Friday afternoon, Toby Flores and the Fort Hays State University sculpture department presented a casting workshop in our studio space. Earlier in the semester, I had made arrangments with Toby bring the FHSU mobile foundry to cast aluminum for our 3D Art class.
Students have been carving designs into scratch molds in preparation for the molten metal. Each student collaborated with another student as they explored the process of imagining the reverse of their idea into the molds. Some students had an easier time than others, but that is to be expected.
In addition to the scratch molds, one of Toby’s students worked using our petrobond sand molds. These molds are created by packing oily sand around a pattern in an open iron frame. When the frame is full of sand, the pattern is removed leaving a space for liquid metal. While I have known of the existence of these materials, I had no experience using them. Toby and his expert students were very generous in demonstrating and sharing with me and my students.
When the mobile furnace had been assembled outside the lower studio, scrap aluminum was melted at temperatures exceeding 1200°. FHSU supplied all of the aluminum at no charge to us. This was a great blessing.
The large crucible was removed from the furnace, and placed inside the pouring handle. When locked into the pouring handle, the crucible was tipped to pour molten aluminum into each mold.
Every mold turned out as expected or better. One of the FHSU students even brought some personal artwork to cast. I was very pleased with how smooth everything went, and how much fun my students had.