On the last update, I posted the sand molding page. Here's the followup, pouring it! (I'm too lazy to let a mold go, dried out though it gets from sitting in the basement a night!)
In this photo I'm heating up the furnace. The blower is on full and the fire is still burning out the top! (This is interesting to know, if you know about oxidizing/reducing flames and stuff..) I definetly think this thing can do brass, but right now it's stuck with aluminum, in lieu of a good crucible to melt the brass in. Anyway. Once the aluminum melts, I take the dross skimmer and skim out the junk, let the metal warm up a bit more, then grab the crucible with the channel locks and pour the mold.
Mold and ingots have been poured. I melted at least twice as much metal as I needed here, you don't need to melt that much extra but you do need to melt extra. It's better to have a tray full of ingots than a mold half full of metal.
And yes, that's two inches of snow. In April. I tell 'ya, if you want weird weather patterns, come to Wisconsin. And just two weeks ago it hit 80°F.
Back in the basement I crack the mold open. At a glance it looks like it filled pretty well. In fact, it even filled some of the small gap between the two halves - this casting defect is known as flash and is inconsequential, since it just breaks right off with some pliers. It does, however, require some filing to finish the job - but so doesn't everything, not least of which are the gates.
After shakeout (more like breakout, but I'm not the one who came up with these foundry terms), this is what the casting looks like. Riser (for supplying metal to the casting as it solidifies) on the right, sprue (for pouring in the metal) on the left. Gates connect them to the casting. Flash is easily seen above the cactus, inside and outside the ring; I don't usually get this much so it's probably from the mold shrinking from leaving it out last night. Best to pour same day as rammed.