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  1. #1
    Mikey started this thread.
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    I Have Built the Ultimate Scrap Tool!

    For the past month or so i have been working on a homemade foundry. for those of you who dont know what that is, it is a furnace, almost like a kiln that gets hot enough to melt copper, brass and aluminum. the body is made from a hot water heater lined with fire bricks and refractory cement and the burner is the real gem. i called a metal shop and was able to buy a piece of 304 stainless steel tubing 2" in diameter that is used to house the burner tip. initially thought that i would run this sucker on MAPP gas but then quickly realized how expensive that would be. so, i looked into alternative options. i am a chef and as a result i have many connerctions in restaurants. i am now able to get about 30 gallons of used deep fryer oil for free!
    anyways, the burner can burn anything from used motor oil to kerosene, diesel and biodiesel to WVO! inside of the burner tube is a special piece called a syphon nozzle which creates a vacuum using the venturi effect and allows a heavy fuel to be misted so it can combust. it starts on LPG with a ball valve for the on off and the gets gradually switched over to the WVO once the burner is hot enough. the waste oil is drawn up by compressed air regulated at the tank and at the burner with valves and a low pressure gauge and the oil has a ball valve to control it's flow as well. the oil is filtered and preheated by running througha copper coil that sits ina crock pot of hot water. the internal temp gets up to over 3000 degreed F. so its more than enough to melt my copper bits. the best part is that i can throw #2 copper with solder into it and it all gets melted together making it #1 once i cast it into a mold. i can increase or lower purity by weighing materials beforhand and make sure that the alloy is at least 97% so the yard can hit my ingots with the xrf gun and get paid for #1 price no matter what! ill most pics soon and let ya'll know how it goes. wish me luck and thanks for letting me share.
    i am really excited


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  3. #2
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    interesting..

    Pictures!!!

  4. #3
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    Mikey my father used to own a Aluminum foundry, and has worked in a foundry all his life. I have messed with the homemade furnace before. Thats great. Couldn't you get some slag cleaner and after you melt the copper skim of the slag off the top.

  5. #4
    RustyDollars's Avatar
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    I really am looking forward to your pictures. A homemade foundry has been on my bucket list for some time now.

  6. #5
    Mikey started this thread.
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    To Ace: hook me up! I have a few questions:
    1)I have already learned so much while building this but there is already much more to knowledge to gain. What i this additive that you speak of and can I use a household chemical?
    2) Do you have any tips or tricks that would help me? Maybe something on how to get the best finish on my ingots? Or maybe some precautions or any other tips or tricks while in the process of smelting and refining and/or producing a quality product or alloy.
    3) I think that I I've seen the slag skimmer that you are talking about but what would be a good tool that I could build or find to use?

    I only need a few more things before it is up and running (I think and I hope, yikes). I need to find a crucible that i approximately 10" in diameter at the top and no more than 18" in height. What can I use for this? I also need some tongs designed for this crucible and last but not least I need an ingot mold. I have dreamed of having a custom ingot mold with my initials backward but I really don't care what I use just as long as they will hold up.
    Do you have any ideas for me that are either free or dirt cheap? I'll pay if I have to but I'm freakin broke right now!
    I need to know some tricks of the trade that are commonly overlooked by the seasoned foundry-man. Maybe some advice on how to keep the tools clean or information concerning the legality in the state of Ohio. I bet there are tons of steps that the veteran smelters take for granite.
    To Rusty: when I post the pics I will give my advice in what size fittings to use for the burner and where to obtain these odd parts. It took a long time and a lot of research/reading to find a design that would stay burning when its so cold out. Overall I will have paid about $200 so far to build this thing and I would be impressed if you could find a way to make this quality of a waste oil furnace for cheaper than that. Tonight I will be putting the lid together and designing a way to remove it while hot. Hinges anyone, nah not gonna bother welding...I'm thinking handles.
    When its all done my friend is going to put a high temp paint deign on the outside of it--sick. I'm thinking red orange and yellow flames with black background but that may be a little tacky for my baby.
    sorry for the novel again, I think its safe to say I'm stoked.

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  8. #6
    corycouch's Avatar
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    I agree interesting, id like to see pics and possibly some videos, sounds cool for sure

  9. #7
    RustyDollars's Avatar
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    To Mikey:

    My understanding is that the crucible can be made from a steel pipe. I am planning on using a section of well pipe that I have saved and welding a bottom to it. If you do a google/video search for "myfordboy" he has I believe 24 videos on the backyard foundry and casting steps. He has a unique crucible design and retrieving tool that also works for pouring. I think you would appreciate checking it out.

    Anyways I really look forward to learning and hearing more about your adventure.

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  11. #8
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    awesome dude, beats our way of melting aluminum, a hot ass bon fire, a big cast iron pan on top with a SS screen over to keep out most of the embers, lol. But then again, back home in WV, that kinda thing is considered genius.

  12. #9
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  13. #10
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    Mike pm me. I will hook you up man.

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  15. #11
    Mechanic688's Avatar
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    Gus used to use some kind of special clay to make his molds, he had to buy it over the internet.
    P & M Recycling - Specializing in E-Waste Recycling.
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  16. #12
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    If you built this to sell to your yard you better check with them first. I asked the 3 yards I frequint and they all said they wouldnt buy ingots.

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  18. #13
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    My yard won't buy homemade ingots of any kind either.

  19. #14
    Mikey started this thread.
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    I just got done pouring the cement for the bottom row and boy am I tired. Now you all have me nervous but I don't know if I should be or not. You see, I spoke to the head buyer at one of the yards here and he told me that they have never dealt with this sort of thing. I told him that I would bring him approximately 200-300 pounds 1-2 times a month of #1 ingots, one pound each. I also told him that they would be 97% content or higher (copper).
    Do your yards have an XRF gun?
    He does and I told him that before he buys, he is more than welcome to test my product and cut them open. If not I don't care. I will find someone who will buy them. My father has a couple friends who own yards and we'll be able to find a buyer, if not...well I guess I'll have to look into exporting it to china myself.

  20. #15
    Scrap Master J's Avatar
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    I was using a wine bucket as a crucible and pouring into bread pans. I have only done AL so far. My copper experiment failed on the first try because I didn't have enough protection from the heat to get the crucible out. Need to redesign with a side door instead of taking the top off.

  21. #16
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    I brought a pure aluminum ingot weighing about 5 lbs to a yard in Long Island, NY. I made it myself from only aluminum cans so as to not mix the different types of alloys. This yard would not take it saying they couldn't verify the type of AL alloy because it was a home-made ingot. BTW, anybody want to buy and pick up my homemade furnace and crucibles. tongs etc?

  22. #17
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    think smaller and thinner ingots, if it looks like it was sheets of alum. or shims of some kind, they may not realize it's an ingot, that is if you can get the top to cool flat, mine seem to have ripples in it. but I know that I turned in 3 5 gallon buckets full of alum that melted in a fire and they took it as dirty alum. but again, the pieces were small, the biggest one weighed 1.5 lbs. I was questioned at the yard about it, and told them we had a trailer fire on a lot, and other than the frame, this was all that was left, they told me to bring in the rest when I got it gathered up. I did lie about where the alum. came from, but to cover up what I was selling, just how it came to be in the form it was in, as I was worried if I said, "it came out of my fire pit" they would turn it down.

  23. #18
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    I think I would rather have alum. cans at .70 lb than "dirty" alum. at .25 lb

  24. #19
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    cans here go for .50 a pound. and the alum that I melted down would have been dirty anyways as it had steel rivits and pins in it. mine went to the yard as dirty cause it had charcoal in it from melting down into the bonfire, I wasn't doing with the goal of making an ingot, just to see if the bonfire was actually hot enough to melt alum. You wonder about those sort of things after a few rum and cokes lol.

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