Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Foundry: Melting a Honda Engine Head (Video)

One day I was riding by and found some junk on the side of the road including various parts of a Honda 4 cylinder engine.  I decided to take them since I had my new upgraded bike basket which easily fit it all, and why would I pass up the single largest piece of scrap aluminum I'd ever found on the side of the road? (alright, maybe I'm not counting the time I found a car wheel next to the dumpster)
Instead of trying to disassemble all the valves and springs on the engine head and trying to cut it up into crucible sized chunks, I decided I'd just melt it directly in the furnace and let the molten aluminum drip out the bottom into some metal trays lined with sand.  What better way to kick off the foundry season then with some scrap downsizing? Here's the video of the melt in real time:

The Aftermath:
2 fresh slabs of aluminum from that engine block and a few other parts I threw in the furnace prior.  Not all of the metal made it into the trays, some remained inside the furnace solidifying in the bottom, and other amounts splashed on the ground when I was switching the trays, those are the stringy looking pieces behind the slabs.  The slabs will require much less cutting the fit into the crucible than the original engine head.
The engine valves, springs, plugs, studs and all the other steel parts remained in the bottom of the furnace after all the aluminum melted off.  As seen in the video, they were all red hot.  Since they cooled down very slowly, all these parts are in fully annealed condition- which means anything that was too hard to machine or bend is now soft and ductile!  In other words, the springs lost their springiness.

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