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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Geelong, Australia
    Age
    53
    Posts
    933

    Default Recommendation for first furnace

    Making a furnace suitable for alumium (and ideally brass/bronze) has been on my project list for ages. I recently had to shell out some reasonable dollars for a couple of short pieces of larger (150mm) round bar for other projects. I could have easily cast at least a solid blank for almost nil dollars if I already had a furnace - so decided its time to make a start.

    My problem is there's just too much info online, and my only furnace experience was at high school - far too many years ago to remember.

    My thoughts so far:
    - about beer keg size.
    - just LPG fired for a start, but I've got plenty of waste engine/transmission oil to fuel an oil fired burner down the track.
    - sufficient to melt around 4kg of aluminium (1.5L).
    - a swing lid style arrangement so I'm not having to manually lift the lid etc.

    Does that seem reasonable?

    The next decision is what to line it with - fire bricks, ceramic blanket, or castable refractory.
    I want it to last more than a dozen firings, but if its going to turn into a $1000 build then there are probably better options.
    I'm leaning towards ceramic blanket with a rigidiser coating as its probably easier to freight in the current climate.

    Thoughts/suggestions??

    Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    139

    Default

    This is at a local menís shed.
    From memory pretty much as your proposing but not a swing lid.
    He used 2 gas bottles, it would reach 1200.
    OK for about 9kg of Brass.
    When the lockdowns over I can find out more from looking at it.
    The guy who made and used it has gone back to Canada.
    Everything was left except his personal temperature probe.
    I did one pour with him and have been meaning to do more but too many other projects.
    H.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jimcracks for the rich and/or wealthy. (aka GKB '88)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Geelong, Australia
    Age
    53
    Posts
    933

    Default

    Thanks. Some more info would be great once you can get to have a look at it again.

    Steve

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Drouin Vic
    Posts
    211

    Default

    It's a pity you're on the wrong side of town Steve, you'd be so very welcome to use my furnace. I bought the Artful Bodger's book a few years ago and my build is on that other forum. I spent a few hundred with refractory and insulation etc, got sick of waiting for the ideal size steel cylinders to show up so had a couple of sheets rolled by a local supplier and that blew the cost out but got the thing happening.
    The author is a good guy and happy to offer help, the book was only a few bucks and well worth it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Geelong, Australia
    Age
    53
    Posts
    933

    Default

    Thanks Pete - probably lucky for you that I AM on the other side of town or you'd never get rid of me!

    Think I recall your furnace build, but I'll dig up that thread and refresh my memory.
    I'm still tossing up between using the castable refractory and going down the ceramic blanket and ridgidiser path.
    I'm assuming yours is still holding up OK with the castable?

    I thought all the refractory companies were over your way, but found there's a company "Morgan Thermal Ceramics" not far from work that has both castable and blanket, so I'll get hold of them and get some prices as that might be a factor.

    Steve

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Drouin Vic
    Posts
    211

    Default

    I think it was Morgan that I got my castable from, they brought 3 bags down from Sydney for me and one of the guys from the LR forum picked it up for me from over your way. No-one over this side was able to get me the high temp (1600deg) stuff. Seems to be holding up just fine, although the furnace doesn't get as much use as I'd like. I think I recall about $80 per bag and I used 3 bags.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Hinchinbrook
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Hi Steve,
    You will really want a castable hotface at a minimum. At least 15mm but 25mm would be better for thermal strength. The rigidizer over the ceramic blanket wont stand up to constant firing. Especially if you do go to oil fired
    I used to live outside of Melb and I was able to get most of my supplies from a place in Dandenong. I dont recall the name atm

    Cheers Phil

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Geelong, Australia
    Age
    53
    Posts
    933

    Default

    Thanks Phil.

    I think I'm going to build along those lines, which is like the "Artful Bodgers" furnace design that PeteO has built.

    Inner layer of castable, then the ceramic blanket between that and the outside of the furnace for insulation.
    Once I've worked out what quantities I need I'll contact Morgan Thermal Ceramics near work and see what they can provide for starters.

    Steve

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Wisconsin, US
    Age
    36
    Posts
    10

    Default

    I would like just to add to the topic that you should make sure to abide by all safety precautions..
    It is wise to have a fire extinguisher nearby or atleast a bucket full of water but that will not help as the extinguisher.

    Have fun smelting!

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