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Make Aluminum Ingots With the King of Random

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Grant Thompson, a/k/a the King of Random (previously at Neatorama), uses his handmade, reusable charcoal foundry to melt scrap metal (in this case, soda cans) to extract the aluminum. The aluminum ingots that are the result of this project will be melted and reformed in future projects.   


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There are quite a few instructions around for making a setup to melt aluminum, including ones that use propane or even waste oil instead of charcoal to heat it. One of the best pieces of advice though is probably to have some sort of tab or hole on the crucible so you are picking it up in a way that doesn't depend on your grip, as you don't want to drop it and it can get heavy fast since metal will weigh more than something like water. The material can effect the longevity of the crucible too, as thin steel or steel with bad welding can rust faster at those temperatures.

Most of the comments on previous aluminum casters I've seen also high recommend avoiding using aluminum cans, as they tend to oxidize too much and get too much junk in the aluminum ingot that will weaken the casting, even with removing the dross. You can add various things to the aluminum to help impurities separate out, and having some aluminum from a different source to get a pool started can help if you are quick at melting the cans though. But instead I've heard of people watching curbs for things like broken lawn mowers that have a cast aluminum engine that can be broken down to give higher quality aluminum for projects.
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Although not what you'd call energy efficient. Not that I can complain - our son is gearing up to cast brass and is trying to scrounge some bronze from the local non-ferrous recyclers.
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