Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lost Foam

One of the classes I am taking here at Purdue is MET 143. It is class about different metals and materials that are used to cast and mold things. It is called Materials and Processes. It pretty much teaches you what different metals and ceramics are used for, and what type of molding processes are used to make them. For example, die casting and lost foam casting. I think it is a really cool class because we get to do a lot of hands on stuff in the labs like welding and pouring hot melted metal into molds we made.

For the lost foam project, we were given a block of foam and had to carve out any design or object we wanted. What you do is take the finished foam carving, and bury it in a special molding sand and then pour the molten aluminum metal into the mold.

What happens is that the 1600 degree aluminum disintegrates the foam, turning it into nothing but steam, which is released into the vent hoods we work under. The melted metal takes the shape of where the foam used to be. After it cools down you can remove the solid piece from the sand. You then have the metal version of the foam shape you carved out.

The design I decided to go with is the running Mustang emblem. I sketched an outline of it on the foam and just used a knife to cut it out and it didn't turn out too bad really. I actually missed the lab last week where we started the casting process, so I probably will only be able to finish it if I do it on my own time. But if not I will just have to keep my foam carving of a Mustang. Either way I thought this was a cool project.

This by far is one of my favorite classes that I am taking. So far we have made a propeller, and a pulley by making green sand molds of them. Right now we are actually learning how to weld which I think is really cool because I have never done it before. So I actually learn how to do a lot of new things in this class. That's why I'm in college right?


trueguy said...

Wow. That's pretty awesome. 1600 degree hot aluminum. Is this a class that went along with the plan for your major or did you just decide to take it as an elective?

It sounds like a really cool class though. In high school I took a drafting class were they taught us how to use AutoCAD for computer aided drafting which was pretty cool because you could make anything in real life show up on the computer screen if you knew the dimensions of it.

I also really liked it because for our final project we created an animation of the different projects we had done.

I think that some of the best classes are by far those classes were you can make your own creations.

Scoobert said...

Thats totally cool. For some reason molten metal has always interested me. I dont know why. Things like lava look so interesting and cool. Something about the glow it makes just attracts my eyes and thier attention. It would be really cool to see all the different designs that people make too. I would just be worried about burning myself or spilling that hot metal or something like that haha.

I am definetely glad i read this post because i will seriously think about taking this class. I do agree that the funnest classes are the ones where you have to most freedom to do "your own thing". I hope you get your mustang cast made.