4. Fun with molten metal
Fun with molten metal
This section contains information on kiln construction, mould making casting and finishing. I started this hobby almost 17 years ago with some charcoal, an old hairdryer and a large block of zinc (old zinc anode from a boat). Watching that dull zinc metal turn into silvery liquid zinc got me hooked almost at once.
Now, years later I have a propane powered furnace able to melt bronze, and the expertise to use lost wax casting methods to make myself an amazing chess set. See some of my photos below.
Also, see my video on YouTube at http://youtu.be/OzccR9UjE3U
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I cheated when it comes to the molding, using commercially available latex rubber moulds filled with wax as the master. These wax masters are embedded in investment (high tech plaster), and after setting the wax is melted out, then burned away, leaving the empty mould ready for the molten metal.
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This is the "oven" I use to burnout the wax. It gets up to around 500C - not as hot as it should be, but it works well enough.
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This is the furnace. A high temperature concrete cast inside a stainless steel drum. The furnace is clad in glass wool to make it more thermally efficient.
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High pressure propane jets through this venturi, entraining air and making a very efficient, high energy torch - see the video for spectacular images.
aluminium with a bit of bronze (copper and zinc), cooled slowly has helped to create some crystals that are 1-2 mm across.
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Bronze plus a little aluminium and the end result seems to be a nicely antiqued figure.
Don't be fooled by the bright lights, this figure of David is actually cast in solid brass.
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Some of the chess figures. Now all I need is a solid metal chessboard - maybe not!