Monday, March 30, 2015

Quality Aluminum Source

David at Voodoo Vintage is one of the nicest, friendliest people I've had the pleasure of meeting recently.

At the last swap meet I was talking with him about my casting attempts and showed him a couple of the muffins. We discussed that I was using cans and whatever scraps I could gather. Of course we all know cans are a horrible source but even the scrap pieces of aluminum I found weren't the greatest.

David mentioned that he has aluminum scrap from time to time, generally left overs from things he's cut on his CNC plasma, if I was interested. Um, heck yes! He said to check with him the following week and he'd try to round some of it up. We traded a couple of emails and I stopped by a week or so later to pick up the scrap.

Holy cow did he hook me up! Most of his "scraps" look better than the pieces in my stock pile. He gave me almost a bucket full which included two parts of an engine case from one of the bikes he's building. I'm not sure what it's to but I'll get better pictures before I cut it up to melt it.

He also gave me the leftover .250" aluminum sheet from some parts he cut.

I finally had a little bit of time tonight to stop by TechShop and cut the sheet remnant into more manageable sizes. A couple of minutes with the band saw to rip them down lengthwise.

Then about ten or so minutes on the Iron Worker to shear them to the perfect length to fit in my crucible.

No surprise, it made short work of the aluminum. I just set my bucket behind it, fed it the material, and let the hydrolic awesomeness do its thing. Beats the hell out of a cut off disc or sawzall which is the way I would've had to do it at home.

I did show some restraint though and cut around the largest contiguous section of aluminum. I had already almost filled the bucket with scrap for melting and thought that piece was big enough to still be usable for something.

Definitely a big "thank you" goes out to David. That was very generous of him to give me all this scrap. Hopefully, if/when I get this casting thing down, I can do some parts or pieces for him in return.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hitting the Books

Well, I certainly feel like I've failed given that nothing I've tried has been remotely close.... I'm ready to admit I've got a lot to learn about casting. So now it's time to step back and do some research.

I decided to throw a couple of my Amazon bucks towards some books I'd been eyeing.

The first book is The Complete Handbook of Sand Casting by C. W. Ammen. This book is a wealth of information by a gentleman who has obviously been working in a foundry most of his life. I'm not sure if Mr. Ammen is still alive (the book was published in 1979) but I imagine he would be a very interesting man to have a conversation with.

My only complaint about the book is that it contains drawings rather than actual pictures. Though in some cases, I suppose the drawings are better at demonstrating a concept and showing contrast. Like the one on the upper left of the cover, for instance.

It contains a lot of information and may go a little deeper than most people might want, but it is a solid reference.

The second book I picked up is  How to Cast Small Metal and Rubber Parts by William A. Cannon. This book is a little easier reading though I'm only partway through. The author's experience in casting is from antique auto restoration and most of the discussion and examples relate to that which is just fine by me as I find that very interesting in and of itself. I haven't gotten to the section covering rubber but am looking forward to it.

When I get done with the book, if my opinion changes very much (positive or negative), I'll be sure to make a follow up post.

Hopefully after a little more studying, I'll finally get casting figured out and get back to melting metal. I've already learned quite a new things from these books and am feeling optimistic.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Man with the Plan

I've been dragging my feet getting the Ironhead put back together. I still need to finish most of the wiring but keep getting discouraged finding more and more things that need addressing. That, among being crazy busy with work, has really zapped my motivation to finish for the moment.

Now I have a goal, Psycho de Mayo Run 5 is taking place May 2nd!

I didn't participate in the previous four but I have read about it on Chop Cult. I also have heard some of the Old Filthy guys as well as other local bikers talk about it. 

It sounds like a lot of fun. Plus I know the area they usually ride through is one of the most scenic in the area and has been on my "to do" list for too long.

So it's set then. I'll finish the rewire and a few other immediate items on the Ironhead, with a plan to have it rideable for PMR5! This won't be the final version of Ginny, I'm still not sure what that will be, but it will be rideable again... for the time being.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Intoxication, now in High Def video!

I'm already slow with new posts and pictures and now I can be slow with uploading new videos!

I've been wanting a GoPro for a while but just couldn't justify the cost.  When the Hero4's came out, I was hoping it would lead to a drop in the Hero3's price but that didn't happen.

This morning I received an email that the local Harley dealership was liquidating their stock of Hero3+ Black Edition and Silver Edition to make way for the 4's.  I couldn't pass it up so I took an early lunch and picked this guy up.

This would've been very handy to have the past few days while I was trying all the aluminum casting. I still haven't found anyone brave enough to take pics for me while I'm doing it.  There were a few times when I messed up what I was doing because I tried to stop to take a picture or had to pass up a picture opportunity because my hands were full.  In addition, there were a lot of cool things that happen (like when pouring the metal) that just aren't expressed in a still photograph.

And you know this is going on a bike just about any time ride....

Friday, March 6, 2015

Apologies to My Buddy 'J'...

... it will serve a better purpose. MINE! 

In one of my trips to my new favorite store, I returned with a really awesome double walled stainless steel thermos. 

I bought it because it was SS and thought it might make a nice crucible for my casting endeavours. When I showed my new find to my buddy J, he lauded it for its original purpose. In fact, he told me he'd bring in something else for trade to save it from my destructive hand.

Alright, so yes... if you look at it as a thermos, it's a pretty damn awesome thermos. But, if you look at it from my blurry, inebriated eyes... Damn, that's a good double boiler for one of the other projects I'm working on. 

Well, J was late to the trade so zip-zip, I cut it down.

Looks good. Can't wait to use it as a double boiler to melt some wax for my other projects.... 

(Sorry J!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Old Filthy MC / Voodoo Vintage MC Swap Meet coming up Saturday, March 14

It's that time again! Voodoo Vintage and Old Filthy MC are putting on another swap meet Saturday, March 14. It's always a blast and I noticed this time they're having live music! You know where I'll be!