When I started casting I read that stainless steel would not hold up in aluminum service. My first few pours were in a carbon steel crucible and I didn't like the iron contamination potential so I rounded up a piece of 304 SS, 4" sch 40 (4.5" OD, 0.237" wt). Used a piece of 304 1/4" plate for the bottom. Welded with E-309. March 6, 2017. I used it for a year, then built my new furnace and fired it March 17, 2018. Here's the crucible that week I noticed the bottom was cracked when I went to replace the deteriorated ears on August 7, 2018 I welded up the crack and replaced the ears and kept melting. I have 260 melts in the new furnace (I'm keeping a log now), and probably ten of them are brass and aluminum bronze in salamander crucibles. I'm sure I have well over 300 melts in this crucible. The bottom is cracked again and bowed out. It's been rocking on the plinth for a long time. Cleaning it out I see some deep pits inside. The correspond to blisters outside, and when I filled it with water five blisters started seeping. The 0.237" wall is generally down to 0.169" The spout was forged in, it's not bent. All in all I think the 304 SS performed very well. I also think it started deteriorating more rapidly after I started burning used motor oil, but I can't be certain. The little crucible has just been a workhorse which I have pretty much ignored for two ears.