PDA
View Full Version :

Small Ingot Mold



HerbD
08-18-2009, 11:09 AM
Almost ready to fire up my charcoal fired furnace for melting aluminum. It is a small furnace and I needed some ingot molds to pour off the first aluminum. Any excess left over from pouring other castings is usually put into "pigs" and later remelted.

Commercial ingot molds are about 4 1/2" across and really out of proportion to the two pounds or less that I will be able to melt. It is also difficult to remelt a 4" plus pig in a 4" crucible!

I picked up a length of 1" angle iron and cut it into seven 8" lengths plus two 10" lengths for the end caps. I wanted to make a tray of sorts.

Since I needed more time learning to TIG, and since I had just finished TIGing some cast iron I was ready to go. I beveled the outside corner of each of the 8" pieces so that they fit close into the inside of the 10" end pieces which have a fillet (see picture.)

I cleaned each end for about 1 1/2" to remove scale, etc. Using 1" x 2" bars I laid each of the troughs upside down onto the bars and put the 10" caps over the ends. Checked with a square for fit and tacked the troughs and end caps together. The Longevity LS200P started each weld easily with the foot pedal.

Flipped the package over and proceeded to TIG along each seam between the troughs. The foot pedal allowed me to hit each start with a little extra amps and then once the metal was flowing back off and proceed across the length of the seam.

By the third seam I was able to go the whole length without stopping and no burn throughs. The welds leveled off nicely.

The inside seams between the end pieces and each trough did not go as easily. I was trying to go uphill and downhill, soon found that uphill was working much better. After doing three ends I decided to rethink how I had the assembly positioned. I'll pick up on it tomorrow and try having the tray on its edge so all welds will be horizontal. May also try extending the tungsten to better reach into the seams.

HerbD 8)

HerbD
08-18-2009, 12:08 PM
Hi Rhett,

I would defer to Gadget on this one, he's been into it much longer than I. However, you can melt aluminum cans in these furnaces. That's where I got started on this project. The problem is that the cans don't yield much aluminum, about 97 cans to make a pound of aluminum. The cans are very thin metal of course and most have some sort of plastic film inside and are printed with a finish that may also be plastic ink or something similar. Between the two films and the thin aluminum you get a lot of noxious smoke when you melt and the thin aluminum is easily oxidized and turns into slag rather than shiny aluminum.

I think a lot of us start out with this idea, but soon turn to other types of scrap aluminum to feed the furnaces.

Doctor said I needed to exercise more, so I started walking every day. Soon I was picking up cans and crushing them with the idea of melting them into castings I wanted to make. It works, but not to the degree one would hope for. I don't necessarily think of myself as a conservationist, but I guess collecting the cans and recycling is an OK idea, but maybe better exercise than anything else.

Building the furnace and welding the air injector parts and other necessary accessories has been a fun project. Gadget has gone to the next level with a waste oil burner that looks great. Hope to get there after I get some experience with my charcoal furnace.

HerbD 8-)

KHK
08-18-2009, 12:24 PM
Very nice, good looking welds!!

Gadget
08-18-2009, 02:59 PM
I don't do aluminum cans since they are worth 10 cents each here in Michigan. However if you crush them and get a lot of them in a single pot you could melt them. You will get a lot of dross and yes the fumes are nasty, do it outside.
I get aluminum printing plates, cut them into strips and roll them up for melting, works pretty well.

By the way, nice looking ingot molds Herb, you have the tig process down well.

torqueman
08-19-2009, 10:19 AM
That is kind of funny that here in MI our cans are worth more as cans than the aluminum they contain. :)

HerbD
08-19-2009, 10:55 AM
I have a summer home in southwest Michigan and as I recall plastic soda bottles carry a hefty return reward also. Years ago the roadsides were littered with cans and bottles and as soon as the return policy went into effect the cleanup was swift.

Even the unpaved roads around our cottage got cleaned up by "volunteers." Living in Chicago back then it did seem strange though that the deposit on the cans at time of purchase was sometimes as high as the cost of the product (or so it seemed.)

HerbD 8-)

henrym
08-19-2009, 03:50 PM
10 US cents! around here an aluminum can goes for $0.05 Canadian. there really is not much metal in them, so returning them is best.

Gadget, do you have to pay a recycle deposit upon purchase of said Al. canned goods in Michigan? it is law here :lol:


good info and nice clean mold by the way!

Gadget
08-19-2009, 06:22 PM
10 US cents! around here an aluminum can goes for $0.05 Canadian. there really is not much metal in them, so returning them is best.

Gadget, do you have to pay a recycle deposit upon purchase of said Al. canned goods in Michigan? it is law here :lol:


good info and nice clean mold by the way!

Yes ten cents cost per can at purchase and ten cents back at return. Cans that are purchased but not returned are profit for Michigan.

torqueman
08-19-2009, 07:22 PM
I buy all mine in Indiana and return them in Michigan just like Kramer on Seinfeld. :) Of course I am joking. Indiana cans have a different bar code and the return machines won't take them. :)

HerbD
08-19-2009, 09:39 PM
AND . . . as I recall you couldn't crush the cans. They had to be intact in order to return them. Make sure you bring BIG plastic bags.

HerbD 8)

torqueman
08-20-2009, 08:26 AM
Wow this thread really took a left turn. :) Yes they have to be intact to go through the machines and believe me you don't want to try to turn them into a place that does not have machines if you have that many cans.