Ok make that two updates today.. :) Melted a full batch of aluminum!
Here's the setup. Flower pot is to hold up the burner. ;) Speaking of which, I think it's a little big for this furnace. A lot of heat is in the flames coming out the flues.. since it's cold out I'm not complaining, but I will be when I have to refill the tank in 5 melts. And speaking of melts, this one is for a full 6lbs. of heavy (>5/16" thickness) casting. Actually that's castings, as there are two parts in the mold. (And yes that's two risers and a sprue.) In front of the furnace is the ladle, which I just prepared by ramming sand into a coffee can, slicking the surface and torching it dry.
Getting dark, melt probably took half an hour, should be faster but maybe it's the torch mismatch I spoke of above. Whatever. Anyways, the camera sucks such that it overexposed the orange glow and underexposed the rest of the shot. But it's a lot better than some other photos I took here that I shan't dare post... You can see the very shiny freshly skimmed aluminum surface, ready to pour.
It goes like this: hold the ladle in front of the tap hole and pour the furnace contents into the ladle, then dump it into the mold. The metal was too cool and I got a heavy "skull" left in the ladle, and also...
...A short casting in the mold. Phooey.
There was a little skull left in the furnace, but it came out easily with some pliers. Mmm, cast aluminum foil. ;-) Now to chop up this damned casting... anyone got a free bandsaw?
Speaking of which, you might be interested in a little about that casting. Both pieces are 13" long, one is a 3/4x1" bar with handle attached in the middle, the other a 5/16" thick 1 1/2" (actually it measures some odd 8ths fraction, I forget what it is exactly.. and the two flanges are unequal) wide angle, plus some blocks in the corners of either end to provide some meat for some clamp-down screws.