Foundry build part 6: Successful cure

I started the cure on the foundry and with only the weedburner torch did the incremental heat, at the top end we were able to reach temps up to 1140 C which is a bit over 2000 f. At one point before that propane tank was empty It started to ice up, and I placed it in a tub of water to keep that from happening. The weed burning torch far exceeded my expectations. I cant wait until I get my burner up and running to see what it can do! Here are a few pictures:

Foundry Build part5: removing the forms and a description of the initial firing.

After letting the core cure for several days I pulled the bucket out, or tried! It took quite a bit of work to remove the form from the core. Next steps I need to pull out the pvc from the drain hole and start the firing process.

This initial curing/firing schedule is unlike normal concrete curing. This initial firing is designed to allow for any water trapped to make its way out of the body of the furnace without cracking or spalling.

We will start by raising the temperature to about 200f and holding it. Then we will increase it by 200 degees per hour until we reach our goal of about 1800. At that point I will shut it down and try to cool it off as slowly as possible. If everything  goes well in this initial firing, we should be good to go and can fire it up and start melting down aluminum, copper or brass to make into ingots.

Foundry Build part4: Pouring the core.

On Monday I worked on getting the core ready to pour, this included drilling a hole for the tuyere in the keg and in the bucket I was using for a form. Once that was done I inserted the pipe and secured it with duct tape. I started mixing the cement and poured it into the form, then used a stick to try to make sure we had no large voids and then used a hand sander to try to vibrate any air bubbles out.

Foundry Build: Received the greensand.

The greensand came in the post. One more thing to add for the foundry project. This is “Petrobond” Casting sand. It is supposed to hold its shape very well after packed, and not need to be mulled. I will need to build a cope and drag setup once I get the foundry closer to completion.

Petrobond casting sand, It is supposed to hold its form after you pack it.
Petrobond Casting sand.
tuyere pattern









Foundry Build: Part2 pouring the base and top.

After a week or more of inactivity I got back on the foundry project. I managed to get some of the insulatory refractory cement mixed and put in place as the top and the base of the foundry. Next up will be cutting the holes for the tuyere in the side of the keg and form. Then placing the form in the center and pouring the core.

3d printed column
the refractory mix poured into the cap with the 3d printed column in the center. This will be where the hot gasses exit.
Casting the Base, with a piece of pvc in, so that is the crucible fails or there is a spill the molten metal has a place to run out.

Foundry Build: Part1 prepping the keg.

Hot Stuff!

I have wanted to work with molten metal for quite a while, It is one of the myriad hobbies I have always wished to pursue.  I had a taste of it when in High School, we were able to melt aluminum and then machine our pieces in the lathe.

I stumbled down the rabbit hole on youtube a few months ago watching people melt aluminum and other metals in home foundries with propane or waste oil and was mesmerized. It seemed like anyone could make a cheap one and use it, but the more I watched and learned the more I realized most of these were just falling apart after a few melts. I wanted something that would last for many pours. Then I found a set of videos that a fella had put together outlining his build and documenting the steps. I chose to model my foundry after his.


Empty Keg
remove the locking ring off the tap
cut off the top of the keg with cutoff wheels.
putting a metal edge around the lid to give the refractory cement a place to anchor .
I setup the shopsmith as a drill press and drilled the holes for the lid.
Jasmine helped me put in the screws. I cut two fingers putting the in the machine screws.
machine screws that will give the refractory mix places to anchor to the lid.

Foundry Build: part3 the burner.

Part 3

The Burner,

One of the reasons I really liked this design was the the burner. It is able to use propane or waste oil, peanut oil, diesel or just about anything combination of that sort of thing. For aluminum only propane will be needed, for other metals it will be great to have additional BTUs available. Here is the video of his burner followed by some of my pictures of mine so far:


Getting Healthy

It has been a real struggle, but I am attempting to become more healthy. One of my cunning plans to get us back in the game is to do more hiking this year. We also want to do some rockhounding and foraging.

Earlier this month tward that end we all went out and bought hiking boots and have been breaking them in, I bought Kyle and I daypacks off of amazon and so far I really like them.  LINK: 40L Pack

Today Kyle and I donned our day packs and headed off down a local trail. The part we walked was pretty near a busy road in some spots but was really gorgeous.  We ended up only walking for about 50 minutes, but it was a good start.




Getting the Watsons Back on the WWW.

Its been a long time, but I am back poking at the bits on the Watsons.World. I plan to post about all of the antics we Watsons’ are up to. Hopefully this will be your one stop shop to get updates on the things that are going on in our lives.

Posts will probably be out of order as I add our recent adventures, once we get caught up expect them to roll in most recent at the top. -Michael