Projects -- Foundry Notes and Pictures

Here's a picture of my main furnace. It was constructed from a 30 gallon hot water tank with an inner lining of Mizzou Castable Plus which is good to 3000F and an insulating layer of vermiculite. It has been able to melt cast iron using a Mike Porter-style burner with the addition of a dryer blower. The lid is raised using a trailer jack that is welded onto the lid and sits in a pocket welded to the side. The trailer jack is neat because I can rotate the lid 180 degrees to inspect it. The wheels were cast in aluminum using Bud Statton's pattern. They come in handy for the annual trip to the GEARS demo. See the log entries below for construction details. It also sports a 4" extension ring which is needed to fill a 20# crucible heaped up. This helped to get enough metal for a Gingery-style lathe bed in cast iron. The exhaust opening is coverd by a kiln shelf to reflect infrared radiation back into the furnace and raise the efficiency.

Casting Iron in a crucible

This is my previous Aluminum-temperature furnace. It was built from a 55-gallon steel drum with a refractory lining composed of sand, fireclay, grog (smashed-up brick to control cracks and shrinkage) and a little water. I used perlite for insulation at the top and bottom. The yellow object is a car jack; the red one is a high-pressure propane regulator. There is a hose leading back from the regulator to a 100lb. propane tank. I also appropriated the blue wading pool to contain my sand bed to catch any errant molten aluminum.

Foundry Log

(Click on each image for more pictures)
Riedweg2011Aug Pictures 201108 - Shop Nite - Aluminum pirate daggers
Riedweg2011Mar Pictures 20110302 - Shop Nite - Cast Iron pour (photos courtesy Ernie Azevedo)
GEARS2009Sep Pictures 20091025-26 - GEARS2009 Pictures
Riedweg2009Feb Pictures 20090214 - Attempted to cast a matchplate for Rex/Joe's tent couplers.
Bosse2009Jan Pictures
Riedweg2008Sept Pictures 20080913 - Acquired muller tank from Bud.
20080919 - Cut top of tank off
Statton2008Sept Pictures 20080913 - Poured Rex's Rotating Gingery Shaper Table during PME Picnic at Bud Statton's. Four days from pattern to part. Also poured brass bearings for locomotive cars in 1/4 scale, Matt Drigger's name plaques, his son's robotics team nameplates, railway car seat handles, etc.
GEARS2008Aug Pictures 20080830-31 Poured several castings for Rex's Gingery Shaper at the GEARS2008 Casting Demo.
The new furnace worked great!
Riedweg2008Aug Pictures 20080803 - Improved Gingery Lathe Crossslide and Top Slide Swivel, Gingery Shaper Ram and Cap.
New burner seems to have shortened the required time to superheat and also the gas pressure.
20080807 - Replacement top slide swivel for the one I cut in the wrong spot.
Gingery headstock caps.
20080808 - Gingery headstock which ended up with hot tear and shrinkage.
20080824 - Gingery headstock with no shrinkage but still has the hot tear.
Furnace Burner 20080723 - Rex and Joe built me a new Mike Porter-style burner.
080721-023 20080704 - Started work on new, higher temperature range, furnace. Disassembled old hot water tank.
20080706 - Cut top off, drain port, burner intake and exhaust ports.
20080711 - Welded trailer jack and inner support rebar to lid and added stand pocket to side of base.
20080720 - Welded on base frame.
20080722 - Patched bubble under burner tube that didn't get any Mizzou the first time around. Ready to fire the lining.
Miscellaneous Pattern Pictures 20080724 - Took pictures of the missing patterns for my Pattern Book.
100_3615 20071018 - 10" Banks Wheel, ingots
Repaired furnace top with S-mortar & fire-brick added 2 more handles to lower part.
45 min to superheat, 20min to subsequent, used degas - got shiny castings.
Mike Farabee offered to turn them for me and took these pictures. Thanks, Mike!!!
No pictures available. 20070822-23 - GEARS 2007 Casting Demo, 10" Banks Wheels, Gingery 4-jaw chuck, poured at GEARS 2007 Kliever Armory. 6061 Al needs hotter temps
PME 2007 Picnic 20070812 - Tried out new ingot mold, 10" Banks Wheel mold fell out (twice), rapid-prototyped mold in Al
Poured at Bud Statton's foundry during PME 2007 picnic.
brass 20061203 - RC Car Control Arms, 10" Banks Wheels, Rammer, Shaper Cross AutoFeed in Al, Hand Wheel and name plaques in brass
Poured at Bud Statton's foundry (w/ Bruce, Dexter and his sister)
Learned that brass isn't as fluid as Al so openfaced molds don't completely fill.
20061216 - RC Car Control Arms, 10" Banks Wheels in Al, Name plaques in brass. Still had problems getting the plaques to fill.
20061222 - Gingery Dividing side panels, brake ring, worm carrier in Al, Name plaques in brass. Poured at Bud Statton's foundry. Finally got a good plaque.
da38 20060923,24 - Shaper front, side panel, side mount, autofeed, bar stock
Used Randy Rockwell's setup at GEARS 2006. 20mins to pour first melt; 10 mins each succesive pour.
brass-everywhere 20060911 - Reinforced Lathe Cross Slide, Shaper Side Panel, Hand Wheel in brass
Poured at Bud Statton's foundry during Portland Model Engineers September 2006 picnic
First2006Melt-007 20060822 - Lathe Tail Stock (aka intestinal apparatus according to Eddie) and 2 faceplates, 45 min to superheat + 25 min on second superheat. Poured faceplaces openfaced. Rammed molds the day before and stored in plastic bag overnight, works great!
20060827 - Lathe Tail Stock and 2 Reinforced Top Slide castings, 45 min to superheat.
No pictures available. 20060813 - Ball End Cranks
Poured at Bud Statton's foundry during PME 2006 Picnic dry-run
No pictures available. 20051226 - Lathe Cross Slide, Top Slide Swivel and Top Slide
45 min to superheat + 25 min on second superheat, worked around a light rain by putting up a sheet of plywood and covering the furnace with some sheetmetal
No pictures available. 20050910 - Lathe Tail Stock Base and Carriage Base
Poured during Portland Model Engineers September 2005 Meeting.
First2005Melt-014 20050803 - Lathe Carriage Bed, 45 min to superheat, no degas
20050807 - Lathe Lead Screw Bearing Caps, Head Stock Bearing Caps, Daniel's Gear Shift Knob, 50 min to superheat, shifter was too close to other runners
20050810 - Lathe Head Stock, 65 min to superheat, hot tear near sprue
20050812 - Lathe Tail Stock Base, Gear Shift Knob (2nd try), 50 min to superheat, oxide streak near gate, forgot to vent
20050822 - Lathe Head Stock, Tail Stock Base, Lead Screw Bearing Caps, Gear Shift Knob (3rd try), 50 min to superheat + 25 min on second superheat, hot tear in gate but casting ok, previous venting on shifter was actually a shrinkage problem. Daniel rammed his first mold
StattonJuly2005Melt-001 20050709 - Lathe Tail Stock Hand Wheel
Poured during Portland Model Engineers July 2005 picnic, 2 in Aluminum, 1 in Brass

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Last changed 2008-July-22