Constructing objects from raw metal is the most basic of all fabrication techniques. All that is required is heat and some way to hold the metal as it is being melted. In modern amateur forges a simple metal container that is lined with high temperature concrete is used. An air vent is added so that the flames can be made to burn hotter than they would under normal conditions.
- Basic Forge UPDATE - Smelting Furnace
- Metal container (large steel popcorn container)
- Inner combustion chamber (coffee can)
- Air blower (hair dryer)
- Air vent (non galvanized steel pipe, 18 inches)
- Fuel (BBQ charcoal)
- Refractory material (High temp concrete for fireplaces)
- Crucible (Ceramic jar or 1/2 of an oxygen tank)
- Safety Wear
- Leather welding gloves
- Face shield
- Safety Apron
- Filter mask (optional, for fumes)
This is the simplest metal because of its relatively low melting point and its wide availability. I will be using aluminum to practice melting and casting.
- Design Phase
- Research materials and settle on a forge design
- Using fireplace cement and a steel popcorn tin
- Using a steel pipe for the air vent
- Gathering Phase
- Gather materials and tools needed
- Cement bought from a fireplace store on University. Very expensive. Need to find a new source.
- Popcorn tin was donated. If I am going to use the same design I will need to stock up on tins over Christmas.
- Tool bought at Home Depot
- Building Phase 1
- Construct a floor for the forge from the refractory material
- Floor must set before Phase 2
- Building Phase 2
- Cut a hole in the side of the forge just above the refractory floor for the air vent
- Cut a hole in the form used for the firing chamber for the air vent
- Assemble firing chamber form, air vent, and forge
- Seal around air vent to prevent refractory leakage while setting
- Pour refractory material
- Refractory must set before next phase
- Firing phase
- After drying out the forge must be fired to drive out the rest of the water. This will prevent steam explosions that may damage the walls.
- Use either wood or bbq charcoal
Brass will require more safety equipment than aluminum because of the zinc fumes it gives off
Originally I was going to make my casting material out of fireclay and sand but a conversation I had with a man who ran a casting supply store has pointed me toward "casting sand". This is very fine grain sand mixed with bakelite. He also informed me that "fireclay" is plain silica clay that you get from the ground. With this info I should be able to acquire more materials cheaper.