THE TIN MAN'S HANDS
CASTING A PAIR OF HUMAN ALUMINUM HANDS FOR THE SHEET METAL
HANDS JUST OUT OF THE MOLDS
HANDS ON A "HAND STAND"
The "Tin Man" and "Toto" where built by my father, Jerry. While I was back in America on vacation a few years ago I was able to give him some help with casting of the hands which where then placed on the "Tin Mans" handless arms. The aluminum hands are made from a lot of soda pop and beer cans, aluminum pipe scraps and bits and pieces of an old extruded aluminum fly screen door frame. If my memory is correct there was one or two of those old ice cube trays and maybe some old beat up aluminum camping/cooking gear.
The original furnace, which was my idea was like a bad rocket scientist, it would of never got off the ground due to the fact I had no plans to insulate it which would help keep the heat in! The furnace consisted of a piece of 12 inch dia. steel pipe about 18 inches long with a piece of ¼ in thick steel plate welded to the bottom. The so-called crucible was a piece of 4 inch dia. steel pipe about 6 inches long with a piece of ¼ inch steel plate welded to the bottom of it. Also, a handle which was a piece of ¾ inch steel pipe was welded to the side of the crucible about 2 inches from the top. From memory, the handle was about 4 foot long. This made it possible to be a good distance from the extremely hot crucible when pouring the hands. This furnace and crucible I gave to my father along with a lot of other junk when I immigrated to Australia. He later set the whole thing into some sort of large modified barrel. Again if my memory is correct it had a nice size 120 volt single phase “squirrel cage fan” that was used as a forced draft blower and was hooked up to a standard light dimmer for speed regulation. The large 12 by 18-inch piece of pipe sat in the top of the barrel which was packed with fire bricks, clay and sand?
The fuel was just your standard barbecue charcoal briquettes. I think we used a whole bag plus a half bag to cast the hands. We just put in ¾ of a bag and a few newspapers to get it started and before we knew it, it was “white hot” down in side the barrel!
The molds were of his hands, not mine. I think we should have used mine, they do look better… because they’re younger! I’m not sure how he actually made the molds but I think they were a 2 piece sand and clay mold. Later, both halves of each hand were put together and placed into large empty coffee cans and place onto the old wood burning stove in his workshop to dry them out.
Pouring the molten aluminum was a cinch. We just heated it up in the crucible and poured it into the molds. For some reason still unknown to us, they both started to bubble once the level got close to the top of the molds which would have been at the area around the wrist. This was basically when the mold was full. Also, the casting became porous in some areas of the aluminum. Again for reasons unknown to us. Maybe it was from moisture still in the sand, impurities in the aluminum or oxidation? Comments or suggestions anyone?
Anyway, it was a great day out. We managed to cast a left and a right and no one got burned and we set nothing else alight!
AND THESE ARE THE ARMS THEY ARE FITTED ON.
"TOTO THE DOG" "THE TIN MAN"
FURNACE DRAWING FURNACE PICTURE #1 FURNACE PICTURE #2