DIY Micro Metal Foundry

DIY Micro Metal Foundry


In today’s video, we’re taking a classic build,
the mini metal foundry, and we’re scaling it way down
to a desktop version, the micro metal foundry. [Music] Guys, in the past, you’ve seen both Grant
and Nate build different types of foundries. But today, Nate has found a way
to make that even smaller, the micro metal foundry. That’s right. Sometimes, you don’t need
to melt a lot of aluminum, you just need
little bits at a time. And so for that, we are going to build
an entire foundry in this tiny little bucket. Here’s the basic idea. Using plaster and sand, we’ll make a fire resistant
shell inside of a small bucket. We’ll then build
a propane jet nozzle that can heat up the inside of our foundry hot
enough to melt aluminum. And we got this bucket
for two dollars at Hobby Lobby. There are similar versions
at most craft stores, and that’s the first thing
we’re going to need is a little bucket. Next thing we need is this little stainless steel
coffee scoot those from Walmart, and this was also
about two dollars, and this is going
to be used for two things. First, we’re going
to use it for measuring, and then it’s actually
going to become the crucible inside the foundry. To start our build, we’re also going to need a cup
and a spoon just for mixing, some water, some Plaster of Paris
and playground sand. We need to fill this bucket
about 65% to 75% of the way. So what we’re going to do is
two batches of plaster, sand, and water mixed up. So we need four scoops
of plaster, four scoops of sand, and three scoops of water. [Music] Mix those three ingredients
together thoroughly, being sure to get all of the plaster off
of the bottom of the cup. Now, you have a little bit
of time to mix here, but as soon as you start
feeling this warm-up, that’s the plaster
reacting to the water, and that lets you know
that you gotta move fast. This small quantities
with the sand, you’ve got a few minutes, but it is something you
need to be aware of. Once it’s all stirred in, pour it into the bucket
and then mix up a second batch. If you have really big cups, you can do this all at once
with eight scoops of plaster, eight scoops of sand, and six scoops of water. [Music] Okay, our bucket is now
about two-thirds full. We do want to try and get out
all of the air bubbles we can, so it’s good to take
a minute or two, and just tap the bucket
to sort of vibrate it, and get as much air out
as you can. All right. Our de-bubbled, degassed
plaster is about ready. So now, we’re going
to take our plastic cup, and we’re going to drop
this down into the center. The water is in
there to add weight. So all of this is going
to displace the plaster, and it’s gonna make
a nice border around this cup. So I’m going to put this down,
and try and position just right. Calli’s going to use
the tape to tape the cup in place to just hold it right
where we want it. [Music] With your cup full of water
taped in place inside the plaster, you’ll want to give
it at least an hour, possibly more depending
on the temperature and humidity of where you are. If you want it to speed
up a little bit, you can also throw it in
the oven on the lowest setting for an hour or so. While that’s curing, we’re going to work
on building the burner. The burner for this foundry isn’t going to use one
of the large propane tanks. We’re actually just going
to use the small ones, either the blue ones
or the green camping version. First thing we’re going
to need is a torch head that goes to a propane tank. This is the kind
of just threads right on. And normally, you can just
use this as a torch. However, this, while it is pretty hot,
isn’t quite the volume of fire that we want, and it’s
definitely hard to place. With these types
of propane tanks, if you turn them
upside down or anything to get this nozzle,right
where we would want it, they do have a tendency
to start flickering and sputtering after a while. And so, we are going to hook
up a whole little hose, and build ourselves
a customized burner. We’ve got some thread tape, a 1/4 inch or 6 millimeter
wire welding contact tip. These things are removable. They’re replaceable, and they have just
this wonderful sized hole as the nozzle. We have a 1/2 inch
to 1/4 coupling. This is some steel pipe. Got four of these
socket cap screws. They have the hex head in them, and they are
machine threaded screws. This is a number
8 by 32 threads. And this one is 3/4
of an inch long. We have a 1/4 inch
brass pipe cap. We have a 1/4 inch
to barbed fitting, and a 3 inch segments
of 1/4 inch pipe. And lastly, we’ve got
about a three-foot segment of 3/4 inch braided hose. This is what’s actually going
to carry our propane from the tank down
into our burner. So our first step is going
to be the take our coupling, file it down, and drill and tap it
so that our screws fit in. We’re filing this down because trying to drill right
into the side of a curved pipe is pretty impossible. At least accurately. [Music] We’ve now had the four sides
of this coupling filed down, and they aren’t being all
filed down in the same places. We’ve got two that are going
to be right here at the top, and the ones on the sides are
going to be a little bit lower. Now, in each
of those four spots, we need to drill a hole
using a 9/64 inch drill bit. Once the holes are drilled using
8×32 tap to add some threads. [Music] We’ve now got all four holes
drilled and tapped, so that we can thread
our screws into them. We now need to do the same
drilling and tapping process with our brass cap, so that our contacts tip
will thread into that. With a 3/16 inch drill bit, we want to drill a hole
as close to the center as possible into our brass cap. This time, we’re going
to be using an M6 by 1.0 tap. Now, this contact tip threads
beautifully into the threads that we just cut. So we have all of our pieces,
it’s time for assembly. [Music] With the thread tape, this should form
a pretty tight seal. It was a little bit
on the loose side before, but now, it goes in and it shouldn’t let
any gases escape. That’s what’s important. And now, we need to take
the four screws, and fit them into the sides, and have them hold
everything in place. The four screws are going to grip onto the contact tip
to hold everything in place. So the contact tip fits down
through all four of those, and then once it’s in place, we want to tighten
these four screws by hand. Make sure that
doesn’t go anywhere. Once we’ve got it lined up,
we want to take an allen wrench, and just tighten those screws
down to really hold it in place. [Music] That’s now holding itself
in place quite nicely. Just what we’re looking for. On the other side
of this coupling, we’re going to attach our 3
inch piece of 1/4 inch pipe. [Music] We now need to attach the hose from the propane tank
on to our burner. We need to modify this
so it can attach to the hose, and so it has
a higher propane output. First Step, we’re just going
to unscrew this top diffuser. As this nozzle is, when you attach it
to a propane tank, it lets out just the tiny
tiniest amount of propane. You can’t even see the hole
where the propane’s coming out. It’s that fine. Right in the center there, there’s just tiny bits
of corrosion on the brass, and that’s enough
to just entirely hide it. [Music] There you go. If I turn that up
even the tiniest bit, it’s going to go out. We need to widen that nozzle. We’re going to use the smallest size drill bit
that comes with our drill set, which is 1/16 of an inch. If you drill this out, it’ll work for your
micro metal foundry, but it will not work for
regular propane torch anymore. [Music] [inaudible]. To attach the hose onto this, it already has threads,
and we’re going to use them. First, what we need
to do is make the hose a little bit more pliable. So we’re going
to take a lighter, and slowly warm it up so that it can fit right
on these threads. We’ll have to push
and twist this on, it should work pretty nicely. [Music] Here we go. That’s a good seal. Hose attached. On the other side, we’re just going
to be using the barbed, and that just fits in. All right, so now, we should be able to attach this
to our propane tank, attached that onto the burner
we’ve just built. Hopefully, we’ll get
a nice ignition. [Music] Our burner is built and attaches
to our propane tank, so let’s get back to finishing
up our plaster filled bucket, and turning this all
into a foundry. The plaster is largely set. It’s not a 100% cured yet, but it’s definitely set enough
that we can take this off. I’m just gonna pour
out the water here. All right, so now we should
be able to collapse this cup, just like Grant did
in the larger version. Use sort of a twisting, squeeze all the
cup down smaller. [Music] There it goes. We now want to use a hole saw to make a hole
in the side of our bucket. Just large enough for the nozzle
of our burner to fit in. Our goal is to keep it as low
down as possible in the bucket, but not so low that
when we’re using the whole saw, it’s going to cut
into the bottom. [Music] All right. With our plaster
cured this much, it’s, like I was saying,
it’s not cured all the way, but it was cured some. It’s extremely easy
to drill through. [Music] See what this looks like. World’s tiniest foundry? There you go. Tiny little foundry
with a powerful gas jet. Do we have any marshmallows? [Music] It’s almost the size
of a jumbo marshmallow. Here, I made this for you. Thank you. Mmm. Taste like a drill. Now, while our burner does work
inside our foundry at this point, we really want to make sure that the plaster gets
all the way dry before we really
use it for anything. So you can just let it sit
for a day or two, but what I recommend is putting
in the oven at about 200 degrees for two hours, and then at about 450 degrees
for another three hours. That should really bake it dry. So plaster, while you’re using it
and while it’s drying, has a tendency to crack, which is one of the reasons
that we tapped all of the bubbles
out of it beforehand. If you’re worried about the longevity
of your micro metal foundry, you can also use Grant’s trick
of tearing up a little bit of course steel wool, and mixing it in with the slurry before you cast it
into the bucket. It kind of acts like mini rebar. You may also notice that our propane tank
is sitting in a bowl, and that’s because
these propane tanks with the nozzle
opened up extra wide, as they depressurize quickly, they tend to cool
down quite a bit, and once they get too cold, the propane inside them
doesn’t exit as quickly, and you end up having keeping
your flame consistent. So this is just a bowl
of lukewarm water, and our propane tank
is just sitting in it, and that will help prevent it
from freezing up too fast as we let it burn. Now, we’re going to go ahead
and take our scoop, and turn it into our crucible. We were going to do
that is take this handle, bend it over so we
have something to raise and lower it out of the foundry. [Music] This now fits nicely
into our foundry, but it actually just
goes too far down in. We don’t want it resting
quite at the bottom, because it won’t get
the fire circulating around it as well as we want. So we’re also going
to use a little bit of hanger wire to build a stand. The hanger wire
is made of steel, so we shouldn’t have
to worry about it melting. Although the coating will burn off the first time
you put it in there, but that will just hold
our crucible right at the height that we wanted. [Music] Yay, it fits. A little stand
that goes down inside. Our crucible sits
right on top of that. We are ready to test out
our micro metal foundry. There’s a couple things
we need to do. First is we probably
want to set this on like a piece of brick
or stone or something. It doesn’t conduct
a lot of heat down, but we still wouldn’t want
to put it on a wooden surface. The other is, of course, that we need some aluminum
to try and melt down. I think we’re going to try
using some soda tabs. [Music] That right there is the coating
on the hanger catching on fire. Now, let’s let this run, and see
if we can help these tabs. [Music] All right, our aluminum
is nice and molten. So I’m going to take it
out of the foundry, and then we’ve got, I made this tiny little
sword shape mold. There are a few other things
that we might be able to try, but we’re going to start
with the sword one. Now, aluminum is a very
lightweight metal as you know, and with this little of it, it doesn’t have a lot
of weight to push down and force it to flow. So my plan is to pour it on, and then use the wire to try
and encourage it into the shape that we want. We’ll give this a shot. [Music] Hey! You made a very
tiny aluminum sword. There’s a sword shape in there. We may have over poured
the aluminum just a little bit, but it need some encouragement, but that flowed
into the general shape there. We made some aluminum
with our micro metal foundry, and now, I’ve got some Orbeez
that are not fully expanded. So they are also little, and we’re going to now pour
the aluminum into those Orbeez, and see what result we get. Here it goes. [Music] Oh? [Music] Let’s just make sure
this is cool down all the way. Our micro metal molding. [Music] We’ve made an alien.>>We got a good shape.
>>That’s actually so cool. [Music] Guys, that’s not all, we’ve always got more
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100 thoughts on “DIY Micro Metal Foundry

  1. To solve your drill problem. 1st you could get a punch. Very very handy. They have ones you hammer and ones that are spring loaded. Second. Start with a smaller bit. It will start faster, more accuracy and drill deeper faster. And allow the larger bits to have a guided start and also it won't bite in bad if its a really large bit and also it will drill faster. Start small, Work your way up.

  2. Make sure that all the steel is stainless and not galvanized. When galvanized steel, which contains zinc, is heated up to high temperatures it releases toxic fumes.

  3. this is almost useless unless you can hook it up to a bigger and less expensive in the long run, fuel source.. Am i wrong?

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