Creating Basic Aluminum Roundstock from Garbage

It's handy to have some raw materials to throw at the Lathe and Milling machines for quick parts and projects. I needed some basic aluminum round stock for turning small parts and I had a collection of soda cans and small garbage bits that were perfect for the job...

Cans
WARNING: Before you start this make sure to follow some safety guidelines: ; Wear Safety gear. I have a pair of welding gloves and eye wear. A full face shield would be much better.

Molten Aluminum can be dangerous. Make sure any piece of scrap that is put into molten Aluminum is free from moisture. A single drop of water can instantly turn to steam and cause the metal to explode. You do not want to add molten aluminum to your wardrobe.

I made a simple sand mold using a section of  8" steel pipe and  Jupiter Blend I got from budgetcastingsupply.com. I used a brass tube( the kind you use for a sink drain) to cut into the packed sand.


Now it's time to melt my scrap. I'm using my home-made foundry furnace to melt my scrap. I have my ingots ready to go if I have any left over melt.

I've fired up the foundry and started heating my scrap. Remember that you want to "pre-heat" any scrap you add to burn off any moisture or liquid that may still be inside the crushed cans or any other scrap pieces. On the right you can see that my scrap has started to melt and I've already skimmed off some of the slag to show the molten material.
 

Once your material is completely molten and you have skimmed off as much of the slag as you can, I use a combination of flux and de-gasser to remove any remaining impurities and any gas bubbles that have formed.
 

  I've started to pour the molten aluminum into the mold being careful not to spill.

Once the mold has cooled, I have removed the material from the sand. It looks pretty crappy at this point so I put the raw material into my lathe and turn off some of the rough bits. Once that is completed I have a decent piece of stock that I can use for machining for other projects.

I hope this was helpful. Feel free to post comments or ask questions and I will try and answer them to the best of my knowledge.

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