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Cast aluminum with damn near nothing

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by KrisKustomPaint, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. KrisKustomPaint
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,107


    I was watching worlds fastest indian the other day, and i thought about the scene where he casts a piston with an old blow torch. I have an old gasoline blowtorch! So I scrounged up some OHC journal caps and a wheel hub dust cover for a crucible, and a welding tank cap for a mold. Presto, nice aluminum ingots! Now i need to whip up some casting sand and mold something useful. Anyone got a DIY recipe?
  2. Bert
    Joined: Feb 22, 2005
    Posts: 404


    theres some cool sites that use a homemade forge too.......Im going to give it a go one day......aparently old bellhousings are a good source of quality alloy....I wouldnt be game enough to do anything other than jewelery pieces{headlight stems, small parts} not loadbearing heavy duty parts{pistons etc} dont want any inclusions...........sounds cool.Bert
  3. UnsettledParadox
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,107


  4. seventhirteen
    Joined: Sep 21, 2009
    Posts: 721

    from dago, ca

  5. Never2low
    Joined: Jan 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,139


    Yep, Loudpedal's tech thread was enlightening!
  6. Inspired by the same movie I cast this small piston then machined the ring lands in my lathe. A friend asked for it for a shifter knob so i donated it. It is very easy to cast Pistons in steel tube. They shrink when the cool and do not stick. This one fell out with a good shake. Nothing wrong with your gas torch method. I used a propane texas weedburner deal from the surplus store but I bet the gas torch is much hotter. I made some molding sand using play sand ,flour and used engine oil. It is still useable several years later. I was going to do more but I dont seem to have the patience to make the molding boxes etc. I did cast an aluminum rod from a pattern made from an old 318 DOdge rod pressed in the molding sand. You can read the numbers on the good side but it was an open mold. It was just to see if the sand worked BTW. Not because i wanted an aluminum rod. I think people who do this well are gifted. I do not do it well so have retired from the process but it certainly was interesting. As always you learn something. Go for it. I wish you only sucess. It may be your thing.

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  7. Twisted6
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 519


    has anyone else made their own casted parts? I'd like to see more & know more.thanks
  8. I cast metal for a living. Whoever said not to use them for important parts is right. Alloy purity and casting process is critical for strength, but shift knobs, door handles, even valve covers can be done just by pouring metal into a box with sand.

    I cast an aluminum cannon, about 6" long, when I was in school. It sat on the teacher's desk when I was done. I think he was afraid I'd weaponize it. I never thought I'd make a living at it.
  9. rschilp
    Joined: Sep 17, 2009
    Posts: 677


    I've been doing some casting, pretty good results to. I use old pistons as my main source of material and have even been playing with some tempering (I've got a background in Al manufacturing and tempering specifically) with good results.

    The part I still have a hard time getting right is the casting sand, it just doesn't seem to get the right consistency. I just bought some foam and we're planning (kids and I) to do some lost mold (foam) casting tomorrow.

    I did a crucible from a piece of 8" pipe and made a furnace (sorry lost the right word) from a flower pot, some tin, sand and cement. It fires on coal and a hair dryer and gets plenty hot.

  10. Search online for Petrobond.
  11. chubbie
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,314


    we used the rose bud and torch to pour 3" bullets for the parret rifle. a home made 3 piece mould, and some hose clamps. we were hitting targets at a 1/2 mile!!! the hardest part was cleaning the aluminum, and cutting into small pieces. it does take a lot of gas
  12. KrisKustomPaint
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,107


    They make a lot of "critical" components out of castings, spindles, engine blocks, pistons, ect. any who i was looking back at the tech week wining post forgot who did it, and i'm gonna try that recipe for sand rather than the petrobond. I look into that too but silica sand and pond sealer I can get with in 5 miles of the house. I really don't feel like driving 95 miles to get petrobond. Anyway I'll post some pics as soon as i cast some thing that looks useful.
  13. Those are usually people with the proper equipment and tons of experience.
  14. ScottV
    Joined: Jul 18, 2009
    Posts: 819


    Who's your friend ... John Milner ??? :p
  15. Bloodandmotoroil
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 154


    my rider lawn mower is using a single cyl aluminum 2 stroke engine I sand cast, used the lost wax method, but piston is one of those monsters from a 403 olds and the crank is from a bulltaco scrambler. It runs... sometimes the wrong way... lolit feeds it's self using a airvalve from a compressor and a mechanical fuel injector.
  16. Pete1
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 1,954

    from Wa.

    I worked for a friend of mine one summer when I was in college.
    He owned a small foundry that specialized in bronze and aluminum casting.
    It is not a black art like cam grinding and I really enjoyed the job.
    I even got to make a few patterns.
    We cast some pistons and even a few locomotive bells while I was there.
    Some of the equipment he had in the foundry was home made so casting can be done on a limited budget if you are really enthusiastic about it.
    I made the pattern and cast the barrel on this cannon after hours one week.

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  17. Twisted6
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 519


    Nice cannon Pete 1 I hope more jump onto this topic.Best way to learn more about it for Besides sitting and surfing the web.
  18. buffaloracer
    Joined: Aug 22, 2004
    Posts: 802

    from kansas

  19. Dynaflash_8
    Joined: Sep 24, 2008
    Posts: 3,023

    from Auburn WA

    you posed this without pictures???
  20. Casting sand .
    It must stick together and if you grab a chunk and squeeze it in your hand it should hold the shape when released. You can add some clumping kitty litter to the mix but just enough to make it the right consistancy. The sand was the easy part. took me about 2 trys. Open molds are OK but they lack something. Closed molds require molding boxes. They are a lot more work. More work than I wanted. I have made patterns and had them cast locally. In every major town there is usually someone casting aluminum. A little asking around will find out where.
    Stuff I had cast from my patterns were a 2x4 manifold top for a Wiend SS manifold bottom. First beginning, test model installed and final casting installed. (It worked wonderful BTW)Fuel injection bodies.
    I would suggest you dont shy away from making the sand. You already have the melt down. The Lindsay books are good but Model Engineering books have a lot of real good info too.
    Often we hear.
    'this is best left to the experts. "
    An expert is a newbie with lots of practice. No man ,not one was good the first time at it. I realized after trying it it was not a skill i wished to pursue further. having said that if I needed something I could easily make I would fire up the pot and burner and pour it in a minute. I still have it all sitting in a corner in the shop. Some folks have skills that work well at this. Some dont. You might be the right guy for the job.
    Here is some of the castings I made patterns for and farmed out for the final pour. Maybe i was just lazy. I show them to encourage you and show how if you learn this process it willl open up a whole new world for you.
    Oh yeah , Who'se my friend i gave the piston to? His name is Rob Dykstra if you must know.

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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010

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