People have cast metals into moulds for centuries. Aluminium and pewter are two easy metals to work with, as they both have relatively low melting points (660 degrees Cor aluminium, and a low 237 degrees Cor pewter). You can achieve both of these temperatures with a good handheld torch. Both metals are easily found, pewter in pawn shops and aluminium in soda cans. With a bit of practice you will soon be creating metal works of art.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Shallow box
- Cup made of iron or stainless steel
- Handheld torch
- Aluminium or pewter to melt
- Spoon or butter knife
- Metal tongs
- Leather gloves
Fill a shallow box with wet sand. Smooth the surface.
Press your hand into the sand. This will be your first metalworking project, a copy of your handprint poured into an open sand mould.
Allow the sand to dry. Do not move the box, as the sand must dry in a solid block. You can set the box in the sun to dry faster.
Fill a bucket with more sand (this time dry). Place a heavy stainless steel or iron cup into the sand, pressing it in to keep it sitting upright.
Put pieces of pewter or aluminium into the cup, which will serve as a crucible. Begin with only a few pieces of metal; once they are melted you will add more until you have the amount that you need.
Heat the crucible with a torch until the metal melts. You will get the best results by moving the torch constantly, keeping all parts of the crucible at an equal temperature.
Add more metal until you have enough to fill the handprint mould.
Scrape the slag (metal mixed with impurities, sometimes called dross) off of the top of the molten metal with a butter knife or spoon. Some of the slag will bond to the scraping tool, so don't use your mother's best silverware.
Lift the crucible with metal tongs while wearing leather gloves. It will be extremely hot; be very careful not to touch it with your skin.
Pour the molten metal into the sand mould. Get the crucible as close as possible before you pour to avoid creating dimples in the sand as the metal hits.
Allow the metal to completely cool in the mould.
Remove the cast from the mould. You will likely have to destroy the mould in order to do this.
Sand or grind off any imperfections along the edges of the cast.
Tips and warnings
- Be incredibly careful not to burn yourself or set your workplace on fire.
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