Things aren’t always what they might appear to be. For example, this decorative houseplant you’re looking at, is actually an artfully disguised, metal melting furnace. In this project we’re using equal parts of sand and plaster, to make a simple backyard foundry, that’s powerful enough to melt scrap metal in seconds, but still pleasant enough keep around for decoration. Let’s start this project with a big bag of play sand, and some plaster of paris. Both of which you can find at your local hardware store, for under $20. We’re also gonna.
Need a 10 quart steel bucket, and a tablecloth to cover anything important, because chances are this is going to get a bit messy. I found that this 2.5 quart bucket can be used for measuring the ingredients, but it’ll also serves a more important purpose that you’ll see in just a second. Now the recipe I’m using for this makeshift refractory lining, is 134 buckets full 21 cups of plaster of paris, 134 buckets full 21 cups of sand. And 114 buckets, filled 15 cups with water. The moment the water touches the.
Dry mix, the clock starts ticking and we’ve only got about 15 minutes before it all hardens up. So let’s get busy mixing everything together. It’s really important to get all the dry powder wet, and work out any lumps as quickly as possible. And after mixing for a couple of minutes, it should be fairly runny, and roughly all the same color. Now when you’re convinced there aren’t any clumps of powder left in the bucket, the refractory mix is ready for pouring. So let’s carefully transfer it to the steel bucket as slowly as practical,.
How To Make The Mini Metal Foundry
To minimize the splattering. There should be just enough fluid to fill the bucket about 3 from the top, and now if we bring back our plastic measuring bucket, we can use it to form the center of the foundry. I filled my bucket with water, to give it a bit of weight, but anything like sand or rocks will work as well. And you can see that as we push the bucket into the center, the mixture rises upward, but it doesn’t spill out. Now it’s obvious that the mix is already starting to firm up, so let’s try working the bucket.
Up and down a few times, to help level it before it sets. And all we have to do now, is hold still for 2 to 3 minutes. This will give the plaster just enough time to harden, so the bucket stays in place,even when we let go. Alright, time for a little cleanup. Everything will still need about an hour to really harden up, but the plaster’s still soft enough that we can clean and shape it to look really good. And while we’re here we may as well wipe the bucket down as well. Now I’ve found that if we dampen a rag and.
Gently drag it around the top, the surface cleans up really nicely, and gets a cool texture in the process. When it looks the way you want it too, simply leave it for about an hour. Now while we’re waiting, why don’t we turn this old steel fire extinguisher, into a custom crucible. You can tell it’s made from steel because when we hold a magnet to it, it sticks. And magnets won’t do that to aluminum. I depressurized the tank and unscrewed the valve from the top, to make it safe and easy to cut in half with a hacksaw.
Which you can see just happened in less than a minute. Now the bottom part of the extinguisher is what we want for the crucible, because it’s basically a steel cup 3 in diameter, and 5 tall. That’s going to be perfect for our custom backyard foundry. At this point, the plaster should be pretty well set, so let’s dump the water from the bucket, then use something like a pair of channel locks, to grip one edge of the pail, and pull gently toward the center. Now if we grip it with both hands and give it a bit of a twist, you.
Can see the whole bucket pops loose, and pulls right out. This just created an amazingly smooth surface, which gives this makeshift foundry, a surprisingly professional look. The only features we’re missing now, are an air supply port, and a lid, so let’s make those next. Now I found a 138 35mm hole saw was the perfect size for accomodating this 1 steel tubing, and if we center the metal cutting blade with the top line on the bucket, we can carefully begin cutting through the metal wall. Once we’re through the metal,.
It’s easy to burrow down at about a 30 angle because the plaster hasn’t fully cured yet, and cuts away like butter. Now we have a tight, downward sloping hole, that the blower tube fits perfectly into, and it’s strategically placed, a few inches up from the bottom. This way, if a crucible fails, and dumps molten metal into the foundry, it will stay in the foundry, instead of dangerously flowing out of the pipe. Now the blower tube is really easy to make, and starts with a 1 steel pipe like this. This is the business end.
That’ll sit next to the hot coals in the foundry. We’re also going to need a 1 PVC coupling Slip x FIPT, as well as some 1 PVC pipe. You can see the threads on one half of the coupling screw onto the steel pipe, and the slip adaptor on the other end, simply pushes onto the PVC tube. It’s that easy. Now let’s go one step further and make a lid to help retain the heat. I got a couple of 4 Ubolts from the hardware store and stood them upright in a 5 quart, bigmouth bucket, filled with a halfmeasure of our.
Insulating mix. 10 cups plaster, 10 cups sand ,7 cups water. After an hour, you can see the plaster has set, and the whole thing pops free from the bucket, giving us a nice little custom lid for the foundry. It still needs a vent hole for relieving pressure buildup, and you could just form one when you’re casting it, or you could try drilling one with a 3 hole cutting saw like this. With the hole in the center, you can see we end up with a nice thick lid, that kind of looks like a giant white donut. This design works.
Great for venting pressure, and gives us the option to melt metal as well, without even having to take the lid off the furnace. Just for fun, I picked up a can of Burnished Amber spray paint, and gave the foundry a couple of coatings to make it look a little more attractive. If we get it fired up, you can see the mini foundry gets so hot on the inside, that it will melt soda cans within seconds and fill a crucible with liquid aluminum. Look for how to do that, in another project tutorial. With this homemade furnace, we have.
The power to liquify aluminum in the backyard, and cast just about any object we can think of. The best part is, when you’re not melting scrap metals, rather than taking up space and looking terrible, you can drop in a plant, and instantly transform it, into fashionable home decor. With this transforming Flowerpot Foundry, there’s certainly more than meets the eye. And by the way, if you run out of soda cans to melt, you could try using it as a blacksmithing forge, or even a bbq, for summertime grilling. After all, it is.