Today's Melt

August 12, 2002

Today I used my new K-bond sand for the first time. It has been mixed for quite some time, but was crammed into garbage bag lined buckets with the drawstrings closed. It was still cookie dough consistency and the clods were quite hard. From now on, I intend to fluff it before storage.

By the way, 100 pounds of sand with all the ingredients filled two and a half five gallon buckets.

Speaking of fluffing, I was reading the back posts of Hobbicast, a Yahoo group, when I found several mentions of using a kitchen mixer instead of a muller. I just missed the one my wife threw out because the beaters wouldn't stay in. I would have probably thrown it against the wall, anyway.<GRIN> She told me she had just bought a new el cheapo Sunbeam at Wal-Mart for around $7.00. My garage got a new Sunbeam hand held muller.

The first picture shows the mold ready to be poured. The square of cardboard covers the sprue to keep junk out until I'm ready to pour. It has a slitting saw blade in it, so it isn't in danger of blowing away.

I must have done fifteen different things wrong in making this mold.

I forgot the parting dust, and of course it parted in the wrong place, but it was solid so I gave it a shot. I forgot the core, but I figured I could drill it out.
I used too big a flask. It took forever to ram and I thought it was going to give me a hernia when I carried it outside to pour.

I almost dropped it when I rolled it, not having a molding bench set up yet. Well you get the idea. It was a comedy of errors. I was not at all sure how it would turn out.

This is my good ol' brick pile right after I lit it. The flames are just about invisible in the sunlight. The skillet has an ingot made from aluminum wire. No fancy alloys here. The muffin tin on top will be for soldier ingots. Hmm...I wonder if cast aluminum soldiers would sell on Ebay?<GRIN>

I put the gas bottle down out of the way and away from the majority of the heat. I am using my car-hauler trailer for a low bench. This brings the skillet and the mold about the right height to avoid all that bending.

It took about 45 minutes from cold to pour. Maybe I need to add some refractory to save gas.

This is what happens when A. your mold isn't level, and B. when you forget how small this part is!

As soon as it cooled to solid I bent the aluminum back to save the flask. It isn't a virgin any more! The K-bond took on a nice color, too. The drag looks termite eaten because it is. That is what happens in the deep south if you leave lumber on the ground for a short time. It is only in the first layer of grain. I should have turned it in to help hold the sand!

This was going to be my Ebay fortune! I spilled so much I didn't have enough for the soldiers. It was getting chilled by this time, so they didn't fill very well. It makes interesting ingot, though. About all that is left in the skillet is dross.

It sure is shiny when it first hardens.

Just a close-up of the char. It almost looks like art, doesn't it? Maybe not.

The puddle chilled as soon as it hit the plate steel. Another ingot!

This is what it's all about, the shake out.

The plastic part was kind of chewed up. I intend to use this casting, along with some help from Bondo, to become a good pattern. I will need to build it up some to make up for shrinkage and to fill in the dings. Hopefully the next casting will be smooth and on size.

After all the trouble getting this mold poured, I was just glad it filled! I used scratch vents along the parting, but none of them took any metal except right at the point. I thought it would come out looking like a spider.

This casting is so smooth in places it is like a mirror. Notice the reflection above the feeder? Oh well, the bondo will take care of that.<grin>


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