Melting Cans With The Mini Metal Foundry

Melting Cans With The Mini Metal Foundry

Today we’re going to be making muffins.
But trust me, this is one recipe you won’t be able to find in the kitchen cookbook. In
this project we’re using backyard science, and a bucket full of soda cans, to make a
batch, of mini metal biscuits. Let’s start this project with the mini metal
foundry we made in another video, and a big bag of charcoal briquets. These might look
like the kind for BBQ’ing and grilling, and that’s because they are. When 5 briquets
are spaced evenly at the bottom, we’re ready to add a crucible. Like this one I made out
of a steel fire extinguisher. And I’ve found that putting the container on a layer of charcoal,
helps melt the cans faster once we fire it up. Now let’s connect a 1” steel pipe
through the “air supply” port on the side of the foundry. This will get the fire hot
enough to melt metal, but we still need a way to shoot the air in. We could just blow
through it, but a much better idea, is to use a hair dryer. Which you can find at most
thrift stores for about $3. Now I taped the hair dryer to some PVC pipe and inserted a
couple of 1” couplings, to connect the steel tube at one end, and give the blower tube
a quick release feature. This way it’s super easy to take apart, and fits into a 5 gallon
bucket for easy storage. Now since the blower tube is at a strategically placed angle, it’s
really helpful to support it so it doesn’t strain the foundry. This little trick will
help keep the walls from cracking, and increase the life of the unit dramatically. Now that
the foundry’s all set up, let’s fill it to the top with charcoal, and breathe some
life into them the same way you’d light up your BBQ. My tool of choice is a propane
torch because it gets everything heated up in a hurry. The coals are burning, so let’s
flip the hair dryer to the “low” setting, and blow a steady stream of oxygen on the
charcoal to really heat things up. You can see how the cover we made, keeps the heat
inside, so it conserves energy while it’s bringing up the temperature. The coolest part,
is that the crucible, lines up perfectly with the hole in the center. Alright, with that
warming up, let’s round up some soda cans, like these ones I got from a local recycling
depot, and this important tool that makes the whole operation possible. A pair of steel
tongs from the dollar store. After 10 minutes you can see the foundry is scorching hot,
and the handles probably are as well, so let’s use the tongs to carefully remove the top
without getting burned. You can see the steel crucible is glowing orange, and that means
it’s ready for action. The container is 3” wide, which is the perfect size for melting
standard sized soda cans like these. And at temperatures over 1,000ºF, you can see it’ll
liquify them, in just a few seconds. Now I cranked it up to full power to melt more cans
in a hurry, and averaged around 10-12 cans per minute. The cool thing, is that it doesn’t
matter if the cans are dirty, painted, or still have soda inside. The furnace eats anything,
and pulls out pure liquid aluminum, which you’ll see in just a second. In my experience,
38-45 cans produce around 1 lb of molten aluminum. And if you try crushing your cans first, you
can melt them with the cover in place, so less metal will get oxidized in the process. Now
after liquifying about 50 cans you can see the container is completely full, but there’s
a lot of gunk floating around that we really don’t need. The easiest way to isolate the aluminum is
with something like this steel cake pan, I got at the thrift shop for $.50. First, let’s
go ahead and carefully remove the crucible, making sure we’ve got a very secure grip
with our tongs. Then very slowly, pour the liquid into the steel mold. You can see the
slag stays behind, and almost acts like a strainer, helping prevent anything solid from
flowing down-stream. Now that we’ve separated the good stuff out, why don’t we tap the
container on a slab of concrete, and dump out the dross. By keeping our crucible clean,
we can use it again right away. Now just for fun, I tried melting a bunch more cans, so
I could pour them into a brand new cupcake pan. The hope here, is that this fancy pan,
will give a cool and unique look to the aluminum ingots, when they cool. The pan is made of
steel, but it’s catching fire because the non-stick coating is burning off, but this
will be the only time it does that. After a couple of minutes, you can see the ingots
have hardened, but they’re still blisteringly hot. So much so, that they’ll ignite a piece
of paper instantly, just by touching it. Now it’s a really good idea, to have a bucket
of cold water nearby so you can cool them down. When they drop into cold water, you
can see they’re still hot enough, to bring the water to an instant boil. But after about
10 seconds, they cool to the point where you could pick them up bare handed, if you wanted
to. Now I also tried pouring ingots in a mini muffin pan, to get a smaller variety, and
ended up with some really adorable, mini metal muffins. These ones are actually my favorites
now because they’re so easy to work with. The purpose of an ingot is to keep some pure
metal handy for when you want to make something cool. So now that we have some, all we have
to do is fire up the foundry and toss a few nuggets into a clean crucible. This setup can liquify ingots in 5-10 minutes, and check this out .. by melting clean ingots,
there isn’t any dross we have to fish out either. Instead, there’s only a thin skin
of aluminum oxide. Which means this entire crucible, is full of molten aluminum, ready
for casting. I tried pouring mine into a 5 gallon bucket filled with sand, and one other
specialty item. Which you can see bursts into flames and absorbs two full pounds of liquid
metal. After 5-10 minutes the metal is hard enough to grab onto with a pair of channel
locks, so we can break the mold and reveal the casting inside. Watch for how to make
something like this in another project video. When it’s time to clean up, all the metal
working tools fit conveniently, into a 5 gallon bucket, and when the foundry has cooled down,
the handle makes it easy to flip over and dump out the ashes. Cleanup is quick, and
when you replace your potted plant, you can see the whole thing reverts to it’s innocent
disguise as fashionable home decor. Well now you know how to turn scrap aluminum soda cans,
into shiny metallic muffins, which you can simply admire with pride, or use to make just about anything you want. Well that’s it for now. If you liked this project, perhaps you’ll like
some of my others. Check them out at Behold, the sword, that was pulled from the
sand. Hey guys, this was just a prototype for another project video I’m working on,
but hundreds of you left comments asking me to give it away. So, I will oblige, and I’ll
give it as a gift, to one of you. But before I explain the rules on how to win, we should
really take a second to thank for sponsoring this video. Audible has the
worlds largest selection of premium audiobooks, and in the spirit of melting metal and making
swords, I want to recommend “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien, which you can download
for free by going to and starting a 30-day free trial. If you don’t
want to get the Hobbit, they have over 150,000 other audiobooks you can choose from including
fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. And simply by checking out,
you’re supporting me and my videos, and allowing me do more of them. Now back to the
contest. I saw one comment suggesting that everyone should guess the weight of the sword,
and the one who gets closest to the actual weight, wins. So that’s how it’s going
to work. Click here to submit your guess on how much the sword weighs, in grams, and in
one week I’ll check to see who got closest to the right answer, then I’ll ship it to
the winner for free. Now don’t put any answers in the comments. If you want a chance to win,
click here, and submit your best guess because that’s the only place I’m going to be
choosing from. Thank you for supporting my videos, and I hope to see you around for the
next one. And I’ll talk to you then.

100 thoughts on “Melting Cans With The Mini Metal Foundry

  1. Still can't believe he's gone, he has left all of this for us, we must carry on the legacy he has left for us because time still turns the pages of the book its burnt…

  2. Rest Peacefully……many happy memories have making the Mini Metal Factory with my son for his school project, you bought knowledge, joy and fun into our lives!

  3. You have to Take the paint OFF before melting!!! you're making people breath toxic fumes man. not cool. Kids don't try this at home.

  4. in Russia, these cans are just lying in heaps on the streets. but I’m just silent about the landfill. Thank you friend for the video, I will also try to melt a couple of dozen cans .👍

  5. Your the real king of random i miss you and you will never be forgotten 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺😭😭😭😭😭

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