1st Set of Foundry Tools Question

Discussion in 'Foundry tools and flasks' started by Ryan, May 10, 2019.

  1. Ryan

    Ryan Lead

    Hey everyone, I am nearing completion building my first foundry ever. I've been a manufacturing engineer for 12 years, and I worked with a'lot of casting vendors for various projects. But I have never done any metal casting myself, hence I know enough but only enough to be dangerous. I've always found it helpful to ask for advice when getting into new territory and here I am...

    I am in the process of designing my first set of foundry tools to extract the hot crucible from the foundry and pour it into something useful. I've noticed (in general) in both home and industry applications I have researched uses a two tool approach. A set of crucible tongs to lift the crucible from the foundry and then a separate pouring ladle to pour the melt. I've seen some combinations of this idea and decided to explore building a single tool that can lift the crucible from the foundry and then also have a swivel point to use to pour.

    Something like a set of log lifting scissors, I've uploaded two images to this post to show my thoughts while still in the CAD realm before I build anything.

    My thoughts are I can see this tool concept working from a "does it get the job done" standpoint. But I am concerned from a safety standpoint. A single point lift and pour has some obvious benefits, most specifically on speed and body posture to be able to pour heavy melts. I have some bigger projects in mind requiring 15-20 pound melts, I'll obviously start in a smaller scale... but I want to plan ahead best I can

    I see some obvious downsides from a safety perspective through my hand being right over the heat of the crucible being #1. I could build a small heat shield for this, so a low hanging fruit but of a more serious nature is proximity this would put me to my mold. If I were to experience even a small steam explosion or mold failure I wouldn't be in a great position. So I can see the benefit of a pouring ladle being off and to the side of the mold rather than right over it.

    My concern with the pouring ladle is the heavier weight melts. Having a 20 lb melt on a 4 ft rod is a heck of a'lot of torque to pour in a steady and controlled manner. So my questions after all this rambling is what is the best practice for designing my first set of foundry tools? Abandon the single tool approach? If so, any examples of steady rests or other tool designs to do a careful pour on a "heavy" melt on your own (single handedly)?

    The advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks

    Attached Files:

  2. oldironfarmer

    oldironfarmer Silver Banner Member

    There is a YouTube video of almost exactly what you have drawn. He was going to offer them for sale but I've seen nothing else. Myfordboy has the best single purpose tool I've seen. Also on YouTube. His is for small crucibles as the torque to pour goes up with size. Remember in the heat all mechanisms need to keep free and moving. Hinge pins should be "giant" with lots of slop so they don't wear and fail unexpectedly and don't freeze.

    Remember, if you really screw up and are permanently disabled you may not enjoy casting as much as you thought.

    My take on it: Any time you enter a new field, do what others are doing. There are a lot of smart people in this world, and they do things. The dumb ones just watch. Guys on this forum are doers. If you're a farmer and you move to a new area, you watch and do what your neighbors are doing. You don't show them a better way before you know how to do it their way. I've been a registered professional engineer for 45 years and I'm smart. If you're smart you'll copy what others are doing and then when you become proficient you'll tweak it and be pleased. I have made improvements on hammer handle design. But not before I used a hammer. (my design for a wooden handle never stings your hand)

    This is intended to be encouragement. Lots of guys here are eager to help you learn and be safe. A quart of 1,500F liquid can get you in an instant. Be as traditional as you can until you are proficient.

    And welcome to the best metal casting forum I've found.
  3. Ryan

    Ryan Lead

    Andy thank you, great advice. I have watched alot of videos on youtube from myfordboy in addition to, Pauls garage, SWDweeb, and a few others to learn as much as I can. I had not paid much attention to myfordboy's tool design in particular but in viewing the following video, WOW! I really appreciate you highlighting me to his concept shown here:

    I appreciate you spending your time to share your wisdom!


    A 4 ft. long handle is way to long. We use a 3 ft. rod on 20# ladle. If you physically can't handle that do what this guy from Australia does for his cast iron pours do to the increase heat.

    Last edited: May 10, 2019
    Ryan likes this.


    Here's a video I took of my friend Tony hand pouring 20#'s of aluminum.

    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  6. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    Smart man once said, "If you are the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room!" :D
  7. PatJ

    PatJ Silver Banner Member

    Nice controlled pour in the "hand pouring 20 lbs of aluminum" above.
    Very smooth start of the pour, fills the sprue quickly, and keeps it full.
    No spills, and keeps the lip of the ladle pretty close to the mold (could be kept perhaps a little closer during the pouring).
    And notice that he does not even use a pouring basin, and still has no spills.
    That is one of the better pouring technique I have seen.
    I assume he has a lip on the ladle, which would help control the width and direction of the stream.

    So many people I see just can't seem to master a good pouring technique, and have very irregular pours, interrupted pours, dribble into the sprue from way up in the air, and burn up their flask by spilling metal all over the place.

  8. Petee716

    Petee716 Silver Banner Member

    Thanks for starting the discussion Ryan. Great input so far. I agree with your concern about standing vertically over the action. Steam pops are one thing, but gravity is unremitting. I built a rig after Myfordboy's design and it works well with smaller crucibles. Mine was made for a #10 budget graphite crucible from Legend Mining. (Get your crucible first as your tools must fit correctly). I also made jaw inserts for it that bolt in and allow me to pour with a #8 of the same type. I've poured bronze with it with no issues. When I bought a #18 I made a set of more conventional lifting tongs and pouring ring. I only pour aluminum from the larger crucible because heavier metals would be to much weight for me to handle alone with the tools I have. If I needed to scale it up then I would make the tools as needed. Melterskelter has a really cool rig shown on this site and Rasper has an effective setup shown over at Alloy Avenue to handle weight and safety issues.

  9. oldironfarmer

    oldironfarmer Silver Banner Member

    My guess is many of those people you see on YouTube have only poured a handful of times and their main goal is to get YouTube views, not cast metal. I think there are some videos of their first and last pour. Just my selfish opinion.
  10. Jammer

    Jammer Moderator Staff Member Banner Member

    They pour and don't open it up to see what the casting looked like!!! Only half done. A perfect pour doesn't mean a thing if the casting is bad.
  11. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    The morons are so enamored with watching metal pour, the final result is of little importance. WTF is the point?
  12. Ryan

    Ryan Lead

    I was smart and bought my crucible before I even had my materials to build the foundry itself. I dont like trusting other people's measurements from a catalog, lol. Got bit by that snake more than a few times

    Thank you for all your replies, has given me several better ideas on how I want to approach this.
  13. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    I've been wanting to add this here on this thread, but have been busy dodging thunderstorms and not getting to cast metal..... Check out this video, it's a slick design.

  14. oldironfarmer

    oldironfarmer Silver Banner Member

    Thanks Jason! (you don't hear that very often) That's the video I referenced in my first post above. He was offering them for sale but I can't find anything. May be because of how it worked but I really have no idea. Maybe someone else can find him.
  15. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    I hear that all the time actually. I'm in the service industry. ;) I dropped brian a couple of lines and nothing was set in stone. There was someone over at AA that was working on knocking that thing off. I need to try to find the thread. Why Brian didn't or wouldnt at least make the damn plans available is beyond me. Liability is my only guess.o_O I suggested selling the plans and let people get the pieces cut out. The hardest part of it I recall was the bend for the average joe.
    I like the design personally. ONE tool, none of this swapping from lifting to pouring shank. Less risk and that's a good thing. I'll take one!
  16. oldironfarmer

    oldironfarmer Silver Banner Member

    It's a slick design and very well manufactured. The only potential faults I see are having your hand over the heat, getting the pouring shank into the holes, and manipulating a two handed pour. If you have to set it down to get the pouring shank into the holes then you may as well set it in a conventional shank. I'd like to see him (or someone) pour with it. I'm imagining the arm positions may make it difficult to see the pour. A two handed pouring shank does give you good control. But if it works well I'd sure try one.
  17. HT1

    HT1 Silver Banner Member

    OK, if I offend anyone I apologize.
    Here is a Video of Me pouring about 50 Lbs or Brass from an A16 Crucible I use the Simplest Pouring tools imaginable!
    the shaft of my Pouring shank is 54 Inches of 1 Inch Galvanized pipe. the Galvanization is burnt off 11 inches up the Pipe.
    so unless your hand can handle 787Deg Fahrenheit, your front hand has to be farther back then that or you have to add a heat shield .

    In the Nicest way possible, you have to get the Heat far enough away from you. damn near everything else is secondary .
    Myfordboys video is an aluminum pour, there is a huge difference between pouring aluminum at 750C and Brass at 1100C, and Cast Fe is an entirely new Monster

    BTW Gloves are not the Answer.

    A one handed pouring shank is handled like a shovel.. a Shovel that is HOT!!! glowing red hot

    I've attached 3 links showing commercial shanks with associated Measurements

    BTW simple works!!! the more stuff you add to your shank the heavier it is before you add metal and a crucible




    V/r HT1
    oldironfarmer likes this.
  18. HT1

    HT1 Silver Banner Member

  19. Jammer

    Jammer Moderator Staff Member Banner Member

    Simple tools and doing it a lot are probably the main reasons it works so well. Since I'm lucky to get one pour in a year, it's hard to get good at pouring.
    I don't think I could do a 50 pound pour anymore, at least, not by myself.
  20. oldironfarmer

    oldironfarmer Silver Banner Member

    Man you need a respirator! Do you drink a lot of milk?

    Seriously, I like the videos, gives me a benchmark for my pouring efforts.

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