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Casting, thru machining, to working item

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spec

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This is a fascinating video, to me anyway. It shows the complete progress from green sand and raw aluminum to a working item. What surprises me is the quality of the finished product.

It was only last year that I learned from Nikolai Petrenko, who suggested casting some heatsinks, that home metal casting is viable.

Does any one else do metal casting- I know that Les Jones has the facilities- and, if so, what items have you made?

spec

 
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picbits

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Loved it - I really should get my two lathes back up and running, oh and my home built milling machine finished off .....
 

spec

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Loved it - I really should get my two lathes back up and running, oh and my home built milling machine finished off .....
My first love was mechanical engineering with electronics a very close second.

My big must-haves are, metal working lathe, welder, and oscilloscope. A milling machine/shaper were simply a bridge too far for me.

But, although I have owned various lathes, I never got them running to be used as a tool. I recently gave away a model maker's lathe, in bits.

A friend gave me a welder that he inherited from his Dad, but it was a monster designed for stainless steel shop fittings and was simply too powerful for normal use. My missus became quite unreasonable when it melted the wall socket in the kitchen so, in the end, I gave the welder to a guy that makes boat anchors (he also has a high current supply).

I do have a large engineer's vice, pillar drill, and gas torch, plus the usual hand tools though.

I looked into getting a man's anvil, but was surprised how expensive they are now.

I also do a bit of woodworking and have got a router, woodworking vice, planes etc.

And I do have a decent scope.

But, at the moment, no workshop.:banghead:

spec

PS: any pictures of your equipment?
 
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picbits

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1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg Some home pics. Nothing really compared to the fun I have at work ;)

Here is a timelapse video I took of one of the "cells" I help maintain (and helped install)

 
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Joe G

Member
I did sand and lost foam/wax metal casting as a hobby for many years, I really enjoyed it, mostly aluminum and brass. I just made parts for my hobbies, motor mounts, brackets..,, some small to over a gallon of aluminum per pour. doing brass one hot day over 100, my face shied warped from the heat during that pour, that was the last time I did that hobby. Wear good protective clothing, I used a kevlar coat and gloves.
I would get the aluminum from pistons and old pump housing, I wish I was still casting, I could use a couple parts...lol
 

spec

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Some home pics. Nothing really compared to the fun I have at work ;)

Here is a timelapse video I took of one of the "cells" I help maintain (and helped install)

Nice. :)

spec
 

spec

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I did sand and lost foam/wax metal casting as a hobby for many years, I really enjoyed it, mostly aluminum and brass. I just made parts for my hobbies, motor mounts, brackets..,, some small to over a gallon of aluminum per pour. doing brass one hot day over 100, my face shied warped from the heat during that pour, that was the last time I did that hobby. Wear good protective clothing, I used a kevlar coat and gloves.
I would get the aluminum from pistons and old pump housing, I wish I was still casting, I could use a couple parts...lol
Did you give up casting because of the safety aspects?

Hmm, brass casting- I didn't realise that you could do that at home- what sort of crucible did you use?

One thing that I have wondered about: pistons for example, are made from some very high specification aluminum alloys so the question is, are the properties of the aluminum alloys changed by melting. If not, do you think it would it be possible to cast structural parts and be able to rely on them in a critical position, say a motorbike front fork yoke, for example.

Is it possible to cast other materials- presumably steel would be just too higher temperature?

spec
 

Joe G

Member
I gave it up because I moved to a new place.
I used charcoal for melting alum and coal for the brass. the crucibles I made out of steel pipe or a steel pipe cap.
I would not use the casting for any safety critical parts w/o a good inspection..,.x-ray and the sort, may have slag/air pockets.
the junk I used to cast was castings already which had a very good recast quality, pure alum's didn't cast a well for me.
I did melt steels and the such but you would need the required crucible and the care that goes with them, (seasoned and they are fragile)
 
making PCB boards from scratch, lovely. The last ones I got made, was cheaper than buying the blanks down here. 1st I did everything by hand, 2nd I did by PC and printed foils. Progress...
 

picbits

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Handy making your own when you needed a fast turnaround and one offs. I could be asked to design something by a customer and have a finished product by the end of the evening.
 

Pommie

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I used to work in an engineering firm that used the lost wax process to cast metal parts (also known as investment casting). I've been wondering recently why nobody does a 3D printer for wax so that metal parts can be made that would be impossible by any other method. The basic principal is, make your object in wax, dip it in a slurry of cement, build up the layers for strength, heat and pour out the wax, cook to remove any traces of wax left behind, cast your metal object - sometimes in a vacuum depending on complexity - break of the cement casing.

It sounds like a very good process for prototyping.

Mike.
 

Nigel Goodwin

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I do have a large engineer's vice
As a kid I used to go down to a friends dads farm a few miles, riding (and building) old motorbikes, bear in mind we were pretty well penniless, and used to struggle to even buy petrol to put in the bikes.

On this farm, as a workshop, we had a nice large shed (probably 20ft by 40 ft or so?) - an old chicken shed, which just had a soil floor.

Not too far away was a derelict mill, and we snuck in there and 'acquired' :D a large blacksmiths vice for use in our workshop.

Next we had to build a bench for it - again with minimal tools, and no money. So on the farm we found some old railway sleepers, and used them for the bench. We dug four holes in the ground and sank four sleepers vertically in them, with just the right amount sticking out, then nailed other sleepers on top for the bench surface. Then we bolted the vice in place with huge coach bolts.

This produced the sturdiest bench/vice you ever did see, and you could use a sledge hammer to bend steel in the vice, without the bench complaining at all :D
 
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