It is tempting to take your aluminium scrap, melt it and turn it into something more useful than its current state. Granted this metal melting process is something that can be accomplished, remember to follow a strict safety protocol, especially keeping molten aluminium away from a water source, as well as avoiding melting dirty, impure aluminium. As long as you use your best judgment, you can successfully melt your scrap aluminium and pour it into sand castings or a chosen ingot.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Aluminium melting furnace, model and style will vary
- Aluminium scraps
- Protective clothing
- Crucible/melting pot
- Sand casting or carbide ingot
- Ceramics slip or weld barrier
Heat your melting furnace to the desired temperature. Aluminium melts at 660 Celsius (1220 Fahrenheit) so your furnace should be just above that.
Coat your carbide ingot, if you are using one, with ceramics slip or weld barrier. This will ensure that the metal will release when it has cooled. Otherwise prepare your sand casting to your liking.
Place scrap aluminium into your crucible, also known as a melting pot. Stay away from using small aluminium chips and turnings. Unfortunately, in the melting process, there is too much surface area per volume and it will not melt well.
Place the melting pot into the furnace carefully. Melt small amounts at a time in the beginning, such as a pound or two. Make sure there are no screws, rivets, iron filings or any other metals as it will give your melted aluminium poor colouring, a thick pouring texture, shrinkage, will become brittle and may form large crystals.
Watch the metal carefully. You want to get it out of the heat source when all of the pieces are molten.
Grab the handle of your crucible with protected hands and pour the liquid metal into your sand cast or carbide ingot. Five cm by 25 cm (2 inch by 10 inch) triangle ingots are a good choice so the castings cool nicely and release with ease. Other shapes can be used of course.
Allow the metal to cool thoroughly before you release it from the casting or ingot.
Tips and warnings
- Store metal scraps in a closed plastic bucket to keep them clean until you are ready to melt them.
- Choose your aluminium melting furnace according to your personal preference. You can buy a silicon carbide crucible, sweating furnace, electric or gas fired crucible, induction, tower, electric reverbatory or rotary from a metal melting furnace supplier, or you can choose to use a cast iron pioneer dutch oven, a heated furnace or even a homemade gas powered furnace. The speciality furnaces may be costly but it all depends on what your intended production volume will be.
- Never have water near the molten aluminium. If they come into contact with each other, there will be an explosion. Always melt metals in a well-ventilated area to help protect you from the gases released during this process.
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