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aluminum foundry

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Unread postAuthor: psycix » Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:53 am

An old harddisk can be used for some allminium.
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Unread postAuthor: THUNDERLORD » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:10 pm

pat123 wrote:I peeled the plastic off of an old mop and i found what i thought was aluminum. I stuck a magnet to it and it sticks so i guess it isn't aluminum. what is a good source of aluminum?


The obvious, CANS?
One time in H.S. a kid took a road flare and melted through a street sign. If you can find abandoned ones or parking signs it's good.
(Strict penalty and it's stupid to take good ones).

Scrap Metal prices are up so it's harder to find stuff laying around.

I've been buying up brass pieces from local Thrift stores in hopes of getting enough to build a big real brass cannon someday.

Interesting that a few candle sticks and such are worth more as scrap than I paid for them. (new scheme?).
But I can't find enough supply priced low enough to make it worthwhile. The workers are usually pretty dense and it would be easy to switch the tags but that's bad.

I saw a brass lamp that was 1.5 ft.+ and tapered It had big dragons/flames all over it
And if I could've melted brass into it with a hole for the bore, it would've been awesome,($12!!!).
By the time I went to get it someone snatched it up :(

I don't know about building a brass foundry yet.
I hope you keep us updated on your Aluminum one. 8)

BTW I read the energy saved from one recycled can could power a T.V. for three hours.
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Unread postAuthor: BC Pneumatics » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:40 pm

Cans are hardly worth wile for casting. After you get a good pool of molten Al going, you can use a rod to push some cans to the bottom (if you try to melt them on top, the majority will oxidize and become worthless) you have to scrape off ungodly amounts of slag from the lacquer that makes up the label. It is an awful amount of work for what yields a pretty poor casting alloy.

Form a good relationship with your local scrapper, it will be invaluable. I have found that many are willing to swap Al cans for more desirable casting alloys, at little or no profit to them. It helps to become a good customer first. Find a place that has decent prices, and a good selection of metals. Once they get to know you, many yard workers will give you tips on some diamond in the rough deposits that were dropped off. I was once lucky enough to come across a stash of about 100lbs of lead in ~1lb ingots, ready for the pot. They were surrounded by hundreds of ~.64cal bullets, and I took a load of both for my casting.

If your area has large trash pickups (scheduled events where people can put 'whatever' at the curb, and the trash company hauls it away on a certain date.) You can usually raid the neighborhood piles and find a good bit of Al. Just don't forget your magnets. As Thunderlord mentioned, scrap prices are pretty high, so you will more than likely have some competition if you decided to gather during a trash pickup. I did this one year when I was delivering papers, and found that even looking around after work at 3-4am I was not alone. You will also have to break a lot of things (like lawn furniture) down to smaller sizes for storage until you can cast ingots, and so they actually fit it in the crucible when that time comes. (That is, if you even bother to make ingots.)

An air grinder will take a small fraction of the time a hack saw will, but does nothing for your standing in the local Arm Wrestlers of America chapter. Also, don't worry about getting out all the steel rivets. When the time comes to melt the scrap, just twist a long wire around the rivet and drop in the Al. When the Al has melted, the wire will allow you to pull the rivet out of the pot, leaving nice clean liquid Al.
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Unread postAuthor: THUNDERLORD » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:21 pm

@Bc Pneumatics, Good Info, Thanks.

I am wondering about casting Aluminum into a spent 12 gram co2
Then drilling it out and either tapping or casting a threaded piece into it.

To create a homemade part(s) like <a href="http://www.palmer-pursuit.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=40&products_id=192">this.</a>

Don't think I'd sell them (due to safety concerns), but I'd like a few for myself.

Rather than make a new post I was asking here, since Pat might find it interesting also.

Thanks in advance for any info on that. :wink: 8)
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Unread postAuthor: BC Pneumatics » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:26 pm

Thunderlord, click the button to edit your post. You will be able to see how to format a link :)
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Unread postAuthor: magnum9987 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:36 pm

About original question: Charcoal. Charcoal definitely burns hotter, as long as you pump air into it. Another thing is, like making steel, carbon from the charcoal will make an alloy.

No, i do not suggest you make co2 containers. The exact alloy you may get is totally imperfect. You can't just look at a metal and say oh, aircraft aluminum, unless of course it is written right on it. Color is nothing to go by as well. A huge load of elements color metal including phosporous (white) nitrogen (blue), strontium (red), and none of those elements help in an alloy. So unless you have an electron microscope to examine a metal sample, you have no idea precisely what alloy you have.
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Unread postAuthor: THUNDERLORD » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:43 pm

@BC, Great! Thanks a lot Bc Pneumatics.
I spent a long time looking at other peoples' profiles when I see that but gave up after a while.

For the help you deserve<a href="http://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/view/488172/">These</a>
Awesome! It worked!!! :D

@magnum9987, True about the metal but since it would be cast into a spent cartridge I'm not worried about bursting.
Only the hose thread shooting out. 8)

Thanks :wink:
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Unread postAuthor: ammosmoke » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:04 pm

Did anyone take my advice and look at James Yawn's site? Its actually not too bad...
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Unread postAuthor: magnum9987 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:15 pm

You should also induce a large charge of dc current. The very way aluminum ore is purified is by dc current (The process is not too different from electrolysis). A large charge of dc current will remove impurities. The only downside is that the electricity required is huge. Of course, a dose of electricity is not a necessity.
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Unread postAuthor: THUNDERLORD » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:46 pm

ammosmoke wrote:Did anyone take my advice and look at James Yawn's site? Its actually not too bad...


Myself,I plan to. I probably won't be making a foundry for a while.
Because I have a small yard and where I'd build it is far away.

Also I don't have enough brass yet to melt down for a "real" cannon. :P
I plan to check it out. Always been into Blacksmithing also. Thanks

@Magnum9987, I bet aluminum industry is really looking into alternative sources of generating Electricity.(If not secretly using them already)
That one year it rained so much I was suspecting Hydrogen fuel.

The necessity of lots of electricity is one of the reasons AL is a more modern metal.
That's for mining it mostly and the reason recycling it saves power.

Save the enviornment, recycle alum. into cannon parts!!! 8)
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Unread postAuthor: magnum9987 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:53 pm

Right on! But anyways, brass is a more difficult metal to smelt or recycle. Like i said earlier, you don't know which alloy you get. Bullet cartridge brass is perfect for making cannons. Go to any gun range and buy off as many shells as you can or steal them. Do not smelt pennies, bells, or copper piping. Piping is too pure in copper content, making it to malleable to make into brass, unless you can measure the perfect proportion of piping to tin. Tin is even harder to get. Of course, tin foil is no longer used. (DING! for aluminum get aluminum foil! DUR DUR DUR!) So you need to find a way to get tin. The best way is to just recycle cartridges.
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Unread postAuthor: BC Pneumatics » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:49 pm

Using Al foil would be even worse than the cans...
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Unread postAuthor: Gippeto » Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:55 am

My dad has a home foundry/machine shop. He casts everything from zinc alloys (ZA 12) to iron.

He started out with the Gingery books that Mark mentioned, and advanced from there.

He uses a modified gingery furnace fitted with a homemade naturally aspirated propane burner, simple and damn loud! :D

For Aluminum, he "recycles" mostly dead small engine cases.

Iron - any thin sectioned castings that can be broken up.

If he is casting something more "structural" where the material strength could become a factor, he buys the metal in ingot form. ie.-Silica bronze for steam cylinders.

If you want to get into casting metals, there are several metal casting sites on the web, and several forums on yahoo groups.

Above all, be VERY careful, molten metal is something you need to take seriously.

As to a recommendation of propane vs charcoal, I would say propane.

It's much cleaner (no ashes to deal with), lights "right now", and you won't need a blower.

A modified Reil burner or Mongo burner can be built for not much in the way of funds.

My .02 :)
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