''Hey, all (I really need a better way to start my posts!). Like many
here, I got my start in casting with the Gingery books. Now I am
looking for the next book to expand my knowledge: gating, risers,Super
runners, pattern-making, etc. I am open to all recommendations!
The books that stand out in my memory are the Navy Foundry Manual and Steve Chastain's books. The former can be had at Lindsay Publications: <http://www.lindsaybks.com/bks/foundry/index.html>
The latter can be bought direct from his web site: <http://stephenchastain.com/store.htm>
I think Lindsay has Steve's books, as well.
If you want to pursue wood pattern making, I have a pretty good one on my web site that I give group members a break on. Email me Ron Thompson if you want it for $5.00, shipping included. (Note, it is scanned in PDF form on a CD.) <http://www.plansandprojects.com/wood%20pattern%20making.htm>
Don't forget web resources like foundry101 <http://www.host33.com/casting/>
I want to use perlite in my refractory, is this a good idea?
Perlite is a good insulator for the outer layer of your furnace, but don't use it for the inner layer. Perlite will collapse at furnace temperatures and make your refractory break out.
(1) What would be a good Furnace to build for melting Aluminum? Are there plans available?
There are many styles and designs. I think the most popular among our members is a refractory lined, propane fired crucible furnace. The choice of what to build should be preceded by asking yourself what you want to cast. (both alloy and size.)
There are many sources of plans, both free (as in web sites) and in books. Do a Google search for homemade furnace or homemade foundry and you will be reading for days.
(2) What about the Refractory Material to build the Furnace. Do any of the home made recipes work or would you be better off purchasing a commercial Refractory?
For aluminum, your refractory should be chosen by the temperature you need to reach. Bear in mind, you may want to explore higher temperature alloys in the future. If you make a furnace with poor homemade refractory that stands up to zinc or even aluminum, melting brass, bronze or iron may destroy your furnace. If you might go there, it is wise to use refractory that will do the job. There are differing opinions, but I used a 3000 degree commercial refractory and have never regretted it.
(3) When using Propane for Fuel, how much can be benefited by adding forced air to the Burner?
(4) With a good Furnace, how much Aluminum can you melt with one 20lb. Tank. (Barbeque size)
(5) What do you Guys recommend for Casting Sand? Green Sand, Home made stuff? What gives you the best results?