|Link in multi-metal chain.|
I had been wondering about how hard it would be to make a multi-part graphite mold with which I could cast chain links around each other. That is, given an existing link, cast a new one interlinked with it. This turns out to be quite do-able: Here is the mold I made (using my drill press as a vertical mill and a round-ended router bit):
In case you ever want to try this, I'll give you an important hint: The third link is the real test, not the second one.
Using this mold I have cast a chain out of all the metals I can easily cast. Click the Sample Group link below to see all the links together.
Making the iron link was definitely the most exciting, because I did it with thermite, the only practical home method of making molten iron. (Iron is basically impossible to melt and cast without very special equipment, but see some of the other samples above for a description of the thermite process, which creates molten iron on demand.) The video for this sample shows the casting process in action: It's worth a look. Amazingly, the mold actually survived and went on to make more links after iron. (By the way, for heaven's sake don't try making thermite yourself unless you really know what you are doing. It could be very dangerous. For example, the first time I tried it, it exploded sending molten steel 20 feet in every direction. Fortunately, I figured something like that might happen so I didn't get hurt. If you were to try making thermite without also assuming something like that might happen, you could be very badly burned and if you were not wearing safety glasses, you might very well spend the rest of your life blind.)
This chain (counted as one sample) is the 600th sample added to my collection.
Source: Theodore Gray
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 9 August, 2003
Text Updated: 20 February, 2006
Sample Group: Multi-metal Chain