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Aluminum Casting with the Coal Forge
A non-traditional technique using largely traditional equipment.

We'll be exploring the aluminum casting technique known as 'The Foam Vaporization Method' or 'Lost Foam'.

A model is made of styrofoam, buried in loose dry sand, and poured with molten aluminum. We'll be using our coal forges and mostly scrounged materials to cast at least one small item per student.

This technique is less precise than 3D printing, but much much faster. We'll talk about how to do it "on-the-cheap".

You should make a model or two to try casting during class:

Make it out of styrofoam. Either the white chunky bead foam or the 'solid' stuff; the blue and pink insulation foams work well, so do foam meat trays and restaurant take-home containers. Styrofoam cups work. You can use rubber cement, double-face tape, even cellophane tape and masking tape to hold parts together.
Note: Green florist's foam Does. Not. Work. (we tried it)

Keep in mind that the metal will shrink as it cools, the final casting will be a tiny bit smaller than the model you make.

For the purpose of the class I would recommend that your model be no larger than 2" in any direction, and definitely less than 8 cubic inches in volume, whatever the dimensions.

Until you have some idea what you're doing with this technique (which is what this class is for) I wouldn't recommend investing _lots_ of time in a highly detailed model unless, of course, you're doing it as a test.

It is fairly easy to get fine detail on one side, maybe two of your model, the opposite sides, not so much. On the good side, the indentations left by writing with a ballpoint pen will be preserved in the metal.

Gift Certificates for Aluminum Casting with the Coal Forge are available.

3 hours, one meeting    dates&times

Instructor: Carl West
$125 per student
Maximum 4 students, one per forge


Required: A rapid Covid test that day.
Yes, really, we're still asking for it in 2024.
It's still out there, and no fun at all.

Please wear proper clothing for visiting or working in the forge:
closed toe shoes (preferably leather, preferably high-topped. Sneakers are sufficient, sandals, crocs, pumps, mules... are not), natural fiber clothing, long pants that cover the tops of the shoes.
Click here for more safety information.

Dates and Times:
If none of the dates below work for you (or are already full), we suggest you
Add yourself to the Notification List for this class.
(The notification list gets emailed soon after classes are put on the schedule.)

This class is either:
- not upcoming on our schedule,
- or we've fallen behind in our clerical duties and not entered it in the database.
If you found it on our calendar page, we are planning to offer it on that date.

If you're interested in taking Aluminum Casting with the Coal Forge and it's not on the calendar, please tell us using our Notification-List Page.

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