Well I've finally gotten to the point where I think I can share this one - I've been working on a new tilting furnace, not exactly a reverb furnace as I'm heating the metal directly - anyway, check out the article and let me know what you think :)

Propane Tank
I started with an old propane tank I found on the side of the road. First thing I did was hook up my burner to burn off any excess fuel that might have been in there - it didn't even light for a second so I was worried that it was either broke (and there was fuel in there) or that it was indeed empty. It felt empty, but I really couldn't be sure so I proceeded with extreme caution :)

I figured that I needed to get the valve off so I tried to unscrew it but it was stuck and would not budge so I cut it off by hand with a hack saw - I figured that the brass wouldn't spark anyway - especially at the slow speed of hand cutting - well I'm still here so there was no excitement :)

Once I got the valve off there was still some stuff inside the tank - looked like plastic so I just drilled it out to make some room for me to fill the tank with water. With the tank filled with water I then proceeded to cut off all the various parts with my angle grinder. For drawing the lind on the tank, I placed it on the floor with blocks of wood on each side I drew a straight line and then used a string to connect the lines over the curved part. probably not perfect but it's close enough (like I'm going to be able to cut a straight perfect line with my angle grinder anyway) :)

I didn't want to cut into the tank with it full of water with my electric angle grinder, so I emptied and refilled several times to make sure there was no propane left (which I don't see how there could have been but just to be sure). I then left it out to dry overnight - also to make sure there wasn't anything left in there! In the morning I did a spark test at the top hole to see if anything would light up, nothing so I knew I was good to go for cutting the tank. I have seen people do a spark test on a tank that HAD propane left in it and I knew it would not explode with the big hole at the top... YOUR mileage may vary so don't take my word or method for it - maybe I was lucky!

DON'T CUT INTO A PROPANE TANK UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR A FACT IT'S EMPTY!
There I said it ;)


I cut the tank in two with my angle grinder with a metal cutting disc. Then I switched to a grinding disc and cleaned off the edges that were sharp. As I figured I did not follow the line very well in a few places and it's not perfect - but I don't care about perfect I care if it's functional and it works just fine.

Frame and Welding
Next I wanted to work on the frame for the furnace - I wasn't sure of exact dimensions so I kinda built the frame around the tank. Turns out that wasn't very good idea and I had to break a few welds and re do them - I *should* have worked things out in Solidworks first but once I get going I hate to stop.. In the end it all works, but better planning would have made it a little smoother.

For the frame I used what I had on hand, which was some angle iron and some square iron pieces. I cut the angle iron about 3" from the end on one side and put it in the old furnace to heat it up red hot so I could flatten it for the "hinge" - now I think I'm a blacksmith? LOL no - not really but it was cool hammering on the red hot steel :)

So basically I kept welding and fitting things together until I got something that was working. I am posting pictures of my horrible welding skills as well, by the end I was getting a little better but I'm still not considering myself a "welder" - again - if it works then I don't care how it looks.

I welded on a hinge for the top, the spout at the front and on the top I welded on a pipe for me to put the burner in. The spout may change if it doesn't work so good, so far it's not been a problem but I'll have to see if it clogs and I can cut off the top of it if I need to.

Refractory Cement

Next was filling the tank base and top with the refractory cement. I made a mold for the cavity using a Tupperware container and some wood and duct tape - fancy, I know ;) I used a board to suspend the mold and also taped a pvc pipe to the end of my burner pipe so no refractory would get in there.

Next I mixed up the refractory and poured it in - needless to say, you can see I was a little short! I was hoping that an inch wouldn't be that much of a factor.

In the next four pictures you can see me testing out the furnace a bit. I fired it up and melted a little aluminum. I took forever (compared to what I was used to) I was used to getting to molten aluminum in about 15 minutes in my old furnace and this took over 1/2 a hour and wasn't completely liquid. So I turned to the castinghobby Yahoo group and the guys there told me to try some ITC-100 and line the furnace with that - so I did

Final Adjustments

In the last pictures you can see a couple of the things I've done. #1 was to try and close up that inch or so of space - and for that I used some furnace cement from Ace hardware - I figure it's not going to see any "action" over there by the side and hopefully it'll insulate just a little bit. Also you can see the dull grey color of the ITC-100 that I "painted" all over everything.

Well that's it - hopefully I'll get around to making a video soon of it melting some metal and casting something - I will post it here if I do! Thanks for checking this out and as always if you have any comments or questions just shoot me an email! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.