Mild Steel


  • Aluminum Alloy Series - see Aluminum Alloys 101
  • Aluminum Association 356 is the most common alloy used in prototyping die-castings
    • Designations and Chemical Composition Limits for Aluminum Alloys in the Form of Castings and Ingot (Pink Sheets)
    • Aluminum Alloys gives common heat treatments
    • Standards for Aluminum Sand and Permanent Mold Castings - Item No. SPC-1808OL
      • Revised in 2008 (Fifteenth Edition). This manual gives voluntary guidelines covering chemical compositions and physical and mechanical properties. Also covered are linear tolerances, draft requirements, machine-finish allowances, quality control and heat treatments. Provides engineering and metallurgical standards for users and producers, and coordinates American National Standards for casting and facilitates casting alloy, ingot and temper registration. Now with metric as well as U.S. units of measurement. (57 pages)
    • Elwin L. Rooy, Heat Treatment of Aluminum Cast Products. Metal Processing Institue, WPI, 1999
    • Alumin Alloy Castings: Properties, Processes, and Applications by J. Gilbert Kaufman and Elwin L. Rooy, ISBN 978-0-87170-803-8 (pdf)

Metal Finishing

  • “Pure aluminum and the 3xxx, 5xxx, and most 6xxx series alloys are sufficiently resistant to be used in industrial atmospheres and waters without any protective coatings. Examples of this are cookware, boats, and building products. Coatings are recommended for the higher strength 6xxx alloys, such as alloy 6013, and for all 2xx and 7xxx alloys. One of the principal methods of protection is to enhance the thickness and quality of the natural oxide by prefilming in hot water, which can increase the thickness of the oxide passive film by about a factor of 10. The film can be thickened even more (to 1000 or more times the natural thickness) by anodizing in sulfuric acid…” (Corrosion Resistance of Aluminum and Magnesium Alloys by Edward Ghali, p. 480)
  • Designation System for Aluminum Finishes by The Aluminum Association
  • Care of Aluminum by The Aluminum Association
    • Details cleaning methods for mill-finished, anodized, chemical-coated, painted, porcelain enameled, plated and laminated aluminum finishes.
    • Typical heat treatments, typical annealing treatments
  • “The boehmite treatment is very simple. Aluminum materials are treated with boiling water or steam. Aluminum is converted to aluminum oxide by oxidation. It is an environmental friendly treatment as there are no specific chemicals required such as chromium based chemicals and no need for waste water treatment. This process is applied to aluminum tableware, aluminum heat exchangers and electrolytic capacitors. In the industry, deionized water with triethanolamine and/or aqueous ammonia are used. The treatment temperature is normally from 90°C to 100°C and treatment time is from 10 to 30 min.” (Handbook of Aluminum Vol 2 Alloy Production and Materials manufacturing, edited by George E. Totten and D. Scott MacKenzie, Chapter 13 - Surface Modification by Kiyoshi Funatani, p. 495-6)
  • “Anodizing is used to improve the corrosion resistance and appearance of aluminum and is achieved by making the parts to be treated the anode in an electrolytic bath such as sulfuric acid. This process produces a tough, adherent coating of aluminum oxide (Al2O3), usually 0.4 mil (0.01mm) thick or greater. 'The Surface Treatment and Finishing of Aluminum Alloys' by P.G. Sheasby and R. Pinner, provides useful information on anodizing. Any welding should be performed before anodizing, and filler alloys should be chosen judiciously for good anodizing color match with the base alloy…Two-step electrolytic coloring, produced by first clear anodizing and then electrolytically depositing another metal ozide, can produce shades of bronze, burgundy, and blue. Anodized aluminum is used for lighting fixtures, automotive trim, cosmetic cases, and aluminum wheels.” (Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, 11th Ed by Eugene a. Avallone, p. 6-57 (421 of 2305))
  • Step by Step Procedure
  • Step 1: Cleaning aluminum parts
    • Acid Cleaning - fluoride cleaner consists of sulfuric acid, fluoride and surfactant
    • Lye/Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide)
      • “Aluminum is rapidly attacked by even dilute solutions of caustic soda at all temperatures.” (ASM Handbooks Online - M.Davies, Corrosion by Alkalis, Corrosion: Environments and Industries, Vol 13C, ASM Handbook, ASM International, 2006, p 710–726)
    • Graham's Salt (Sodium Polyphosphate)
    • Washing Soda or Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate) used in swimming pools to raise pH
  • Step 2: degrease aluminum parts with any degreaser such as Simple Green
  • Step 3: de-smut the aluminum part
  • Step 4: Anodize in the acid bath at 12 amps/square foot for 45 min, keep temp at 70-72 degrees F
  • Step 5: remove parts from acid bath and rinse with distilled water
  • Step 6: Dye parts in warm dye, 100-140 degrees F
  • Step 7: Seal parts by placing in boiling distilled water for 20-30 minutes
  • How to Anodize Aluminum by Bill Gilmour
    • Cleaning with degreaser then put into sulfuric acid bath
    • Sulfuric Acid 1 of 5 plus Water 4 of 5
      • pour acid into water! If you pour water into any acid, it can heat up and sometimes explode.
      • safety use water and baking soda to neutralize
      • aluminum mig wire used to connect parts
    • dip parts in water
    • add part to dye for 10 min
    • boiling water add part
    • wash with water and buff with rag
  • “Anodized coatings are produced by an electrolytic process in which the surface of an alloy that is made the anode is converted to aluminum oxide, this oxide is bound to the alloys as tenaciously as the natural oxide film but is much thicker. Coatings used to provide corrosion resistance range in thickness from 5 to 30 μm (0.2 to 1.2 mils); little or no additional protection is provided by thicker coatings. As with the alloys themselves, anodized coatings are not resistant to most environments with pH values outside the range from 4 to 9. Within this range, resistance to corrosion can be improved by an order of magnitude or more; in atmospheric weathering tests, the number of pits that developed is the base metal was found to decrease exponentially with coating thickness.” (Metals Handbook Desk Edition, 2nd Edition, 1998 by ASM International, p. 1344 of 2571)
  • “Anodized Films. A commercial surface treatment unique to aluminum is anodizing. (See the article 'Aluminum Anodizing' in this Volume.) The object to be treated is immersed as the anode in an acid electrolyte, and a direct current is applied. Oxidation of the surface occurs to produce a greatly thickened, hard, porous film of aluminum oxide. This file is then normally immersed in boiling water to seal the porosity and render the film impermeable. Before sealing, the film can be colored by impregnation with dyes or pigments. Special electrolytes are sometimes used to produce colored anodic films directly in the anodizing bath. The degree of protection conferred to the surface depends on the thickness of the film, which may be 8 micrometers (0.3mils) in the case of shiny automobile trim moldings, to 25 micrometers (1.0 mil) or more on the aluminum facade of a monumental building.” (ASM Handbook Volume 13A Corrosion: Fundamentals, Testing, and Protection, p. 1787 of 2597)
  • “In general, the anodizing process of an aluminum or aluminum alloy specimen consists of pretreatments (degreasing, etching, and polishing), anodizing, coloring, and sealing.
    • Pretreatments
      • degreasing
      • etching
      • polishing
        • Procedures of etching and polishing
    • Anodizing
      • Procedures of anodizing
    • Coloring - of anodic oxide films is classified into three groups: integral coloring, dyeing and electrolytic coloring
      • electrolytic coloring
        • Electrolytic Coloring
    • Sealing - “Sealing is usually performed by dipping in boiling water…A 10 min sealing treatment is sufficient to seal the pores completely in boiling water…” (ASM Handbook Volume 13A Corrosion: Fundamentals, Testing, and Protection, p. 1907 of 2597)
    • see Aluminum Anodizing by Hideaki Takahashi (ASM Handbook Volume 13A Corrosion: Fundamentals, Testing, and Protection, p. 1897 of 2597)

COJ WWTP Chemicals

  • Sodium Hydroxide 50%
  • Hydrochloric Acid 32.45%
  • Caustic Soda 50%

Carter Alloys Company

  • Steven Carter, email:, 610-716-4160, Carter Alloys Co. PO Box 2394, Bala PA 19004
    • Nickel Sulfate

Thatcher Chemicals

National Association Surface Treatment

  • Phil Crook, Organic Coating Application and Removal Process Engineer at USAF Hill Air Force Base (LinkedIn, Certified Electroplater-Finisher CEF)

Remove Surface Treatment

  • Chromic acid or sodium dichromate with either nitric or sulfuric acid is used to deoxidize aluminum alloys. (ASM Handbook Vol 5 Surface Engineering, p. 22 of 2535)


  • Anode (Oxidation, lose electrons, positively charged)
    • memory aid
      • A and O vowels pair
      • An Ox
    • Chromium (Cr)
    • Nickel (Ni)
    • Tin (Sn)
    • Zinc (Zn)
    • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Cathode (Reduction, gain electrons, negatively charged) - object being plated such as utensils, bowls, platters
    • memory aid
      • C and R constants pair
      • Red Cat
    • Copper
    • Steel
    • Iron
    • Brass
  • Electrolyte Solution
    • Copper Sulphate Solution
  • Electricity - typically direct current (DC)
  • Silver (Ag)

Electroplating Cast Iron

  • “Cast irons are most commonly plated with chromium, nickel, copper, cadmium, and zinc.” (ASM Handbook Vol 5 - Surface Engineering, p. 1844)
    • Chromium Plating - excellent resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion; low friction and high reflectance

Standard Reduction Potentials

  • Electrochemistry - Standard Reduction Potentials

Oxide Coatings on Cast Iron

  • “Conversion of the surface of an iron casting to a magnetic oxide, Fe3O4, gives a thin black finish. These films have a certain degree of wear resistance, provide a good bond for paint or lacquer, and have pleasing decorative features. The film layer, if oiled or waxed, provides satisfactory corrosion resistance against handling and storage and is useful with lubrication for sliding and rotating wear applications. The original method of forming a strongly adherent black oxide film is still useful today. The process involves use of steam around an iron part heated above 480 deg C (900 F) and yields a tight oxide costing. Steam generally is introduced to furnace atmospheres to completely replace air while the parts are heated to 590 C (1100 F). Twenty minutes at temperature in this atmosphere is sufficient for buildup of a thick, wear-resisting film.” (ASM Handbook Vol 5 - Surface Engineering, p. 1870)
  • Reference
    • ASM Handbook Vol 5 - Surface Engineering, p. 1870
    • C.F. Walton and T.J. Ajar, Ed., Iron Castings Handbook, Iron Casting Society, 1981, p. 755-799
    • Black Oxide Surface Treatment
    • Steam Oxidation Furnace by Mahler,
    • Steam Treatment Furnaces by Abbott Furnace Steam Treatment Furnaces
      • Salesman - Tim 814-834-7401 (was in the Twin Falls Hospital), knows a company in PA who offers steam treating services. Checking to see if they know anyone who sells a bench style steam treatment furnace as they only have the conveyor belt type.
    • Skutt Kilns
      • Perry Peterson ( - “we do not recommend creating steam inside the kiln. It takes the oxidation coating off the elements and will damage them.”

Hard Chromium Plating on Cast Iron

Heat Treatment

    • 1-Metal elements are well mixed - “Homogenization of alloying elements - this is desirable to distribute elements evenly throughout the matrix, so properties in the casting will be uniform.”
    • 2-Stress Relief - residual stresses are created during cooling from elevated casting and solution temperatures. Heating the casting to an intermediate temperature can relieve these residual stresses.
    • 3-Improved Dimensional Stability and Machinability - changes in the microstructure can cause castings to grow over time. To maintain tight dimensional tolerances during and after machining, castings should be heat treated to form stable precipitate phases.
      • Annealing castings that have low strength requirements but require high dimensional stability are annealed. Annealing also substantially reduces residual stress, a need in die castings. Annealing is a severe stabilization treatment and an elevated temperature variant of the T5 temper. Softening occurs because annealing depletes the matrix of solutes, and the precipitates formed are too large to provide hardening.
    • 4-Mechanical Property Improvement - the greatest use of heat treatment is to enhance mechanical and corrosion properties through spheroidizing constituent phase particles and by precipitation hardening.
    • Rarely are all of the desired properties optimized in a single casting. More often, heat treatment is a compromise, maximizing some properties at the expense of others. For example, tensile and yield strengths can be increased, but this results in lower elongation. Contrarily, higher elongations result in lower tensile and yield strengths.
  • Heat Treatment Practices
    • F, as-cast
    • O, annealed
      • Useful purpose in providing parts with extreme dimensional and physical stability and the lowest level of residual stresses. The annealed condition is also characterized by low strength levels, softness, and correspondingly poor machinability. Typical annealing practicees are for relatively short (2-4 hours) exposures at a minimum temperature of 650°F (340°C). Higher-temperature practices are employed for more complete relaxation of residual stresses. The cooling rate from annealing temperature must be controlled in such a way that residual stresses are not reinduced and that resolution effects are avoided.Typical practice is to cool from annealing temperature in the furnance or in still air. (Kaufman p. 66)
    • T2, annealed (obsolete designation, use O instead)
    • T4, solution heat treated and quenced
    • T5, artificially aged from the as-cast condition
    • T6, solution heat treated, quenched, and artificially aged
    • T7, solution heat treated, quenched, and overaged

Metal Suppliers

  • Metal Prices - Kitco Metals
    • Aluminum, Copper, Nickel, Zinc, Lead, Uranium
  • Vista Sales, Inc. - Ken Hunt (, 818-253-7300 x303, cell: 323-359-0992) and Ed Richmond (, 8157 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood CA, 91605, will sell Aluminum 356 for about $1.50 a pound, deal for schools. Aluminum ingot/bar weights approximately 22 pounds.
  • Vista Metals, Jeff Tringham - - Office: (909) 823-4278
  • Tin costs $19 a pound
  • Goodfellow All the materials you'll need for Scientific Research and Manufacturing. Prices appear very high.
  • Zip Metals sells lead for $1.50 a pound
    • aluminum, lead, stainless steel
    • supplier of metals
    • email:
    • 1987 Highland Ave E, Twin Falls ID 83301, 208-734-7440, 800-388-3878
    • Mild Steel, Hot Rolled Rounds - most economical
    • LaSalle Stressproof Cold-Drawn - excellent machinability
    • 4140 Heat Treated, Stress Relieved - used for axle shafts, available up to 8” diameters
    • Aluminum 6061 Rounds (diameter 1/4“ - 2”)
    • Stainless Steel Round



Investment Casting

Sand Casting

  • “Sand molding. Irregular or odd-shaped parts that would be difficult to make from metal plate or bar stock may be cast to the desired shape in sand molds. A pattern may be a wood or metal model of the part so constructed that it may be used to form the impression, called a mold, in the sand. Molten metal, when poured into this mold and solidified, will form a casting of the desired part. The sand for the mold is held in place in a wood or metal frame, or box, called a flask. The assembly of the entire flask is shown in Figure 14.1. The opened flask is illustrated in Figure 14.2. Figure 14.3 shows a simple pattern, and Figure 14.4 shows it as it is used to form the mold.” (Blueprint Reading for Machinists, Intermediate, 6th Edition by David L. Taylor, p. 112)
    • Fig. 1-1 Assembled and Opened flask from Blueprint Reading for Machinists, Intermediate, 6th Edition by David L. Taylor, p. 112
    • Fig. 1-1 Wood pattern and pattern ready to be drawn from Blueprint Reading for Machinists, Intermediate, 6th Edition by David L. Taylor, p. 113
  • “11.2 Sand Casting. A typical drawing as received in the shops is shown in Fig. 11-2. To product the part shown, a rough sand casting must be made, as shown in Fig. 11-3(a). The part is then machined, as shown at (b). The casting is made by pouring molten metal (iron, steel, aluminum, brass, or some other metal) into a cavity in damp sand. The metal is allowed to cool until it hardens. Then it is removed from the sand. The cavity is made by placing a model of the object, called a pattern, in the sand and then withdrawing it. This leaves an imprint of the model in the sand. Patterns are usually constructed from a durable and dimensionally stable wood. (Basswood and mahogany are often used.) In some cases, duplicate patterns are made of metal or from casting resins with very low shrink characteristics. A wood pattern of the bearing in Fig. 11-2 is shown in Fig. 11-3©. Since shrinkage occurs when metals cool, patterns are made slightly oversize. The patternmaker uses a shrink rule. The units on a shrink rule are slightly oversize. Since various metals shrink different amounts, a different rule is used for each metal. For example, cast iron shrinks 1/8” per foot. the detail drawing, Fig. 11-2, shows the object in its final state and does not allow for shrinkage. this is taken care of entirely in the pattern shop by making the pattern oversize. Draft, or relief angle, is the taper given to a pattern to permit it to be easily withdrawn from the sand without damaging the shape of the mold. Draft is taken care of by the patternmaker. It is not shown on the drawing unless it is also a feature of the design. Only a slight draft on each side of the flat base is needed for this object, Fig. 11-3(a). The patternmaker must also make the pattern oversize in certain places to provide additional metal for each surface that is to be machined. For example, the bottom surface of the base of the casting of Fig. 11-2 it to be finished or machined. The patternmaker must provide extra thickness to the bottom of the base so that there will be from 1/16“ to 1/8” of metal to be removed. For details on proper use of finish marks, see Sec. 10.7.“ (Basic Technical Drawing, 8th by Spencer, p. 227-8)
    • Fig. 11-2 A detail working drawing from Basic Technical Drawing, 8th by Spencer, p. 227
    • Fig. 11-3 A casting and a pattern from Basic Technical Drawing, 8th by Spencer, p. 228
    • “10.7 Surface Texture Symbols. A finish mark is a symbol to indicate that a surface is to be finished, or machined. A finish mark on a drawing tells the patternmaker that he or she must allow extra material on the pattern. This will provide extra metal on the casting to be removed in machining. The same finish mark tells the machinist to machine the surface. A finish mark is shown on the edge view of a surface to be finished. It is repeated in every view where the surface appears as a line, including hidden lines and curved lines. The point of the checkmark should point inward toward the solid metal like a cutting tool. In Fig. 10-7(b) are shown three views and a pictorial of a rough casting before it is machined. At © the casting has been machined. The checkmark -type finish marks are shown. As explained in Sec. 10.1, the drawing shows the part in its completed state. Finish marks are not needed for drilled holes or for any other holes where the machining operations are clearly shown in a note, Sec. 10.24. If a part is to be finished all over, omit all finish marks. Letter a general note on the drawing, such as FINISH ALL OVER or FAO. No finish marks or notes are needed if a part is machined from cold finished stock.” (Basic Technical Drawing, 8th by Spencer, p. 198)
      • Fig. 10-7 Finish marks from Basic Technical Drawing, 8th by Spencer, p. 197
  • “The sand is contained in a two-part box called a flask, Fig. 11-4(e). The upper part is the cope. The lower part is the drag. The mold is full when molten metal can be seen in the riser. The riser also allows hot gases to escape. As cooling occurs and the metal shrinks, the extra metal in the riser flows back into the mold. For more complicated work, one or more intermediate boxes (cheeks) are used between the cope and drag. Patterns are often split, Fig. 11-3©, so that one half can be placed in the cope and the other in the drag. The molds in the cope and drag have been formed by ramming sand around each half of the pattern, Fig. 11-4(b). A sprue stick, or round peg, is placed in position during the ramming. It is then removed to leave a hole through which molten metal is poured. A trench (the gate) is formed to lead from the hole to the casting. The sand packed around the pattern is called green sand because it is not dried, baked, or cured before the mold is used.” (Basic Technical Drawing, 8th by Spencer, p. 229)
  • “Green sand is often not strong enough to form some shapes. In such cases dry sand cores are used. Dry sand cores are made by ramming a prepared mixture of sand and a binding substance into a core box, Fig. 11-4©. The core is then removed and baked in a core oven to make it hard. The most common use of a core is to extend it through a casting to form a cored hole. The core prints of the pattern, Fig. 11-3©, form openings in the sand to support the ends of the core in Fig. 11-4(b). When the metal is poured into the mold, it flows around the core, leaving a hole in the casting. When the casting has cooled, it is removed from the sand. The dry sand core is broken out. The casting is then cleaned. Any projecting fins are ground off.” (Basic Technical Drawing, 8th by Spencer, p. 229)
  • “The rough casting is sent to the machine shop. There the cored hole will be enlarged by boring and reaming. The top and bottom surfaces will be machined. The small holes will be drilled and counterbored, Fig. 11-3(b).” (Basic Technical Drawing, 8th by Spencer, p. 229)
    • Fig. 11-4 Sand molding from Basic Technical Drawing, 8th by Spencer, p. 228
  • “Sand casting is the most commonly used method of making castings. There are two general types of sand castings: green sand and dry sand molding. Green sand is specially refined sand that is mixed with specific moisture, clay, and resin, which work as binding agents during the molding and pouring procedures. New sand is light brown in color: the term 'green sand' refers to the moisture content. In the dry sand molding process, the sand does not have any moisture content. The sand is bonded together with specially formulated resins. The result of the green sand or the dry sand molds is the same. Sand castings are made by pounding or pressing the sand around a split pattern. The first or lower half of the pattern is placed upside down on a molding board, and sand is then pounded or compressed around the pattern in a box called a drag. The drag is then turned over, and the second or upper half of the pattern is formed when another box, called a cope, is packed with sand and joined to the drag. A fine powder is used as a parting agent between the cope and drag at the parting line, or the separating joint between the two parts of the pattern or mold. The entire box, made up of the cope and drag, is referred to as a flask (see Figure 4.5).” (Engineering Drawing and Design, 5th Edition by Madsen and Madsen, p. 135)
    • Fig. 1-1 Components of the sand casting process from Engineering Drawing and Design, 5th by Madsen and Madsen, p. 135
  • “Before the molten metal can be poured into the cavity, a passageway for the metal must be made. The passageway is called a runner and sprue. The location and design of the sprue and runner are important to allow for a rapid and continuous flow of metal. In addition, vent holes are established to let gases, impurities, and metal escape from the cavity. Finally, a riser (or group of risers) is used, depending on the size of the casting, to allow the excess metal to evacuate from the mold and, more importantly, to help reduce shrinking and incomplete filling of the casting (see Figure 4.6). After the casting has solidified and cooled, the filled risers, vent holes, and runners are removed.” (Engineering Drawing and Design, 5th Edition by Madsen and Madsen, p. 135)
    • Fig. 1-2 Pouring molten metal into a sand casting mold
    • source from Engineering Drawing and Design, 5th by Madsen and Madsen, p. 136
  • “Sand casting is the most common type of casting method. The major components of the molds used to make sand castings are shown in Figure 20-1 and include the flask, pattern, and green sand. The flask is a two-part box, or frame, used to contain the sand. The top half of the flask is called the cope and the bottom half is called the drag. Occasionally, a third section may be installed between the cope and drag. This section is called a cheek, and is used where a deep or complex shape must be cast. In sand casting the mold is prepared by ramming the green sand around a model of a part, called the pattern. The model is then removed to form the cavity for the molten metal. The plane of division between the cope and drag is called the parting line. In many castings, the parting line occurs at the approximate middle of the part. The parting line can be seen on most castings by a ragged line that is usually ground off. The molten metal enters the mold through the sprue hole and is directed to the cavity by one or more gates. The sprue hole is formed by installing a sprue peg in the cope. This peg is then removed after the final ramming of the cope. The riser is used to vent the mold and to allow gases to escape. The riser also acts as a small reservoir to keep the cavity full as the metal begins to shrink during the cooling process.” (Technical Drawing, 4th by Goetsch and Chalk, p. 722)
    • Fig. 1-2 Components of a sand casting mold, Technical Drawing, 4th Edition by Goetsch and Chalk, p. 722
  • “Green-sand molding is used for most sand castings, sand mixed with a binder being packed around the pattern by hand, with power tools, or in a vibrating machine which may also exert a compressive force to pack the grains more closely. The term 'green-sand' implies that the binder is not cured by heating or chemical reactions. The pattern is made in two 'halves,' which usually are attached to opposite sides of a flat plate. Shaped bars and other projections are fastened to the plate to form connecting channels and funnels in the sand for entry of the molten metal into the casting cavities. The sand is supported at the plate edges by a box-shaped frame or flask, with locating tabs that align the two mold haves when they are later assembled for the pouring operation.” (Machinery's Handbook, 27th Ed, p. 1366)
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineering
    • Sand Casting
  • Bentonite Clay on
    • Blending Synthetic Sand Any silica sand that is fine enough, and is washed to remove silt and other organic matter, can be blended with clay to make molding sand. You can buy silica sand as described above in 100 pound bags, and you can also buy sand that is prepared for masonry work. Sand is graded by the mesh number, and the highest number is the finest grade. Aluminum casting sands are usually made from 75 mesh to 125 mesh sand. Below 75 mesh is considered too coarse, but 65 mesh will do in a pinch if you can't get finer. Buy a pound of extra fine granulated sugar as a comparison standard if you are not familiar with sand grades, or pay a visit to a local foundry to get a look and feel of molding sand in use.” (Charcoal Foundry by Gingery, p. 11)
    • “There are many different kinds of clay, and the bonding quality varies greatly among them. Fire clay and bentonite clay will be the most easily available to you, and either can be used to bond your sand. Sea coal and wood flour are likely to be hard to find, but you can use wheat flour, corn flour or corn starch as a substitute. The sand and ingredients are mixed while absolutely dry, and you should wear a respirator mask to avoid inhaling any of the dust. Once it has been blended and tempered there is no longer any problem with dust.” (Charcoal Foundry by Gingery, p. 12)
    • “It will require from 25% to 35% of fire clay by weight to bond clean silica sand. This ends up with an analysis of from 20% to 26% clay to the blend because the clay adds its weight to the mass. If you add 25 pounds of clay to 100 pounds of sand, the total mass will weigh 125 pounds, and the clay will represent 20% of the mass. The object is to add enough clay to coat each grain of sand to give good bond, but not so much clay as to close up the porosity of the sand blend. Begin with a small batch of a pound of two of sand and thoroughly mix in one fourth its weight in clay. Then temper the sample with water and allow it to stand for about 30 minutes before you test its bond. If it does not seem strong enough you can make a second test batch with a little more clay. You will soon reach a point where adding more clay does not improve the blend. Then you have the formula for the particular clay that is available to you.” (Charcoal Foundry by Gingery, p. 12)
    • “Bentonite clay is so much better than fire clay that it requires only from 5% to 10% of it to give a better bond than fire clay. Experiment with it in the same manner as described for the fire clay until you arrive at the right proportion. Bentonite is sold by dealers in farm supplies for a number of uses. Its main use probably for making feed pellets for live stock, and it is also used to seal the bottoms of farm stock ponds. You can buy it in 50 pound bags, and that will make a lot of molding sand.” (Charcoal Foundry by Gingery, p. 12)
    • “When you have arrived at the proper proportion of clay you can mix up all of your sand in that proportion. Add from 1% to 1.5% of some type of flour to the dry mix. I have experimented with several kings of flour and they all seem to produce about the same effect. Some types of wall paper paste that are sold in powder form seem to work just a little bit better than flours. Corn flour, corn starch, wheat flour, or very fine sanding dust from hard wood are the most likely choices for you. These improve the water absorption quality of the blend, and it seems to make the sand more resilient. Mix the flour with the clay, and then mix the blend with the sand very thoroughly while dry.” (Charcoal Foundry by Gingery, p. 12-3)
    • Temper The Sand When the sand is properly moistened for molding it is said to be 'TEMPERED'. The water content in the blend has as much to do with its cohesiveness as does the clay. More water means better bond, but more than enough is too much. I know that sounds ambiguous. I speak foolishly to catch your attention on a very important matter. Old sand crabs test molding sand by grabbing a hand full and squeezing it into a sausage shape. Then he breaks it in half to test the strength of the bond and to examine the texture. He will also compress it in his hand and blow through it to test its porosity. This is a matter of the acquired judgement that comes from experience. You will soon become familiar with the characteristics and faults of your sand, and these simple tests will have meaning to you.” (Charcoal Foundry by Gingery, p. 13)
    • “The sample in the photo on the previous page is 85 mesh sand with 8% bentonite and 1% wheat flour. It feels slightly damp, but not wet. It felt resilient as I squeezed it into the sausage shape, and the imprint of my fingers was distinct. It broke in half cleanly without crumbling up. This is the condition you are trying to achieve as you temper the sand. Only a very small amount of water is required to temper the sand. The total amount of moisture is going to be from 7% to 8%. There is certain to be some amount of water in any sand you work with, but you won't know how much. You will likely have to add somewhere in the neighborhood of 2% to 4% to newly blended sand. A quart of water weighs about 2 pounds, so if you add a quart to 100 pounds of sand you have raised the water content by about 2%. You may use about a gallon of water to temper a 200 pound batch of new sand.” (Charcoal Foundry by Gingery, p. 14)
    • “Nature provides in abundance the essential ingredient for mould making. Sand, which has formed a geological strata for eons of time and which is excavated or, indeed, lies on the surface of the earth in the form of loose particles or soft rock, is the basic element. Often it has a reddish colour imparted by the metallic oxides combined with it and it may also contain clays. It is these included materials which render the sand suitable, without further processing, for use in the foundry. The oxides and clays with added moisture bind the sand together to form a plastic, mouldable material which readily holds the shape imparted to it by the pattern. In the modern foundry there are also synthetic sands and other refractory materials used. They are often combined with clay, such as bentonite, which is imported into this country, added in such proportions as to produce an ideal plastic quality and unimpaired permeability to allow the free escape of gases.” (The Backyard Foundry by B. Terry Aspin, p. 1)
    • Black Hills Bentonite has bentonite for metal casting,
    • Jones Fish Hatcheries Inc. has 50 lb bags for 14 dollars.
    • Opta Minerals Inc. Bentonite Clay sold to foundries,
    • Sturgis - Benseal has sodium bentonite in 50 lb sacks, in Kansas City.
    • Charles B. Chrystal Co. Inc. as bentonite,
    • Donner Drilling in Las Vegas, 702-898-1547
    • Water Well Services in Las Vegas, 702-658-6699
    • Sanders Construction Inc, in Henderson 702-558-4900
    • Barbour Wells 702-558-5373 doesn't sell bentonite
    • Sinclair Well Products and Services, John Tuttle 661-212-1223 sells Bentonite Clay at 10602 Midway Ave, Cerritos CA 90703, 800-782-3222. 100 lb bag costs around 10 dollars.
    • Western Clay produces sodium bentonite but the sales rep doesn't recommend their bentonite for sand casting as it doesn't bond as good as the bentonite from Wyoming Bentonite Clay
    • Allen Drilling, Las Vegas 702-736-7366
    • Baroid Industrial Drilling Products sells Bentonite Clay, untreated and no chemicals added, use Aquagel Gold Seal sodium bentonite.
    • Preferred Pump Equipment - 702-891-4925 is a Baroid reseller
    • might need to add a natural gas backflow preventor, see Check All Valve
    • Figure 1-0 Increase Natural Gas Pressure


  • “Starting Point - In order to learn anything new, you must learn the very basics, and the only place to do this is at the beginning. Let's not think of brass (copper + zinc), bronze (copper + tin), aluminum or cast iron or the mixes etc. Let's start at the basic business of making a sand mold and pouring it. The equipment listed would be the minimum required as a starter.” (Complete Handbook of Sand Casting by Ammen, p. 212-3)
    • 1-Molding shovel-purchase
    • 1-Bench rammer-purchase or make
    • 1-Finishing trowel-purchase
    • 1-Bulb sponge-purchase
    • 1-Medium size spoon and slick-purchase
    • 1-Gate cutter-make
    • several sprue sticks-make
    • several riser sticks-make
    • 3-12”x12“3” cope and drag flasks-make
    • 5 lbs. dry parting-purchase
    • 500 lbs natural bonded molding sand-purchase (for non-ferrous/iron light work)
    • 3-bottom boards for the 12×12 flasks-make
    • 1-molding board for the 12×12 flask-make
    • several chunks of cast iron for mold weights-junk yard
    • 1-molding bench-make
    • 1-No. 4 molders riddle-purchase
    • 1-molding bench-make
    • 1-No. 8 molders riddle-purchase
    • 1-strike off-make
    • 1-vent wire-make
    • 1-sprinkler can-hardware store
    • 2-parting base (free when you buy parting) or use a sock
    • 1-flat back wood pattern 1/2 inch thick 3 inches in diameter disc drafted 1° and shellacked-make
    • 1-draw and rapping pin-make
    • 5 lbs top grade graphite-purchase
Foundry Sand Muller
Flasks/Moulding Boxes


  • Porter Warner Industries - sells 2000lb touts of AFS 115 green diamond sand. Contact Rachel 310-635-0065,, located in Rancho Dominguez CA. Victor at CSU Pomona works with Bob Johnson at Porter Warner on getting a donation to BHS from the Phoenix office.
  • Green Diamond Sand Bob Anderson phone. (206) 419.1667
Petro Bond
Green Sand
  • “A local foundry has been casting Aluminum and bronze for about 50 years using the mix shown below”
    • 150 pounds #120 silica sand
    • 25 pounds #180 silica sand
    • 8.5 pounds western bentonite
    • 1.5 pounds southern bentonite
    • 3 pounds water
    • (see Metal Casting: A Sand Casting Manual for the Small Foundry, Volume 1 by Stephen D. Chastain, p. 138)
  • Jeff Jensen Green Sand in Las Vegas NV
    • 175 oz (11 lbs) fine silica sand #70
    • 10 oz (0.625 lbs) western bentonite clay
    • 3 oz (0.1875 lbs) water (0.375 cups or about 1/3 cup)
Silica (SiO<sub>2</sub>) Sand
Bentonite Clay
Parting Dust
  • Dux-Bak Non-Silica Dry Parting and Parting Bags from Freeman Manufacturing and Supply Company
  • Diatomaceous Earth
    • “Parting dust is one item you will need, and if you can buy about 5 pounds from a local foundry, that is the best idea. If you can't find it locally you can buy it by mail from one of the sources to be listed later. Silica flour was used for parting dust for many years, but it was found to cause silicosis. Modern parting dust is called 'NON-SIL', and it is high temperature plastic flour. Diatomaceous earth is amorphous silica flour. It is sold for use in swimming pool filters, and it can be used for parting dust. Be sure to avoid inhaling it if you use it. Other substitutes for parting dust are pumice or coal dust. Graphite works too, but it is nasty stuff to get on you. Parting dust must be a non-absorbent flour that will stand high temperature. Talcum and most other powders or flours won't work because they absorb water. It is dusted on the pattern and the parting face of the drag to spoil the bond so that the mold will separate at the parting and the pattern releases from the mold. A sock makes a good dusting bag for parting.” (Build You Own metal Working Shop from Scrap: The Charcoal Foundry, by David J. Gingery, Publisher, p. 24)


Patterns and Molds

  • “It must not be supposed that parted patterns are built in one piece and then sawed in two afterward; Fig. 75 shows two pieces planed and fitted together with dowel pins, the regular pins that remain in the pattern, and temporarily secured by counter-sunk screws at the ends. Enough material should be allowed at the ends for the pattern to be turned to shape and finished at the ends without running into these screws; the assembled piece must be wide enough to allow of its being turned to correct diameter. Great care is necessary in placing the work between centers, for the centers should fit directly into the parting line; otherwise the halves will be found unsymmetrical… The dowel pins must always be fitted first, before turning to shape, for it would be most difficult to put them in accurately afterward. They should fit loosely, so that the parts will fall apart of their own weight, but not so loose that the pieces can shift sideways.” Model Making by Raymond Francis Yates, p. 114
  • “Pattern are needed to form the cavity in the sand mold into which molten metal is poured. They may be made of wood, metal, plaster of Paris, or wax. A metal pattern lasts longer and keeps its shape better. Metals commonly used are aluminum, cast iron, steel, and brass. Woods generally used for patterns are white pine, mahogany, cherry, maple, birch, and fir. White pine is usually preferred because it works easily, is readily glued, and is reasonably durable. Wood patterns should be varnished to protect them against moisture. Coloring powders can be added to the varnish to identify various parts of the pattern.” (Metalworking by T. Gardner Boyd, p. 76)
    • Fig. 1 Metalworking by T. Garnder Boyd
  • Making and Applying ABS/Acetone Solution for 3D printing by Maker's Tool Works
  • TIP: Shiny Ceramic-like ABS parts with Acetone and Metal Can by Airwolf 3D

Core Sand

  • “Two types of cores are in common use in foundry work. These are known as 'dry sand' or 'green sand' cores, according to their nature. A green sand core is one that is made of the sand that is used in molding and derives its name, not from the color of the sand, but from the fact that it is used in its green state, that it is not baked or cured in an oven….The foundation washer shown in Fig. 6-6 will be used to demonstrate the use of a dry sand core. These cores are generally made of a better grade of sand which, mixed with certain binding agents such as molasses, vegetable oils or resins, are baked in an oven to dry, to eliminate gases and give them body for easy handling. These are in use far more than green sand cores because they are more substantial and can be used where green sand cores would not be suitable, owing to the difficulties of making or handling them. (Patternmaker's Manual, 2nd Edition by American Foundry Society, Inc, p. 38-9)
  • “Core sand differs from molding sand in several respects. First, it has to be handled when removed from the core boxes, before being baked so it must be very adhesive. As cores are to a large extent surrounded by metal, it must be very free venting, otherwise the gases will be unable to escape, and blown castings are sure to result. This trouble is to a large extent removed by the fact that cores are usually dried, and consequently more porous than in the damp state. The difficulty is to retain sufficient cohesion after drying to enable them to be handled and withstand the pressure of the metal which is poured into the mold.” (New Encyclopedia of Machine Shop Practice by George W. Barnwell, p. 414-415)
  • “There are a variety of core binders on the market, and there are others in common use in foundries, the principal ingredients being wheat flour, rye meal, powdered rosin, and linseed oil. Dry and liquid core binders must be obtained from foundry supply houses or from manufacturers. For a core which is to be made and set in the mold a short time before pouring, a mixture of New England hill sand and flour can be used, mixed in the proportions of one part flour to sixteen parts sand. This should be tempered with water and riddled through a No. 8 sieve to remove lumps. These cores will absorb dampness somewhat rapidly and, if the cores are to remain in the mold for any length of time a mixture of eighteen parts sand to one part flour wet with a mixture of one part molasses and sixteen parts water must be used. This will produce a harder, firmer core than before, which will resist the dampness of the mold for a longer period.” Foundry Practice: A Text Book for Molders, Students and Apprentices by Reginald Heber Palmer, p. 130

Pattern colors and markings

  • “The various parts of a pattern should be painted in contrasting colors so that there may be no doubt as to their function. There has always been some confusion as to the colors associated with the various pieces; but the American Foundrymen's Association (A.F.A.)has endorsed a system of standard designations which might very well be universally adopted. According to this system patterns should be identified as follows:
    1. Surfaces to be left unfinished are to be painted black.
    2. Surfaces to be machined are to be painted red.
    3. Seats of and for loose pieces are to be marked by red stripes on a yellow background.
    4. Core-prints and seats for loose core-prints are to be painted yellow.
    5. Stop-offs are to be indicated by diagonal black stripes on a yellow base.
  • The A.F.A. patternmarking system is straightforward enough and since the colors serve primarily as a guide to the molder, it seems logical and fitting that they be generally adopted by pattern designers. Strong precedents have built up in favor of other systems, however, and it may be a long time before a complete agreement can be reached in this matter.” (Pattern Design by Henry E. Kiley and John H. Paustian or





Desert Rose High School

Schools and Universities

  • US Government
    • Victor Okhuysen,, 909-869-2698 (sent email 8 July 2014 ask about suggestions on sand casting at the high school level)
    • Department Chair Kyle Metzlof
    • Gary Giganti from Waupaca donated million dollars to program
      • 10-420-151 PROTOTYPE MACHINE TOOL …introduction to machine shop fundamentals using precision measuring instruments; performing machine tool operations on a metal lathe, vertical and horizontal milling machines and surface grinders; and basic foundry applications.
      • 10-614-139 PROTOTYPE & DESIGN INTERNSHIP …an introduction to model building, safety, tools, materials, flexible mold making, casting, limited run production, techniques and practices as on-the-job training.
      • 10-614-174 MODELS-MACHINE …moving models, preliminary through final prototype; plastic mechanisms, motions, characteristics, combinations, mechanical advantages, fits, clearances, threads, gears, levers, cams, motors, fasteners, and methods. (Prerequisite: 10-614-235, Intro to CNC Mach/2D Prog)
      • 10-614-237 ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING PROCESSES …an introduction into the manufacturing & production environment, illustrating the basic concepts of machine setup and fixture design, pattern making, material selection, thermoforming, die making, short run production molds. (Prerequisite: 10-614-234, Molding Process/Tech; 10-614-138, CNC Machining-Advanced)
  • Arizona State University - Tempe, AZ
  • California State Polytechnic University - San Luis Obispo, CA
  • California State University-Chico
  • Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
  • Central Washington University - Ellensburg, WA
  • Instituto Technologico De Saltillo - Saltillo, Coah, Mexico
  • Kent State University - Kent, OH
  • Michigan Technological University - Houghton, MI
  • Missouri University of Science & Tech - Rolla, MO
  • Mohawk College - Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Muskegon Community College - Muskegon, MI
  • Penn State Erie - The Behrend College
  • Pennsylvania State University - University Park, PA
  • Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, KS
  • Purdue University-Indianapolis - Indianapolis, IN
  • Saginaw Valley State University - University Center, MI
  • Tennessee Tech University - Cookeville, TN
  • Texas State University - San Marcos, TX
  • The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH
  • Trine University - Angola, IN
  • Universidad Nac Auto de Mexico - Mexico, DF
  • University of Alabama - Birmingham AL
  • University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa AL
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI
  • University of Northern Iowa - Cedar Falls, IA


  • Idaho
    • Kit's Foundry & Machine Inc
      • 779 E 1100 N, Shelley ID 83274
      • 208-357-7773
      • Kirt -
      • palette shipping rate is $70 to Superior Chain, Inc. in Twin Falls ID
    • Boise Foundry and Machine - two man shop, typically cast in bronze and aluminum 356,
      • Dave Parsons,
      • Ruth Parsons, 208-495-1220
      • $90 an hour for consulting
      • $600 for metal plate
  • Texas
    • Standard Alloys Inc. in Port Arthur Texas, Richard Martinez, Managing Director. Aquired by KSB Group, Frankenthal Germany in 2010. Other sites in Vidor Texas and Port Allen, LA.
  • Wisconsin
    • Waupaca Foundry Inc in Waupaca Wisconsin.

Die Casting

Casting Engine Blocks


Civil Engineering Engineering - Computer Engineering - Electrical Mechanical Engineering

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