New Cupolette Furnace

Our new furnace “Sputnik”

A short video of the recently fabricated furnace at WVU which will be used at the fall 2013 Iron Pour on 11/08/2013.  After some minor tweaking and a new switch on the blower motor, it started to really churn…


Investment Prep

Rubber and Plaster Molds for Waxes

The Sculpture II students are learning how to make make two and three part molds of their original objects, so they can pull wax positives for lost-wax investment castings.  A few shots here show projects in various stages, from making the molds, to pulling the waxes, to spruing up the wax systems to be invested in a plaster/sand concoction.  Ultimately, these will be burned out and filled with bronze or aluminum at the metal foundry at West Virginia University.

Iron Falcons

FSU-WVU Iron Pour

The inaugural Fairmont State Iron Pour was resounding success, and everyone who participated had a blast, literally.  We want to thank our com-padres from WVU who made the trip down to our foundry to make some hot iron art, and we definitely expect to expand on this great collaborative event.  We also want to thank all of the businesses who donated materials and equipment to help get our endeavor off and running, and the faculty and staff at Fairmont State University who bent over backwards to give us the space to pull this off.  Dylan Collins, Sculpture Faculty at WVU and I will be presenting some of our research at the Nor’Easter Cast Iron Conference in Buffalo in a few weeks, then we plan on  implementing some more iron pours into our curriculum, as well as the bronze and aluminum foundry processes-

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FSU Iron Foundry Update:

Firing up the furnace, making molds, breaking iron

Here are some images of the Iron Cupola and it’s components being installed at the Fairmont State University Foundry with it’s new lining.  After the ceramic material is rammed into place and dried, we brought it up to melting temperature.  Basically it’s a 12″ chimney stack with some real high-fire refractory to protect the walls, some forced air inlets, pour and slag holes, and a trap door on the bottom.  The large chunks of burning embers at the bottom are remaining lumps of “coke” or the high-temp fuel for the operation.  We will actually be able to reclaim that fuel and use it for the pour.  Excitement is building, iron is being broken up, and the sand molds are being made in advance of the 10/26 pour that is scheduled.  Contact me with any questions about the process or our operation-

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Rebuilding the Dragon

The Iron Cupola is being pulled out of retirement

In a collaborative effort with West Virginia University, the Sculpture department at Fairmont State University is working towards completion of our cast iron foundry.  The furnace or “cupola” melts iron in temperatures up to 3000 Fahrenheit, and is a labor-intensive endeavor on its own, so the additional prep work of cleaning and re-lining the rust covered hulking steel contraption will require many hours I don’t seem to have anymore.  Luckily, the faculty, staff, and students at WVU and Fairmont State are chomping at the bit to get this project up and running so we can pour hot iron by the end of October.  A few pics are attached of the furnace in it’s current state, I will continually update the progress as we move along this fall-

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WVU Sculpture: steel wire-frame

Steel Wire-frame

My 226 Sculpture class finished up their steel wire-frame pieces this week, and had some successful work to show.  This was the first time that most of them had operated the metal working equipment in our shop, and most had never touched a welder or a torch before.  Thanks to Wilson Works for donating steel and knowledge to our program, they continue to help foster a strong metal arts department.  Here is the project outline to see what the guidelines were for the students.

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