Sunday, April 23, 2006

Making My Casting Sand.

I've been wanting to try my hand at making some motorcycle parts from sand casting.
It took me several days to sift my sand to clean out the larger, though very small, rocks. Fifty pounds worth of medium grade sand to which I'll add the bentonite clay to.
I'm going first with a coffee can foundry to melt my aluminum into ingots before the actual casting process. This way I hope to have good clean aluminum already rid of the garbage. I still need to make some sort of a metal stand to hold the foundry to prevent any tipping. Then I need to find a way to mount my blower to it to get the heat up.

A small place has already been picked for the foundry which is over clean dirt. You do not want to pour hot molten metal of any sort on a concrete floor, driveway or patio unless you have made a box of some type to hold dirt to pour over. HOT metal hitting concrete will explode throwing chunks of concrete like shrapnel from a grenade.

My ideal mold would be to have a steel permanent type to keep parts consistent. But I should be able to accomplish this fairly well with the right model for each casting. Perhaps a lost wax type system for later. The material to make lost wax models has already been sitting and waiting on me. This will be much easier when ramming up the mold in that I won't have to remove the solid model each time.

Today I spent most of my time, after mowing the lawn and trimming, trying to figure out how to pulverize my bentonite clay into fine powder. After several attempts at building something to do this it hit me..."Viola!!" I thought,"Well Duh. I had saved the old electric mixer do dads from a small kitchen mixer years ago. Why not try that?"
It worked fantastic mounted in my drill press. It wasn't very noisy at all. When first turned on the clay makes a slight hissing sound like pouring sand into a bucket but then the sound grows quieter as the mixing arm keeps pulling the ever smaller clay bits in. I watched as it would pull new in and push the powder out at the bottom only to bring it back up and through again. Though it did take an hour to do around ten pounds worth, it was ground down into a very nice powder. This stuff became just warm and would try to clump when squeezed in my hand and wanted to stick to my small wooden paddle.

Now I only need to make an aluminum gear case to mount on top of a bucket to be able to use three of these at one time on the drill press. This would greatly reduce the amount of time to grind the clay into fine powder. Then I could just turn it on and do something else while the mixer does it's thing. Perhaps this will be the first part that I cast.

Once I get my casting going, I will then proceed to doing my own anodizing of motorcycle and car parts as well.


Billy Jones said...

Cool, I can't wait to hear how it goes.

WooleyBugger said...

Need some bike parts made poet?