Friday, May 15, 2015

"This is why we can't have anything nice."

Armed with my new crucibles, I decided to fire up the furnace and get to melting the aluminum scrap I got from David at Voodoo Vintage. 

The furnace got up to temp quickly and I was able to melt the first pot full without any difficulty. It sure is nice using better quality aluminum as opposed to beer cans.
Preheating the aluminum scraps prior to putting them in the crucible.
Got a little overzealous pouring the first few but otherwise uneventful. (You can still see them glowing slightly red.)
After the first batch of muffins, I noticed the crucible was getting a nice rainbow coloration from the heat. I figured since the aluminum was melting so well, I could probably back off the heat just a little bit to save some propane.
It made for pretty flames but it was taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R for the aluminum to melt to a pourable state. So, fine, crank it back up.
Repeat the above sequence a couple of times without any incidents...
... until the last crucible of scrap. Went to lift it out, there was a puddle of molten aluminum left in the furnace.
Upon inspection, I couldn't find the exact hole in the crucible as it was plugged by aluminum. Regardless, the furnace was hot enough to melt the galvanized steel conduit strap I was using as the pouring hook (~2500 Fahrenheit)!
So +1 on my furnace building skills but -2 on my furnace usage skills. And now I'm down one more crucible and this is why we can't have anything nice.

I did get quite a good haul of muffins though. Even if you disregard the remants in the blown out crucible (and completely ignore the mass sitting the the bottom of the furnace). I had to weigh it in two batches as our scale only goes to 2000g. It came out to just over 3000 grams which is almost 7 pounds of aluminum. Not a bad take for a night of melting.

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