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TECH: Simple white metal casting

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by michiganman061, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. michiganman061
    Joined: Jul 23, 2006
    Posts: 509

    from Michigan

    Ever need to replicate a simple pot-metal part that is unobtainable?

    Here's how.

    1) Find a small flat container that is just large enough to hold the part or pattern to copy.

    2) Buy some 'water putty' at a hardware store or Home Depot. Following the directions on the box or tub, mix enough putty to support (not immerse) your part to duplicate.

    3) Apply a thin coat of oil or grease or epoxy release compound to your part or pattern your duplicating, place it face down in the putty. After the putty has completely cured, carefully remove your part and try not to damage the putty.

    4) With a torch, heat a small quantity of white 'pot-metal' (everybody has some old pieces in their junk pile) in a sutibale small metal container with a handle. I use a small old cast iron little cooking pan. Once the white metal has melted carefully pour it into the water-putty mold and allow to cool out of drafts. F

    5) Finally break the putty from the water putty mold when cool.

    Yes, I know one is limited to flat sided parts with my method, but it's great for creating or duplicating pot metal lettering scripts, or trim pieces.

    Just thought I'd share how I've made some of my own parts for my old Studebakers.
  2. What is "Water Putty" ?
  3. Sawracer
    Joined: Jul 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,314

    from socal

    worthless without pics.

  4. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    from Atl Ga

    I totally disagree. I thought it was very well written, and I could understand every step of the process. To the point that I'd be able to do it.
    I appreciate the post.

  5. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,645


  6. Ranunculous
    Joined: Nov 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,466


    Killer idea,Michigan man.In the past I've used blue Perm*tex to create an in-the-round mold for some castings where body putty was used.
    It won't take the heat like the Plumbers putty will.Have you ever used silver as your subject metal? There's an old roll of some coins that might work.....
    There's a St Christopher medal I want to replicate for the dash of my M-5.This might be the way to go?
  7. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    sweet..nice idea..May have to put that to use some time
  8. HemiRambler
    Joined: Aug 26, 2005
    Posts: 4,204


    Neato!!! I'd LOVE to see some pics. I've always wanted to try something like this.

    BTW - I learned "other" things with less instruction than was given here. Thanks for posting that - way cool!!!
  9. Since Water Putty is mixed with water,make sure the stuff
    is DRY before pouring hot metal into it.

    Otherwise the water will want to boil when the
    hot metal hits the mold.

    The hotter the melting temperature of the metal,the bigger the risk.
  10. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton

    Nice tech. Look up loose piece sand molding. It's possible you could sink the part in the putty, cut in half to release the pattern, and make a 2-sided mold. Good luck
  11. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    BTTT for a neat post! Somebody with a camera go visit the guy and shoot some pics!
    And ..."dash of my M5"...what M5? Are we talking about one of those 1944 Cadillacs?? I have a friend who drove one of those from France to Czechoslovakia, with many adventures along the way, long ago.
  12. fiat128
    Joined: Jun 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,427

    from El Paso TX

    Aren't fumes from zinc dangerous? "Pot metal" is mostly zinc, couldn't you get sick doing this?

    Cool idea though, sorta a cheapo way of lost wax casting.
  13. Rusty Springs
    Joined: Dec 3, 2007
    Posts: 54

    Rusty Springs
    from SouthTexas

    thanks for the info on the waterputty...

    Will this stand the heat of aluminum, I want to melt down some old pistons and make club plaques ...

    I am not sure of the temp to melt aluminum....


    Rusty Springs
  14. Melting point of Aluminum:
    <table class="tabledataformat" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr class="altrow"><td class="dataCell" style="vertical-align: top;">660.37 °C </td><td class="dataCell" style="vertical-align: top;"> 1220.7 °F</td><td class="dataComment" style="vertical-align: top;">
  15. You can use plain old plaster of paris too, but bake the mold slowly in an oven to drive all the water vapor out of it after it fully cures. If you pour hot metal into a mold that still has a lot of water in it, the water turns to steam and splatters the metal all over the place and the cast part looks kind of ugly and dull and porous. If the mold is nice and dry, the metal will polish up nice. Most metals shrink a little bit after cooling down. If you cast it in a one piece mold, the middle of the top will slump down a little afterwards, because it's the last part of the liquid to solidify. The metal that hits the mold solidifies almost instantly.

    Tin works great, but it's expensive and pretty soft. When I was a kid, I used to save old tin toothpaste tubes and melt them down on the stove in an old tuna fish can, and pick it up with pliers and pour the molten metal into a mold. Tin polishes up pretty nice and looks almost like chrome.

    You can also use lead type from an old printing press -- it's some lead-antimony alloy, and it's pretty hard compared to plain lead, and has a brighter silvery color to it, and you can polish it.

    "Pot metal" is mostly zinc. It's what they made older carburetor bodies out of. You can polish pot metal, but it turns dull and grey again after a while.

    I may be wrong, but I don't think just melting any of these metals puts out much fumes of the metal. You have to vaporize things like zinc to be able to breath the fumes (get it to the boiling point -- like in doing a lot of welding on galvanized steel fencing).
  16. jonny o
    Joined: Oct 26, 2007
    Posts: 836

    jonny o

    A little more simple than some of the sand molding threads i have read. Maybe beyond some of the folks here, but may be a good reference for my first shot!
  17. rustyford40
    Joined: Nov 20, 2007
    Posts: 2,168

    from Mass Bay

  18. Rusty Springs
    Joined: Dec 3, 2007
    Posts: 54

    Rusty Springs
    from SouthTexas

    Found it, aluminum melts at 1218 degrees............
  19. Rusty Springs
    Joined: Dec 3, 2007
    Posts: 54

    Rusty Springs
    from SouthTexas

    aluminum melts @ 1218 degrees...
  20. ZZ-IRON
    Joined: Feb 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,964

    from Minnesota

    Thanks for the TECH
  21. Rusty Springs
    Joined: Dec 3, 2007
    Posts: 54

    Rusty Springs
    from SouthTexas

    Thanks for the info update..........
  22. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton

    Exposure is nothing to worry about, use ventilation and don't directly breathe any smoke. You'll be cool with onsie twosie work

    BTW, whenever melting always have a fire extinguisher, and a safe & dry dump zone (outside) should something go wrong. Happy melting
  23. Depends what you are melting.
  24. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton

    If you look at OSHA exposure levels for these types of metals, you're simply not going to exceed them for the melt volumes we're talking. Common sense precautions, like ventilation, put you in the no-worry zone. Granted it can be dangerous, but onsie twosie is not a concern. Use common sense.
  25. WQ59B
    Joined: Dec 14, 2005
    Posts: 2,532


    Assuming the water putty isn't too hard to be carved, you can 'repair' a broken or letter-missing script this way, too, no? Maybe make up metal engine displacement scripts otherwise unavailable (455: .030 over = "462").
    Also could make metal casting of items made from other materials- like a metal copy of a plastic skull, for instance. One could also carefully insert some sort of 'studs' in the backside of the molten metal, so you can mount 'em-- make an armature that'll hold the 'studs', that rests on the rim of your container.
    Gets the juices going- thanx!
  26. richardlw
    Joined: Jun 26, 2009
    Posts: 21


    Just saw this, so will add pictures of a similar thing. I don't know what water putty is, but used a clay mold for the lettering on my Dauphine. Lots more pics and things on this page:

    I did these three dimensional with a double mold to get the mounting pins. I patched up my existing script with bondo, then set it in the mold, putting the second mold over it, pulling it off and cutting flow channels through it to reach the letters. Then melted beer cans and poured in.
    This is the basic block poured.

    Then I filed the grooves better and evened out the parts that were not right

    Then sanded

    And then used my mini grinder to cut it off before final finishing

    Final position on car

    The tail light bezels for my mini were a lot easier.
    Rough results from mold

    filing to size (shrinkage)


  27. WOW awejob mate
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  28. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,102


    Great job !
    kidcampbell71 likes this.

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