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Thread: Smelting alum brass copper ?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    All aluminum worth machining is going to be a wrought alloy.
    Castings are mediocre even when produced by commercial foundries ran by PHD metallurgists.
    For everyday machined components find a source for drop offs of 6061-T6 , T651 and T6511. These are all cold rolled, extruded or cold drawn rod, bar and plate. Don't waste anymore time on fire ant alloys.

    6061-T6 is a cold worked alloy that has been heat treated. There is zero ways to produce an equivalent alloy at home. 6061-T6 is as strong as mild steel and will have no porosity.
    You put 87 octane fuel in your car. 6061-T6 is the 87 octane equivalent in the world of aluminums fit for machining. There are many other alloys but none are remotely as popular as 6061-T6 in rod, bar or plate stock. It does not bend well so sheet metal is usually 5052-H32 or H34.
    You can find plenty of references to back up what I say. I have been involved with machined parts for 50 years. That includes thousands of investment castings cast from A356 and millions of parts machined from 6061-T6.
    So forget home cast alloys unless you enjoy wasting time.
    Last edited by EDG; 06-03-2018 at 02:49 AM.
    EDG

  2. #22
    It may seem illogical that what has been a good casting, won't make a good casting (or at least less easily than some others.) The answer is that so many modern aluminium castings are die-cast. i.e. squirted into the mould under pressure by equipment it is impractical for the amateur to have, like plastic.

  3. #23
    Super Moderator & Official Cast Boolits Sketch Artist


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    Amateur heck I am a full blooded redneck and back woods get it done kind of fellow lol they say it cant be done will I got to see if for myself I have seen so many times that will not work or you can not do that just to find out well it can be done if you get lucky.
    Thanks guys for all the input and know how you have shared with me. What is not good enough for some is great for others so to speak. Next time I fire up the smelter and do another pour may be what makes or breaks my plans on this project.
    I am the guy that has to see for myself before I toss in the towel so no disrespect to anyone.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    To turn ally,you need different type tooling to steel.......check a book,for rake and clearance angles,and also for a very sharp edge,honed with a fine wa****a stone.Inserts must be sharp edge positive rake for a hobby lathe,industrial negative rake inserts tear the surface at low speeds......incidentally,the finest finish on ally is produced with a diamond tool.Not as costly as you might think.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    The censor just bleeped a well known type of natural abrasive stone.....

  6. #26
    Super Moderator & Official Cast Boolits Sketch Artist


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    I do not know what kind of stone that would be PM me the word put spaces between the letters so the filter will not block it and I will let Robert adjust the filter if he is able.
    Any word you type that is filter do not try to bypass the word that is a infraction btw just type it out it will get blocked if needed.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by RP View Post
    Amateur heck I am a full blooded redneck and back woods get it done kind of fellow lol.
    They pay a living wage for that? Seriously, as long as gunsmithing and other technology is carried out successfully, or even to an understandable level of unsuccessfully, I admire the craftsman all the more for doing it in an amateur capacity. A bit like the more controversial forms of interpersonal relations, really.

    Ah, the Wash-it-a stone!

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    Wa****a

  9. #29
    Super Moderator & Official Cast Boolits Sketch Artist


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballistics in Scotland View Post
    They pay a living wage for that? Seriously, as long as gunsmithing and other technology is carried out successfully, or even to an understandable level of unsuccessfully, I admire the craftsman all the more for doing it in an amateur capacity. A bit like the more controversial forms of interpersonal relations, really.

    Ah, the Wash-it-a stone!
    Man those are a lot of big words as far as living wage not sure, I am not a gunsmith but I do own some tools they say are for a gunsmith so maybe I am. Not sure what your trying to say but I have to give you a A for the attempt at humor keep trying and you may not come off as insulting.
    If you look at the OP the ? was on smelting alm copper and brass for tips or advice on what works and what to look out for. But as always threads go left and right but information is shared most of the time. There is the comments that add nothing to the thread but some people just have to make a comment I guess that is why facebook has so many people on it. I understand most people do not get my humor either.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    Ill settle for a fine arkansas stone ,so s as not to offend anyone.

  11. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by RP View Post
    Man those are a lot of big words as far as living wage not sure, I am not a gunsmith but I do own some tools they say are for a gunsmith so maybe I am. Not sure what your trying to say but I have to give you a A for the attempt at humor keep trying and you may not come off as insulting. .
    I believe most people would have seen that no insult was intended, and I certainly wouldn't criticise anyone who chose to keep trying as you suggest.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master

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    Our die cast dies the aluminum alloys were shot into the moulds with a shot tube and produced a pressurized shot that filled out much better. When we poured in to a can for stock to use it was always gummy and nasty to work with. But the parts cast under pressures turned milled and tapped fine. the pressure casts gave a better grain structure in the material.

    One thing you might try on you sand casts is a longer larger feed and puddle into the mould this will help add some slight pressure to the materials and help push air out.

    For awhile I helped an old pattern maker pour the parts for freeland style scope stands. He used aluminum cans for stock. fluxed heavy ( Borax I think) and his inlets were large and 4-6" long. He got good castings almost every time. He would make a run of stands every spring and fall for club members.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    Pure aluminium will pick up silicon from sand,and cans could probably be made to cast a lot easier by experimenting with sand flour,which is available for making investment molds.Ive never tried,because I had large stocks of scrap crankcases and sumps from big old diesel engines.....some old engines even had magnesium crankcases and sumps post WW2,when the metal was widely available as scrap...VWs pre about 1957 is a well known one....Magnesium casts and welds very easily,but catches fire easily too,and all you are left with is white powder.

  14. #34
    Some of which was your moustache. Country gent's experience, die-castings from metal moulds being easier to work than pieces cast in the open, suggests that the latter may have solidified more slowly, and allowed larger-scale crystallisation of whatever wasn't sluminium.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    both magnesium and zinc ignite and burn quietly,spectacular,but not dangerous ,in my experience.....When casting brass,overheating can ignite the zinc,but with the availability of cheap thermocouples there should be no problem

  16. #36
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    I been working on some pipe molds made out of exhaust pipe, I cut down the weld seam then cleaned up the cut. I am going to place them in a angle iron base set at a angle and use some clamps to hold the pipe cut together. Thinking of welding a plate on the angle to act as a dam and let the clamps also hold the mold to keep the alum from running out the end.
    My thinking behind this was the results I got using the pipe were good so bypassing the sand for now. Also set at a angle may help with the air pockets or voids since the alloy will be flowing in at a angle not stg down pushing air in. I have several pipes cut and thinking two bases so I can pour two let them cool while melting more alloy.
    I turned the first alloy I cast in the pipe more and only found one more void which I think is good I cut from the outside and even bored and drilled some looking at the inside. That was in one of them the other was clear on the inside had two voids on the outside.
    I also have more books coming for making items on a lathe kind of how to books so I will have more stuff to practice on before trying to make something that needs to be on the money.
    Also I seen mix reviews on the fluxing and degassing I think it depends on what your end product is going to be right now that is my line of thinking.
    Again thanks for all the advice and suggestions.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  17. #37
    As to fluxing, I have done quite a bit of soldering in sterling silver, and didn't find pure borax worked as well as such products as the Johnson Matthey Tenacity solders. For fluxing metals which melt at higher temperatures, you would probably be best with one of these:

    http://www.jm-metaljoining.com/products/tenacity

    I don't know if those specific products are easily available on the US market, although they claim to be world-wide. But there are surely similar products available.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    I aluminum investment castings I have machined were cast with A356 356.2 aluminum.

    Some of them have had a lot of inclusions in them, able to “fix” some by filling with a TIG welder. These were not things that were structural but things like blade guards (to keep hands out), dust shoots, name plates and such.

    If you are just wanting cheap material to practice machining, get some plastic. Will machine better and be easier on tooling.

  19. #39
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    I have used plastic and it cuts like a dream not bad material to play with for a learning tool.
    Well it was a struggle today one problem after another the split pipe was a fail. So far smooth wall pipe ( no welded seam) been working the best for me. I just need to find some more different dia it looks like.
    The pipe is open on both ends and I set it on a large I beam I use to hold a vise and fill it up as it cools which is kind of fast and sucks in I slowly add more alloy since the top is still fairly hot. Have not noticed any bad effect do this and then I drop them in some water,
    When they cool off enough the alloy will slid out the end with a tap or two. The pipe is thick wall so it holds the heat well and by the time I dip out more alloy there is no sign of water.
    I need to make some more mods on the smelter itself had a hard time get it up to temp so most of my day was in vain aggg. Did get some blanks that look good at the end.
    I also noticed the longer the blanks sit or age the better they seem to turn or maybe that is just in my mind wishing things into facts lol.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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