Today we’re going to be making muffins. But trust me, this is one recipe you won’t be able to find in the kitchen cookbook. In this project we’re using backyard science, and a bucket full of soda cans, to make a batch, of mini metal biscuits. Let’s start this project with the mini metal foundry we made in another tutorial, and a big bag of charcoal briquets. These might look like the kind for BBQ’ing and grilling, and that’s because they are. When 5 briquets are spaced evenly at the bottom, we’re ready.
To add a crucible. Like this one I made out of a steel fire extinguisher. And I’ve found that putting the container on a layer of charcoal, helps melt the cans faster once we fire it up. Now let’s connect a 1 steel pipe through the air supply port on the side of the foundry. This will get the fire hot enough to melt metal, but we still need a way to shoot the air in. We could just blow through it, but a much better idea, is to use a hair dryer. Which you can find at most thrift stores for about $3. Now I taped the.
Hair dryer to some PVC pipe and inserted a couple of 1 couplings, to connect the steel tube at one end, and give the blower tube a quick release feature. This way it’s super easy to take apart, and fits into a 5 gallon bucket for easy storage. Now since the blower tube is at a strategically placed angle, it’s really helpful to support it so it doesn’t strain the foundry. This little trick will help keep the walls from cracking, and increase the life of the unit dramatically. Now that the foundry’s all set up, let’s fill it.
Melting Cans With The Mini Metal Foundry
To the top with charcoal, and breathe some life into them the same way you’d light up your BBQ. My tool of choice is a propane torch because it gets everything heated up in a hurry. The coals are burning, so let’s flip the hair dryer to the low setting, and blow a steady stream of oxygen on the charcoal to really heat things up. You can see how the cover we made, keeps the heat inside, so it conserves energy while it’s bringing up the temperature. The coolest part, is that the crucible, lines up perfectly with.
The hole in the center. Alright, with that warming up, let’s round up some soda cans, like these ones I got from a local recycling depot, and this important tool that makes the whole operation possible. A pair of steel tongs from the dollar store. After 10 minutes you can see the foundry is scorching hot, and the handles probably are as well, so let’s use the tongs to carefully remove the top without getting burned. You can see the steel crucible is glowing orange, and that means it’s ready for action. The container is.
3 wide, which is the perfect size for melting standard sized soda cans like these. And at temperatures over 1,000F, you can see it’ll liquify them, in just a few seconds. Now I cranked it up to full power to melt more cans in a hurry, and averaged around 1012 cans per minute. The cool thing, is that it doesn’t matter if the cans are dirty, painted, or still have soda inside. The furnace eats anything, and pulls out pure liquid aluminum, which you’ll see in just a second. In my experience, 3845 cans produce around 1 lb of molten aluminum.
And if you try crushing your cans first, you can melt them with the cover in place, so less metal will get oxidized in the process. Now after liquifying about 50 cans you can see the container is completely full, but there’s a lot of gunk floating around that we really don’t need. The easiest way to isolate the aluminum is with something like this steel cake pan, I got at the thrift shop for $.50. First, let’s go ahead and carefully remove the crucible, making sure we’ve got a very secure grip with our tongs. Then very slowly, pour the.
Liquid into the steel mold. You can see the slag stays behind, and almost acts like a strainer, helping prevent anything solid from flowing downstream. Now that we’ve separated the good stuff out, why don’t we tap the container on a slab of concrete, and dump out the dross. By keeping our crucible clean, we can use it again right away. Now just for fun, I tried melting a bunch more cans, so I could pour them into a brand new cupcake pan. The hope here, is that this fancy pan, will give a cool and unique look to the aluminum.
Ingots, when they cool. The pan is made of steel, but it’s catching fire because the nonstick coating is burning off, but this will be the only time it does that. After a couple of minutes, you can see the ingots have hardened, but they’re still blisteringly hot. So much so, that they’ll ignite a piece of paper instantly, just by touching it. Now it’s a really good idea, to have a bucket of cold water nearby so you can cool them down. When they drop into cold water, you can see they’re still hot enough, to bring.
The water to an instant boil. But after about 10 seconds, they cool to the point where you could pick them up bare handed, if you wanted to. Now I also tried pouring ingots in a mini muffin pan, to get a smaller variety, and ended up with some really adorable, mini metal muffins. These ones are actually my favorites now because they’re so easy to work with. The purpose of an ingot is to keep some pure metal handy for when you want to make something cool. So now that we have some, all we have to do is fire up the foundry and.
Toss a few nuggets into a clean crucible. This setup can liquify ingots in 510 minutes, and check this out. by melting clean ingots, there isn’t any dross we have to fish out either. Instead, there’s only a thin skin of aluminum oxide. Which means this entire crucible, is full of molten aluminum, ready for casting. I tried pouring mine into a 5 gallon bucket filled with sand, and one other specialty item. Which you can see bursts into flames and absorbs two full pounds of liquid metal. After 510 minutes the metal is hard.
Enough to grab onto with a pair of channel locks, so we can break the mold and reveal the casting inside. Watch for how to make something like this in another project tutorial. When it’s time to clean up, all the metal working tools fit conveniently, into a 5 gallon bucket, and when the foundry has cooled down, the handle makes it easy to flip over and dump out the ashes. Cleanup is quick, and when you replace your potted plant, you can see the whole thing reverts to it’s innocent disguise as fashionable home decor. Well now.
You know how to turn scrap aluminum soda cans, into shiny metallic muffins, which you can simply admire with pride, or use to make just about anything you want. Well that’s it for now. If you liked this project, perhaps you’ll like some of my others. Check them out at thekingofrandom Behold, the sword, that was pulled from the sand. Hey guys, this was just a prototype for another project tutorial I’m working on, but hundreds of you left comments asking me to give it away. So, I will oblige, and I’ll give it as a gift, to one of you. But before.
I explain the rules on how to win, we should really take a second to thank Audlble for sponsoring this tutorial. Audible has the worlds largest selection of premium audiobooks, and in the spirit of melting metal and making swords, I want to recommend The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, which you can download for free by going to audiblethekingofrandom and starting a 30day free trial. If you don’t want to get the Hobbit, they have over 150,000 other audiobooks you can choose from including fiction, nonfiction and periodicals. And simply by checking out audiblethekingofrandom, you’re supporting me and my tutorials, and.
Allowing me do more of them. Now back to the contest. I saw one comment suggesting that everyone should guess the weight of the sword, and the one who gets closest to the actual weight, wins. So that’s how it’s going to work. here to submit your guess on how much the sword weighs, in grams, and in one week I’ll check to see who got closest to the right answer, then I’ll ship it to the winner for free. Now don’t put any answers in the comments. If you want a chance to win, click here, and submit your best guess because.