Shopping list …

Shopping list …

So, I now have the furnace which is great, but I also need a few other crucial items before I can begin casting. Here’s the list …

Before I even began looking at specifics, I broke the list down into three main areas: tools, materials, & PPE.

Préservatif

We’re always told to use protection, right? So I’m going to look at the PPE first as this, arguably, is the most important equipment I will be purchasing bar none. It’s also the easiest to come by. My list so far consists of the following:

  • Full face mask – relatively inexpensive and available from most DIY/hardware stores or Amazon.
  • Full length leather apron – not so easy to find a good full-length leather garment. I may resort to getting this from Artisan Foundry.
  • Heat resistant welders gauntlets – I found what appear to be a good pair of aluminised ones on Amazon.

As far as footwear goes, I think a sturdy pair of leather boots would be sufficient – I have an old pair I can use for this purpose. I recognise the error of my ways previously in wearing flimsy trainers. These would have afforded no protection whatsoever in the event of a spillage in the village.

Tooling up

So now we get into the realms of more specialist equipment. I found the options available to the would-be caster to be quite limited in terms of sourcing this stuff (certainly within the UK). Equally, because of the niche nature of the field, I assume that only relatively small quantities of these products are produced (some items are made to order). This means the cost is comparatively high which is something I had to get my head around initially. In particular, the cost of furnace or crucible tongs shocked me but they seem to be extortionate everywhere I looked. Sigh!

After spending some time looking into this online, I found that I could obtain most things from Artisan Foundry (AF). Looking elsewhere, items were typically either not available at all or were more expensive. But that’s not to say they aren’t out there somewhere. Unfortunately, I haven’t the time to sit for hours scouring the Internet or looking for ways to improvise to save myself a few quid. So, I will likely order most of what I need from AF for the sake of simplicity.

  • Crucible – Looking at an A4 size crucible although not sure whether I should start smaller or just go for the A5 which is the largest the furnace will take?!?!
  • Crucible tongs – AF offer a cranked tong which can do both lift-out and pouring which makes sense to me. The size of the tong has to match the crucible.
  • Ingot mould – Required to pour off any excess metal.
  • Ramming dolly – I reckon I could improvise or make one of my own to save some money here. Again, these seem to be expensive for what they are.
  • Frame/flask brackets – These look like a convenient way of securing the two halves of the flask together but again, I think there are probably cheaper alternatives that will work just as well.
  • Moulders tools – This includes things like trowels and small detail tools which are used to ensure the sand mould is perfect before pouring. Looking around, I discovered a whole world of these things as they come in all shapes and sizes. And surprise, surprise … they are stupidly expensive. It would be very easy to spend three figures on a small selection of these alone! Fortunately, I already own some small builders trowels which will be more than adequate for my needs. I also found a stainless steel laboratory scoop on Amazon which will be perfect for cutting out runners and gates etc. These were significantly cheaper than their foundry counterparts.
  • Sprue pin/cutter – This is a tapered item used to make the sprue hole into which molten metal is poured. It is also used for creating risers.

Consumables

The remaining category of stuff concerns the consumable materials, of which I have a worryingly short list of things …

  • Casting sand – My plan here is to simply get the Mansbond oil-sand. It’s ready to be used out of the bag and should keep with minimal maintenance. Simples.
  • Parting powder – Alternatively known as calcium carbonate. Parting powder is used to dust the faces of the two halves of the mould to aid separation. I already have some sheets of muslin which I can use to fashion a makeshift dusting bag.
  • Gas – LPG gas to fire the furnace.

I’m certain I must be missing something crucial but if I have, I can’t think of it at the moment! Having said that, I am aware there are a handful of sundry items I will also need. For example, I plan to manufacture my own flasks. I will need a few things such as sheet plywood for this but I decided not to list every last item here.

Shopping time

The above list is by no means exhaustive but represents the basic essentials I think I need to get started. I haven’t even considered pattern making or lost wax at this stage which both require their own tools and materials (some of which I already have). I am in no doubt that as I continue on this journey, my list of equipment will grow as I discover items I hadn’t considered before to assist with the job at hand.

Now, it’s time to warm up my credit card! 🙂

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5 Replies to “Shopping list …”

  1. As far foot ware goes a good pair of leather Rigger boots is best (no laces, so hot stuff can’t enter) let me know if t can help with the boots, gauntlets as get them at cost from work. Also if you need me to make/weld something up for you.

    1. Many thanks James … that’s most kind. My boots are the enclosed slip-on type (i.e. – no lace eyelets as you rightly say) and I have just purchased a pair of aluminised foundry gauntlets. Not sure if I need anything fabricated but many thanks for the offer chap … will certainly keep that in mind. 🙂

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