Melting and Casting In Your Backyard
This set of pages is devoted to home foundry-work; tips and guidelines on how to build your own casting setup at home, using (fairly) easily available materials.

For the casting furnace and associated stuff, I took my cues from four sources:

There is enough information here to mandate a number of pages with some sense of organization; these replace the two previous extremely long pages.

The IMPORTANT STUFF:

This is a dangerous hobby.
You're playing with large quantities of VERY hot metal that moves like water.
Materials don't always act like you'd expect when they're very hot.
Wear safety glasses. Wear a safety face shield over the safety glasses when you're actually pouring. Wear a denim or canvas jacket, heavy leather gloves, blue jeans, and leather work boots. Don't wear anything synthetic. Don't cast when it's wet outside. (You might be safe; it *might* not explode in your face when it hits wet ground. But keep in mind my friend Boris, the world's best Russian Roulette player, whose record was 384-1...)

I had an interesting experience, which I'll rave about more on the detailed pages. There are upper and lower molds (the cope and drag) and the space that you're casting into, the negative form, is in the middle of the two molds. If you don't pin your molds together, the hydrostatic pressure of the molten aluminum is quite sufficient to lift the upper mold off the bottom one, and the aluminum can then pour out the side. I cast on concrete that was bone-dry, 20 years old, and floated my upper mold off because I was an idiot who thought that it couldn't possibly get lifted by the tiny cast I was doing. A huge blob of molten aluminum poured out the side and onto the concrete, sat for a moment, and then the concrete exploded with a sound like a gunshot, blowing a nearly red-hot blast of still liquid aluminum and concrete shrapnel into my face. I had serious protective equipment on, and when I saw a big drizzle of aluminum run down the face shield right over my left eye, I was *extremely* glad I was wearing it. Sure, I might look just like Dana Carvey in my safety glasses, but that's a lot better than looking like The Mummy, or The Man In The Aluminum Mask. Keep this in mind.

One of these days I'll have a bunch of pictures up, but generally I'm too busy having fun casting to bother taking pictures.
The pictures I *have* put up for illustrative purposes are compliments of the wonderful capabilities of Bryce, AutoCAD, and Photoshop.

Questions or comments: email me!

This page written by John Bump on 12/15/00, last modified 12/22/00.

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