Anybody done any backyard foundry and sand casting parts?

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Forum topic by Loren posted 07-31-2012 05:47 PM 1625 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10267 posts in 3614 days

07-31-2012 05:47 PM

I’m looking into this. I don’t know anybody who has done
it personally. I’m looking into casting furniture components.

Anybody have comments on how large you can go in terms
of size and weight of castings before doing it yourself with
a propane foundry becomes impractical?

9 replies so far

View Deycart's profile


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#1 posted 07-31-2012 06:25 PM

I have done some casting for a while in brass and aluminum. Aluminum can be done really easy. Brass can be a challenge. Iron… Good luck. That’s major work. If you want some info check out
You could easily cast your own brass knobs and such. Larger the casting the harder it gets. There is also quite the learning curve. I have had good success with lost foam casting. Sand casting takes too much time and effort and is easily messed up. Plus you can get everything for lost foam at your local home store. Also don’t waste your time on melting cans if you go the aluminum route. Its just a big mess and you get very little metal. If you want a fairly cheap source of brass go to your local thrift store and buy up some old brass candle sticks. Just check them with a magnet first to make sure they do not have a steel core.

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Mainiac Matt

7942 posts in 2295 days

#2 posted 07-31-2012 08:23 PM

no I haven’t…. but I always thought it sounded very interesting…. so I’ll be watching.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

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3259 posts in 2642 days

#3 posted 07-31-2012 10:08 PM

When I was in school we cast some aluminum. I graduated 42 years ago and it was before that time. I do have simited experience though and I don’t remember it being that difficult. Of course we had all the correct items on hand for making a casting. Nothing was makeshift.

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2964 days

#4 posted 07-31-2012 11:43 PM

My personal casting experiences was what you could measure in ounces. Oddly enough, I have only done investment casting and never tried sand casting. Would like to try in in the future. Has some info and some small furnaces as batteries included kits. Budget Casting Supply is a one stop shop if you are going to build your own. They are not the cheapest but lots of the places that sell stuff don’t like dealing with hobbiest quantities. Shipping fees get terrifying quickly.

The problem is not the melting. You can melt a bathtub full. The real trick is getting it to the mold and pouring it. I wouldn’t want to go more than about 10lbs single handed and would feel more comfortable under 5lbs. More than 20lbs and you are better off with some kind of gantry to move it around. That is a big chunk of hot molten death if it gets out of hand.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View shipwright's profile


7966 posts in 2764 days

#5 posted 08-01-2012 04:10 AM

I’ve cast several lead keels in shop or in my back yard using one or two tiger torches as heat source..
The largest was 9500 lbs but lead doesn’t require as much heat as most metals.
The main concerns in large pours are
1) planning for the correct amount of shrinkage (1/8” per foot for lead as I remember)
2) pouring slowly enough to be able to keep the pot liquid while adding more solid material but fast enough to keep a “wet edge” in the mold. I know that’s do-able with lead but ????
What do you want to cast?

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

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10267 posts in 3614 days

#6 posted 08-01-2012 04:32 AM

I’m looking at casting table legs so there needs to be some
strength and stiffness with not too great a cross-section.

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18247 posts in 3642 days

#7 posted 08-01-2012 06:05 AM

What ever you do, be cautious about moisture! Water expands at a ration of 1600:1. Trust me, you don’t have that much room! A drop of water will empty a 20 pound lead pot ;-(

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View shipwright's profile


7966 posts in 2764 days

#8 posted 08-01-2012 10:52 PM

Sorry Loren,
I’m not likely much help then.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2659 days

#9 posted 08-02-2012 01:56 PM

Loren, you might want to contact Paul Hamler.
He does a lot of smallish scale (lol) lost wax casting and I know he knows a lot of larger scale guys. He could probably put you in touch with them. He’s a real friendly and approachable guy. Knows everything there is to know about engineering and machining. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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