Metal Melter, Part II
After my qualified success last week melting a bag of cans (and other things), I analyzed my mistakes and decided to try again. On this go-around I replaced the anemic hair dryer with an electric leaf blower. I also obtained some steel muffin pans from a local thrift store.
If you read the first installment, you saw how the aluminum muffin pan ended up becoming fused to the bench. I eventually was able to pry it off. This is what it looked like underneath. I cut the pan up in the hopes of melting it down as well.
The bench was still usable (if a bit warped). I also got a large cement mixing tray and filled it with sand and set it next to the forge on the bench. I set the steel muffin pan into the tray of sand.
Now all metal pouring, as well as anything else hot, would go into the sand tray.
I fired up the foundry as before, but this time with the leaf blower providing the forced air it heated a LOT faster. I started the melt with some of the metal blobs I created the first time, followed with some scrap pieces from the muffin pan. They were melted in just a few minutes! I had some more cans to feed it too, but I soon ran into a minor issue. The leaf blower was TOO strong; when I tried to drop cans in the hole the air pressure provided by the leaf blower would blow then right back out! Until I could reduce the air flow from the blower I was forced to push and hold the cans in the hole until they began to melt. That was not a horrible problem, but one that will need to be fixed before I melt again.
It only took one third the time to get a nice pot of liquid metal to pour on this attempt.
I pulled steel crucible out of the forge with the handy hook I made and poured the molten metal into the steel muffin pan. This time it was perfect!
It was all I could hope for!
Cooling down my metal muffins in a bucket of water.
TA DA I have now doubled my horde from last time; a total of two pounds of solid aluminum.
The next step: SAND CASTING!
"He wasn't going to admit it, but I still managed to get him this time too. He dropped his still-hot muffins into a bucket of water to cool them quick, but they were still so hot that by the time they sank to the bottom of the bucket they were still hot enough to melt into the bottom of the bucket, AND melt enough of the bottom of the bucket to stick it to the composit deck! He ripped a hole in the bottom of his bucket pulling it off the deck! HA HA!"