Model Engineering / Foundry Casting


Enrollment and course details are further down the page

The photographs on this page were taken by me during the session on 21 April 1999. The subject of the sand casting procedure below is a split pattern which forms half a hand-brake drum for my 3" scale Foden steam truck currently under construction.

1. On the left is the top (cope) and on the right is the bottom (drag) moulding boxes.

2. The half-pattern is placed on the base plate ready to take the sand.

3. The sand is tipped in the box and rammed down. The ramming tool is shown in front. The wedged end is used for the first ramming and the flat end is used on the second ramming.

4. Once the ramming is complete and the surface is leveled, the box is carefully turned over on its back. The exposed surface of the pattern is clearly shown.

5. The surface is dusted with parting powder and the other half of the pattern is placed on the first half still embedded in the sand. The top box is placed on the bottom box and skewed clockwise against the registration pegs.

6. The runner (right tube) is pushed into the sand in the bottom box and the riser (left tube) is placed onto the pattern hub. The tubes are held in place while the sand is shovelled in.

7. The sand is rammed down and levelled off. The runner basin is cut into the top surface of the sand at this stage. The boxes can now be separated (very carefully).

8. The box halves with the pattern still in place. The white surface is the parting powder (talc). The small hole in the sand is the well left by the runner tube. Note the registration pegs on the half-pattern standing vertically.

9. The pattern is rapped (lightly vibrated by tapping) and removed. The runner bar with its extension and the ingate is cut into the sand surface and smoothed off. At this stage the boxes are put back together.

10. The completed mould ready to pour in the molten cast iron. The iron weights help keep the boxes together during the pouring process.

11. The induction furnace at work! The cast iron scraps begin to melt.

12. Safety is number 1 priority at this Foundry! The crucible of molten iron is raised from the furnace into the pouring handle. One person rotates the crucible while the other provides support.

13. The molten cast iron being poured into the mould. The assistant is keeping the slag away from the pouring lip.

14. The metal has cooled. Note the runner basin on the right and the riser opening to the left.

15. The casting is removed from the sand and looks like this. The riser and sprue are cut off the main casting.

 16. You don't need a pattern to produce a casting! This artist is creating her mould cavity directly in the sand for casting in bronze. Many Artists and Sculptors use the foundry to produce pieces.

17. A general view of the ferrous area of the Foundry floor. The non-ferrous area is on the far right, out of view. The electrical switchgear for the induction furnace is located just behind the man under the hood near the centre. The shovel in the foreground is resting on a prepared sand box.

Reading about metal casting doesn't come close to the experience of doing it!

The TAFE Course details

Foundry Metal Casting

Classes depending on demand but usually one night class and one fortnightly day class.

Duration Many options from half year to full year. Weekly and Fortnightly.

Aim To acquiant the student interested in the production of metal castings, with the essential techniques required for the production of castings in ferrous and non-ferrous metals, from basic pattern making to moulding and metal pouring.

Course Objectives At the end of the course the student will be able to:
1. Explain the essential requirements of a pattern.
2. Produce a simple pattern.
3. Explain the essential requirements of a mould.
4. Produce moulds of various moulding sands for ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
5. Produce a core and a suitable mould to accept the core.
6. Produce sound castings in ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
7. Pour molten metal into moulds correctly and safely.

Partaking in this course is a fantastic way to help rekindle a method of manufacturing that is becoming extinct! Steam machines rely heavily on the casting process as an integral part of the manufacturing process. Art students can also benefit from the casting process!


TAFE Illawarra Institute of Technology, Lysaght St, North Wollongong, NSW.

PO Box 1223, Wollongong, NSW, 2500. Phone: (02) 4229 0400, Fax: (02) 4229 0626

Enrollment Contact: Metal Fabrication Welding Section. (02) 4229 0685 or (02) 4229 0376

Recommended reading to learn more about Foundry work

The Metalcaster's Bible by C.W.Ammen
Foundrywork for the Amatuer by B. Terry Aspin

Both books should be available by mail-order from:

Plough Book Sales:
PO Box 14, Belmont, Victoria, 3216, Australia
Phone: (03) 5266 1262, Fax: (03) 5266 2180

Camden Miniature Steam Services:
Barrow Farm, Rode, Bath, BA3 6PS. UK
24hr Phone: 0373 830151, Fax: 0373 830516

Cold Iron

'Gold is for the mistress - silver for the maid!
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.'
'Good!' said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
'But Iron - Cold Iron - is master of them all!'

So he made rebellion 'gainst the King his liege,
Camped before his citadel and summoned it to siege -
'Nay!' said the cannoneer on the castle wall,
'But Iron - Cold Iron - shall be master of you all!'

Woe for the Baron and his knights so strong,
When the cruel cannon-balls laid 'em all along!
He was taken prisoner, he was cast in thrall,
And Iron - Cold Iron - was master of it all!

Yet his King spake kindly (Oh, how kind a Lord!)
'What if I release thee now and give thee back thy sword?'
'Nay!' said the Baron, 'mock not at my fall,
For Iron - Cold Iron - is master of men all.'

'Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown -
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.'
'As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small,
For Iron - Cold Iron - must be master of men all!'

Yet his King made answer (few such Kings there be!)
'Here is Bread and here is Wine - sit and sup with me.
Eat and drink in Mary's Name, the whiles I do recall
How Iron - Cold Iron - can be master of men all!'

He took the Wine and blessed It; He blessed and brake the Bread.
With His own Hands He served Them, and presently He said:
'Look! These Hands they pierced with nails outside my city wall
Show Iron - Cold Iron - to be master of men all!

'Wounds are for the desperate, blows are for the strong,
Balm and oil for weary hearts all cut and bruised with wrong.
I forgive thy treason - I redeem thy fall -
For Iron - Cold Iron - must be master of men all!'

'Crowns are for the valiant - sceptres for the bold!
Thrones and powers for mighty men who dare to take and hold.'
'Nay!' said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,
'But Iron - Cold Iron - is master of men all!

Iron, out of Calvary, is master of men all!'

by Rudyard Kipling


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