Everything Man

Random projects from an alchemist's workshop.

Wednesday, 4th May, 2016

This post is part of a series on making and using the Gingery Foundry.

I’ve made several posts so far about putting together a Gingery foundry setup: flasks, molding sand, and air blast control. The next thing I needed to have a working foundry was the actual foundry furnace.

The furnace is contained in a 5 gallon steel bucket. Two 8” plywood disks were cut out, and wrapped in sheet metal to create a form for the interior of the furnace. I drilled a couple holes in the bucket for drainage and tuere outlets.

The bucket and furnace form
Monday, 25th April, 2016

This post is part of a series on making and using the Gingery Foundry.

We got a foot of snow last weekend which put a damper on my foundry project while I waited (impatiently) for the yard to melt. This weekend I was able to get back to work. The next step in putting together my foundry was to blend up some molding sand. This is a clay-bonded sand mixture designed to hold its shape when packed around a pattern. The synthetic sand recipe I used should ideally have the following proportions (by weight): 91.5% fine silica sand, 7.5% powdered bentonite clay, and 1% wheat flour.

Wednesday, 13th April, 2016

This post is part of a series on making and using the Gingery Foundry.

One of the most critical elements of the solid fuel foundry is the air supply. A constant blast of air is what lets the furnace get hot enough to melt metal. Gingery recommends using a bonnet hair dryer to feed the furnace blast, but since I don’t have one I’ll be using the the blower output from a shop vac.

Unfortunately, using a shop vac for a furnace this size is tremendously overpowered. Running the air at full blast for any length of time would melt my furnace down into slag and glass. I need some way to control how much air is actually being directed into the furnace.

Tuesday, 12th April, 2016

This post is part of a series on making and using the Gingery Foundry.

The principle behind metal casting is simple: heat up metal until it’s a liquid, and then pour the molten metal into a mold. The mold itself is usually prepared in one of several ways:

Green sand casting involves using a wooden pattern blank. Molding sand is packed into a frame around this pattern, and then the pattern is removed to leave a pattern-shaped void in the sand. Molten metal is poured into this void to create the cast part. The shape of the part being cast is constrained in some ways, since you need to be able to remove it from the sand without destroying the mold.

Monday, 4th April, 2016

In the 1980s, David Gingery published a series of books entitled Build Your Own Metalworking Shop From Scrap. The principle is reasonably straightforward: use common materials and scrap to bootstrap a set of progressively more complicated machines until you have a complete machine shop. Like many straightforward ideas, the execution turns out to be surprisingly complicated.

A probably-too-ambitious foundry
[Image credit to Arc Pacific]