Help You Learn & Understand How To Sand Cast Molten Metal.
In this age of rapidly diminishing practical skills, the purpose of this web site is to teach practical foundry skills & techniques which will provide independance and freedom of expression in metal. People tell us over and over that they lament the death of the old style skilled tradesman, and you'd know who they mean wouldn't you... the kind of bloke who can fix or make almost anything, or create beautiful things in metal from a simple idea.
Does That Sound Like Something That You Would Like To Do?
Are you practical minded? Like to build things? Enjoy a creative practical challenge? Then welcome to the world of hobby metal casting, we have a heap of idea's and things for you to explore.
You'll be joining other people from over forty seven countries from around the globe learning about the art of metal casting, we can help teach & share with you how to set up your hobby foundry, right in your own home workshop using equipment & tools you can easily self-build.
Many people really enjoy casting metal, there is something magic about watching molten metal flow into a sand mould.
But What Can I Make You May Ask?
All kinds of things. The only limiting factor is the amount of: Skill - Imagination - Determination & Passion you have. Foundry work is fairly basic, generally, a timber pattern is made using simple hand wood working tools, the pattern is used to create a cavity in a two-part sand mould, the sand is rammed around the pattern, then it is carefully removed, the molten metal which is melted in a simple furnace, is poured quickly into the mould cavity, and allowed to solidify. The more you learn about metal casting, the better your skills, creativity & work will become.
Practical minded people begin casting metal for all kinds of different reasons, the trigger for most is a desperate need to remake an obsolete part for a restoration project, and when you think about it, it really makes sense, if a part was originally made using the green sand casting technique, then nine times out of ten, it can be reproduced again using the same technique, this is the kind of thing we teach in our ebooks, using practical methods to recreate castings from aluminium or bronze. The metal casting process is not difficult to learn, and once you know how, you are only limited by your imagination.
The image above shows a common foundry moulding medium called green sand, the name has nothing to do with the colour. When a pattern is rammed with well prepared green sand in a mould box, the fine grains of sand bond together & retain the exact shape of the pattern, (foundry sand is not quite the same as beach or river sand), and when the pattern is rapped & removed, a replica shaped cavity remains which is where the molten metal is poured. Other types of silica sand can be used for making moulds also, but green sand is good to start with. Many art casting studios still use only green sand for their foundry work.
Aluminium, because of it's relatively low melting temperature (740C) is a great way to begin metal casting, you can collect & melt good quality scrap to make your own ingots, which will be used at a later stage to make quality metal castings, good clean scrap can be sourced from: engine inlet manifolds, old aluminium cylinder heads, cast aluminium cover plates, bell housings, etc. Good scrap metal can be found in many places.
Salamander Silicon Carbide Crucible.
Most hobby foundry workers build their own Gas Fired Furnace. The Metal Casting Made Easy ebook provides complete instructions. All measurements are supplied in both imperial and metric. The furnace interior is lined with a high temperature resistant refractory cement which can be obtained from a foundry supply warehouse, you can also make your own home made refractory, (an old time recipe is included in the ebook) but the home brew refractory may not last as long as the proven commercial variety, but it is a low-cost way to start with.
Internal View Of Red Hot Gas Fired Furnace.
After preparing the sand mould, and the metal has reached a molten state in the furnace & crucible, it is then ready to pour. The crucible full of molten metal is carefully removed from the furnace with a pair of special lifting tongs and placed into a well designed pouring shank, wearing the proper safety gear you take hold of the pouring shank which cradles the crucible and then quickly pour the molten metal into the sprue of the sand mould. After the metal cools down, the mould boxes can be pulled apart to reveal the bright new metal art casting - vintage car or motorcycle part, or perhaps a reproduction part for an old machine of some kind, the objects you can make with metal casting are almost endless.
Pouring Molten Metal Into a Green Sand Mould.
When you have become familiar with the methods and techniques of metal casting you will be able to start making your own special castings, which may include parts for veteran & vintage cars, or even the later model classic models built in the sixties. The raw castings in the picture below are fresh out of the green sand mould, the large cone shaped vertical extensions are the sprues & riser. The castings pictured below are the raw cast slugs of clutch slave cylinders for a British car built in the sixties.
Raw Aluminium Automotive Slave Cylinder Castings.
The gates - runners & sprues are then removed from the castings, along with the sand cores, the cylinders are then prepared for the machining operations, to carry out the machining of the castings, a small bench lathe, a pedestal drill, and some small home made tooling & jigs were used to produce the finished cylinder as shown below. The casting of pressure vessels requires that very tight, porous free metal is cast, there are simple techniques you can employ to cast high quality cylinders, these techniques are explained in the books.
Fully Machined Slave Cylinder Ready To Install.
The ebooks available on this web site have helped countless people learn how to cast their own vintage car - motor-cycle - antique - art castings - sculptures - property name plates - and odd parts for special projects. The possibilities are endless once you know and understand the basic methods and techniques of metal casting. But you should also be aware that handling molten metal can be dangerous, unsafe practices can cause personal injuries. The metal casting process requires that great care should be exercised at all times, the hobby foundry is not the place for stupidity or careless behaviour.
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