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Discussion Starter #1
Before anyone asked i did try to search for this before i started a new thread.

I have a few questions
1) can i make tools such as shovells, spades, hoes etc out of aluminium
2) what would be the best way to make moulds to cast the aluminium to make the tool heads (i have little money)
3) can i use any old aluminium? i have a lot of old aluminium scafolding etc i can melt down
4) whats the best design for a cheap forge?

thank you all in advance
 

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Knowledge is Power
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I personally would think that the aluminum will be too soft and lightweight for any impact tool, however, you might be able to look into making cookware or something like that.
 

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reluctant sinner
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You could make them from Al but I think its to soft to hold an edge. We cast Al in shop class in jr. high in a casting media with Al outer molds. Worked very nice for items that had a natural parting line. It is harder to work with an alloy that keeps changing. I like propane but waste oil will work. http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #4
i would rather avoid making it into anything in contact with my food, aluminium leaching concerns me... what good uses are there for Al if not for impact tools or cookware?
 

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I would think that you could make limited use tools from aluminum in a have type of situation. Even an aluminum shovel would be better than a stick. You would need to make it around 3 or 4 times thicker than a steel shovel for sure and it wouldn't last very long. If I was in a have to situation I would use old water pumps or mounting brackets from automobile engines as this would be more likely to be an aluminum alloy like 319 or 356 or maybe 535 instead of just pure aluminum which would result in a higher tensile strength. I would use some type of clay and build a crucible within a crucible type of furnace with a hole in the outer liner to allow passibly a propane cactus burner type torch to place in the hole at an angle creating a swirling type flame configuration in it. leaving about 4 inches between the two to allow an area to heat up. Place your alloy in the inner crucible and don't be surprised if it took 4 hours to melt. Then make your molds from the same type of clay. VERY IMPORTANT... never let moisture come in contact with molten metal. It can blow up. Just my two cents....
 

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reluctant sinner
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You need to look at artsy stuff. How about a fancy monogramed trivit. Would make a nice usefull gift for placeing hot casarol on a table or counter top.
 

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I'd sell the aluminum that you have as scrap. It'll bring a pretty good price per pound. Then take your proceeds and but whatever you want. Casting aluminum into useful items is a pain - I had a foundry class in college.
 

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survivalist
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While most folks say aluminum is too soft,I found the opposite. I have cast a few knife parts,guards and bolsters.Most of the as cast parts were extremely brittle and would snap with the slightest bend,not good for a hard use tool.
 

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Do you think it's coincidence that tools such as shovels etc. aren't currently made from aluminum?
If you're looking for a useful skill, blacksmithing would be more valuable than being able to cast aluminum.
What's the best design for a cheap forge? Buy a blacksmithing book and you'll have a more difinitive answer than asking here. Buy a wheel, some pipe, and make a bellows.
 

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Suburban Cowboy
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Hopefully I can provide some useful information besides just saying "no".

I have an aluminum foundry that I built. It burns waste motor oil, and will melt aluminum, brass, and bronze. Waste oil will easily heat to cast iron temperatures, however it takes a well built furnace to handle the temps.

When casting aluminum, the best type of scrap to melt down is cast aluminum. It's alloyed properly for casting, and will yield the best product with minimal shrink. Engine heads, blocks, carburetor bodies, transmission casings, etc. Extruded stuff is meltable just like the rest of it, but a poor choice for actual casting work. When I melt down extruded, I pour it into ingots and take it to the scrap yard (not worth doing if you're paying for fuel). A trunk full of ingots is much easier to haul than a trailer full of bent tubing.

Being able to cast aluminum parts is an extremely valuable skill, and while making common tools isn't the best option, there are LOTS of things that it IS a very good application for.

For some good information go to www.backyardmetalcasting.com
 

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I'd be tempted to say sell the aluminium for scrap, but it makes a lot more sense, if you have the will, to pick up a new skill.

Maybe think of items that will be rare post shtf, I think pots and pans will be in abundance (for a while) Maybe instead of cookware which people seem to be wary of cooking with , you could try cutlery and plates/bowls?

Also Possibly consider selling half to fund any equipment you need that way you're ahead of the game
 

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camps in trees
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Casting aluminum is fun and can be a good stepping stone to casting iron. Tons of info on it on youtube. I've been casting stuff since I was a teen. That said cast parts (doesn't matter metel type) tends to be brittle. I wouldn't use it for impact items or something like a shovel. I've cast valve covers, transmission pans, rear/front end covers out of aluminum with pretty good results. I have a mill to produce a flat sealing surface for those. Awhile back me and a buddy redesigned a cast iron air cooled single piston engine to be water cooled and aluminum (lawnmower racing). We got as far as the rough cast made but the machine work that I can't do was gonna cost so much its used as a door stop now.

I just built a better forge and having a go at some cast iron parts. So far I've been able to produce some really nice stuff the scrap guy was impressed with. Its way different than casting softer metals.
 
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