FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
This list of questions are some which are frequently asked in e-mail and on the forum. Hopefully this list will save time for everyone especially those just starting out in metalcasting. -June/20/2005
I'm new to metalcasting can you tell me what I need to do to get started?
Buy a good metalcasting book and read it. There is no "shortcut" to learning what you need to know. It is easy to learn but you need to still do your homework. There are several good books listed on the Metalworking bookstore page.
I'm new to metalcasting what type of furnace should I start with?
Melting metal is simple and if you are good at building things then you'll definitly have no trouble building a furnace. Most people say to start with a charcoal burning furnace (like the Flowerpot furnace I published a booklet about) because it is dead simple to use. But people who end up really enjoying metalcasting tend to advance toward a more convenient fuel such as propane. So they build a propane burner (similar to one described on my site) and a furnace similar to the "2-bucks" furnace detailed on my site. If you think you'll have a real interest in metal casting and you're willing to buy a propane tank and regulator, then just start with the propane furnace. If you're handy you should be able to buld a furnace and burner just from the information on the website. Making the actual sand molds is more challenging and i takes some practice but not too much. Get a book that describes the process and just get to it yourself. My sandcasting booklet is meant for complete beginners. But most importantly you have to actually practice the stuff on your own because that's when the real learning begins.
Can I use a propane burner without a regulator?
It is possible but is is not recommended. The pressures inside the propane tanks can raise to levels far to high for the safe use of the propen burner. The regulator keeps the pressure of the gas entering the burner at a safe level.
Can I use the small regulator that goes to my barbecue grill for my Oliver-upwind burner or other blowerless burner?
No, they don't release propane quickly enough. Look at the rigging a propane system page for details on the right regulator.
Will you build a burner for me? I have money.
I can't do that, not unless I get a lawyer to write up a water tight disclaimer for me to post on the site and have buyers sign. I will not build anything for you which is directly incontact with or creates heat, therefore I will not be responsibe for accidents which, unfortunetly sometimes happen.
Do I need a blower for my propane burner?
If the burner is designed to not use a blower then it doesn't need a blower.