Required Reading for Foundry Hobbyists

Discussion in 'Links to useful information' started by Tobho Mott, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Anyone else think we need a required reading thread? I can see a need. Be nice if it could have enough material in it to make worthy of being given sticky thread status... I hope you guys will add your favourite casting books below, then we can just link to this thread instead of hunting for links offsite when someone wants or needs reading recommendations. I found links to a thread just on the topic of Anon's tutorial and one just talking about the Navy Foundry Manual... they were both hiding on the last page of the General Foundry section, where nobody would ever find them if they weren't specifically looking...

    Required Reading for the Aspiring Backyard Foundry Hobbyist:

    Rather than keep on looking up individual links to post in various threads for people, it occurerd to me that a dedicated reading list thread might be useful. I'll get the ball rolling with the two big must-reads at he top of my list, which each already had their own dedicated thread... hiding forgotten on the bottom of the pile in the General Foundry section.

    ...And a couple others I've read as well, or that I've at least heard very good things about. You guys can add your favourites to the list now or later on as you think of stuff or read new things. Note, some of these books will invariably contradict each other. It is what it is...

    - The US Navy foundry Manual:

    - The Hobbyist's Guide to Casting Metal (AKA Anon's Tutorial):

    - The Charcoal Foundry by David Gingery (book 1 of his excellent series about building machine tools, the rest are also interesting but buying this volume gets you plans for a cheap-to-build starter furnace and a basic overview of sand casting to get you going)

    - The Complete Handbook of Sand Casting, by C.W. Ammen

    - Casting Brass, by C. W. Ammen (all about casting copper alloys with success and profit in mind)

    - Castings Practice: 10 Rules of Castings, by John Campbell. Supposedly this will turn everything you think you know about casting on its head. I still have barely cracked open my copy but I've seen some of the methods described herein practised by Olfoundryman on youtube, to very good effect. I will definitely get to it and I look forward to trying some of these ideas for myself!
    - Castings, Second Edition, by John Campbell which is more expensive but I'm told includes the '10 Rules' (and more). Perhaps not a book for beginners, at least that is the rumour.

    Here are some more that have come up here before but which I haven't read myself or don't have links to handy just now:

    - Contemporary Patination 2nd Edition, by Ron Young; review thread:

    - Colin Peck has a book or two that some people have followed to very build nice furnaces and burners, etc. His readers have been good about not sharing the details so that Colin can keep selling his books to our crowd.

    - Somebody created a thread with a whole bunch of downloadable pdfs and ebooks of many of the titles above plus others which I was gonna link here. Trouble is, they tried to make it hard to find for fear of lawsuits/cease & desists by intentionally misspelling keywords and the thread title, which worked so well I can no longer find it. Or maybe it got deleted? If it's still here, someone please link to it.

    That's all I can think of at the moment. Post yours below!

    _Jason, Jason and chris.trotter like this.
  2. HT1

    HT1 Gold Banner Member

    John Campbell is not for the hobbyist, and I have yet to see any hobbyist that could explain his recommended methods, mostly because it heavily depends on computer models that hobbyist have no access to... it's interesting reading, but just the insanely high cope heights should be an indicator that no hobbyist could diligently follow his methods... when someone can explain his methods to me, I might endorse them ...until then.

    V/r HT1

    P.S. it also really pisses me off that every time i explain something someone comes and snarks that it is not in conformance with John Campbell... or John Campbell would do it better... but no ever offers the John Campbell alternative.
    P.P.S I have to have serious doubts about the value of Castings, Second Edition, by John Campbell since in his Preface he even states that it is about grappling with new concepts rather then fact... Rather then fact??? Please
  3. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    I'll keep all that in mind when I get into my copy of '10 Rules', hopefully it will at least be interesting... Any titles you would add to the list?

  4. chris.trotter

    chris.trotter Copper

    Also, that book is like $150, was looking at those titles yesterday. Let us know how the '10 Rules' book is!
  5. DavidF

    DavidF Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    No matter which book you purchase, do this....
    Tear the first page out, use it to light up your furnace and get you butt to casting!!
  6. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    lol, maybe I'll try that, the first page only has the title on one side and a dedication on the other, no big loss! :D

    Yeah Chris, I had to hunt around a bit for a while before I got a better deal on '10 rules', which isn't cheap either but not AS insanely expensive as the Castings book... Sounds like a lot of it is not going to be too practical for us home gamers unfortunately, but I'm hoping it'll have a few ideas I can try out to see for myself...

  7. Jason

    Jason Gold

  8. chris.trotter

    chris.trotter Copper

    Would be super if we could start with a list, at least. So folks can source stuff from wherever just with the titles.
  9. Jason

    Jason Gold

    The sources will most likely vanish as time goes by. They would be safer here, but don't want THF to get screwed trying to be the good guys. As the saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished!"
  10. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    One of the problems I have found with foundry books is that few go into the details of using anything other than water-based green sand molds.
    A few touch on petrobond sand, but in my mind, petrobond is just green sand with oil in lieu of water.

    All the castings I do use bound sand; either resin-based, or more lately sodium silicate with a hardener.
    The typical flasks that you see everywhere are not good for bound sand (because they waste too much sand and binder), and there are no books that detail how to make flasks that minimize the use of non-reusable sand.

    And people ask the question "Why not just use renewable sand?", and the answer is that if you want good detail on small parts with very tight accuracy, or want to mold things that can't easily be molded with traditional green sand methods, then bound sand is the way to go.

    But basically I do pretty much the opposite of what the books show on mold thicknesses and flask sizes/arrangements, so keep in mind that the "book method" and the method that actually works for your application may be two very different things.
    I see too many people that seem to get locked into the "book way", to the exclusion of all else.
    There are some really good and accurate methods out there that you will not see in the backyard foundry books, and these methods are well within reach of the backyard guys.
    There are several guys who use bound sand around (some here, some elsewhere) to good advantage.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  11. HT1

    HT1 Gold Banner Member

    I hate to be that "dick", but this is not a molding problem and probably will never be in any foundry book save as a single example of someone saving sand ... your sand should have some recommendation of minimum wall clearance for different metals... based on weight and pouring temp... you will have to design your flasks around those numbers in the best manner you can... I did a casting once of a feed water pump manifold for the USS New Jersey it was about 4 X 4 Feet and L shaped , we had the Patternmakers make us a flask to match it with about 2 inches of sand all around... the L shape made it a pure bitch to lift, and when we poured it, the flask caught fire and burnt completely up... want ta hear the worst part the pattern was wrong, and no one caught it even in the machine shop and it went to the Jersey... our L shaped Manifold was whateve the opposite of an L is :-(

    V/r HT1
    dennis likes this.
  12. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    Yep, it is not in the foundry books that I have seen. There are some videos out there that demonstrate bound sand molds pretty well, but not necessarily how to minimize sand usage.
    Bound sand can be as thin as perhaps 0.5" thick in some spots, but generally 1" thick minimum overall.

    I rip 1 x 4 pine into standard thicknesses, generally 2", 1.5" and 1", and use those to make either the cope or drag, and the spacers that minimize sand usage.
    I start with a square or rectangular cope or drag, and fill in the corners and such with spacers on a diagonal, and sometimes fill other areas if they are large.
    Sometimes I just tape the spacers in place so I don't have to permanently modify the flasks, which is handy if you just want to try something without making a permanent flask setup.

    And another benefit of bound sand is that the flask can be pulled off in a snap-flask fashion, and the two mold halves cemented together with furnace cement.
    I never have problems with burned wood flasks since I don't pour with them in place around the mold.

    You can do some neat stuff with bound sand, which is why I use it.
    I also generally make small parts, with flasks generally not larger than perhaps 18" square, so it is pretty economical.
    Some here have used SS bound sand on a large scale, but I would not want to turn those flasks over without a crane.

    This video demonstrates bound sand pretty well, but he does not try to minimize sand usage.
    It is surprising how thin a bound sand mold can be even when used with cast iron.
    The sodium silicate I use is mix with the sand in a mixer, but it could be mixed in a muller too, and one of those mini-mullers would be ideal for this application.

    Other benefits of bound sand are that you can cut the sprue and riser holes, runners, gates etc. after the sand has hardened if desired, and this is handy for trying out a runner and gate shape before you make a permanent pattern. A wood rasp bit in a tool and die grinder makes quick work of carving the bound sand.

    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  13. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

    Here is a nice book I found for sale as a reprint on ebay a few minutes ago, about molding machines. I have never seen this book before.
    It has some good illustrations in it.

    And I stumbled across this page while searching for foundry books.
    There is a list of foundry books on the left side, and it looks like any of them can be downloaded in pdf form.
    This may be a duplicate of some that have already been mentioned above.

    One of the books on the link above is the same one that is for sale on ebay, which is "Foundry Molding Machines and Pattern Equipment".
    I just downloaded the pdf file from here:;view=1up;seq=11
    The pdf download takes a few minutes, or you can just browse it online.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  14. PatJ

    PatJ Silver

  15. JoeC

    JoeC Copper

    I agree possibly not for the hobbyist. If you are making aerospace or automotive casting his approach starts to make sense. Parts subject to fatigue and high loads can benefit from reduced oxides.

    I own the Handbook and it is really three books merged into one, the same info comes up in different chapters, it is a tough read, no one page summary.

    Basically he finds that oxide films in metal harm mechanical properties. I know this as fact from my own tensile testing, low elongations are almost always due to an oxide film or voids associated with a film

    Oxides are caused by turbulent flow. The good old AFS gating system we have been all been taught for decades has a high flow rate and creates oxides.

    So he favors a thin sprue which chokes off fast to prevent air aspiration (oxides) followed up by a big expansion area to slow the flow rate (water in a stream slows down when it opens up).

    It really doesn't even have a name seems to be drifting towards "naturally pressurized" - I call it ribbon gating myself

    The he suggests bottom fill to reduce in mold turbulence

    So fill the sprue fast, then fill the cavity slow

    This can make for a complicated mold for sure, getting the ingates down under the entire casting usually means another mold segment, more time and money, so the payback better be there for the effort

    I am converting a series of castings to this idea with really good results - sorry can't share due to NDA

    I run a small foundry and don't have access to the computer simulations, but have had good results just from eyeball engineering, I kind of copied what I see in the articles

    I am not a slavish disciple, I don't use the vortex or stopper rod ideas (at least not yet), just the smaller sprue and narrower runner has been a massive improvement

    Don't read this paper (unless you want to), just look at the gating system in the pictures



    However you are right - for a hobby part (shape) do what's easy/fast - it will be fine, it was for thousands of years - hobbyists are not making Space X castings


  16. Mach

    Mach Silver

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  17. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

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  18. Mach

    Mach Silver

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