How to melt aluminum in your backyard

Should acetylene or MAPP gas be able to melt aluminum or aluminum alloy in some kind of iron pot? Should an oven be built for it? I plan to make a
backyard aluminum sculpture. Possibly a little turtle, frog or a reinforcing frame structure for a specialized tool.
Thanks.
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This is interesting. I haven't tried it yet, but have an old hi-watt waver to do it when i need to. http://home.c2i.net/metaphor/mvpage.html
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Paul Calman, Hathaway Pines, California



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You'll find several books to choose from concerning this kind of work here: http://www.lindsaybks.com/
Melting aluminum is fairly easy. The tricky part is achieving high temps with whatever kind of flame you are using. It gets lots easier if your flame is working inside a high temp insulated furnace.
Steve Smith
Tibur Waltson wrote:

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When I was but a wee lad, I found out the hard way that it is possible to melt aluminum on an electric stove. Specifically, if you boil water in your mother's heavy aluminum pan, and forget about it, and all the water boils away, and the pan just keeps heating and heating ... well, let's draw a merciful veil of silence over the memory of my mothers's reaction when she picked up the pan and the bottom stayed behind.
There was a neat little "Hershey's Kiss" shaped piece where the aluminum had melted down onto the drip pan. At least, *I* thought it was really neat!
DTTAH! (Don't try this at home!)
Andy
On Fri, 23 Jul 2004, Steve Smith wrote:

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Natural gas or propane will do it in a proper furnace. No need for hotter stuff. I recommend you do some reading on the subject. There are a number of good books. There are lots of ways to hurt yourself. Best bet would be to take a class at a local community college and do the work in the class. You will learn much faster and have better results with the proper equipment and guidance.
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A few courses or self study is definately recommended. Safety issues are critical - water tends to explode pretty violently when exposed to molten metal, and molds can also explode if not perpared properly. Very dangerous if you're not meticulous about it.
You dont need an acetylene torch. Just LP, or even natural gas. The less metal you are melting the easier it is to melt. The best way is to make a cup shaped item out of steel, put a handel on it, and line it with refractory material. Home Depot sells a furnace cement - if you mix that stuff with vermiculite you get a pretty good crucible liner. I had one crucible like that which lasted at least 100 cycles of heating / cooling.
You could probably slip-cast a wax model with regular ceramic slip, but you would definately want to fire it completely prior to pouring the metal. Clay will pop and explode if you dont fire the hell out of it - but that's how it's been done for thousands of years.
Charcoal furnaces are OK for single use. Gas is better.
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But a better question is "how not to".
Random scrap is crappy for casting. I'd stick to automotive aluminum, and try to clean it as good as possible before melting. Never - ever allow any plastic in your furnace. And, some items are painted. You might want to power wash your scrap, sand blast it, or tumble it in a cement mixer to clean it off prior to melting. You'll have less dross, and no HAP's.
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i've been reading about a new and cheap fuel alternative that is starting to catch on in some places is using used vegetable oil as a fuel source for castig metal the prep it properly they cn use it as is and it is a fairly easy comodity to get a hold of since every restaurant has a barrel of the stuff around they are more than willing to give you all you woud like to have , the picture of the flame i saw on this one site you could tell it was hot hey they make diesel from vegetable oil so why not?
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (badaztek) wrote:

That would be one of those classic "Sounds good, but BZZZZZZZT!!!! Wrong answer!" concepts. Most restaurants that dumpster or barrel grease for pickup not only *CAN'T*, due to contractual obligations, but *WON'T*, due to financial and/or liability reasons, let anybody but the grease pickup service even LOOK at their grease barrels, let alone allowing Joe Random Person to take any quanitity at all from them. Y'see, even though it's "garbage", it's still worth a little cash to them. Just had a fellow get a 2 year prison sentence over this exact issue about three weeks ago. He was originally charged with several counts of larceny, and one B&E after the local grease-collector (Who contracts with most of the restaraunts in the area to pick up, and in turn, sells it on to the rendering plant) started noticing a lower-than-usual amount of grease on the route with no change in number of places he was collecting from. Investigation found the fellow doing exactly what you're talking about (He plays extensively with steam, from what I gather, and was using it in a modified fuel-oil burner to run a boiler) and led to him being arrested/charged.
The moral of the story: Waste grease may seem like garbage, and some places might even be willing to let you tote it away, but chances are, they're not going to do that unless you pay them for the privilege. And even then, they may not be able to because they've already got a contract with someone else.

See above.
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Don Bruder - snipped-for-privacy@sonic.net - New Email policy in effect as of Feb. 21, 2004.
Short form: I'm trashing EVERY E-mail that doesn't contain a password in the
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Tibur Waltson wrote:

I've bought and studied the Gingery books from Lindsay Tech Books < www.lindsaybks.com > and studied them, very interesting, and open your eyes to the fact that there are usually several ways to get things done.
www.backyardmetalcasting.com has a lot of info, and a very knowledgable discussion forum. They even have info on that grease-powered furnace.
I've melted aluminum in a coffee can surrounded by charcoal and fed with a hairdryer, used a propane weedburner in a pottery kiln, and a old vacuum cleaner setup as an oxygen lance to get a brushpile hot enough that it melted a half gallon cast iron pot full of pistons and scrap.
Melting aluminum isn't hard, it's doing it safely that matters. I always use welding gloves, a leather jacket, boots, a plexi face shield, and like having a bed of sand under everything.
Have fun, and be safe!
Russell
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Hi guys: One guy locally melts aluminum all the time with an old oil burner off an old furnace. Acetylene and MAPP gas would be a lot more expensive to operate. He used an old tank, lined it with refractory cement and installed the burner on the side.
Eric

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