Phase four: CNC cutting the foam patterns for the y axis uprights.

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The uprights were a tricky part to make because I didn't really have enough travel on my little TK-421 mill. I managed to make it work, and I'm pleased with the results. Hopefully I'll be casting the left and right sides tomorrow.

Here you can see how I test fit the 3/4" polished shaft into the cutouts where the shaft will mount. This design is really cool because the shafts will be perfectly parallel due to the precision of the cnc cut patterns. I'm going into new territority again here, so it should be fun to see how things turn out. I have really been enjoying my week off!

 

The foamy after I released it from the sheet. Elegant styling and graceful lines, just what a cnc machine needs!!

 

I've got the hop and skip tabs mastered now. It took practice, but I now have a library of them set up in Turbocad and I just drag them where I need them and connect the tabs to the part. This works really well. The other side will just have a single hole for the lead screw instead of the NEMA 23 mount.

 

These parts were a little too big to dip, so I had to dip and then brush the Hamiltons White Line drywall texture onto the foamy.

 

It is kind of a messy job, but worth the effort to get the finish as smooth as possible.

 

This custom flask I cobbled together from the junkpile. It was a custom unit that had to accomodate the 15" foamy. This is by far the biggest part that I have ever cast.

 

Another shot of the custom flask. MDF works great for flasks, but it sure smokes when the aluminum hits it!

 

Ah! No more melting heads down to get aluminum. I went in with a friend and we got over 100 lbs of premium ingot from Pyro Minerals over in Oakland.

 

A fine ingot going into the pot. My new crucible is a monster. It is made from a 5" pipe and is super heavy. I can just barely lift it from the R2 when it is full of aluminum.

 

I had to stand on a chair go get up high enough to pour this one.

 

The cooling moment where the crystals just begin to form in the metal. I love watching that.

 

15 minutes later, I tipped the flask and dumped the sand. I wasn't sure if this was going to work, so it was a very exciting moment to see that the part was intact!

 

What a beast! 1" thick and 14" high, this is one big casting. In fact, it might be too big and heavy for the IG-88. I just don't know yet.

 

Cooling the upright and watching it sizzle.

 

Both of the end caps came out perfect. The smaller patterns are so much easier to cast, but it is also fun to have a challenge once in a while.

 

Beautiful smooth parts.

 

Here is the matching set, ready for finishing.

 

It was just going too well tonight. Something had to blow and it sure did. While pouring the left upright, there wasn't enough sand under the KHPT and the aluminum spewed everywhere. What a firey mess.

 

Initially, I thought that I could save the part, so I kept pouring. I was wrong...

 

Even shadow knew that the part was scrapped.

 

Well, this is what you don't want to happen during a pour. I'll have to cut another foamy and repeat the process.