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aluminum foundry

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aluminum foundry

Unread postAuthor: pat123 » Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:49 pm

I am starting to build an aluminum foundry. I found a how to on the internet. I am planning on making stocks and such for my guns.
I only have one question; would it be better to use charcoal or propane to melt the aluminum? the propane will burn hotter, is probably cheaper, and is definitely less messy. the charcoal will be easier to control and will stay right around the container of aluminum.
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Unread postAuthor: SpudFarm » Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:50 pm

propane
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Unread postAuthor: trollhameran » Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:56 pm

I would say propane if you can set it up to work in the same sort of way as a gas barbecue so that it is more controlled
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Unread postAuthor: BC Pneumatics » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:03 pm

Charcoal is cheaper, and much harder to control.

Propane is expensive, and easy to control. It also burns clean, and is usually the only option for a domestic setting.

Oil has it's ups and downs as well, more info can be had on the net.
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Unread postAuthor: psycix » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:22 pm

Well, I guess both work, one can be cheaper then the other depending on where you live (though I guess charcoal is cheaper)
Propane may be more controllable and cleaner, but your setup will cost more money and effort too.
Using charcoal all you need to make is some air-boosted BBQ.
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Unread postAuthor: DYI » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:41 pm

We're doing something similar to melt down steel for our go-kart's engine casing. We'll be using charcoal, with a steady air flow, two smaller adjustable airflows, and an oxygen inlet if we need to get it even hotter.

But this will be a long way from civilisation, and steel melts at a much higher temperature than aluminum. I'd say go for propane, as long as you've got the hang of the throttling and adjustment. The only easier part of charcoal is that you can't overfuel.
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Unread postAuthor: rp181 » Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:55 pm

propane.
But make sure you know what your doing. Dont just do it because you found a how too.
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Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:08 pm

What kind of how-to is this?

There is an EXCELLENT book by David J. Gingery which describes everything you will ever need to know to make a simple charcoal aluminum foundry. Everything from proper mold-making, proper mold-sand mixing, proper temperature control, what to make your crucibles out of, what to make the foundry out of, how to induce the proper airflow into the burning charcoal... everything. The book is the first book in the series "Build Your Own Working Metal Shop from Scrap" and is titled "The Charcoal Foundry". You can get if off of Amazon or you might be able to find it at a Books a Million or Barnes & Noble.

As long as you take the time to design a good burner (talking about charcoal or propane here), it doesn't really matter which fuel you use. I will say that charcoal will come out much cheaper, and if done right will do the job the same as propane. Propane would certainly add that "k3wl" factor, but not add any benefits to the end-product, which would be a casted aluminum part.

Check out that book I told you about. I read it for a research project I had to do last year and it's good stuff (along with other books from the same series).
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Unread postAuthor: OuchProgramme » Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:21 pm

Well for propane you could control the temp quite easliy...
Just make a device that lowers and lifts the melting pot.
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Unread postAuthor: jr » Sun Jun 08, 2008 11:53 pm

If you have natural gas that may be cheaper than LP... with all the benefits
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Unread postAuthor: ammosmoke » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:40 am

Charcoal really isn't that hard. Just have a bed of it, and blast the backflow from a shopvac into it. Connect the hose to the outlet, and add a pipe to the end. Make a pipe coming out of you coal bed, and line the pipe from the vacuum up with the pipe coming out of the coal bed. Change the distance in between the two to change the heat level. Go to jamesyawn.com and look at his foundry experimentation.
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Unread postAuthor: BC Pneumatics » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:45 am

jr wrote:If you have natural gas that may be cheaper than LP... with all the benefits


A household natural gas line is about a half pound. Unless you use a secondary compressor to repressurize it (say overnight) in a holding vessel, then use it in a short period, you will not have enough heat to do much to a crucible of aluminum.

I read in Popular Mechanics that the cost alone of these pumps made it a poor investment to use natural gas vehicles. (At least, at the household level. Fleets such as that of UPS use LPG/natural gas at an efficient level.) If these pumps cannot pay themselves off providing an alternative to gasoline, then I cannot imagine the average backyard foundry would justify purchasing one.
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Unread postAuthor: jr » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:48 am

Thanks BC
I stand corrected....I was unawer of the psi of natual gas...
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Unread postAuthor: SpudMonster » Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:21 am

You COULD run a bigger natural gas line (3/4" perhaps) and power a large industrial burner (or even homemade) like this one http://johntunger.typepad.com/artbuzz/1 ... burner.JPG
19" diametr, 2 rings. I'm sure some 3/8" copper or stainless tubing and a bit of time with a 1/16" drill bit would work wonders.
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Unread postAuthor: pat123 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:14 am

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?
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