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Old 08-12-2010, 08:42 PM
tankman1989 tankman1989 is offline
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Lightbulb Steel Crucible for backyard forge - What would you use & my ideas



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I have been trying to figure out what I could use as a crucible to melt lighter weight metals (aluminum, copper, etc) besides old steel food cans which inevitably burn through in a few hours of high heat (even melting just aluminum!).

I found that the small propane containers that are used for camp stoves or for plumbing are good candidates for a crucible once they are depleted (they can also be refilled for those who don't know from any other charged propane tank). The smaller, fatter ones are most likely better than the taller skinnier ones. Just use a hacksaw to cut the top off and you have a pretty thick and potentially long lasting crucible.

Does anyone know of any other items that are thick walled steel containers?
Old 08-12-2010, 08:57 PM
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Let me start off by saying I know nothing about black smithing. But I read your post and an old portable or large oxygen, acetelene etc. bottle came to mind. I dont know how thick they are but they are fairly heavy for their size. Cut the bottom off of one of these. You might be able to find one at a recycling place. The gas company will not usually fill another companies bottles. I have one from another state that I cant get filled if I needed to so when its empty I will prolly cut it up for something. Hope this may spark an idea. Good luck!
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:26 PM
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Weld on pipe caps Sized from 1/2 inch to 48 inches and larger. You can find them at the scrap yard. Around here it's .12 cents a pound for black iron scrap.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:29 PM
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For the crucible I built for melting silver I used a 2 in diameter pipe and welded a piece a flat plate steel to serve as the bottom. Hope this helps.
Doc
Old 08-12-2010, 11:12 PM
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I have a small cast iron "cauldron" looking thing. I can't for the life of me figure out what it's used for. But it would probably be ideal for melting aluminum. I'd google to see if they're available.
Old 08-14-2010, 01:31 PM
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I'm a metal fabricator by trade and dabble in blacksmithing and sand casting every so often. What you're talking about is feasible but there are some draw backs to steel crucibles. When the steel heats up in your furnace it oxidizes and the black scaly rust builds up and falls into your molten metal. This iron oxide scale will contaminate your molten metal. For some people having aluminum that rust is a problem while for others it isn't. Just remember with steel crucibles the metal going in will not have the same chemical properties when it comes out. For this reason I've welded up some stainless steel crucibles. Stainless steel will still oxidize when heated up and contaminate but to a much lesser degree than regular steel.

What ever you end up with make sure you have a real secure way to lift and pour that crucible.

I'm sure you've seen the website below. But you other DIYers should check it out. http://backyardmetalcasting.com/

Good luck.

Hemp
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Old 08-19-2010, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankman1989 View Post
I have been trying to figure out what I could use as a crucible to melt lighter weight metals (aluminum, copper, etc) besides old steel food cans which inevitably burn through in a few hours of high heat (even melting just aluminum!).

I found that the small propane containers that are used for camp stoves or for plumbing are good candidates for a crucible once they are depleted (they can also be refilled for those who don't know from any other charged propane tank). The smaller, fatter ones are most likely better than the taller skinnier ones. Just use a hacksaw to cut the top off and you have a pretty thick and potentially long lasting crucible.

Does anyone know of any other items that are thick walled steel containers?
Probably not a good idea to use a hacksaw to cut the top off of a propane bottle. There will always be a residual amount of propane left in the tank.
Old 08-21-2010, 07:20 PM
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Default Crucibles

I found a book at Lindsay Books on making your own crucibles, castable refractory or graphite. Don't know if they still carry it, but I got mine....
Old 08-22-2010, 11:33 AM
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Round here they use old truck rims, ... even got holes for yer blower!
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:42 AM
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i found this tmen article from the 80's. Hope it helps.http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It...e-Foundry.aspx
Old 08-22-2010, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Packitup View Post
Probably not a good idea to use a hacksaw to cut the top off of a propane bottle. There will always be a residual amount of propane left in the tank.
Hacksaw not so pretty good, but better than chop saw. MUCH better than cutting torch.... Seriously, if you are going to mess with one of these, drill it with two holes, use an hand drill, not electric, and fill it with water first to get rid of all the propane. Then cut it however suits you.
Old 10-26-2010, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daval View Post
Round here they use old truck rims, ... even got holes for yer blower!
he's talking about a crucible not a forge
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:50 AM
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I've spent some time trying to find the thread that I read on this site a while back, but couldn't. Basically the individual posted how to make a forge using a cut open fire extinguisher.

If anyone has the link to this post, might do well in this thread.

Thanks

Edit:
Just noted the above link... since not into metal work, wasn't ware of the the distinction. So just realized that the crucible is where the melted metal goes into.

Here some "How to" sites, for making one:
http://www.abymc.com/Articles/Submit...Crucibles.html
http://ezinearticles.com/?Building-A...nace&id=153129
http://www.copperstarways.com/Downlo...gCrucibles.pdf
http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/crucibles.html
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:52 AM
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here is a good article on how to make your own Ceramic Crucible, its what I use.
http://www.abymc.com/Articles/Submit...Crucibles.html
Old 10-26-2010, 11:16 AM
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crucible needs to be ceramic, to melt steel cans you have to raise the temp as high as the melting point of steel so any ferrous metal crucible will melt as well. Steel or cast iron works well for aluminum lead copper or gold though. Chairman Mao found out backyard steel don't work so well. You best bet is forging iron and beating carbon into it to case harden it.
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:43 AM
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For lead gold and silver, an enamel coated sauce pan works well. For copper depending on the amount stainless steel pans without aluminum heat diffusers would work well. For aluminum ceramic is best but a cast iron dutch oven will work for awhile. Problem is you need to coat ferrous metals that contact molten aluminum as the melt point of aluminum is only a coupla hundred deg above iron/steel and there will be all sorts of electric things happening at the junction of the melt and the crucible or implements.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:00 AM
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Did the same as several of the other posters. Took an 8 inch piece of 1/4 wall 4 inch OD pipe, and welded a matching thickness plate to the bottom. Also bracketry on the sides for a Y shaped "fork" tool for moving it from fire etc. Currently use it for melting aluminum and pouring it into ingots. You simply get more money for #1 aluminum than you do for cans or #2!!

As for the fire pit, it is brick with a black iron piece of pipe feeding it from the bottom, with a fitting that I can hook up my air compressor to. I turn the regulator down to about 3-5 PSI and let it super heat the coals..at that point I simply can place crushed, flattened cans, and other aluminum pieces into the crucible, remove dross and pour into molds. Imagine the different uses...

Great info here!!
Old 10-27-2010, 01:08 AM
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commercial welding supplies and pipe outfits carry large ends for big pipelines very thick .
Old 05-31-2012, 09:05 PM
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spent hours looking for the perfect pipe to make a crucible out of. then i stumbled over (literally: it was dark) a big, empty fire extinguisher. the place i was picking through was full of them. stainless, case hardened steel. cut the tops off, now i have one of each #4 #5 and #6 crucible from different sized fire extinguishers.
Old 06-01-2012, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cranky1950 View Post
crucible needs to be ceramic, to melt steel cans you have to raise the temp as high as the melting point of steel so any ferrous metal crucible will melt as well. Steel or cast iron works well for aluminum lead copper or gold though. Chairman Mao found out backyard steel don't work so well. You best bet is forging iron and beating carbon into it to case harden it.
Crucibles are available at Grainger.
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