Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My first completely useful casting!

I've been casting aluminum for a while, but haven't made a whole lot of actually useful things.  Recently, Chief Tard asked if I could copy a latch handle from his snow machine, but put a hex opening where his has a splined opening.  This allows him to use the latch pieces from a different year to repair his machine.

The handle was cast using my new oil-bonded sand.  It came out awesome.  It even has the original part numbers on it!  I just taped up the splined hole when I made the mold, so it was completely solid with no hole when I cast it.

Making the hex hole was the difficult part.  I don't have a rotary broach, so I made a hand tool to do the job.
I made the tool from W-1 drill rod, using my CNC machine to create the hex shape.  Then I used a ball end mill to "cup" the center of the tool.  This puts enough of an edge on the corners that they will cut.  Then I heated it red hot and quenched it in water to harden it.

I drilled a small hole all the way through the handle, then a larger 5/16" hole (the hex is 5/16" across flats) most of the way through. Then I used a hammer and tapped the tool into the hole.  The above photo is just after I started and it shows how the tool only cuts the sharp corners; the chips are visible.

Here is the finished hex hole.  This fits on a hex shaft and there is a screw that goes on the other side of the handle to hold it in place.

Here's a photo of the handle and the tool.  The handle was cleaned up with a grinder and wire wheel, and should fit nicely on the snow machine.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Making the Man Candle

So...  we saw this on the interwebs and thought it was an awesome idea.  This is a manly candle, full of bacon flavor and odouriferousness.  It's also a good recycling project as the only thing extra we bought was the wick.

Starting with a jar of saved bacon grease, a wick, and a drill....
Use the drill to make a hole in the middle of the grease.  This is a bit messy.
Then install the wick.  It took some trial and error to get the wick to stay in place.
Then just light and enjoy the wonderful smell of bacon, without actually having to cook anything!