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Last week, I spoke at the GO-Tech meeting, which was held at the A2 Mechshop in Ann Arbor, MI. I was there for a terrific demo of aluminum casting by Rick Chownyk. He was not only well-informed but very entertaining.

Rick began with a styrofoam mold he had created already.

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He had built his own burner for melting scrap aluminum. (He said that you can’t do this using aluminum cans.)

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He buried the mold in a bucket of sand. When the aluminum was red-hot, the exciting time for the pour arrived. In the video below, listen to the enthusiastic audience and their questions — this is why these demos are so cool.

Minutes later, after the mold had cooled, he removed it, dunked it water, and raised it high to the delight of the crowd — a metal Make sign!

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Rick recommends the site, Backyard Metalcasting, for instructions on how to do this yourself. He also credits the Dave Gingery books available from Lindsay’s Technical Books.

Thanks to Dale Grover and A2 Mechshop for inviting me to speak and to the hundred or so who came out.
A2 Mech Shop, a “co-engineering” space, is a positive sign that good things are happening in Michigan.

Dale Dougherty

I’m founder of MAKE magazine and creator of Maker Faire. I am CEO of Maker Media, the company that produces MAKE, Maker Faire and Maker Shed. I am Chairman of the Maker Education Initiative (www.makered.org).


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