The MidsouthMakers Forge Ahead

by on Sep.12, 2010, under Events, Trips

Fire GOOD!

Image by Kevin Dunn

Following our normally scheduled meeting on August 27th, the Makers group was offered the chance by Greg, one of the members of the local 2600 group, to visit his home made aluminum forge.

After the initial awe of seeing an actual Delorean parked in his garage, we were treated to Greg setting up and demoing his forge. We were asked to bring small objects that could be pressed into sand molds to make reliefs to pour molten aluminum into to duplicate.

The forge was made using a metal 5 gallon paint/chemical bucket with a special mixture of concrete on the inside for insulation and heat retention. The top was made out of the bottom of another metal bucket with the same concrete mixture, with an ingenious use of rebar as a pivot point to turn the top out of the way to access the crucible.

Soon after inserting his Harbor Freight propane burner into a hole in the side of the bucket, the fire was ignited and things really began to heat up. Greg’s main source of aluminum is, you guessed it, aluminum drink cans. While the crucible was turning red-hot, Greg would add cans in two at a time. The paint on the outside of the cans would flash fire and be burnt off as slag, while the rest of the aluminum would melt in to a puddle of silver liquid reminiscent of mercury in colour and fluidity.

Once the aluminum was fully melted and the scum was pulled from the top, the crucible was carefully extracted and poured into some of the waiting sand molds. While still incredibly hot, the aluminum almost immediately solidified into the desired form. After a few minutes of cooling it was carefully extracted using tongs and left to air cool for several hours.

While the whole process is actually incredibly simple, it is still exciting to watch and even more exciting to think of the endless possibilities of having such a forge at your disposal!

The Makers would like to extend thanks to Greg for allowing us to invade his garage to see this amazing forge in action!

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