February 4, 2007

Unaltered Becket as a foundry furnace burner!
Ronald E. Thompson
Copyright 2007, all rights reserved

This page decribes melting aluminum using a Becket gun style furnace burner designed to burn kerosene.

This furnace was designed to use a naturally aspirated (no blower) propane burner, and it works very well for that. It is too small for this oil burner, as evidenced by the wet area in the top picture.  In this experiment, I just propped the burner in place and pointed it into the existing burner hole. Once I got it lined up properly, it went very well.

Misalignment caused the wet places, above.

This shows the weak burn due to not bleeding the pump.

I had received this burner from a reader of this site who was kind enough to donate this burner to help me with my waste oil burner quest. I just had to pay postage. What a deal! (Thanks again.)
When I first tried to use it, I had no fuel flow, turns out the nozzle was stopped up. It has such a fine hole, I wasn't able to clean it. Off to ebay and I ordered 2 new nozzles from Patriot supply. The old one was .75 GPH, so that is what I ordered. They come in hollow cone spray pattern or solid. I ordered one of each. The package says Delvan .75  80 degree A. (The other one ends in B.)

Today I finally got time to play with it. I installed the new nozzle. I chose the "A" because that was what was in it before. I hooked up the diesel fuel line and played with it until all visible air bubbles were out of it. I should have opened the bleeder to let the air out of the pump, but this is an experiment, after all. I wanted to see if it would bleed itself. It did, but it took a few minutes before it lit completely. No more than five minutes into all this and it was burning great. I had accomplished all I had set out to do for today, but the furnace was getting hot. And I mean HOT!

A little better alignment. More of the flame is now going into the furnace.

Well, with a hot furnace and time on my hands, I just had to melt something. I was afraid if I didn't put something in my steel pipe crucible, it would be what would melt.

Furnace still coming up to temperature. Crucible already starting to glow.

I put a piston in with the connecting rod still attached. No need to disassemble it with this much heat! Just melt it and fish out the iron.

This cast iron connecting rod was glowing bright red when I took it out of the crucible. You can still make out some of it near the large journal. The angle iron (bed rail) with the K-bond dams is my quick and dirty ingot mold.

It looked like there was quite a bit of aluminum still clinging to the wrist pin, but after it cooled I looked at it, and it is thin like aluminum foil.

This is my new furnace lid. I poured it several weeks ago, but this is it's first taste of the flame.

Plenty hot now!

This type of oil burner has a brilliant yellow, almost white hot flame. Don't let it fool you, though. This is way hotter than my propane burner ever was. I kept my propane burner on the tame side to prevent the steel pipe crucible from over heating. That is what causes scaling and limits the life of steel crucibles. There is no throttling back on this beast, though. The crucible scaled between melts!
Luckily, I have a larger furnace in the works for this bad boy, and a real clay graphite crucibe, but it's too large of this furnace's 8" bore.

The second of three pistons
to the massive heat. Just look at the crucible glow! It was hard to look at.

Here I put a piece of pipe under the 2X4 and got the alighnment a little better. See the flame out the top of the lid?

I still haven't figured out a good way to pour and take pictures at the same time, so here is the first ingot.

The K-bond dams work really well, considering they are just hand packed. They don't move and the aluminum doesn't pick up any loose sand.

Better view of the same ingot.

These ingots are about three feet long. I am going to have to take the time to make some decent ingot molds.

A better view of the handy dandy burner mount.

The fuel line used to be clear plastic tubing, but has discolored with time and exposure to old diesel fuel.

It was still light outside, but the flame is such a brilliant white, the camera automatically adjusted to give this shot.

In my haste to set the ingot mold back up, I neglected to level it.

I put the crucible back in the unlit furnace until the ingot cooled somewhat, and it was still hot enough to add to the ingot.

The furnace is still glowing after the double pour.

That's all of the pictures. I just want to say again how incredibly hot diesel fuel burns. I am just amazed.

All this is great if you don't mind paying for diesel fuel (or kerosene, aka HHO [home heatingoil]). If you watch where you buy it, you can get off road diesel fuel without having to pay the road taxes on it.

A note about smoke. In the pictures you can see a small amount of smoke. This was due to the bad alignment and the small burner hole in the furnace body. At no time was there a cloud of smoke. I feel that this smoke can be totally eliminated by useing a properly sized furnace and tuning the burner.

One of the great things about these burners is they just work. You plug it in (or flip a switch) and it lights and stays lit. Just like in today's experiment, more time is spent melting metal and way less futzing around with the burner.

Just as propane is a step above charcoal as a foundry fuel, oil is a step (or two or three!) above propane, in my opinion.

But diesel fuel is a stop over on the way to waste oil for me and this Becket oil burner.
Next up is to make a siphon nozzle to use with WMO (waste motor oil). And then preheaters, and finish the larger furnace, and put it all on a dedicated cart, and etc. Stay tuned...