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My 1st BLOBS :)

My new kiln - for free.  Lost out on 3 others to the garbage.  I found they are pretty easy to get if you let people know you want one.  They cant seem to sell them as the pottery people don't want a used one.  It's big!  That's the 30" bed pattern for the Gingery Lathe and some castings.  I lined the bottom with hard firebrick to prevent damage to the soft liner.  I can put several pots in to melt different metals and have used it to PIG scrap and consolidate to 1 pot till I get enough for several ingots.  I will need the room for the 6qt of AL in the 8qt cast iron bean pot for the bed casting.  It has taken about 6 hours to get a melt.  NOW remember this was during below freezing temps when I started using it.  I need to upgrade to 40amp so I can turn it on high as well, been running on medium.  I think the melt time should go to about 2 hours when I do that. 

5/24/03 - OK I now have 50 amps.  Melt time decreased to just over 2 hours for the first melt.  and about 20 minutes for additional melts in a hot crucible.  I'm satisfied.

There are 2 Stainless canisters and 1 pipe crucible in right now.  with plenty of room.

Yeh all those gas users will say "15 minutes" BUT.  I can ram molds while it heats up,  leave it basically unattended,  leave it sit till I am ready and not worry about gas buildup and I can melt more AL in a 2 hour sitting than I can ram molds for!  Plus I always have a pot for scrap to keep down the junk pile :)  So far the electric bill has not shown a dramatic increase about $5 per session and always at least 3 pots of AL.  IF/When I get an electronic control I could also use it as a heat treat oven and even oven for powder coating.   Try that with your gas burner ;)  LOL
The green sand box and some of the ramming tools.  A simple piece of EMT I usually ram as part of the mold for a spru.  a small trowel and  The vent wire comes from the insulation section at the local BOX store.  Its used to support insulation between joists comes in a box of 100 for a couple $.  Great for making hangers for painting and all sorts of stuff.  Missing is the rubber grip hammer I use as a rammer and what ever block of wood required to get the job done.  
This is how we mix our sand mix our sand mix our sand,   till we build a muller.
The sand its self.  Play sand sifted to remove rocks. 90% + a product from the local well supply with bentonite in it 10% and a little water.  Its to dry in this picture because I added some finer masonry sand so I need more bentonite and to re-temper it.  Cost so far $20 for 2 bags of play sand and the bag of bentonite.  I have more than half a bag of bentonite left.  There is a green tint to the picture but its not really green.  I never claimed to be a photographer.

The castings have a definite sand texture to them but I can live with that for now.  I have a source for masonry sand that is finer and will be working on the right proportions for that sand.  Don't waste your time with kitty litter or any of the other half cocked ideas.  Just look for any product used to control water runoff from the well driller or farm store and check it for bentonite as the primary ingredient. 

5/24/03 - Some more stuff.
OK some "action" shots.  Just a mold being rammed.  That's a hand wheel, rectangle block for the Gingery Lathe  and the other is the bottom of the spru.  I turned a small cone shape I put in for my sprus.  It helps keep the loose sand from flushing in the mold.  It will also be cut off to turn some knobs for another project I am working on.  I should have quite a nice pile to pick from once I'm done with the lathe.  My first learning project. I am using baking soda as a parting dust.  So far I cant find any draw backs.  Its cheap and usually thrown out after a couple weeks in the fridge.
Fresh out of the sand.  HOT HOT !!  I left it cool for about 30 minutes.  It should sit longer.  It is still hot enough to give me a good burn.  Forgot to put in vents so I have some small trapped gas pockets.  Not as bad as I expected.   You can also see some of the baking soda around the castings.
Cool enough to handle now.  The patterns break off the spru easy when they are still warm.  look close beside the spru and you will see a hole.  There was a gas pocket from lack of vents.  I thought I would ruin the parts.  You can see the taper on the bottom of the spru.  There is a small shrink on the 1 side of the block.  I don't think it will hurt and it wont show.  So its a keeper.  The hand wheel isn't perfect, that's wood grain showing.  I left the pattern big enough to machine the castings for cleanup.  They both cleaned up well.  Will finish the wheel once I get the lathe running.
OK I know you are dying to ask.  What am I going to do with those large slabs of AL?  They wont fit my crucible.  What I haven't shown yet it the 2 gallon cast iron pot I need to use to do the lathe bed.  I am taking this seriously.  Its HEAVY and will be more when full of AL.  The plan is to get it set up and re-melt the slabs into smaller ingots for practice handling the load.  Once I am comfortable handling this thing I will try the bed.  I have a "real" AL 356 ingot waiting to go :)  I am looking for a 6 quart pot instead to reduce the weight. 
My first Electric Furnace


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