Sunday, June 10, 2012

Metal Pour at the Foundry

Yesterday Tim and some friends stopped by to use the Foundry at Wormfarm to cast some small metal sculptures.  I joined in because I had never casted in metal.  This is somewhat similar to when I casted Mrs. Chicken in hydrocal and made the mold out of plaster, but this is with sand and extremely hot metal.  Here is a link to how she was made.

First, we made a box for a small sculpture.  Then I put the plasticine clay sculpture inside.  I made a sunny side up egg.  Then we put talcum powder on it so the sand would not stick to the sculpture.

We lay this metal grid over the sculpture and push the sand through to make sure the first layer doesn't have big chunks of sand.  If there is a chunk it will show in the cast.  We only use it for the first layer.

This sand has some clay and water in it to keep it together.  We ram the sand in the box to make sure it is tightly packed or else the mold will fall apart.  We fill the boxes to the top with sand.  The sand is reusable.

I filled another box with sand.  The top box is the imprint of my sculpture.  When we took the sculpture out the first time it did not work because I had undercuts.  I fixed the undercuts and we tried again, this time putting talcum powder and graphite on it so that the clay would not stick to the sand.  (The graphite is why it is black)  

Tim made a hole on both sides of boxes for the metal to be poured into and a vent for the gases to go to. (not pictured)

We screwed our boxes together and Tim heated up the aluminum in the furnace.

Tim and Jeff grabbed the ladle out of the furnace with tools.  

Then they went down the line pouring the aluminum into each mold.

This is what mind looked like when it was done.

This is the exciting and often terrifying part it you have worked on a sculpture for a very long time because a lot can go wrong.  But I just made a fried egg.  I took out the screws and opened up the mold.

Tada!  An aluminum sunny side up egg.  Their were cracks on the sides, so aluminum poured through.

I can take off the metal around it and sand the egg.  I may leave it as is...not too sure yet.

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