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Kang

Kang's Kreations - Molten Metal Madness

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Borax is a very good general purpose fluxing agent.

Another is Dolomite, which is available at most Building Material Dealers in sacked quantities, or from Pool Supply Dealers.

Do a web search for Fluxing Agents and you will find more information than you need for this project.

GEM

Edited by Green Eyed Monster
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Geez, looks like I missed a couple replies!  Thanks, and sorry to all for not checking back sooner.

 

Fluxes are compounds that reduce the melting points of other things so they will flow better and farther.  Other things like metals... or like crucibles and furnace linings.  Borax is a flux that is used for bronze foundry as well as brasses and other copper alloys, and (I believe) precious metals.  I know it is not used for the type of aluminum foundry work I normally do, but the explanation of the reason why would be boring.

 

I do not plan to melt the chips from sawing up my ingots.  Extra flux (to help clean metal flow out of the dross more easily when it is being skimmed off) means extra wear and tear on my crucible and furnace, so if I'm only wasting a dollar or two in shavings by tossing them in the recycle bin or just shelving them, it's not worth the effort and the wear and tear on my gear that reclaiming it would entail.  The shavings would probably cause more trouble than they're worth anyhow; the chips would almost instantly become dross (due to being almost entirely surface area), and when I skimmed that out of my crucible, I'd be taking some more clean metal out with it no matter how well I fluxed the stuff.

 

I have tried melting aluminum cans once when I was just starting to play around with foundry work.  Waste of time, that metal is so thin that most of it burns (oxidizes) rather then melting.  Literally more than half of what you get is dross (junk) that needs to be skimmed off before you can pour anything, and that is after crushing the cans as much as possible to reduce surface area and taking the time to push each can beneath the surface of the melt to reduce oxidation.  I'd expect melting chips/sawdust to work about as well.  If I had been using some kind of cutting lube (I wasn't, but it's probably advisable), then that would mean getting even more junk in the pot to become dross and/or cause porosity defects inside the resulting casting.

 

I save the dross from my aluminum melts.  I could turn it in at a recycling center, not sure what it's worth but note, aluminum oxide is what the grit on most sandpaper is made of, so it does have some value.  Perhaps it could also be used in the making of refractory products used to line the next guy's melting furnace.  Probably some day I will try to melt a bunch of it down (well, melt the clean metal out of it would probably be more accurate) and flux the heck out of it to see how much metal I can squeeze back out of it.  I'm in no rush though.

 

Don't precious metals (gold, silver, etc.) come as shot pellets or something small like that, rather than ie. 30# gold bars (about the size of my ~15# bronze ingots, near as I can guess)? 

 

Hey, if you actually do ever find yourself cutting up 30 pound gold bars with your chop saw, you should definitely shoot some video...  Me and the other internet weirdos I mentioned in that video would truly enjoy watching that!  :)

 

Kang

Edited by Kang

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1 hour ago, Kang said:

Don't precious metals (gold, silver, etc.) come as shot pellets or something small like that, rather than ie. 30# gold bars (about the size of my ~15# bronze ingots, near as I can guess)? 

 

Hey, if you actually do ever find yourself cutting up 30 pound gold bars with your chop saw, you should definitely shoot some video...  Me and the other internet weirdos I mentioned in that video would truly enjoy watching that!  :)

 

Kang

 

:blink::lol:

 

No, I don't even intend to cut any gold on my chop saw. At $1300 an ounce, a 30 lb bar would cost $625,000.00.  It will be a while before I can afford that.  No I was actually referring to the filing that one does on say a gold ring after casting and cutting it from the sprue.  It is so valuable, that it is worthwhile catching those tiny filings and refining them.

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625K, eh?  Jeez, you could almost buy a tiny little house with no driveway and barely any yard in Toronto with that!  Almost, but not quite...  Just ask my sister, who the house number plaque I've been working on is for. 

 

I'm sot sure which I'd rather have TBH.  I'm not set up for (or much interested in) casting jewelry, but on the other hand, big city living is really not my taste either - some of my hobbies don't seem like they'd mix too well with incredibly close proximity neighbours, who would more than likely send the PD and the FD right up my, er, nose, every time I fired up the Black Dread to melt something.  I mean sure, sometimes it'd be nice to have places to go that I could actually walk to...  But I value having a little more elbow room and privacy more. 

 

I guess I'd probably just take the cash instead.  It wouldn't be enough to retire on yet, but I could pay off my debts...  Pretty sure there'd still be more than enough left over to build and equip a nice heated workshop out back too... with a little more elbow room than the 2 cramped and frozen sheds I'm using now.  ::D:  I'd definitely sink some of it into foundry upgrades.  Like a big boy sand muller and a much less pathetically underpowered welding machine, a big air compressor, and a nice big kiln for heat treating stuff and curing refractory and burning out lost wax molds in so I could try some of that...  Maybe even build a small forge, so I could play around with hammers and red hot metal!  Of course then I'd need some really good ventilation too...  OK, now you've got me dreaming about winning the lottery!   ::D: 

 

Kang

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So, 2 weekends ago while it was oddly warm for a mid-January day in Ottawa and my sand was temporarily thawed out, I finally got the mold made up for casting my sister's house number plaque!  There's video on my youtube showing how I made the mold if anyone's interested - I'll link it here.  It also shows how I almost destroyed the mold accidentally gouging a bunch of sand out of the top half of the flask trying to open the mold to remove the pattern...

 

5a6a12b52902a_moldinghousenumbers.jpg.bac9c04140901da43415ba155c860aba.jpg 

 

I decided to keep that mold  anyhow, just means some extra grinding to remove an unsightly lump from the back of the casting later on to clean it up.  If I find I don't like the result, I can always re-melt it and try again, perhaps in bronze instead of aluminum...

 

I wound up storing the mold in my molding bench for a week until I got my chance to pour it just this past Saturday.  I wasn't sure how well it would have kept; greensand molds prefer to get poured right away, but I figured the frigid conditions would help keep the mold from disintegrating once it began to dry out.

 

This seemed to work OK.  Not my very best casting ever, but I think it is usable...  I shot video of melting the aluminum and pouring the mold as well, which I will also link here for anyone who wants to see some fire and molten metal action. 

 

5a6a146742432_castinghousenumbers.jpg.8e604423c88bf182785d591c4f554a0d.jpg

 

I do have a couple of pictures also, for those who don't care about video:

 

20180120_232534-1040x780.thumb.jpg.8b4f2090777175e25673c4c82f440290.jpg

 

IMG_20180120_233152590_HDR-585x1040.thumb.jpg.c92cee4cdbc9aeddcbc050873d4072d2.jpg

 

IMG_20180120_233129872_HDR-1040x585.thumb.jpg.f07e5cc0a64748798f6a043c03230dc8.jpg

 

Looks a little rough around the numbers in places; that is where a bit sand broke off the mold.  Wish I could blame it on letting the mold sit so long, but this happened while I was making the mold and drawing the pattern out of it.  Hopefully once the background is painted a dark colour, that won't be so obvious...

 

Hey, I was reading in an FAQ/guidelines post somewhere how the mods would prefer people link to YT videos rather than embedding, and I've been following that recommendation.  But plain links are so boring... so I got to thinking and figured out a way to use a screenshot of the video embeds as they appear on another forum as a hyperlink to the video, that way the thumbnail appears like an embed, but the video won't load and use up people's bandwidth unless they click on it.  So, all the imagey goodness of an embedded video, but without eating people's mobile data...  What do you folks think about this approach?

 

Kang

Edited by Kang
added 2nd youtube link
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More progress on the house number plaque project: 

 

- Gating has been removed using the new bandsaw

- Edges and corners ground/sanded smooth using oscillating edge and spindle sander

- Raised surfaces roughly hand-sanded (100 grit)

- Spray-painted black

- Paint sanded off raised surfaces

 

housenum.jpg.96654a84851288a4c00e0d48eaf207ac.jpg

 

Still to do:

 

- Upload new edit - click on pic above to see video of all the aforementioned sanding and sawing and sanding and grinding and sanding and painting and sanding. 

- repair scratched paint and greasy fingerprints the kids left on the paint job last night when I turned my back for a second.

- Higher grit sanding of raised surfaces & cleaning up a few little casting defects (pits/pores) as best I can (left edge of the "6", center of bottom border, etc.)

- Seal for outdoor use

- Select mounting hardware

- Send to my sister!

 

Thanks for having a look!

 

Kang

Edited by Kang
added hyperlink to video and updated the to do section
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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.

 

20180210_080857-800x600.jpg.11e6eaf6298cdaf53328d39487a346e7.jpg

 

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!

 

20180209_170254-1-645x484.jpg.18e91e394d714b62ea1600016b27d039.jpg

 

Kang

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Just a quick update to post a close-up of the silver paint touch-ups on the left edge of  the 6:

 

20180210_101138-800x600.jpg.3360603a9e862d89ab1833ad1a0ff826.jpg

 

Kang

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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

tongthumb.jpg.e566094a61b84d0ba069767782be3186.jpg

 

Kang

 

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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

whaleoil.jpg.a14d8f7753caace9269781b141d3237b.jpg

 

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

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<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.

IMG_0889.jpg.a85423bd4602d95606cee9886ea8d18c.jpg

 

And I have a slightly different wheel picked out for mine, off an old lawnmower:

20180313_211748-1040x780.thumb.jpg.2dcb63bec946c5ba6a3301702a25f02c.jpg

 

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

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Here's my (as-yet unmodified) cement mixer, a better roller wheel I found that I'll use instead of the lawnmower wheel above, and the round piece of 3/16 or 1/4" (somewhere in there) steel plate that I will be tack welding in place for the roller and scrapers to ride on:

 

fullmixer-520x390.jpg.dce1cf41c040d7a8461c6bdc2f8c88b1.jpg

 

rollerwheel-520x390.jpg.6a5324a1b0b1974241ba9dc227f44f0a.jpg

 

wearplate-520x390.jpg.36dc2261f19f4e2285f43fc62db8d385.jpg

 

The circle was easy to cut out once I had it drawn on in sharpie, I used my portable band saw held in a vise with the plate lain flat on a kitchen step-stool to bring it up to the level of the blade.  Then I just slowly spun the plate and did my best to follow the line.

 

I just noticed HT1's (the red one above) has had not just the upper part of the top half of the mixing drum cut off, but also the outer edge where on mine there is extra metal that extends past the top surface of the lower drum half and curls down over it.  If I did this it would make more room to attach the supports for the upper arm I'll be adding.  So that will probably be happening to mine too, since I've been trying to figure out how that can possibly fit.  Things are starting to make sense!

 

Kang

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Got some work done on cutting and fitting some of the muller parts over the weekend. Not as much as I'd hoped, but some is better than none...

I figured out what shape of the upright arms that will hold the cross piece that the scrapers and roller will be attached to will need to be, and cut one out arm of some heavy angle iron, I think it ought to be plenty sturdy once it's bolted onto the mixer frame.

 

DXZBga6.jpg

 

Still need to cut out its mirror image for the opposite side, but I have it all laid out and ready to start cutting. Cutting this one out was a long drawn out process; I made a cardboard template first and traced that onto the angle iron to show me where to cut. A hole saw for where the angle slips around the tilting axle of the mixer proved to be pretty much useless, or at least so slow that I ran out of patience for it. My portable band saw (gripped in the bench vise by its handle, same approach I used for cutting out the wear plate disc) and my angle grinder with a couple of thin cutoff wheels eventually got the job done though...

 

Test fitted the wear plate too. Used a little dollar store sink plunger to help me lower it into place to save my fingers getting pinched, got an idea of how low it would actually be sitting, took it back out, drew a couple (level) lines inside the drum then put the plate back in; the lines helped me get it tweaked to about as close to level as I could get it without taking a grinder to the edges (which I may do later on, if I think it needs fine tuning before it is secured to the drum. However I decide to do that).

 

SIlSfQh.jpg

 

brGKpFq.jpg

 

There's a video version of this post on my youtube channel too, for those who like to watch. Didn't get as much footage of cutting chunks out of out that piece of angle as I maybe could have. But there is a never before shown look at the underside of the first muller I tried to build, you guys might get a chuckle out of that. If I had built it a bit sturdier and less flimsy, the only reason I'd be building a new one instead of repairing the old one would be the first muller's very small capacity. I think I can use some of the pieces of the old muller's stand in the new build as well, there's a lot of angle iron and pipe in it that I'm going to be finding ways to re-use.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNbnBMqme78

 

I'm not sure how fast the rest of the build is gonna be; I never got around to trying to clear the ice and snow off my back porch (I would have, but there's still some ice on the roof above that I didn't want sliding down onto my head while I was working), but once that's clear and free of falling ice hazards, it's where I'd like to move the project to so I can spread out a little more and stop hogging the whole dining room with it. So I find myself in the position of waiting for the snow and ice to clear before I can hopefully get the project finished by the time the snow and ice clears... Hmmm.

 

Kang

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Made some more progress on the muller over the long weekend, after using my bronze axe to chop up the ice on my back porch so it could be shoveled off and I could roll the mixer/muller out there from the dining room to make room for Easter dinner - need half a handful more fasteners to complete the upper crossbar installation, but to be honest it might already be sturdy enough.   But I'm gonna put them in anyhow...  I also trimmed down the top edge of the mixer drum.  Once the crossbar is fully bolted in place, I'll have to figure out how to hang the roller and scrapers from it.

 

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In have lots of video of cutting/drilling/grinding/attaching the steel parts, but that all still needs to all be edited together and uploaded.

 

Kang

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Edited, uploaded, and ready for your viewing pleasure...

 

https://youtu.be/oeebNwgC4zE

 

Includes no muller progress beyond what is in the previous post, but you might get a laugh out of seeing me deal with broken bandsaw blades and drill bits and fighting kids...  Oh and there is grinding.  And sawing.  Grinding and sawing steel.  And drilling!  Grinding and sawing and drilling steel, that is mostly what you will see here.  Plus there's some bolting...

 

Also includes the epic duel between Dawn Age Westeros' most coveted magic weapons: Ice Vs. Tobho Mott's Valyrian Bronze Axe of the First Men!

(Ok not really, it's "ice" not "Ice"...)

 

Kang

Edited by Kang
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