Cast a Mini Aluminum Skillet – Start to Finish

In this video. I’ll show how I cast this mini aluminum skillet using basic materials and skills Welcome to another episode of the Plutonium Bunny The first ingredient is greensand. I store it in these handy cat litter buckets. It is made of cat litter and sand Making the mold is really the most difficult part of the whole process It begins with placing the skillet in the casting flask and dusting it with baby powder I use a sock as my duster for even coverage Then I sprinkle greensand onto the skillet to make sure that there are no clumps This is important to ensure good detail in the casting After I have the skillet covered I pack the sand down with my hands and add another layer until I fill the flask up to the top Once the flask is full, I pack the sand down using a rammer and Then level the top like you would spread concrete After carefully flipping the flask over I used a spoon to remove excess sand that got underneath the skillet The skillets handle is round so I needed to remove sand to the halfway point This helps the skillet to release better from the mold. Being careful at this part will make a better casting later, so be sure to take your time and do a good job I also eventually press the sand around the handle so that it wouldn’t come loose When I was happy with the sand around the handle I dusted the skillet with baby powder and then dusted the sand so it wouldn’t stick during the next step. I then put on the other half of my casting flask, using pegs in holes drilled in the two by fours Then I repeated the mold making process Sprinkling sand onto the skillet and then ramming it down as I built up the mold At this point it would be good to say that the ideal greensand is just wet enough to hold together without crumbling It shouldn’t be so wet that it sticks to your hand a lot when you squeeze it This is important for making a mold that doesn’t crumble before use or make steam bubbles when it touches molten aluminum When I had finished the other half I very carefully separated the two halves of the mold I did this by inching them apart to separate the sand and then lifting them fully apart I tried to lift them straight up as much as possible To remove the skillet I first tapped it with a screwdriver to loosen it And then lifted it straight up, trying not to disturb the handle too much I used a large one-inch pipe to cut the sprue where the metal flows into the mold It should be fairly large so that it can feed molten metal into the shrinking casting I then used a smaller pipe to cut the riser where metal flows back out of the mold when it is full The finished mold looked like this with the sprue, the riser, and a small vent I cut in the handle with a skewer. This will let air out of the mold so that the aluminum can fill it With both halves of the mold completed I carefully set them on top of each other trying to go straight down as much as possible so that I would not disturb the sand with any bumping about sideways Outside I started some charcoal using a charcoal chimney. This works better than starting it directly in the furnace I poured the hot charcoal into the propane tank furnace And then turned on the ShopVac that supplies the air I also felt the airstream to make sure I wasn’t adding too much air While I waited for the furnace to get going I felt my crucible with broken bits of a cast aluminum vacuum cleaner, trying to get it as full as possible Then I used tongs made of welded steel rods to place the crucible in the middle of the furnace Trying to get it as level as possible With the crucible in the furnace I turned the air on again and put the lid on This furnace has an exhaust vent where the propane valve would go A few times during the melt I took the lid off to add aluminium and fuel One problem with this type of furnace is that it burns fuel unevenly which makes the crucible tilt Propane furnaces do not have this problem This kind of furnace is just fine for a beginner though as it only uses basic materials and does not require gas regulation equipment When the crucible was full of molten aluminum I heated it three minutes after the last piece became molten to make sure that the aluminum was up to pouring temperature Then I sprinkled on a mixture of sodium chloride and sodium carbonate which flux and degass the metal respectively I scraped off the slag trying not to get molten aluminum all over my furnace.
Believe me, it’s happened before I then used my tongs to grab the crucible and smoothly poured it into the sprue. It is important to pour in one continuous motion I replaced the crucible in the furnace prevent thermal shock and then put on the lid to let everything cool down slowly In this sped up clip you can see the aluminum in the sprue shrinking as it cools which I thought was pretty cool After half an hour of cooling I broke open the mold to reveal a successful casting I was really impressed with how the skillet turned out. The aluminum completely filled the mold even though there were thin sections Some of my other castings haven’t turned out this way But the important thing is just to keep trying again. One casting even took me three tries to get right But I learned a lot from the process Failure isn’t necessarily bad as long as you keep learning The greensand can be reused indefinitely. It is a bit dry, but adding water and remixing will freshen it up again And it can be used for the next casting To finish the casting I cut the sprue and riser off using a hacksaw with a metal blade The bottom was still not flat so I used a file to smooth it out. This took a while and was fairly tedious The inside of the skillet was also a bit rough, so I sanded that smooth using some 80 grit sandpaper This will help food not stick to it when it is used for cooking I finished the skillet up by giving it a good shine with a wire brush Now it really looks presentable The skillet works well, so I hope you enjoyed and thank you for watching another episode of the Plutonium Bunny

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