View Full Version : NEW MEMBER: Hello from Vermont

12-09-2012, 03:27 PM
Hello all,


I'm working on a CNC turn mill, a bit quirky in design, mainly for soft materials (foam, wood) with a 12" x 24" capacity. I'm collecting the parts and pieces to make an R/C outrunner motor powered spindle for that one.

I also own a purchased CNC flat bed router of the same capacity.

I've built a CNC 4 axis hot wire foam cutter from scratch. I've also built 2 HobbyCNC controller boards, and I use Jedicut and TurboCNC primarily for software. I've also been working on an Excel G-code generator of my own.

For manual machining, I own a used Enco Chinese Mill Drill (which I'd like to convert to CNC some day). A Craftsman / Atlas 12x36 lathe, an Atlas horizontal mill, and an Atlas shaper.

I have built my own metal lathe from scratch in 2003 -- a gingery 12" x 8" (4" center ht) -- I made patterns, and cast all the parts myself, and scraped it into bearing. That was the first metal project I ever attempted. I built several chucks for it, a rotary milling attachment, and a horizontal milling attachment, and many fixtures. I used that lathe to build a few engines.

Anyway, this looks like a great informative forum, and I look forward to being an active member.

12-09-2012, 03:28 PM
Welcome, look forward to seeing some of your projects. Especially your take on casting!

12-09-2012, 04:56 PM
Hi Jonbabbz,

Thanks very much. Here are a few pictures of projects and processes I've used while casting.

They are, in order, 1. a Gingery lathe with tooling and patterns, 2. a milling attachment that enabled me to cut rotary slots on a Tesla turbine disk, 3. a typical drag with greensand ready for casting several parts in one pour, 4. the milling attachment used as a horizontal mill with a homemade cast flycutter -- here facing a casting, 5. a Tesla disk style compressor stage -- disks and housing are all machined castings, 6. a Stirling engine I made for my father's 83rd birthday as a gift.

For the first 2 years I used the lathe and milling attachments I bought no stock aluminum. Everything was cast from melted down pistons except a few scraps of thin aluminum sheet I salvaged from an electronic chassis.

12-09-2012, 05:57 PM
Hi vtnc , they look amazing mate :) I do some cold casting for projects but never done any hot metals, although I did cast an ally bench vice at school oh.. several decades ago lol , my Dad still has it in his tool box.. anyway welcome I think you have comne to the right place ..the stuff you do will be well talked about I'm sure.

12-09-2012, 10:58 PM
Welcome vtcnc. A very impressive collection. What sort of foundry/furnace do you have (and I'm guessing you made it yourself!)

12-09-2012, 11:19 PM
Agreed, would love to see the foundry. Castings been on my to do list for far too long now. Might have to have a bash at one of those coffee can crucibles :) Nice work vtcnc

12-09-2012, 11:24 PM
Thanks fivetide! I bet you were proud of the vice after you made it.

Irving, I originally built a popcorn can furnace using , well, a popcorn can (popular here around Christmas -- roughly 20L in size thin sheet metal and painted with a seasonal scene -- and containing stale popcorn.)

Lined with sand and clay mix and rammed -- all according to David Gingery's little books. Used an air mattress inflator as a blower. Loaded it with charcoal briquets, and proceeded to melt metal.

I later found that even a fire of fallen pine boughs we cleared up after a stormcould melt aluminum, even without a furnace or furnace blower.

After nearly ten years my original furnace gave out, so lately I have just piled up fire bricks into what looks like a 1 foot tall chimney on the ground. Used a running bond but no mortar, stuck a pipe in the bottom for the blower, loaded it with briquets and again was melting metal.

So it really doesn't take anything very sophisticated, though building a nice furnace is still very satisfying to do. I guess we all like a nice piece of shop equipment!

12-09-2012, 11:42 PM
I saw one once where someone used an old gas cylinder cut in half with a hairdryer for the blower that was really effective. Really want to have a bash one day.

13-09-2012, 12:10 AM
Okay guys, here are a few photos of the foundry construction, melting setup, and pouring.

1.) Popcorn can and inner form
2.) Lid reinforcing wire and vent form
3.) Lid filled with refractory
4.) Filling and ramming the furnace body
5.) Refractory in place -- pipe located for tuyere
6.) Inner form rempved -- lid has ears for a bail
7.) The casting setup: blower, cope and drag in place, furnace
8.) Melting -- here I am re-melting a casting that had a shrink cavity and was rejected
9.) Pouring