Author Topic: Foundry Day at Uglydog's  (Read 979 times)


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Foundry Day at Uglydog's
« on: April 23, 2023, 11:27:21 AM »
First things first: I must apologize for not having any photos to share, I was way too busy doing 'hands on' to take any photos.

My blushing bride and I travelled to Tamarack, MN on Friday afternoon, taking our time and making a few stops along the way. We arrived at Daryl (Uglydog) and Liz's place just as they were halfway through dinner. We had already eaten but joined them for some great evening conversation. Also present were Liz's stepmom, Vicky, and her significant other Don. There was also a nice gentleman present who I had not previously met, Jim from Randolph, MN. Jim is a member of The Home Foundry forum with the username of 'Tops'. Sadly, our friends John and Dennis chose to remain in the Twin Cities due the predicted weather conditions and the snow and ice and water everywhere in northern Minnesota right now. I understand their concerns completely, but they were missed nonetheless.

After a good night's rest at Daryl and Liz's guest house next door, I exited the house to fresh snow and a balmy 29 degrees. A stark reminder that winter is often slow to release its icy grip on the northern part of our state. The fishing opener is only a few weeks away, so we briefly discussed designing and building an ice breaker for Daryl so that he can get out on the lake and drown some worms. We quickly decided that this would be an endeavor beyond our capabilities, even working as a team.

By 9 AM we embarked on a day of shop related activities. Don and Jim were working on a lift mechanism for a foundry furnace cover, with Don busy at the lathe and Jim working on adding some holes and slots to a piece of 1-1/2" pipe. Jim had never used a mill or wigglers or edge finders before, so we helped him through his pipe slotting project, even showing him one quick and dirty way of rotating a work piece 90 degrees in the vise and getting it really quite close, but not quite perfect. It was close enough for the project at hand.

This was followed by making some choices about activities for the rest of the day. We wanted to do some foundry work yet be done in time to attend a 6 PM performance of the McGregor School play "The Wizard of Oz". McGregor has only one school, with grades K-12 present in one building. The school district is quite large geographically, but in a sparsely populated section of the state. More on all of that later.

Liz has a loom that they purchased used several years ago, but it is not operational because of a failed aluminum pawl that is employed somewhere on that contraption. I do not intend to speak poorly of looms, no. I do find watching them to be a marvelous visual symphony for those like myself with a penchant for nearly all things mechanical. For some reason I love referring to such mechanical devices in a fond way as contraptions. Back to the failed pawl! Daryl had carved a rough pattern from pine, but it had little if any draft for removing it from the sand. The original part appeared to be an injection molded casting, but it also had little draft. The decision was made to try and ram up both the pattern and the original part in a sand mold. With any luck we would end up with at least one usable casting.

It was lunch time so off to the house we went where Liz had prepared a wonderful lunch of pulled pork that Daryl had smoked just a few weeks ago. During our most pleasant repast we forged our plans and schedule for the remainder of the day. Getting back out to the shop shortly past 1 PM, we had 4 hours to ram up molds, melt and pour castings, get everything put away, get ourselves cleaned up and ready to leave for the play in McGregor, just over ten miles away.

We started with getting the Petrobond out of storage and mulling enough of it to get started. We were all busy with getting ready for a pour. Daryl, Don and Jim tended to the furnace while I rammed up the mold for the pawls. Luckily, they both extracted from the sand with little issue, and Daryl now has his choice of castings to work from to come up with a finished part. With a little luck, Liz will soon be able to start using the loom that she has so patiently been waiting to try out.

The next item to be cast was a pair of coasters or medallions that Jim 3D printed and attached to a match plate. These also turned out wonderfully. Match plates require more work up front in the pattern making process but save a lot of work at the molding bench as the gates and runners do not need to be cut in by hand.

It was now 3:30 and the push was on to make a set of castings from one of the molds that Mr. Pete (Tubalcain) of YouTube fame has loaned to Daryl. One of the pattern sets is for a drill press vise that Mr. Pete identified as being very difficult to remove from the sand. An examination of the pattern left us with some thoughts on what could be done to the pattern to make it more usable. We want to secure Mr. Pete's permission before making changes to the pattern, so a pair of patterns for a woodworking bench vise were chosen and rammed up in the sand. By a little after 4 the mold was poured and we were able to start cleaning up the shop area a bit. We didn't want to leave anything to chance with the weather, so we had to get it all rolled inside, hot stuff and all. Due to being quite hot yet, we did not shake the last mold out, so at this point I have no idea if those vise parts turned out properly or not. We managed to get our cleanup completed and got ready for our trip to McGregor, arriving there by about 5:15. Liz and Vicky had gone on ahead to secure us our seats in the auditorium.

The play was absolutely wonderful! It involved over 80 youth from Kindergarten all the way up to high school seniors. None of us know or are related to any of the kids in the play, but Liz had volunteered in the making of 45 pairs of shoes for the Munchkins and the hats for the characters in the Lullaby League. It didn't matter that those costume items were the only connection, those kids put on a great show and it was much enjoyed. I used to be involved in Community Theater and I have a first-hand knowledge of what is involved in putting a production together, but I cannot imagine what it takes to put together a show of such magnitude! Many thanks to the kids and parents in McGregor and to Liz for helping out in such a big way.

After the show we headed back to the Village Pump in Tamarack for a late dinner and enjoyable conversation before heading for home. Pauline and I greatly enjoyed our visit to Tamarack and look forward to returning there in the future!
« Last Edit: April 23, 2023, 11:33:59 AM by Terrywerm »

Making chips with old machines!


Re: Foundry Day at Uglydog's
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2023, 10:45:44 AM »
Thanks for the nice write up.  It sounds like a great trip you had.  Always good to actually get out and meet people in person.   So much lately is just virtual interaction on the web.   Donít get me wrong internet is a wonderful way to make connections with people you wouldnít otherwise but at some point the real deal is face to face. 
Iíve had the opportunity to meet several YouTube machinists including Lyle Peterson, John Saunders, Tom Lipton, John Grimsmo and a few others.   
Lyle had an open house a few years ago which was really fun.   Heís exactly the same in person as on YT.   
Ditto for John Saunders.   Super friendly His open house was in an old family barn at the time, now heís a full blown CNC shop in a beautiful building. 

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1991 Bridgeport Series I 2J-VS  9"x48"
1979 Clausing Colchester Bantam Mk2 11"x30"
1972 Harig Super 612
2015 Tormach PCNC-1100 Mill

"They wants what you gots!"