...Metalcasting at home.

Info. and Updates: -- Feb./25/2018 --

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Some goodies

Waste oil burner evolution | Chop saw project | George Vontorne's sand muller plans | Aluminum flasks | Melting iron | Brass/bronze casting | Mini iron melting cupola | Coffee can furnace | Frequently Asked Questions | General metal projects

The Metalcasting FORUMS are now part of the message board site for metalworkers. Create a profile, post project photos, blogs, questions/comments etc!

Furnace designs
Tools and materials
Hefty Harriette It was time to "crank it up a few degrees" literally and figuratively and build a big furnace capable of withstanding repeated iron melts. Harriette was born of this desire and she's quite a looker!
Coffee can furnace Even a large coffee can is suitable for building a simple gas fired furnace.
The "2 bucks" furnace Unfortunately "2 bucks" isn't the cost of building the furnace! It refers to the design based on 2 buckets. It burns propane and a good scrounger can build it for under 10 bucks!
Go to part; 1, 2, 3

Flowerpot crucible furnace Melt metal in a clay flower pot! Does it get any easier??! (A booklet for beginners).
Dirt and brick furnace A search for an even simpler furnace?
Chimney pipe furnace I used this furnace for over a year. The internal chamber was made from a clay chimney flue pipe. So if people say that it won't work (as I've read on "rec.crafts.metalworking") tell them to shut up with their theories because it works and works well!
Breaking metal in a barbecue No a barbecue grill is not a furnace but when it comes to breaking up/down large pieces of aluminum it's close enough.
Aluminum flask building Most hobbyists build their flasks from wood. I crank it up a few degrees and make mine from aluminum.
Homemade aluminum pulleys It feels great to have an essentially unlimited supply of pulleys.
Go to part; 1, 2, 3

Homemade refractories Get the skinny on homemade furnace refractories.
Building steel crucibles I know that not everyone has access to a welder so not everyone will be able to make their own crucibles like this. But hey...its still interesting to look at.
Go to part; 1, 2

My early foundry setup (circa 1999) If any of them from those art-metal newsgroups try to say that you must use graphite or other exotic crucibles and that expensive commercial equipment is the only way to go then send 'em here!
Molding table I was tired of making my molds on the floor so I built this basic molding table.
Foundry (foun'dre) n., pl. -dries. 1.A location where metal is melted. 2. The complete setup of equipment to melt and cast metal, esp. for a backyard hobbyist.
Iron casting and waste oil fuel
The Machines
Melting Iron Melting iron is no longer the domain of industial enterprises. An individual can build a blast furnace and melt it in their backyard. I've done it! Go to ironcasting part; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
Mini iron melting cupola Watch me melt iron with my homemade blast furnace!
Go to part; 1, 2, scrapiron, scrapiron 2, cupola vs. waste oil

Waste oil burners Used cooking oil and used motor oil make fantastic fuel if they're in a good waste oil burner. Waste oil burner experimentation has been ongoing here and the technology is steadily improving. Go to oilburners part; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, cooking oil Vs. motor oil, more...
Waste oil Vs. Propane The "best foundry fuel" matchups continue, last time in 2002 it was charcoal Vs. propane. Now it's propane Vs. waste oil. Propane lands a stinging left... waste oil counters with a heavy right hand blow...
Let's make metalcasting a household word.
Abrasive cutoff saw project Take a look at my progress as I design and build a complete heavy duty abrasive cutoff saw (a.k.a. chop saw) with 14" blade from scratch.
Go to part; 1, 2, 3

Building a metal lathe Yep, I'm building it. And you better believe I'll do some heavy bragging when I'm done...
Go to part; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Destroying a large metal lathe If you've ever felt like really breaking something you'll like this. Get yourself a machine and clobber it!
Fun with a plasma cutter I finally bought a plasma cutter and I'm super happy with it. Check it out cutting cast iron engine blocks!
Other projects depository
The depository is a "mini homepage" listing a bunch of my hobby projects that either do not relate to metalcasting or use only minimal metalcasting. Below are just some of my favorites, the complete list is on the depository page.

Homemade portable deep fryer Armor brand milling machine Homemade 2 ton lifting hoist
Improvised oxy-mapp torch Indestructible funnel The scrap yard!
Complete projects list here.

E-mail responses I appreciate the e-mails I receive from visitors to this website. I read all of them (unless I mistake the e-mail title as junkmail or "spam") but I only respond to about 30% of them. It's usually nothing personal against the sender, I just sometimes don't feel like answering all those e-mails! So for questions I have put together this Frequently Asked Questions page. Hopefully it'll answer your question(s) with no need to e-mail them to me. Also the metalcasting message board is a "happening spot" and good for getting answers to questions.

Propane & Mapp® gas fuel
General Molding and Casting
Mapp® gas burner I rigged up a burner which can be fueled by disposable Mapp gas or propane cannisters. Even a barbeque grill type tank with LOW pressure regulator!
"Forced air" burners An experiment using air blowers on gas burners.
Rigging a propane system After 3 years of using a charcoal fired furnace I've finally advanced to propane. Here's how I hooked up the rig.
Homebuilt propane burners! Charcoal has been really good to me, but I had to move on to propane. From common plumbing parts you can build burners to melt any metal from lead to iron.
Propane Vs. Charcoal I made a non-biased comparison between the two furnace fuels to see which is better.
Sheet metal flares If you want to use your burner outside the furnace you'll probably need a flare. Make them cheaply and easily.
Be sure to check out the guest galleries!

Casting brass and bronze Here is where I get serious about casting brass and bronze. If these metals interest you then these pages should also.
Go to part; 1, 2, 3

How-to mix molding sand This page shows the steps I take to mix my own greensand.
Ingot casting Just a page showing a stack of ingots I made, a couple pics of metal being poured etc...
Casting defects Face it, things can go wrong with a casting, but we can try to prevent it.

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"Must see" guest pages!
Check out Bruce Metzger's homemade horizontal milling machine! of Gingery design!
Tim Williams' carbon arc welder built from a microwave oven transformer!
Check out ALL the guest pages!
Other stuff
Stuff for SALE!
Cast (Kast) v. cast, cast·ing 1.To form by pouring into a mold. 2. An impression formed in a mold.

Metalworking galleries The galleries are no longer limited to foundry stuff! View pictures of other metalworker's projects. You can get yours included.
Frequently Asked Questions Get the answers to some of the questions I often receive in e-mails. Hopefully it'll save all of us some time. New questions and answers are added as needed.
Links to other websites Links to other metalcasting and general metalworking and suppliers websites.
Furnace building kit Build your own foundry furnace the easy way with one of these kits! When complete you'll have a furnace to be proud of!
Metalworking bookstore Valuable metalworking books from! Please support the Lab and buy some (we're broke around here!).
Booklets Short "how-to" booklets published by They get you going quickly!

Have you seen metalcasting in a movie or TV show? This place is about melting metal at home!

CAUTION! Metalworking can be dangerous, especially when proper safety precautions are not taken. Because of the variations in materials, workmanship and other variables there are no guarantees on the information in/on this web site. This information is simply what I have been successful with in my own experiments and nothing more. I am not and will not ever be responsible for any injury, loss, or damage no matter how serious/major or minor that may result from anyone aside from myself following the instructions, diagrams, advice, plans and/or general information on this website. There are always dangers in metalworking and related activities and I attempt to point them out but it is neither the purpose nor responsibility of me nor this website to mention any or all known or unknown dangers. Be careful dag-gone-it!

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This website and all of its contents (except where specified)
are Copyright © 2018 by Lionel Oliver II All Rights Reserved.
This website was created on Sept./28/2000.