When I started to cast aluminum the end goal was to build a lathe from scratch following the Dave Gingery Machine Shop From Scrap Metal series of books. Now that I have the lathe, I won’t necessarily need to cast large parts all the time, and thus it seemed like a good idea to build a smaller furnace that would be quick to setup, would cool down quickly, and would also be portable. I was initially planning on building a small furnace from a big coffee can, but finding myself in the paint section of a hardware store I noticed new empty paint cans for sale ( $5 each ), and decided these would be the way to go for a small furnace build ( more capacity and I wouldn’t have a bunch of instant coffee to drink ).
This project will take you through all the steps required to build a furnace, and to make the required tools to cast aluminum using the ‘Lost Foam’ method. I also go over traditional greensand pattern molding, and cast a piece using that method as well with the furnace.
Below are a few photos that give a preview of the results attained using the equipment in this project: