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Casting Metal Parts
Weaponeer Forums : Casting

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  gundoctor

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Posted: November 27 2008 at 10:53pm | IP Logged Quote gundoctor

Great work.

I have some resins, fillers, and pigments on the way and can't wait to get them.   I hope they come before Saturday so that I can get a mold made and cast something this weekend.     I don't like getting behind on this thread!

I have been taking some modeling clay and getting some parts ready to make the first mold half.   I am going to post a set of pix as I go.
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  midmichigun

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Posted: November 28 2008 at 12:01am | IP Logged Quote midmichigun

gundoctor,

Yes, please post pics if you are doing something in metal. We need as much input as possible. Every error and failure is a learning curve that the rest of us can learn from. And learn we must. However, lets not forget about the Plastic Casting thread, as it sounds like you are getting ready to work on.

Due to Naysayers... and lurkers, I have pushed this project to cast something in metal ASAP, to gain attention and to show it can be done. Even if I use lead to check the casting technique. I haven't dabbled in many years... so please bear with me.

I have an AK grip that is looking at me for the plastic thread... so hopefully I can jumpstart that. However, being out of the country for weeks at a time is a killer on projects. While I can post, I can only watch.

However, that being said, looks like I will have to spend some time playing catchup at work, and to also clean up my mold. I was just thinking of a way to get AL FAST. Someone pointed out used pistons, so I may visit a lawnmower repair guy down the street. However, the weekend is already solid with a gunshow!

I was looking at my "rail" that I got with my last AR buttstock that I purchased. I was debating on whether to cast in resin or AL for additional spare parts. I was thinking that it would be "trick" to have a steel upper receiver with a cast AL "rail" for dingleboppers to hang from!

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  elmacgyver0

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Posted: November 28 2008 at 11:03am | IP Logged Quote elmacgyver0

Here is a pic of my homemade lathe.
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  elmacgyver0

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Posted: November 28 2008 at 11:09am | IP Logged Quote elmacgyver0

The face plate did not turn out good. Metal got contaminated. Used it anyway, always ment to make a new one but never got around to it. Some day I hope to make the change gears to enable it to cut threads. Not a big priority as I now have the HF 9x20.
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  tommerr

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Posted: November 28 2008 at 11:24am | IP Logged Quote tommerr

Home made lathe? I am impressed! To make tools to make tools is the highest form of compliment. It creates something from nothing. What do you do for a living? Such talent does not suddenly appear.
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  dcorb

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Posted: November 28 2008 at 11:26am | IP Logged Quote dcorb

The Lathe looks great! How long did it take to make it?

I always wanted to attempt making the Gingery Mill.

 

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  elmacgyver0

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Posted: November 28 2008 at 11:36am | IP Logged Quote elmacgyver0

I use to work with audio equipment then commercial telephone equipment.

I find dealing with customers stressful so I finally quit that job and now I am doing HVAC controls work.

My mother used to call me a jack of all trades and master of none.

I spent one whole summer of my spare time on it.



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  MADJACK

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Posted: November 28 2008 at 11:58am | IP Logged Quote MADJACK

Nice Gingery lathe
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  midmichigun

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Posted: November 28 2008 at 1:25pm | IP Logged Quote midmichigun

elmacgyver0

Slick lathe! I may be stopping at your place to borrow your foundary!

I had heard about the Gingery lathe before. It seems to be a side hobby of many people. COOL!

To get me on the road I picked up a Cummins lathe. I was told it was the best- in- size for the money. Now it has a MUCH bigger brother.

I have been looking at casting mostly for antique tractor parts. Hubs, magneto's.... Some things are hard to find or to costly to purchase.

Once again... excellent work on the lathe!

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  Inabadhood

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Posted: November 28 2008 at 8:32pm | IP Logged Quote Inabadhood

WOW!  A lot of great progress and projects on this thread! 

I know for a fact that I'd not likely be able to make my OWN lathe, so I hope to someday soon own my own lathe like a 9x20!  There's so much cool stuff you can do with a great lathe!

That said, you did a great job making your own from scratch!

This thread is great in so many ways...

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  midmichigun

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Posted: December 04 2008 at 10:38pm | IP Logged Quote midmichigun

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I left, I sat down and did some metal casting. As I said, I was going to push the casting to the front of my project.

To check my mold, and look for problems, I pulled out about 2lbs of lead. I took my plaster mold after a few day of drying and proceeded to pour some metal! Now remember, this was done to check/ test my mold, not to create a functional part.

Please note the flashing of metal along the mold seams. This could be easily cleaned up with a dremel once in aluminum.

This is an excellent photo of an uncured mold and its result. Next time, I will heat up the mold, and insure that there is NO water in the plaster. As I was pouring the molten metal, it was actually boiling in the mold (due to the water). Also, I had initially only prepped 1lb of metal. So I had to do a quick second pour. However, the upper part of the mold was hot enough, and dry enough, that I got a good surface finish.

The next step, will be to procure the AL, finish the mold (I didn't clean or finish prepping it due to my hurry) and make sure it is thoroughly dried.

What I found was an easy process, that with some practice is going to create some real nice parts!

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  tommerr

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Posted: December 04 2008 at 10:52pm | IP Logged Quote tommerr

Not all aluminum alloys are the same. Some are better than others for casting. I will ask some questions.
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  midmichigun

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Posted: December 04 2008 at 11:35pm | IP Logged Quote midmichigun

tommerr,

Please confirm the best AL alloy to use for casting. I was under the impression that using pistons from IC engines (internal combustion) were the best! However, does this hold true for lawnmowers? I have a junk mower (engine block and piston) that could be used. Also, I may be able to horn-swaggle some pistons from a near by repair place.

Following my own threads and links I posted earlier, sounds like some of these guys are "just" using scrap AL. However, since I want to make a reasonable product....

Out of idle curiosity, I should shave off the flash, and measure (volume) the amount of AL it will take to create my lower receiver.

If my method works out, then I will move up to things like dedicated 9mm (using UZI or Sten mags) or even 45 lowers with true mag wells (vs. my current creation for drums).

 

I do have limited supplies of 75/25 for Mig welding (in a small pony bottle). So any blankets/ purges are possible.

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  bikergunnut

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Posted: December 04 2008 at 11:43pm | IP Logged Quote bikergunnut

Pistons have various amounts of silicone depending on motor it's in. Couldn't even guess what's in a mower piston. Harley uses Hyperutectic (sp?) which forces a high content into the mix.

Tommerr, what would be a good silicone content for this use? I can find out what Harley's percent is if needed.

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  midmichigun

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Posted: December 05 2008 at 12:10am | IP Logged Quote midmichigun

bikergunnut,

The hyper-eutectic pistons were also in my old for Crown Vic. Should have kept the car (or at least the pistons)?

Nifty thing about the hyper-eutectic AL is that is has good wear properties in an engine application. However, I am not ready to hone my receivers to expose the Si! 

That being said, I am willing to try a blanket gas to slow oxidation (H2 porosity). Next step would be to use a molten salt as a buffer to the atmosphere. However, we are talking only small amounts of AL, and hopefully short melting/ pouring times.

If I need to, it would be possible to create a crucible with a bottom opening to allow the use of a salt to "protect" the Al in its molten state. I just don't want to spend to much time worrying about a non-problem... just yet.

However, I look forward to seeing what tommerr has to say about AL alloys. Remember I am looking for salvage type stuff.

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  MADJACK

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Posted: December 05 2008 at 12:40am | IP Logged Quote MADJACK

Use a degassing agent and you won't have porosity problems. I use cast aluminum water pumps. I've had good luck using stuff that was cast to begin with, but use all kinds, I just save the good stuff for the more critical projects.
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  gundoctor

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Posted: December 05 2008 at 2:03am | IP Logged Quote gundoctor

working on memory here, but I think you need some "flux" to add to your crucible to float the junk (I think it is called "dross") so you can skim it off.  

Several years ago I found some suppliers of this in small quantity and I'll see if I can find the info.

Be careful, molten metal is really hot, even aluminum.
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  tommerr

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Posted: December 05 2008 at 3:10am | IP Logged Quote tommerr

In aerospace, the best cast aluminum alloys are 355 and 356. A lot of pistons are forged not cast. Cast parts are much lower strength than forged aluminum. That is why AR receivers are forged. The shop that makes the dies for the M16s is here or so I was told. I would Google "cast aluminum alloys" and see what happens. Casting is a mighty big world. Cast aluminum requires a post casting heat treatment. The heat treating can make gummy, terrible machining parts machine like a dream. A part that machines poorly is a waste of time. All of that sort of information I can get once an alloy is selected. It is not recomended that you mix different alloys. We see lots of high tech castings and the best vendors constantly have problems. If you find a source of cast pieces, I can run chemistry on them to see what you have.
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  elmacgyver0

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Posted: December 05 2008 at 12:15pm | IP Logged Quote elmacgyver0

I have made some real beautiful castings and some real crappy ones. It is kind of like bullet casting, you need to get the feel for it. I think I got my worst castings when I didn't get the metal hot enough. Also having the sand tempered right is important.
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  elmacgyver0

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Posted: December 05 2008 at 12:24pm | IP Logged Quote elmacgyver0

All of  my molds were of green sand (foundry sand) rammed up in split mold boxes.
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