weekend". Every year we try to have some sort of unusual and memorable activity planned. That year, it was seeing if we could get aluminum to melt in our campfire. Someone brought a crucible from the internet. Someone else brought a novelty ice cube tray. Yet another guy somehow got totally hooked on this molten metal stuff, and that someone would be me. Aaaand yet another someone brought his video camera AKA phone: https://vimeo.com/75917079 So that was it for me, I dove in headfirst and haven't really surfaced since, from the strange world of backyard metal casting. So, you see those ugly little skullules in the video? Pretty cool, but definitely hideous and not as intended, right? I just got back from Boys' Camping Weekend #16. Oh, how far I have come in 3 years! I brought a homemade bronze axe with me this year, so I could field-test it right back where it all started, by using it to cut wood to feed the very same fire that was responsible for its creation. First some background on the bronze axe though. I was inspired to make it by George R. R. Martin's world of Westeros, where in ancient times the First Men crossed the Narrow Sea wielding bronze weapons to make war on the Children of the Forest. I don't know much about axes, but I did some googling to come up with a cool looking shape that would be believable as a battle axe yet still useful for chopping wood, which I am more likely to find myself doing. Then I made a wooden pattern to use in making the sand mold needed to cast it. Here are the two halves of the "split pattern" - each part goes in one half of the mold to form the mold cavity, then they patten is drawn out of the mold, the mold is closed, and metal gets poured in: (not the original pix, those showed the pattern halves repainted and sealed for glossy slick non-sand-stickiness) Here is the mold just after I poured in the bronze: (See? The mold is literally a 'sandbox', so I know I'm in the right section...) Here is the raw casting just after I shook out the mold. This side of the casting was in the cope, which is what we call the top half of the mold though I am not sure why. You can see the gating and 2 risers and the sprue here as well as the axe blade. Note the shrinkage on top of those risers. That is their function, to feed their own molten metal into the cast part, to compensate for the shrink that would otherwise occur on the casting itself. They will be remelted when I pour my next bronze casting: Drag (bottom half of the mold) side. You can see the remains of the hardened sand core I had to insert into the mold to create the hollow "eye" where a handle wiould later be fitted. I used sodium silicate (AKA waterglass) based woodstove gasket cement to bind the core, then catalyzed the hardening reaction by baking it in my oven on low for 15 minutes. The core was made in a small plaster mold I made from the core prints on the pattern before they got attached to it, which is visible above. Note, there is a visible screwdriver shaft-thick vent through the core in this pic, to allow gases to escape the mold Here is a big ingot I poured with the leftover bronze, to be remelted next time along with the risers, sprue, and gating from this casting. And here is it pretty much finished up. I put a sledge hammer handle from the hardware store on it because otherwise it would not have been ready for this year's camping weekend, but I did come home with a nice piece of hickory from our campsite that I'll use to make a new handle, now that I have had a chance to field-test the axe. I also ground off the flashing around the parting line and sanded the blade a little shinier than how it came out of the sand. There is a lot more sanding to do before it has a golden mirror-finish, but in terms of usefulness, it is all finshed up here in this pic. The edges were hardened by hammering on them. Bronze does not need to be heated up like steel for this sort of forging, and most bronzes are not hardened by heat treatment. Now. So far I have been discussing this like I used traditional bronze-age bronze - alloys of copper and tin. But the fact is, nowadays "bronze" refers to many different alloys of copper. The alloy I chose for making blades is aluminum bronze, AKA alloy C95400 (which in fact CAN be hardened by heat treatment, though I am not equipped for that). The aluminum bronzes are the toughest of the copper alloys, so they should make the most durable bronze blades, which should be able to hold their edges. Here's where the campsite field test comes in... Our usual campsite is surrounded by a forst of hickory and oak and maple (and the lake), so basically a lot of hardwood. We prefer to burn the fallen hickory logs, because the smoke smells nice, but mostly because one of those hickory logs burns hot (hot enough to melt aluminum, see video clip above) and burns all night long. I knew I wanted to use a big dry super hard thigh-thick hickory log to test the edges on my super hard (for a bronze) axe, so that is exactly what I did when we found on that size leaning dead against a couple other trees (rather than green and growing or rotting on the ground). (I have been unable to find the pix to replace the rest of these broken links, but the most interesting ones in this post are now restored... on to the next post. I'm not saying it was easy going, or even easier than using our camp saw... But the camp saw is also easier than using a store-bought forged steel axe, and what really matters here is that the First Men bronze axe works, and it held its edges! Both blades were used, and both came through it completely undamaged; the edges are as straight and sharp as when we began chopping ("we" because we took turns), no visible shiny spots or bumps or nicks can be seen or felt. I call that a 100% success, and I call this the greatest thing I have made in my backyard foundry so far, by far. Here are a few gratuitous fire shots of the burning test log keeping our campfire burning hot all night long: So that is my latest creation. I have posted my cast aluminum weirwood tree here somewhere before and I think my little rabbit-robots. I'll try to link those here if I can find those older posts. Otherwise, let me know if you guys want to see more and I can dig up some more pix of my castings. Spoiler warning: mostly it is a lot of aluminum skulls. Or you could try googling "Ghost Vines Band". It's not my band, it's one of my camping buddies, and I just learned he's wearing one of my skull belt buckles in one of their promo pix which I had no trouble finding. But I also have pictures of all the foundry equipment I've built over the last 3 years, everything from my oil-fired melting furnace (Balerion the Black Dread) to Big Bucket Mull the sand mixing machine to my cast aluminum sand rammer (King Robert's Rammer) to Lightbringer, my homemade waste oil burner, and on and on. So it's not ALL metal skulls Not bad for some crazy Canadian computer programmer tinkering in his shed for kicks, eh? I even got an "order" for another bronze axe from one of the guys I camp with, which is a huge step for me. This has always been just a hobby, but this opportunity will allow me to try and make an even better axe without having to pay for the bronze myself. Who knows, maybe someday I'll be able to make my casting hobby start paying its own way in the world instead of costing me money... Kang
  7. Nice work, that handle looks really comfortable! At least your sander/grinder actually says "Blade grinding attachment" on it - I had to use my belt sander that's clearly designed for woodworking to grind the bronze axes I made... Yours looks WAY sharper. ...(But I bet mine can cut down trees faster )... Kang
  8. Basilisk

    He definitely looks like he means business! The new ridge of scales makes him look more intimidating; before them in the 2nd last pic he looked a bit more friendly than I think you were going for. I'm pretty sure it's actually just the overlap of teeth and lower lip scales, but the very similar angle of the last 2 pix sort of make him look a bit like he's sticking just the tip of a pointed tongue out a little bit, which might be contributing to the friendly look I just mentioned. So that certainly could be mere illusion. Kang
  9. My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Like the old song says, 4 out of 5 ain't bad. Great job, the 4 that filled look great! Even better once they're polished up I bet - looking forward to more pix. So much for the experimental technique... Seems to me like you'd probably have to do a bit of extra cutting to free that one from the tree anyhow. Kang
  10. My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Yeah, in your situation, being in business and all, I'd probably look for a ready made option as you suggest; time is money as they say, and I suspect you'd probably rather be spending yours mashing putty. My situation is a little different since at this point in my life, casting metal is 100% just for fun, and a big part of that fun is building my own gear when possible. I'd avoid laser pyrometers for measuring melt temp; they not only apparently cost a little more, but have frequently been said not to be particularly suitable for such applications, due to the reflective nature of the surface of the melt as well as the heat radiating from the furnace walls - hotter than the melt itself, causing confused readings. For getting a quick temp reading on a burned out mold you're about to pour though? Should be ideal for that sort of thing, assuming it's a type that'll read that high. The probe type is useful for dipping in molten metal to get a temp reading, but even the kind you buy premade may need something like a wand to hold the probe and a few (consumable) graphite sheaths to protect the probe from shorting out/corroding when repeatedly dipped in the melt, if the ones you mentioned don't already come with all that. I was reading just this morning about one new who is guy to the foundry hobby and did not know any better, who dipped an unsheathed (purchased) TC probe in molten aluminum, destroying it on its first use... I haven't fully researched all the details but I know there are several flavours of probes and thermocouples suitable for different temperature ranges and applications. I believe the K type thermocouples are most appropriate for (nonferrous) foundry work, but there's a lot more than just that to know, and I'm sure I'd need to read up on it all to make an informed decision. I'll certainly make sure to check out various options in the price range you mention before pulling the trigger on ordering any components, which I'm in no real rush to do anyhow. But like I said, I'm in only this for kicks: the diy equipment builds I get into are close to half the fun, and my projects don't come with deadlines. Or profit margins for that matter. Here's a couple of links to cheap pyrometer build instructions other backyard metal casting hobbyists have thoroughly researched and posted, which may be useful to you even if you buy one ready made. The first one actually covers pyrometer builds that use both premade (easier) and homemade (cheaper) thermocouples. There is some good background info there that may be helpful to know when you're shopping around. Things like how you can extend your probe's lifespan by preheating its the tip in the furnace before dipping in order to minimize the time it needs to stay submerged in the harsh molten metal environment. Or how to fabricate a wand to hold your probe when dipping it, or tips for drilling out cheap graphite gouging rods for use as protective sheaths, and so on. http://www.alloyavenue.com/vb/showthread.php?11337-Original-Post-of-How-to-Make-and-Use-a-Pyrometer http://forums.thehomefoundry.org/index.php?threads/cheap-pyrometer-parts-list.33/ Hope this is helpful, Kang
  11. My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Well that was one of my guesses, so I'll double down on the culprit being a cold melt. A pyrometer that can be dipped into the molten metal is the best way to be sure you're up to a specific temperature. My setup is much different than yours, but I've had good luck just cooking the melt for an extra minute or two (about the time it would take me to doff gloves and set up a timer probably, lol) when I've had to try again on thin aluminum castings that failed to fill. No idea how well that timing would translate to your setup though, since I work with larger amounts of molten metal (mostly aluminum) in a fuel-fired furnace rather than an electric. Also I do not have a real pyrometer to begin with, I use the hot rod dip test to gauge pouring temperature. (like it sounds - you dip a preheated steel rod into the melt. If it pulls out clean, it's "normal" pouring temperature, so I wait an extra minute or so if it is a thin casting, otherwise I flux, skim, and pour right then.) The hot rod dip test is obviously not very accurate and false readings do occur; one day I'll smarten up and spend the $50 on parts to build a real pyrometer that I can dip into the melt to get its actual temperature. But it's still better than nothing and has worked well for me for casting bronze and aluminum on most occasions. I use it every time I cast anything, even when it's not a casting with thin sections. Kang
  12. My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    As you know, all of my vacuum/investment casting lore is merely theoretical as I have only worked with sand molds and larger scale castings in bronze and aluminum. So I can only guess... that said, my money is on either the melt or the mold having been too cold at pouring time. OR... is there any chance you maybe forgot to turn on the vacuum pump? Looking forward to Julia's expert diagnosis of the spruing! Insufficient burnout would have meant there was still water chemically bound up in the investment, which would have boiled out when the metal hit the mold and turned your trunk into a hideous swiss-cheezy hellscape. The sprue would have shown a lot of scary bubbling and spitting during the pour in that case, at least as I understand it. If that did not happen, IMO you can probably rule that out (though see sentence #1 in this post). Got any pix of the wax tree before you invested it? May help if you could hack off a branch or two from the cast tree (the way it came out it really does look a fair bit like a tree) and show us some close-ups of the connections... Anyhow, you'll get it next time! Good luck, Kang
  13. Basilisk

    If that was a Johnny Dangerously reference, I approve. But you're kinda showing your age there TS... Bazzy's looking great! Kang
  14. Well, I built my waste oil foundry furnace burner, Lightbringer, a couple years ago now, and it's been serving me very well, running on used cooking oil from local fryers/chip wagons (cut with a little diesel in colder months to aid flow). But I'd noticed in the last couple of melts, it seemed a little sluggish... This is a drip type waste oil burner - a needle valve is opened to allow gravity-forced oil to drip out the end, where a powerful blower flings it into a preheated furnace where it vaporizes and ignites. Many waste oil burners work differently, using atomizing nozzles with extremely tiny passages powered by an air compressor and a venturi effect, creating a mist that ignites easily. Which means filtering the oil extremely well isn't as critical for my burner to work. I just pour it through an old T-shirt. But this does allow small particles to get through, and eventually the needle valve in the oil line that is used for fine control of the oil flow will clog up. That is the narrowest passage in my burner setup. Time to take it apart and clean out the components, paying special attention to that needle valve! Got some video of the disassembly/reassembly, but it turned out to be half out of frame (not to mention super boring). So I decided to reshoot it as a series of animations. Which was a hack of a lot of fun, even though my butt is still sore from sitting on the tiled attic bathroom floor (safest place in the house from kids kicking over tripods) shooting each frame for the better part of a day. I would have killed for this (free) Stikbot technology when I was a kid! Sadly, I was born several decades too early for that. I had to use pencils and the pages of books with wide margins to make my own cartoons. Which were almost universally about karate fighting stick figures kicking each others' heads off... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCNM1_OiCNY Apologies for the clikbaity title. I figure, as long as trolls are gonna be commenting on my videos about how doing stuff like burning local scrap wood in a barrel in my backyard to make other people's unwanted aluminum wheels into melting stock for my foundry makes me a bored teenager with an unkempt yard destroying mother earth, I may as well just have some fun with them. Kang
  15. 77580: Ma'al Drakar (pic heavy)

    Not bad, but I can see that you made a mistake there in hour 375. J/K, she's perfect... Truly outstanding! Makes me wish there was a reaction stronger than "Like" that I could click on. Kang
  16. Oooohhh! Nice. What kind of mill are you thinking about getting? I haven't ever done any machining (using a drill press doesn't count, so I'm told ), but those machines are really fun and relaxing to watch. I swear, I could spend hours watching my friend Chirpy's fully rebuilt and restored hypno-shaper clacking away, turning his raw DIY castings into precision steam engine parts. I'm thinking about trying to cast/build some (hobbyist quality) small machine tools in the future using David Gingery's plans, mainly just for a fun series of projects to keep me busy and so I can teach myself the rudiments of machining. Looking forward to more of this, the handle design and the wood you picked are gonna look great! Good luck keeping all your digits Kang
  17. With the melting furnaces snowed in for the winter and the greensand frozen in my molding bench, I need to keep myself busy doing other things to avoid going crazy and ending up on the evening news. This means extra D&D sessions (Pathfinder actually), plagiarizing a fellow internet weirdo's ingot tongs design, dredging up months-old arguments with my wife as to the existence of possibly hallucinated local woodland creatures (in yo face, Mrs. Kang!), cleverly naming my homemade foundry tools after A Song of Ice and Fire characters, or whatever it takes... This is what that looks like. You have been warned. Meet Ser Robert Tong! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwmNFKKvCeQ Kang
  18. My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Oh, wow, what a bummer. So weird... I'd expect a slightly slow pour to maybe affect the casting, but not make the whole melt freeze in the crucible! How slow were you pouring anyhow? How much do you trust your pyrometer? I'm wondering if maybe the melt just wasn't as hot as you thought it was. I'm out of my depth when it comes to this small stuff though. Might be worth posting about this one on the casting forum to see if the lost wax/vac assist casting gurus there have any insight. Or maybe Julia will pop in here with some suggestions. Kang
  19. Just a quick update to post a close-up of the silver paint touch-ups on the left edge of the 6: Kang
  20. I cheated a little and used some of my minis tactics to clean up the little dings on the left side of the 6 (silver craft acrylics and a fine tipped beater brush). Then I sprayed on a few coats of gloss sealer to hopefully protect the shiny for a while when it's sitting on the front of my sister's house. Still have to figure out what sort of surface it is going to be mounted on so I can figure out and buy the proper hardware to send along, but otherwise this is a finished project. Probably the last casting before the snow goes away - I've officially surrendered in the war to keep my melt/pour area clear - the snow just won't stop! Kang
  21. Boxer Rebellion: Box-Turtle Folk, WIP

    Fiber-based Dad jokes are definitely one of my Things, so no worries there - I totally get it and fully approve. Once the rubber in the vulcanizer heats up and starts to move under all that heat and pressure, it must relieve some of said pressure. So I can see why periodically tightening it down during the process makes sense... I wonder how the guy in that video I posted above deals with that - I bet he grabs some oven mitts every few minutes so he can crank each of those C-clamps a quick quarter turn or so tighter. Kang
  22. My Journey into Lost-Wax Metal Casting

    Those are gonna look AWESOME in silver! And even more awesomer in gold... Good luck with the pour! Kang
  23. Boxer Rebellion: Box-Turtle Folk, WIP

    Thanks for setting me straight GHarris, I kind of figured the c-clamps might be too good to be true. As a self-taught amateur in foundry work for the past 4+ years, one thing I've learned is to always take note of the voice of hard-earned experience. I have built a couple of melting furnaces and other foundry tools for the hobby foundry in my backyard, but I haven't done any lost wax casting or spin casting, and I've definitely never cast anything this tiny and detailed, so your insight is appreciated. My experience with making larger castings in aluminum and bronze in greensand molds has taught me that there are good and bad places to take a DIY Approach - ie. assuming there is no big hurry, DO save money by building your own melting furnace and welding up your own crucible tongs... But if you want your gear to work well and work safely and last a long time, DON'T line said homemade furnace with homemade refractory or try to make your own crucibles... Not ready to eat my hat quite yet though - I only said a spin casting setup could be built just as well for a fraction of the cost of buying one. Your numbers (although fairly old) have already shaved 5-7K off Talespinner's pricing without even considering any sort of DIY... I'll concede that building a setup like this from scratch that works as well as a purchased one would not be practical for most people. Kang
  24. Boxer Rebellion: Box-Turtle Folk, WIP

    Those prices take the small-time operator or hobbyist right out of the game. Hence the DIY approach taken by most foundry hobbyists I've come across. This guy sure didn't spend any $4K on his spin machine! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYVIVzCmH10 Though I will not deny that thing is hideous and probably plotting to send him to the burn unit. Still, adding more splash guards and a coat of paint would be cheap and easy enough. How much better would a commercially made vulcanizer work than his 4 C-clamps and a couple hours in the oven approach, I wonder? Possibly a lot, but $4000 better? All I'm really saying at is, if you can't beat that 15K setup figure by at least 12 or 13K by building your own gear, I'll eat my hat. Stay safe, and good luck with the upcoming bronze pour! Kang