Hank Helmen,     Ruckersville, VA    hhelmen@Aol.com        7/15/2005

Casting at home

Here are some pictures of my casting work.   All of these pictures were taken about 3 years ago when I was starting out.   The quality of the castings was not all that good.  There is a learning curve to get the "feel"  of sand casting.

1.  The furnace set up in my drive way.   In the back ground is an ordinary barbque gill propane tank.  This size tank is adequate for aluminum, or brass if it is full and used on a warm day.  The muffin pans are for left over melt.  Not a good idea to allow metal to solidify in the crucible.

2.  The Small Pyramid Products furnace while hot looking in the hole of the lid.

3. Dusting parting dust on the drag half of the petro bond sand mold.

4. Patterns and castings next to a rammed up sand mold for the John Sisson engine. These came out better after reading C.W. Ammen's Casting book, and adding  a riser directly behind the pouring sprue. 

6. Brass flywheel casting just shaken out of the sand.  Pouring spru's still attached. Notice the little basin directly below the spru. This really helps get a smooth casting where the it connects to the part.  This is called a "gate" and it helps lower turbulence (and air bubbles) while the metal is flowing into the mold.

7. Suited up and ready to pour metal. 

8.  Raw material for melting.  An old car transmission case salvaged from a repair shop for free. Pistons work well also.

9.  A rather large curved spoke flywheel made for the Gingery,  Atkinson Cycle engine.

10.  Looking down into the furnace with the crucible in place charged with broken transmission bits.

11.  A crank case for a small two stroke model airplane engine. Finally a good casting~!
 I have also cast  model airplane propellers, brass plaques.  and numerous other things.  When I got the furnace I began ramming up all sorts of things around the house just to see what it would look like in metal.  Thus I had toys, sea shells, and other things.  It was fun and a good way to learn sand casting.
I do the Iron the exact same way except that the Iron takes longer to heat up (25 minutes) and I use a 100 lb Propane tank.  Also I am using regular Green sand instead of Petro bond oil sand.  The green sand is trickier to get just right on the moisture content.
I made all my flasks after buying one and using it as a pattern.  I find smaller ones easier to ram up, carry and pour.