Casting at The Crucible

Nick DiPhillipo pulls slag out of a crucible

I just got back from The Crucible in Oakland, CA where I spoke to Nick DiPhillipo.  Nick constructed their foundry and has designed and built foundry equipment such as kilns and cupola furnaces at The Crucible, UC Santa Cruz, Artworks in Berkeley, and elsewhere.    We talked about setting up a basic foundry, electric induction furnaces, and appropriate technology.
Nick recommended some great sources of further information I want to pass on:  Steve Hurst’s book Metal Casting: Appropriate Technology in the Small Foundry and the publishing houses Development Publications and Lindsay Publications.   Steve Hurst’s book talks about doing lost wax with bee’s wax and using cow dung mortar in mold making.  I’m really excited.

According to Nick, Factor E should get started by building  a training setup:  A gas-fired crucible in the 10-30lb range plus the infrastructure for lost wax casting- A ceramic slurry batch mixer and a system for melting the wax out.  Building an induction furnace is by all means possible, but the crucible furnace is a great system for small casting and is simple to build and operate.  It’s something that will continue to get use even with an induction furnace around.
Induction is definitely the only way to go if we want to do serious work with iron and steel.  The Crucible used someone else’s home-made induction furnace to cast the stainless steel funnels in the kiln (I’m going to try to contact the individual who designed and built this induction furnace).

Ok, well I’m headed back to the East Coast. Thanks for all the help, California.


  1. Jeremy

    Good research Mathew!

  2. Marcin

    Exciting. Please post the contacts for the induction furnace DIY at the Induction Furnace Resource Map:

  3. Mathew

    I consider contacts given to me in confidence to be private unless otherwise indicated. I’ll make the connection, but I don’t think we should be posting contacts in the Wiki unless people want to be advisers.

  4. BestHelen

    I have found what i was looking for !!! thx )

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