Young People’s Page

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Whelan and Hunter display - 180 years of steam power and transportation at 1610 Harlacher Ave., Kettering, Ohio 45420. Showing 44 home built working model steam engines and conveyances of many different types, plus a collection of old toy engines. This ho
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A 50 Case belted to a Red River Special in heavy, tough wheat, 135 lbs. steam and using it all. Taken in September 1965. This was on the cover of Western Engines Magazine. Courtesy of Donald Mitich, Rt. 1, Box I6V2, New Castle, Wyoming 82701.
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Ready to unload a Red River Special. 1965. Courtesy of Donald Mitich, Rt. 1, Box 16'A, New Castle, Wyoming 82701,

Torque Power Live Steam Models Hyattstown, Box 144-D R. F. D.,
Ijamsville, Maryland 21 754

Hi There Young Engineers:

I am going to discuss three types of molding processes sand
molding, investment molding and permanent molding. You may end up
using all three as each has its own advantages.

To do sand molding you must find a supply of molding sand.
Hopefully you may have a nearby foundry from which you can get the
sand and some firsthand knowledge about sand molding. The size,
shape and material you wish to cast in, as individual factors which
vary in combination, make it impossible to give one set of rules
which will work all the time. So, this is something with which you
are going to have to experiment. All I can do is give you some
tips. Since aluminum is excellent to work with, I will mainly
describe the molding of it.

The molding sand comes in several grades of coarseness; use the
fine or medium. The fine can reproduce extreme details to the
extent of being able to reproduce a fingerprint and it is the best
for small castings. Be sure to get used sand as green sand is very
hard with which to work. In regular foundry practice green and used
sand are mixed fifty-fifty. The high temperature of iron or brass
would eventually burn the green sand to the point where it would
become workable. But with the low temperature of aluminum and with
such little use as the sand would receive making small castings, it
would take too long for green sand to get into good condition.

You will also need parting dust. The foundries use an industrial
type of flour. So, any low grade flour would be good. The flour
should be put in a small cloth bag that is porous enough to allow
the flour to sift through it when shaken in an up and down motion
over the open mold.

Now, as for the flask. The flask (Fig. 1) consists of two
box-like frames pinned together so that they can be taken apart and
put back together without misalignment. They can be constructed of
pine or redwood. The lower portion is known as the cope. An
eight-inch flask is a nice size to start out with for small
castings. This measurement is taken from the inside dimension of
the flask.

Patterns can be made from scrap wood or even plastic. Wood
patterns should be painted with a flat black all-purpose enamel.
This prevents the pattern from warping which is caused by the
moisture in the sand. For some reason flat black enamel works
better than any coating I have tried. Patterns of this size can be
made to the exact size that the casting should be. But, remember to
build up the pattern where the surface is to be machined. Often a
piece of cardboard cut and glued to the surface will build up a
pattern that is too small.

Now take a spoon and scrape a channel or gate (Fig. 4) leading
away from the impression made by the pattern. You may have to make
a tool smaller than the spoon as it depends on the scale of the
piston. There should be two gates leading from the mold. One is for
pouring into and the other is for a riser (Fig. 4). Carefully blow
all excess sand away. Also, using a tool or your finger, compress
the sand in the gateways so that none will be washed loose by the
metal flowing in and cause a flaw in the casting. Now, take a piece
of metal tubing (Fig. 2), the size again determined by the scale of
the object you are molding, and drive the tube right through the
molding sand. This is at the end of each gate. When the tube is
removed it will leave a nice clean hole leading from the gate to
the surface of the mold. Again, compress with a tool or your finger
the loose sand around the hole where it meets the gate. One of the
holes is a riser and the other is the pouring hole.

Every pattern must have a predetermined parting line (Fig. 3).
This is the point at which the sand mold will separate. When you
set up a mold for a piston (Fig. 4), the flat surface of the face
of the piston determines the parting line. The cope is placed on a
flat surface and the piston pattern is then placed face in the
center of the cope. The edge of the piston pattern is slightly
tapered so that it will release from the sand. Parting dust is then
dusted over the pattern. Sand is sifted over the pattern until the
cope is full. You must overfill the cope or drag so that when the
sand is compressed by ramming the sand is level with the outer edge
of the flask. The cope is then turned over and the drag is placed
in position and the filling and ramming operation is then repeated.
The flask, now being upside-down, is then turned upright. The mold
is then pulled apart. The pattern is still in the cope. (Fig. 4) A
tool like an ice pick (Fig. 2) is then stuck into the pattern.
Often you have to tap it in with a metal rod not a hammer as it is
too heavy. Use the metal rod to tap the pattern lightly all over
and then tap horizontally around the pick where it sticks into the
pattern. The pattern should be loose enough to be removed by
lifting it out with the pick.

Now place the cope on its side and using a spoon scrape the
opening of the pouring hole out so that it is funnel shaped. The
higher the pouring and riser holes are above the part you are
casting the better the casting will come out. This puts more
pressure in the mold and cuts down on shrinkage in the casting.

Now, this has been a fairly simple mold to set up, but, what
about a pattern with a parting line that follows a curve or is
uneven. The piston pattern was only in the cope of the flask. Many
patterns will be partly in the cope and partly in the drag (Fig. 5)
and often they have uneven parting lines. Setting up a pattern like
this requires some skill. It is easier to use a split pattern which
is a pattern cut into at the line of parting.

In any case, when you put the one-half of a split pattern in the
cope or even a regular pattern (Fig. 3) you must position the
pattern so that it can be pulled vertically out of the mold. This
may require placing a support block under the pattern in order to
have it stay in position while the sand is being rammed in. When
the sand is rammed in and the cope is turned over you must then
take a spoon and scrape all the sand away to the parting line. The
sand should be scraped from the edge of the cope gradually down to
the parting line (Fig. 5). Of course, this depends on how much
space there is between the pattern and the cope. When using a
regular pattern, the drag is put in position, the mold is then
dusted and the sand is rammed in.

The gates, riser and pouring hole are put in the same way as
before. In the case of the split pattern, you must add the other
half of the pattern before ramming the sand in. The split pattern
is held together by small pins (Fig. 3) left loose enough so that
the pattern can be easily pulled apart when the mold is pulled

Tempering is the term used for the process of adding water to
dampen the sand. It must be sprinkled on, not poured on. Use a soft
drink bottle (the quart size or larger) with a sprinkler attachment
which is used by the ladies for dampening clothing before ironing.
For larger amounts of sand use a flower watering can. A small
amount of water should be sprinkled on and then the sand should be
turned over with a shovel. This is repeated until the sand is
completely damp. You should be able to grab up some sand in your
hand and squeeze it. If the sand is tempered right, it will stay
together when you let loose. Store the sand in a plastic trash can
and it will be ready for use at any time. You will have to retemper
the sand each time you use it. If you think the sand is too wet,
let the sand dry for a day or two.

When you have your mold set up and are ready to pour, be sure to
skim off the slag from the melted metal before pouring. This is
done with a small ladle. When pouring, keep the metal flowing at an
even rate for best results.

I will have to continue this in the next issue. I hope you all
are able to attend your local shows this spring and summer. Well,
that is all for right now.

Farm Collector Magazine
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