Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vintage Metalworks and Foundry

The last time that I did any type of casting was 12 years ago in my high school shop class. Ever since then I have been trying to figure out on my own how to accomplish it at home.  The wait has finally paid off.

In an attempt to try and make a useful casting, I figure that the first project should be a relatively easy one.  With that in mind, I wanted to make a spacer to shorten the throw on my T-5 shifter.  I know…I could have machined it out of billet, but what fun would that have been?

First step was to make a mold.  I was originally going to make it out of one piece with a 3-4 degree draft angle on the sides.  I was then going to face both sides and drill the holes.  However, I could not come up with a good way to hold the final casting while I attempt to machine it.  So, I made a two piece mold with the parting line in the middle.  This allowed me to clamp on the widest part in both set-ups.  Before cutting the halves to size, I drilled for dowel pins to align each half.

Since I did not have the recommend talcum power to use as a mold release, I used baby powder.  The problem with baby power is that absorbs moisture and clumps up.  I didn't really hurt anything in this particular case, but it didn't really seem to help either.  Now I know....

 i built the furnace several years ago.  It is a cut down 55 gallon drum  lined with fire brick.  There is a 2.5" tube near the bottom that I can force air into using a modified furnace blower.  It currently uses charcoal as fuel, Kingsford to be exact.  I takes about an hour to melt about 5 pounds of aluminum scrap.

Unfortunaley, I did not get any good pictures of the actual pour.  Here is the aftermath...

Ohh, just think of the possibilities!