The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by '51 Norm, Apr 21, 2018.
Thank you very much for sharing this. Ive wondered for a long time if I could cast some kustom taillights. Im really skeptical I have the time and skill to pull it off though.
Give it a try, what's the worst that can happen? Quite a lot I guess.
I had never done any casting before and sure learned a lot along the way.
After making a dual quad air cleaner as my first project I'm thinking that starting out with something smaller, like taillights, would be a better way to go.
Im a finish carpenter by trade, so Ive got that covered, but some of the shapes Im considering are far from simple. There is definitely an art to the whole process, and seeing it through to completion would probably take me a year. I think im too much of a perfectionist. It still dosent stop me from dreaming about all the possibilities though.
Air cleaner fab looks good!
Thank you! It has been finished for awhile now and oddly enough it looks better to me now than it did when I first finished it.
Now that's just slicker than deer guts on a door knob. Great project with a can do attitude!
Nicely done! I've designed a bunch of parts for sand casting and made one pattern myself -- but all of the stuff I cast was done by a local foundry. It's a very cool process.
If you're CAD literate you can design the parts in 3D, then scale them up by the shrink factor for Aluminum and have them printed at an online stereolithography service company (there are a number of them). Then you can take this to the foundry where they can either use the pattern directly (as shown in this thread) or make a match plate that locates the pattern and the sprues/gates. You should be able to get 100's of parts out of a stereolith master plate. It's way cheaper than paying a pattern maker to build a wooden pattern. You can also do the stereolith two shrink factors oversize, then use it to cast an Aluminum match plate which you can then use to cast thousands (or more) parts. I did that for several popular pieces I used to manufacture.
This is a Harley oil bag, cast in two halves and welded together.
Uh, thanks I think.
Have you considered posting that on the quotes to live by thread?
The oil bag you made is one cool piece!
My goal with the air cleaner was to learn the process, and of course to get an air cleaner. I think that I managed to meet both objectives. Perhaps in the future I will let someone else do the "heavy lifting".
When telling folks about this project I usually get these questions:
Don't they sell air cleaners?
Yes they do but I didn't care for any of them for one reason or another.
How much did it cost?
Uh, yeah. How do you count that? The parts that I bought specifically for the project came to around $100. Then there was the cost of the wood for patterns and stuff. How much of that cost is attributable to this air cleaner? How about the free stuff and various junk that got put into it? If I were doing this for a business I would have to have some sort of accounting system to figure all of that out.
How did it turn out?
Mostly OK for a first attempt.
How long did it take to get a good part?
I got a usable bottom casting on the fifth try. The top and the latch bracket were done in one. I guess that I was learning something along the way. Each of the top and bottom casting attempts took about 8 hours. I also spent a lot of time staring off into space trying to figure out what to do next.
Would you do anything differently?
I'm still not completely happy with the latch and may change it in the future.
Was it worth doing?
In some ways. This is a very subjective question that touches on a persons core values. The project took a great deal of time. It also involved considerable physical labor. I have enough money invested in parts, tools and supplies that I could have bought several air cleaners. I guess that I can pretend that I enjoyed the journey.
Would you do it again?
Yes, only this time I know what I am getting into. That and I now have the tools and stuff. However, I'm far more likely to make some other useless trinket before making another air cleaner.
How much would you charge to make me one?
Um, I don't think I want to get involved with making air cleaners.
Did you learn anything?
Of course. Many of the things I learned didn't have anything to do with metal casting. For example I discovered how stubborn and bull headed I am.
Did you have any help?
So here I am with the only example to date of my custom cast air cleaner. I guess that it is time to find something else to make.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt, 1899
I have been kicking around eventually doing a valve cover on a Ford 300 I-6 and this guide will be my go too when the time comes, thank you very much!!!
If you do that can I borrow the pattern? My son has a Ford 300 I-6 and the cheapo chrome valve cover looks cruddy and leaks.
When the time comes don't be shy to ask for where things went wrong for me, I'll be glad to help you avoid the pitfalls that I discovered.
Of course, would be glad to pass it around, or even just pour a second cast while I'm at it!
If you can get a good one cast there would likely be a decent market for a number of them.
Good to know! When I get to that point I’ll give you a heads up!
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I really have enjoyed this thread. I’ve been toying with the idea of casting aluminum for a while. I’ll pull that trigger eventually so I read everything that I find on it by amateurs hoping to learn from their experiences. Thank you for sharing the adventure!
Thanks for the kind words. In spite of all of my complaining it was fun. And if I can make a decent casting with no previous experience, well I expect that you can too.
The entire reason I continue my journey into the abyss of this hobby is for these moments of clarity thaf come during deep thought. I even bought a chair for the shop just for thinking stuff up!
Fantastic job, and thanks for sharing in such detail.
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