The old foundry is dead... I managed to get one more session out of it before, but by the time I removed the lid for the last time, it started self-crumbling into the fire pit. So I broke the rest of it apart and threw it out. I managed to clean about 6 or 7 pounds of aluminum, but after that it really died. I failed to get a good picture of the casts, so I'll have to do that when I get home today, but all in all, it went well! I think I figured out one of the problems with the burner. My theory is that the standard, grill Propane tanks need a little back pressure in order to operate properly, Back pressure always seemed like an odd thing, be it in propane or V8 Exhaust header design; so what I think I'll do while I wait for new budget to come in is actually understand Mr. Thompson's burner assembly. I still have to finish modifying the burner models, and modeling the rest of the parts, but I understand the project as a general whole now.
I have also figured out what I'm going to do for the bottom layer! Woo!! I'm going to make the base about 3" high on the outside, and have about 2.5" of Grant's refractory solution, with a thicker coating of "castable" refractory cement. It really resembles a trowel-on drywall mud, just a little grainier. [Amazon link] Curing the base properly before adding the cement should allow me to not shatter the whole nine-yards with a steam pocket. You bet your heinie that the base will be vibratory cast. How? No idea yet, but I was thinking a weighted box fan motor, since I have 2 that work right now, and box fans are cheap. We'll see how that goes later. for now, it's getting things modeled and cut up in preparation. I still gotta figure out the ceiling, as the wool I've selected is not quite large enough for covering the lid. It's too bad nobody sells 2x24x72 inch wool... hell, I could make do with 2x12x72 inch roll... anyways. I gotta get cooking on cleaning my computer and my workshop. We'll see ya 'round!