I arrived at the Makerspace on Thursday without an idea of what I would cast in metal, and in less than two hours I was removing my piece from the steaming petrobond! Check out the fruit of two hours of labor cast in metal!
That’s right! The Milwaukee Makerspace had its first (and second) aluminum pour on Thursday! Thanks to the hard work of several members, the Makerspace now has a fully functional aluminum casting foundry. The custom built propane and diesel powered furnace melted an entire #16 crucible of aluminum in less than 20 minutes. Check out Brant’s video to see our fearless foundry foreman leading the two pours!
To get the foundry running quickly, we’ve started out by using a lost-styrofoam casting method. That is, styrofoam is carved into the desired shape and then a sprue and vents are attached with hot glue(!). This assembly is placed in a wooden form, and is surrounded by tightly packed petrobond, an oil bonded, reusable sand. Then, the molten aluminum is poured directly onto the styrofoam sprue. The styrofoam is instantly vaporized by the 1250 degree Fahrenheit aluminum, which fills the void in the petrobond formerly occupied by the styrofoam. The air and perhaps even some of the styrofoam residue escapes from the mold through the vents. We’ll be phasing in bonded sand and lost wax casting soon, so stay tuned for those details.
Eventually we’ll be having aluminum casting classes; however, we’re definitely going to be having aluminum pours on alternate Thursday evenings for the next few months. Join our mailing list / google group to get more details. Metal pours are spectacular to watch, so feel free to stop by to see the action around 7 or 8 pm, or join the Makerspace and participate!