How to make a simple backyard foundry for less than $20, for melting pop cans, and casting aluminum.
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Project Inspired By:
This foundry is an original design, which comes after months of experimenting, and over 10 different prototypes. The functionality is founded on ideas I collected while searching the internet for different furnace designs.
Charcoal foundries can reach temperatures in excess of 1,000ºC, which is well above the melting point of hobbyists. This project should only be attempted with adequate knowledge and training, proper protective safety gear, and in a fire resistant area with adequate ventilation. The sparks flying from the foundry can ignite fires, and the fumes from burning dross can be toxic. Use caution and common sense. Use of this video content is at your own risk.
Project History & More Info:
For this project I experimented with 10 different prototypes, to develop a reusable backyard foundry that melts aluminum soda cans easily and safely. I tested different refractory recipes, different containers, different setting for blowing air, and different types of makeshift crucibles.
I tried various ratios of portland cement, sand, perlite, plaster of paris, water, and even kitty litter. For containers, I experimented with clay pots, plastic buckets, no container, cinderblocks, and a galvanized steel pail.
I ended up favoring the galvanized steel pail, and a mix of 50% plaster of paris, and 50% play sand, by volume, which was inspired by a video by NightHawkInLight "How to Make a Soup Can Forge" bit.ly/IBSoupCanForge
Depending on where you get, or find, your materials the cost can range anywhere from $5-$25 per unit. With the materials I used, I was able to make 2 units for under $40 ($20 each). Even on the high end, this is probably one of the cheapest, reliable, backyard foundries that can be made.
I used mine to melt soda cans, and extract the aluminum for future metal casting projects. All the soda cans came from a local recycling depot. I bought back 30 lbs from the depot to avoid having to drink gallons and gallons of soda. :) I stored the ingots in various forms, which you can see in the video"Melting Cans With The Mini Metal Foundry" goo.gl/pTP1uG
The technique for making the sword in that video, and the gun in this video is called "Lost Foam Casting" and will be demonstrated in a future project video.