Help for safety measures

Home enthusiasts discuss their Foundry & Casting work.

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C14X
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Help for safety measures

Post by C14X » Wed Nov 03, 2021 5:16 pm

I plan on getting into using a foundry as a hobby soon, and I want to be able to be the absolute safest that I can. Right now, I don't know a whole lot on things that can go wrong and ways to prevent them. To me, the most important thing is protecting my hands, so I would appreciate suggestions for top-tier gloves to wear, as well as any other measures. In general, I would like to know everything I can about safety and how to avoid accidentally burning myself, my house, or my possessions.

Harold_V
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by Harold_V » Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:06 pm

Lets start with proper terminology. You (hopefully) know that a foundry is a place where castings are poured. That word is NOT to be confused with a furnace, which is the tool used to melt (not smelt) metals. So then, the foundry of which you speak would be the place where you operate your furnace and pour castings.

There's a lot more to be concerned about than burning your hands. The furnace you use is very capable of igniting fires if it is operated near combustibles. There's considerable risk to the operator if he doesn't understand what the word DRY means, too. As an example, if you insert a piece of cold material in a crucible of molten metal, there's a pretty good chance you'll experience a steam explosion. That's especially true if you operate out of doors on a cold and damp day. To avoid steam explosions from introducing metal to a crucible that contains molten metal, the introduced metal should be preheated beyond the boiling point of water, thus ensuring it enters the molten metal dry.

There's an abundance of safety gear available for foundry use. None of it is cheap. Kevlar gloves have replaced asbestos gloves. Gloves are far more convenient to use than mittens. Full head coverings and full length aprons plus shin and footwear coverings are available. One should wear adequate footware when working with molten metals. Sneakers aren't advised.

Don't operate a melting furnace over a wooden floor. If you pour over concrete, make sure you have a (dry) sand barrier between the concrete and the flask in which you pour your casting, a barrier the extends beyond the flask. The reason is simple. If you spill, molten metal will flash any moisture contained in the 'crete to steam (even dry concrete contains moisture) resulting in a violent explosion. It is not uncommon for a flask to separate from hydraulic pressure, releasing the molten metal. Weight or clamp flasks to prevent that from happening. If you pour outside, don't do it over your driveway. Pour over dirt, which will eliminate any risk of explosion, assuming it's not hard packed.

If you have little to no foundry experience, I strongly suggest you do a lot of reading on foundry practice. Molten metals are not very forgiving.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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rmac
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by rmac » Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:02 pm

In addition to the safety gear that Harold mentioned, there's also all the stuff (including a helper sometimes) needed to safely move the molten metal from the furnace and actually do the pour without losing control of the situation.

Unfortunately, I don't know enough about this "stuff" to make a list or any recommendations other than BE CAREFUL. I do know that it's no place for cutting corners or MacGyver-style engineering.

-- Russell Mac

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Bill Shields
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by Bill Shields » Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:11 pm

Not just gloves...but any other part of anatomy that responds badly to molten metal...which is any part of your body...especially eyes which do not heal.

Plan ahead...
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

C14X
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by C14X » Fri Nov 05, 2021 4:49 pm

Thanks for the input! One of my big issues right now is finding a place to have the foundry. My front and back yards are covered entirely with grass, and the only other parts of my property is my driveway, and my house. I'm sure I could probably find a place nearby to do it, though.

Harold_V
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by Harold_V » Sat Nov 06, 2021 1:23 am

You're welcome. I hope you found something useful in our comments.
One thing you could do is work over the grass. That would work just fine, although it would get walked down a little when you use the equipment. All depends on how badly you want to pour some metal, and if you're willing to see your lawn not quite as pretty as you wish.

If you find you must work over your driveway, that's acceptable. Put down a layer of sand, an inch thick or so, in the work area. It can be stored in 5-gallon buckets when it's not being used. I do that in my shop. I work over a 6¼" thick slab with hydronic heating within. I built a 2 x 3 frame that's about 3' x 7' in size, and fill it with a few hundred pounds of foundry sand. Seems to work just fine. The frame is built to be quickly bolted together, so it can be dismantled and stored when not in use.

Get creative! You'll find a solution that works for you.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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pat1027
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by pat1027 » Sun Nov 07, 2021 10:48 am

Start with an internet search for "foundry safety". You will find both YouTube home metal casters and materials for your big brothers. Inductotherm is an induction melt and pouring equipment manufacturer. They have some good information on-line. Some might not apply to you but you can find good information. https://www.inductotherm.com/safety/saf ... -industry/

Your greatest risk is the melt and hot metal handling activities. It isn't just your hands it's anywhere the spill and spatter can reach. Your feet, down your neck, in your ear, anywhere. Then it's whatever is around you can set fire to. Iron is worse than nonferrous work. Not that either can't be done safely. But definitely not in or near the house.

RONALD
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by RONALD » Sun Nov 07, 2021 12:38 pm

Here is the company I buy my protective apperal from: https://www.chicagoprotective.com/index.html

They have a number of PDF's for their apparel, not only the metal foundry.

It is about a 25 mile drive for me.

Like others, we did our first pour at my foundry with "Make Do" protection, but I soon paid for the right stuff.

My helper, Ean, found the Face Shield too resticting, so what he is using is not much of a protection.

I had to cut a series of round holes in both face shields at the back, because the lack of air was very apparent without them.

The first photo is of us pouring A356 in 1984 at Lane Tech H.S., certainly did not have the right apparel on then.

The last photo is from a time when nobody worried about safety!
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pat1027
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by pat1027 » Mon Nov 08, 2021 1:46 pm

RONALD wrote:
Sun Nov 07, 2021 12:38 pm
The first photo is of us pouring A356 in 1984 at Lane Tech H.S.,
That's cool. I have a couple nephews that attend Lane Tech.

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ChipsAhoy
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by ChipsAhoy » Tue Nov 09, 2021 7:51 pm

One thing that causes concern for me is molten metal traps on the clothing. I recommend looking at your clothing at what might catch molten metal so that you can't get away from it. Pockets, without flaps. Exposed shoe laces. Cuffs on pants. Gaunlets that go over the sleeves instead of in/under. It may seem like welding garb would be excellent, and if chosen thoughtfully it may be. But having loose fitting gear that one can shed quickly might trump some convenient items found on leathers. The proximity suits that you see the fellows wearing in some pictures look perfect, somewhat overkill (I don't think one needs to pay for reflective gear) but is designed very well for this hobby & easy to shed.
My 2c
Scotty

rrnut-2
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by rrnut-2 » Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:14 am

Foundry shoes and all cotton clothing is what we use in the foundry that I worked for. Anything with polyester in it, goes up like gasoline.

Jim B

Harold_V
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Re: Help for safety measures

Post by Harold_V » Thu Nov 11, 2021 2:53 am

rrnut-2 wrote:
Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:14 am
Anything with polyester in it, goes up like gasoline.
Jim B
What Jim said. Once that plastic is liquidized, it's not much different from light oil and burns with a vengeance. Wool can be a reasonable choice, as it's difficult to burn and does not become a fluid upon heating. I dealt with these materials when I refined precious metals, recovering values from carpets that had been used in production areas.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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