In the building of my two homemade CNC machines I have come to realize that to make my own aluminum parts would be really really helpful. So... I am starting my own homemade aluminum foundry :)
I have done a lot of reading online before even starting and I've decided rather than start with a charcoal foundry as most hobbyists do - I've decided to jump right to a propane fueled furnace.
Here's a few pictures of what I have so far:
The furnace is a 6 gallon trash can - I put a layer of perlite / furnace cement mix around the outside and in the lid (notice the holes I cut for venting and for the torch) - then I put a layer of pure furnace cement on top of that... It should give me a good protection / insulation :)
The propane tank I "stole" from my BBQ grill and the torch is off the shelf at Harbor Freight - it's "Labeled" a weed burning torch - but it's easily hot enough to melt the aluminum
I have built a crucible - but forgot to take a picture of it - it's basically the bottom of an old Propane tank that I cut off the top from and some tools for lifting it from the furnace and pouring the AL - I'll take pictures soon of those...
Right now - I am waiting for the cement to dry before I can really test it out - I'm not known to be the most patient - I hope I can hold off! hehe
One final note - I plan on doing lost foam casting - so if anyone knows where to get the "Dow Blue" rigid foam - let me know! :) I will "mill" the blue foam on my CNC - dip it in wall texture - bury it in sand - then pour molten aluminum in and make my own parts ;)
Here's the pictures!
Sorry for the lag in updates - been trying to get everything working smoothly :)
I'm thinking that part of my problem (besides the mental ones :)) is that my insulation was too thin and not giving good enough heat retention - so I went out and bought a bag of actual refractory cememt (Thermal Ceramics Kaocrete HS to be exact) and remade the lid and relined the furnace - it's still kinda drying I think so I haven't fired it up yet - but I'm hoping this will help :)
I may be building my own torch too depending on some answers I get at the forums - I'm afraid that the weed burning torch - while it gets hot enough - might be wasting too much propane... Stay tuned on that one :)
Here's a picture of the new refractory
Ok - playing around with the burner and I definitely got something that works - and works really well! - to check out the new burner build go HERE - but here's a few pics of the burner "installed" and firing up the furnace :)
Well - small update here... I don't know if you could tell from previous pictures, but my cavity in my furnace was not exactly round... I'd used a cardboard tube and it collapsed a bit when I poured the refractory leaving some flat spots in there... so I took about 3 hours and cement saw blade and rounded the cavity out! Here's a good look at the results!
(also take a look at the new blower modification I made HERE)
OK That's where I am on this one Foundry's pretty much done- if I make and modifications or upgrades - I'll post them :)