It started by seeing this, after my coffee kicked in this morning:
Sweet, huh? A nice cast-aluminum piece is just so… so… sculptural. Well, yeah, that’s because you make it like you’re sculpting something. I thought back to High School shop class, the one class in High School I regret getting something out of just because they had so many cool tools, and we did, in fact, do a little sand-casting. Of course, as was the tradition in my school, nobody actually ever explained what sand-casting was actually used for, or how you could make really, really cool stuff with the process, or that that’s how they make pistons (my favorite scene in The World’s Fastest Indian- when they show Burt Monroe casting his pistons with a soup of spare pistons from cars… a touch of Ford here, a pinch of Chevy there, and a sprinkle of titanium for good measure).
So, a quick search and I find this site: Backyardmetalcasting.com. Sweet. Check out the book they have, too. Unfortunately out of print right now, but it brings back all sorts of fond memories. Shop class. Sneaking out back to smoke cigarettes while the aluminum was melting. Good times.
Sandcasting is, I think, about as ancient as it looks. Probably one of the first metal parts was made when some neanderthal fished some molten bit of bronze out of the fire pit and hammered out the rough bits to make an axe or something. Today you basically carve the piece out of wax, if memory serves, and when you pour the molten metal in, the wax vaporizes- thus, the term “lost wax casting“.
Check out the site. Not only do they have the book, but it looks like a complete line of supplies as well. Not to mention some pretty nifty furnace designs, capable of even melting steel.
Gotta go get my casting on…