The last few weeks have been quite tense for the Mooltipass team as we were impatiently waiting for our smart cards, cases and front panels to come back from production. Today we received a package from China, so we knew it was the hour of truth. Follow us after the break if you have a good internet connection and want to see more pictures of the final product…
If you want to do casting at home, you’ll need a way to melt metal. [Jake]‘s DIY foundry furnace gets hot enough to melt aluminium, and is built out a mix of scrap parts.
The chamber of the furnace is built out of a water heater tank which has been lined with a special cement that refracts heat. The furnace is heated by a Babington burner. This type of burner works by atomizing the fuel and injecting it into the furnace. They are good for burning waste oil to achieve high heats.
A scrap Volkswagen oil pump and a cordless drill are used to feed oil into the burner. Once it’s fired up, the furnace takes about 10 minutes to melt the 11 pounds of metal that it can hold. [Jake] melted about 40 pounds of aluminium alloy from scrap alloy wheels in 2 hours, which should be more than enough for a home casting project.
After the break, check out the overview of the device and a demo of melting aluminium.
[Jeshua] needed a laser head attachment for a 5×10 foot CNC machine he’s working on. Because he has a 3D printer, [Jeshua] could easily print a laser mount and attach it to his CNC gantry, but that wouldn’t look very professional. Instead of decorating his gigantic machine with brightly colored plastic, he decided for a more industrial look by casting a laser head in aluminum using a 3D printed master.
[Jeshua] designed two parts for his laser cutter in OpenSCAD and printed them out on his 3D printer. A few bits of foam insulation were glued on to act as sprues, and an investment mold was made out of 1 part Plaster of Paris and 1 part playground sand.
After the mold had cured, [Jeshua] put is mold in a coffee can furnace to burn out the wax and foam. These hollow molds were placed in sand and the crucible loaded up with aluminum scrap.
The finished laser head fit his CNC machine perfectly – no small feat, considering [Jeshua] needed to take in to account how much the aluminum would contract after cooling. Not bad for one day’s work.
[Nyle] was interested in building lasers at home but felt that the exotic parts list was just too daunting. That was, until he discovered T.E.A. lasers. T.E.A. lasers can be constructed from a few bits of aluminum and some high voltage. They emit UV light, as you can see in his examples where he shoots them through a jar full of water with highlighter ink mixed in.
He has posted several variations of different sizes as well as numerous images of them in action. You can see a video of one in action after the break. We also have to point out the fantastic music in the video. It reminds us of those school videos left over from the 50s.