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Casting Iron, Iron Melting, And Iron Casting Basics

Jun 18, 2008
Many believe that iron casting is just simply out of reach for small furnaces but this is not the case. While alloys like aluminum are more prevalent in home foundries. Artists and hobbyists have also used brass, bronze, and even iron to fulfill their casting needs.

Industrial foundries commonly use iron for a variety of items like cookware, like cast iron pans, and even bridges. Casting iron provides an easy and effective method of making such large structural pieces and even smaller pieces for around the home.

The most common furnace type used by home foundries is the cupola furnace. The cupola is a basic furnace type that does not need a crucible as it allows the caster to pour the molten metal directly from the furnace into a ladle which is then poured into the mold. Cupola furnaces resemble smoke stacks and can be home made for those with enough confidence and some mechanical know-how to attempt it. The fuels used to heat the metal in a cupola furnace depend on the caster's resources and preference. Many will use propane and some will use coal. There are a select few that will use waste material such as old scraps of metal and the powder at the bottom of bags of barbecue coal to fuel the cupola. For iron many would recommend the use of propane, but there have been some casters that have succeeded with waste material. Don't be afraid to experiment with different fuel types to find the perfect fit for your furnace and need.

Finding a source of iron can be difficult and a trip to the scrap yard might be in order. This is just one of the exciting ventures that metal casting can provide you. After you locate your iron you will need to prepare your mold. This is assuming you have a pattern in mind that you want to cast. If not, then go ahead and figure something out even if it's a small piece in order to test your iron casting ability. Since sand casting is the most popular casting method you might want to use it for the iron casting especially if you are familiar with the method and not with iron.

After making the sand mold and placing the runner for the molten iron you will melt the metal. The melting point of iron is 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit or about 1538 degree Celsius. Since all metals melt at different temperatures don't be impatient if iron takes longer to melt and don't be surprised if it's quicker.

When the molten iron is ready you are going to pour some into a ladle and the pour that into the sand mold. The sand mold is held in place by the cope and drag, which is the top and bottom part of the mold. The runners are in place in the mold to allow the molten iron a place to enter. When the iron is cool, remove the cast from the sand carefully and there you have a cast of iron.

As with all metal casts, you will need to follow the appropriate safety steps to avoid any accidents. Accidents with molten metal will always be very painful so make sure you wear gloves, jeans, boots, and a long sleeve shirt. You may also want a heavy duty leather apron and a pair of goggles.

Iron casting is a great way to create restoration items or pieces for around the home and even for artistic purposes.
About the Author
Go to Metal Casting Zone to get your free ebook on Metal Casting at Casting. Metal Casting Zone also has Iron Casting Forum, Iron Melting Blog and a Metal Casting Blog with daily news on Metal Casting. You can Find Metal Casting Zone at www.metalcastingzone.com.
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