Making my own ALUMINUM STOCK... *pics*

Of all the different furnace styles, for melting and re-forming molten metal? none of them are “coal fired” on the websites for that… i have THIS big puppy, so, i used it for the purpose of melting aluminum… its basically one of the largest and thickest “pot belly” stoves anyone has ever seen…

this is my “crucible”, which is “the thing you melt metal in”. I tried other things? but, they burn thru in short order. THIS thing i had to replace it once already, because it is possible to melt it, but, i know to watch it now. its a “three inch diameter nipple, 6 inches long” which means its a 6 inch long piece of thick steel pipe, threaded at both ends. The thick base is an “end cap”, obviously 3 inch nominal diameter as well. This is a somewhat “normal” crucible, for any metal below steel level. (good for aluminum).

this is a view down into the crucible “at rest”. you cant get rid of ALL the leftover casting crud. thats not so much “aluminum” in there, thats the “dross” i couldnt scrape out at the end of the last melt and pour making up ingots.

this is a pic of the “mold” i am using to cast INGOTS of cleaned aluminum… its a thin steel can, top and bottom removed, cut up one side. The 2 hose clamps? allow me to easily make smaller or larger ingots. a little ashes or whatnot under it? keeps the molten aluminum in it okay.

heres some cleaned INGOTS i am laying up… i melt some cans in the crucible, and i pour out the shiny metal into the ingot mold. size and shape dont really matter. you can see some “accidents” that are blobs of flat aluminum. As long as they fit into the crucuble again? they are fine. They dont have to be perfect or look pretty, they just are scrap aluminum that has been “cleaned”. when remelted? i can “flux” and scrape off the little bit of impurities, then make a “clean pour” to make a piece of stock. The more cleaned ingots i have stored up? the potentially larger or longer piece of stock i can make. The foam coffee cup? contains rendered PIG FAT from cooking a whole ham… works fine as a home fluxing agent, i could have used wax. NOTE this isnt the same word “flux” yo use with soldering, it might be in some way, but, you USE it differently.

this is a shot of inside the FURNACE, with it running (no crucible visible)… “Molech, the god of fire” lives in there all winter long, lol…


when i want a piece of stock? i melt several of the INGOTS, i flux the melt and scrape off the small amount of crud… then pour into whatever mold i am using. Then i simply chuck it up in the lathe, and turn off the outside layers until its a nice pretty piece of stock, and i face off the two ends.

i have yet to make “casting sand” which will give me more freedom in the stock making process. I just use whatever size steel can that is wide enough and long enough for what i want to make.


wow you made T-1000 :sunglasses:

Your documented posts on this are SO interesting. Thanks for sharing! :+1:

Very nice, is that end cap galvanized pipe…?

“Molech, the god of fire” lives in there all winter long, lol…” lmao.
Be careful of Molech’s wife, Odyne, she is the goddess of pain…

Nice to have some pics with the story, thanks.
Cool furnace!

Very nice, is that end cap galvanized pipe…?

ha, yes its galvanized (allcool obviously knows about metal to notice that thin zinc coating in its non-native oxidized BURNED OFF state)

i never would have usd galvanized hot dipped coating willingly, lol. i inadvertently melted my first identical heavy crucible. went RIGHT back the next day for another 31 dollar “crucible” as i dont take kindly to failure… the plum,bing supply house? well, the BIN for the 3” end caps was empty, and i didnt wanna wait for resupplying day. (not TERRIBLY big on patience, any more than failure, lol)

cool pipe dude noted they DID have an endcap in ZINC coating, did i want that? i can cook that off in the fire, sure, i’ll take that one if it gets me casting again today instead of 2 weeks from now. the useless zinc coating? made my 31 dollar crucible cost 36 to replace it “today”

you cant BUY this heavy duty crap at tractor supply or lowes except on special order, i was sent to a plumbing supply house. regardless of any commercials? i’m sure the guy at LOWES in plumbing? is secretly happy to get rid of me,lol… every time he says “what are you making” he gets strange answers and doesnt know what to sell me…

1 - i’m melting aluminum, i need something that takes heat, and big enough to put a beer can into
2 - can i get solder PASTE here instead of solid solder? i want to do soldering in an oven…
3 - i’m trying to make lens carriers for a 4 inch wide glass lens
4 - why doesnt copper tubing come in any other sizes

when your in the plumbing section for somethng other than plumbing? take my advice, leave lowes to the newlyweds and well-badgered handy-husbands, and go to the home depot… the staff is more helpful, and is trained not to look at you like your from another planet and still try to help you find something, plus they have 4 times the selection of stuff…

EDITORS NOTE: while the zinc oxide itself is not dangerous? its the main ingredient in anti sunburn ointment and its the white “dork cream” i wear if you point a gun at me to make me go to the beach? the FUMES it makes going from zinc to zinc oxide? will kill you or make it so you literally dont know your own name (central nervous system toxicity).

dont just torch it, or stand around watching it burn. DO NOT just toss it in an open fire or fireplace. if thats all you have? use a strong fan and open air.

now, once you HAVE zinc oxide? you can mix it with the rendered pig fat and smear it on your face in summer… it wont hurt you, and it will keep you from getting cancer… the fumes WILL KILL YOU, though.

“Molech, the god of fire” lives in there all winter long, lol…” lmao. Be careful of Molech’s wife, Odyne, she is the goddess of pain…

oh yeah, i met her, lol… like any relationship that gets physical? we were “intimate” for the first few days and screamed gods name in vain a lot? now, we just wave at each other and smile.

if your buddy’s think being into flashlights, is a sissy thing? (mine all do) bring them over for “foundry work” night… its very “macho” work. theres no way around it, sunshine… your arms and hands are working inside a furnace, you cant do this in a toaster oven or microwave. if you want a sunburn or welders dried out eyeballs? in winter? this is you, babe. welders gloves will keep you out of the emergency room, but, you still get burned when you touch the hot metal. i am talking big blisters immediately. i have gotten good at just WHIPPING the welders glove off by whipping my hand one handed just right… the other gloved hand? cant pick the glove off. until you learn this valueble fimger saving skill? you run around hopping up and down with 2 “protective” gloves on, which ironically the one glove is now cooking your finger, and the other glove is preventing you from removing the offending glove which is suddenly posessed.

molten metal? will instantly set anything combustible on fire. even things you thought would not set on fire. it will ruin everything not technically combustible made out of anything less than steel or cast iron. and when i say “set on fire instantly” i do not mean “smoulder” and make a sissy la la little flame you can blow out… i mean ERUPT into flame.

in the spring and summer? this is moving outside, i will build a small but suitable furnace for this by then…

now, i have the kind of “house” and i use the term house very loosely here… that i can do this indoors in winter. i mean duh, i dont have central heat, i have a giant coal burner in my living room/bedroom… if you dont have “that kind of house” you will want to do this anywhere else BUT in your house.

TECH TIP: bullet casters? will be a lot more comfortable trying this, as will welders and other “mr softee” types. garage or basement or work shed? great location, but, outdoors? one DROP of sweat or water or other liquid? and i mean ONE DROP (and the bullet casters will nod sagely in agreement with me here) will create whats called a “steam explosion”. one DROP of water in molten lead will sound like a penny firecracker, go “POW!” and splatter molten lead over a 2 foot radius, blistering and burning anything it touches. this is including and not limited to: clothing/skin/eyeballs. i can only assume molten aluminum does the same fun party trick. you cant just “shake off” the oopsie? the molten clothing is glued to the melted skin in the wound, and your blood and flesh is cooling down the molten lead slower than you would enjoy. all cotton “100% algondo” for you spanish speakers? will prevent the resulting wound from having the added fun of molten man made fabric down in the wound. ask me how i know this? i have been casting my own bullets for 15 years.

i am not trying to talk you out of trying this? i am trying to convince you how cool it is.

while this “saves money” makign your own stock? its labor intensive. if you value your “time” at anything over 50 cents an hour? the accounting equation will not make “cents” to you. But, if you have been sitting down to pee lately, from working with women at work all week? This will “cure what ails you”.

remember, early man? accomplished all this with no technology, you can do this… but, it takes some getting used to. I am about 100 man hour in, now i have streamlined the operation down to more or less “busy work”. making the TEMPerature is really easy. having and holding the HEAT necessary? is the hard part. Once you have that? its just getting your technique down. Bullet casters,and maybe welders and knife smiths (we have one or two on my gun site…) will find this to be a “normal hobby”. If you are married? you wont be for long if you do this hobby in your house, lol.

TECH TIP: hot metal? even after it has “cooled down” its no longer glowing hot? looks identical to “cold metal”, thats all i’m saying. you cant pick up the metal for an AMAZING length of time, that will surprise you. The crucible is STILL going “tink… tink… tink…” cooling down? a half hour later… also “flame retardent” and “fireproof” are NOT the same thing.

Thanks for the inside story on your smelting sedstar. Very interesting. :+1:

i cant take that much credit for what i didnt develop…

is THE place to start. No expensive equipment, basically you can accomplish this with just a set of b@!!$ and a desire to do it, for so little money up front, to get started, it isnt funny.

the ONLY thing i brought to the table? backyard has a “sister metalworking forum”, and apparently no one on either is using coal for a furnace.

which i find weird, because in the 1700s, blacksmiths started all the metalworking in MY AREA here, because coal and charcoal made from wood were both the right kinds to make cast iron into steel in their forges…

i have casted bullets for years… that site got me to trial melting zinc pennies with a brazing torch, to machine it down…. which success made me jump in and get melting aluminum and making “stock”.

you basically just need to read a little bit, let your nads drop, and dont be a sissy if you raise a huge blister, it WILL happen. stay at it, once you clean a melt and pour a decent ingot, your half way hopme… once you flux a few clean ingots and pour a steel can of aluminum and it machines out pretty? you’ll be hooked like crack.

the problem is, as you go around the net? you will gather the idea you need an expensive commercially built furnace, or to build your own with special stuff… and you will hear how you “need” special commercially made crucibles, and that you cant make your own sand, you should buy commercial sand and special fireclays and stuff…

this that and the other? starts to run into a lot of time and money, just to melt a few cans… ? dispels the BS… and gets you “going” cheap and easy… then you can add cool stuff later if you want to.

and keep in mind? half of the trouble even on the boiled down backyard site? is aimed at getting “good castings” of art quality fine detail out of complicated shapes… nonen fo which applies to pouring stock. lol… you need pour a rough round rod, which you are going to machine off until its pretty anyways.

pig fat fluxed good enough once you get used to the procedures.

Ever watch ‘Forged in Fire’ on the History channel…?

Watched an episode last nite, they had to cast/forge their own steel ingot, work it and then harden it.
This is steel @ 3000°+F, not some wussy aluminum 1500° melt point… lol, jk

I got to get a Damascus Steel pocket knife. That type steel is tuff and beautiful…

Keep up the good work and pics, thanks, interesting thread.
Watch out for those galvy fumes, they’re especially nasty…