Post 1: I have decided to do my genius hour project over how can I learn to sand cast. This topic is not really important to me, but I hope that it could turn out to be a fun hobby to practice when I am older. My goals for this project are to gain a better understanding of metals and how to shape them, and to learn how to make various items I might want or need from sand casting. I will measure my progress based on the quality of the items I am making, such as the quality of metal I am capable of using, as it requires more experience to use steel than it takes to use aluminum, as steel is a much more resilient metal with a high melting point, and aluminum is very easy to use due to its low melting point. At the end of this project, I hope to have made something useful out of aluminium or tin, and to achieve tho point of experience to where my crafting skills can create items that can actually be used. I am aiming to start looking over supplies in the next week or two, and begin working on the basics of mold making.
Post 2: This week in the genius hour project I invested a few hours researching my topic, such as the materials I need, and the basics for what I need to do in order to sand cast an object, and some time researching how to make some of the materials myself to save some money on the materials. I have watched several YouTube videos to see how people make and use the materials needed for sand casting, and some helpful hints from the people who have been doing this for years. The hardest thing that sand casting presents to me is making a mold out of sand that will not crumble when you move it. I spent a some time looking around the internet stores for the proper components I needed, and when I found the items I needed for a decent price, I went and purchased them. Most of the materials I had lying in the garage of my house, but the stuff I needed to buy was at Home Depot and HEB, and it all cost less than $10. The next steps will be to create a box for the mold, make green sand, and start choosing the metals I will need for sand casting.
Post 3: This week in Genius Hour I spent time mixing green sand and sawing up boxes to make the molds. I learned that the mixture of green sand is one part bentonite clay for each ten parts of sand. With this sand I will place it in the boxes I made to make molds in order to sand cast objects. As an individual in this project I have learned my limitations for how much work I am willing to put into a project, and my tolerance for stupidity, as it has been tested with the various people I have had to talk to about this project. I have used all of my sources this week, along with several other sources that will not be on my source page that I have used randomly to learn new things. From this point in my genius hour project I go to the melting of metals. To melt the metals my dad has offered me the use of his grill, which I don't know if it can reach the correct temperatures, and my dad, as the bureaucrat he is, prefers to talk about whether the grill can get that hot rather than just putting it on the and seeing what happens.
Post 4: I have made no headway this week, as I worked on my paper for UTPB, the Brutus Antony Comparison paragraph, studying for the AP test, and working on this blog post have consumed most of my time. I still intend to work on this project after I have done these things, but I will not be able to get to the meat of what I am supposed to do until the weekend, when I have the time to burn melting metals and making molds. I have been collecting the tin and the aluminum cans to be melted down. I have not had the time to continue to work on cutting the molds I need, but I have had the time to measure out where I need to cut and I have set out all the tools so when I have the time I can just go to work. I have learned nothing new through this project this week because I have not had the time to work on melting the metals, but hopefully this weekend I will be able to put a few hours of work into this and be almost done with my Genius Hour project. The item I intend to sand cast is a Roman gladius I purchased at the ren fest this year.
Post 5: This week in Genius Hour I tried to melt the metal on a grill my dad had, but that failed. We then went and bought a grill we can fill with charcoal and a steel pipe to place in the charcoal and attached the steel pipe is a bike pump to push air into the charcoal and reach the temperature I need to melt the metal. I also finished making the green sand, and the boxes for the mold. I have started to work on my mold making skills, but so far I am terrible at it. I have been trying to sand cast a ball, as simple shapes are easy to make a mold of, and have had a lot of trouble trying to sand cast that one simple shape. I have 57 lbs of green sand, as that is the smallest amount of sand I could buy, and I only used about 5 lbs, maybe less, in my mold of a ball. This is mainly due to the bentonite component in green sand, as when it comes in contact with water it can absorb a large amount of water that makes it expand. The plan now is to use the new grill with a crucible that can withstand the increased temperatures, and we should have no problems because according to my research the grill will be about 4 times hotter than it needs to be, but I could be wrong. We will find out.