Aluminum Foundry

My furnace is based on the Gingery charcoal furnace with the exception that I use a propane burner of my own design rather than charcoal. The furnace lining is made from sand blast sand and fire clay. I use a piece of 3-1/4" diameter pipe with a plate welded to it as the bottom. I coat the inside of the pipe with high temperature kiln wash used in a pottery kiln to reduce the iron contamination. It takes about 25 minutes to melt 3 lbs. of aluminum and 2-1/2" lbs. of propane when the furnace is hot. I use automotive pistons as my aluminum source. Four pistons yield approximately 3 lbs. of aluminum. I heat and pour my molds and then melt and pig out more pistons while the molds are cooling.

From left to right, The furnace in operation with a pig of aluminum and a sprue being preheated before being added to the crucible. A 3-pig mold ready to receive the excess aluminum from the pour. Four molds ready to be poured.

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Patterns used in making castings for my Climax locomotive.

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Two switch frog molds and a coupler mold ready to be closed and poured. Note the sand core, which has been placed in the coupler mold. Cores are made from sand, linseed oil, and flour.

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A completed switch frog and coupler.

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Greg my son ramming up a coupler mold. The green sand is a mixture of 91% silica sand, 8% bentonite clay, and 1% wheat flour. This mixture is tempered with water.